Category Archives: Vacation

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Summer Road Trip: Storyland in New Orleans

On our way out of New Orleans, we made a stop at Storyland, a fun storybook-themed play area.

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It was very hot and humid, as expected, but the park was shady and the kids adored the place. Plus it only cost $3 per person.

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It featured many of our favorite stories, and more!

Some highlights:

  • Captain Hook’s Ship

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  • Pinocchio’s Whale
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  • Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage
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  • Dragon Slide

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  • Firetruck 

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  • Rocket Ship
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We also played at a gingerbread house, Jack & Jill’s hill, the Three Little Pigs’ houses, and an Alice in Wonderland crooked house, as well as admired a mermaid in a fountain, a Rapunzel statues, and mother goose flying through the air.

The absolute favorite part of the visit, however, was Snow White.

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Asleep and under a spell outside of the dwarfs’ cottage, Snow White just had to be woken up!

Scarlett searched high and low at Storyland for a prince to kiss Snow White and wake her up.
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No help from a dwarf.

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Luke’s kiss was ineffective.

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Even Rapunzel couldn’t get the job done.

Scarlett was kind of distraught! She did NOT want to leave Snow White under the spell of the poison apple.

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We pretty much had to drag her out of there. Luckily, I had the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on my iPad so she could see that eventually, the prince would come to wake Snow White up. Phew! Now Scarlett says, “Snow White ate a poison apple, but she got through it.” Funny girl!

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We left through the clock, and were on our way to the last two stops on our trip: a pit stop in Alabama, then on to Chattanooga, Tennessee!

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Summer Road Trip: New Orleans, Louisiana

The kids had never been to Louisiana, so after Tom was done with his business trip, we headed to New Orleans.

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Jackson Square, New Orleans

Our plan was to go to Storyland before checking into our hotel, but we arrived late and it was already closed. We ended up getting a little energy out at the nearby playground at New Orleans City Park.

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Our alma mater had a football game that night, so we grabbed some dinner at Bayou Hot Wings (yum!) and spent the rest of the night watching TV in our hotel room and swimming in the hotel pool.

The next morning, it was time to see what New Orleans was all about.

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We walked to the French Quarter, which we figured would be more kid-friendly at 8 am than at night!

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We enjoyed breakfast at the famous Cafe Du Monde. Beignets and cafe au lait for everyone! (well, chocolate milk for the kids…)
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We had tried beignets earlier in the year during our Princess and the Frog week. Even though they were very good, the ones at Cafe du Mondewere a million times better. So delicious!

The whole breakfast was reasonably priced as well. We got three orders of beignets – 9 total – for under $9 and that turned out to be too many for the four of us. Made a nice road snack later, though!
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Cafe du Monde Menu

They also sold Cafe Du Monde paper hats for 15 cents – souvenir bargain! Luke was quite happy. 

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After breakfast, we walked around the French Quarter, which was pretty family friendly in the morning. We found a toy store, The Little Toy Shop, where Scarlett got a pretty mask for $5.

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We also saw a horse and carriage, a street car, and a banana tree! – how fun is that?

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We headed back to our hotel to check out and then go to Storyland when it was actually open.

My Storyland recap is coming in the next post!

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Summer Road Trip: Little Rock, Arkansas

Tom had job training for 2 days in Little Rock so that was the second stop on our road trip.

Last year, we visited the Little Rock Zoo and the Museum of Discovery. This year we were trying to spend a little less money so we hung out at the hotel pool, enjoyed breakfast for dinner at Cracker Barrel,  and took a drive over to Peabody Park.

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Playing checkers outside Cracker Barrel

Peabody Park, located in Riverfront Park in downtown Little Rock, is a great playground with a splash park right on the Mississippi River.

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The playground has several levels which is great for climbing and exploration.

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There are rocks, stairs, slides, tunnels, holes and a pretend river to follow. The kids thought it was amazing.

Next, we went to the splash pad. A good spray park is the kids’ favorite thing and they really enjoyed playing in the water until it got dark and the mosquitoes started biting us.

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This is a beautiful little area for kids in the great downtown section of Little Rock. Highly recommended!

Next stop on our summer road trip: New Orleans!

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Summer Road Trip: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

For the first stop on our summer road trip, we picked Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Tom had to be in Little Rock, Arkansas on Monday night, so we left our Virginia home on Sunday and drove about halfway. Pigeon Forge was just about in the middle.

We stopped there on last year’s trip as well and the kids experienced their first mini golf game. This year we took it a little easier and headed to Old Mill Square.

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It was close to 8pm when we finally got there so the stores were closing soon. We popped into the General Store for a quick look around. Scarlett loved all the bears she could collect!

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After the stores closed we hung out by the river for a while, climbing rocks and watching ducks as the sun set.

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Finally, we took a stroll over to Patriot Park to check out the giant lit up Liberty Bell. How weird is that?

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The kids had fun exploring and didn’t mind returning to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep before the second leg of our trip: Little Rock!

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Summer Fun List: Road Trip!

Tom has a business trip in Arkansas next week so the whole family is going along! We’re making it a road trip and exploring some fun Southern cities.

Tennessee Welcomes Me

We will be visiting:

  • Pigeon Forge, TN
  • Little Rock, AR
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Chattanooga, TN
Some of these places are places we’ve been before and others are brand new. 
I hope the kids will enjoy it.
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Disney World Resort Hop #9: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Our final stop before leaving Orlando was Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

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The beach path from the Polynesian brought us to the Grand Floridian pool area .

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There goes the Monorail!

Again, we were too early to see it in action but the Alice in Wonderland themed water play area was so cute!
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The huge lobby was our next stop – beautiful, ornate, and golden.

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Adorable!

The outside was just as luxurious.

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Absolutely gorgeous. I can’t imagine staying here with little kids, although I’m sure it’s as family friendly as all places at Disney (they do have those little chairs!). If we did stay here, I think we’d be playing in the water most of the time anyway. So, what the heck, let’s add it to the list of future places to stay!

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It was starting to get hot, so instead of walking back to our car, we decided to hop on the monorail. The kids were delighted!

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We swung by the Magic Kingdom and said “hi!”

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Then we hopped off the monorail and our trip was done.

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Even though we didn’t go to any of the Disney Parks, we had a pretty great Disney vacation!

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Disney World Resort Hop #8: Polynesian Resort

The last day of our trip to Orlando the my wedding anniversary! Tom and I got married on 07/07/07 – six years of wedded bliss.

And what better way to celebrate years of love than breakfast at the Polynesian?

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We got up early to squeeze in a little more fun before we headed home. The tropical feel of the Polynesian was gorgeous.
  Luke in the lobby of Disney's Polynesian Resort

After admiring the lobby, we headed over to Captain Cook’s for a nice meal.

Captain Cooks

The kids got Mickey Waffles while Tom and I tried the legendary Tonga Toast.

Tonga Toast

The banana-stuffed french toast was huge and filling. A great breakfast, although my mouth tasted like bananas for the rest of the day.

Banana Stuffed Tonga Toast

The kids were restless so breakfast was short. We ventured outside to check out the pool and the beach.

Pool at the  Polynesian Resort

The volcano pool was awesome! Luke, our lava-lover,  was impressed.

The splash pad wasn’t on yet, but it looked pretty neat, too.

Splash Pad at Polynesian Resort

The beach was lovely. The sand was being smoothed and we were the first to put down new footprints.

Beach at Disney's Polynesian Resort

This would be a great place to spend a vacation day – who even needs theme parks?

  Beach at Disney's Polynesian Resort

It was so pretty we decided to walk the path over to the Grand Floridian
Scarlett at Disney's Polynesian Resort

We passed this guy on our way by the Spirit of Aloha show.

Luke Spirit of Aloha Polynesian

One the way back to our car, we popped back inside the Polynesian to look in the gift shop.

Disney Polynesian Gift Shop

Trader Jack's at Disney's Polynesian Resort

And one last photo op – sort of.

Surfboard at Disney's Polynesian Resort

I would LOVE to stay here some day. Better start saving now!

Next and last in the Resort Hop series – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

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A Trip to Disney’s Character Warehouse

When we were done with our resort hopping for the day, we were tired but still wanted to do something fun. We decided to take a quick trip over to the Orlando Premium Outlets to check out Disney’s Character Warehouse.

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Disney Merchandise + Big Discounts = My Kind of Store!

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They had clothes, collectibles, toys, souvenirs – anything type of Disney item you might be looking for.

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Tom found some neat Cars merchandise.

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Scarlett tried on all the hats.

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I was drawn to the Vinylmation. The 3″ items were 5 for $10 – woohoo! Here’s a few items I got:

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Oz the Great and Poweful: Glinda & China Girl Vinylmation
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Nerd Figment Vinylmation

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NFL New England Patriots Vinylmation

I also picked out a few Vinylmation “Jingle Smells” scented Christmas ornaments – Mickey, Donald and Goofy.

I am glad we made the trip.

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Disney World Resort Hop #7: Pop Century

A quick trip across the lake from Art of Animation brings us to Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

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We could see the giant yo-yos on our walk, so that was the first place we stopped.

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We learned some historical facts as we made our way past the 50’s and 60’s to the Hippy Dippy Pool and Classic Hall.

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My mission at Pop Century was to try their Tie Dye Cheesecake, so we headed to Everything Pop for desserts.

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Scarlett and I split the cheesecake. Pretty, bright colors with a red velvet cake base – yum!

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Tom and Luke split the Worms in Dirt pudding dessert. 
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We were all getting tired at this point so we decided to look at one more decade before returning to our car. Tom and I picked the 70’s.

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Surfin’ with Goofy
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Foosball

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Big Wheel Bike

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Mickey Phone

I would have liked to have seen the 80’s and 90’s as well as the other pools, but by this time we were just exhausted. It was a long day, but we vowed to check out the rest of the resort the next time we make it to Orlando.