Last summer we had the opportunity to go through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve on our way from Washington Crossing Historic Park back to New Hope, PA (read all the things you can do with kids in the Lambertville/New Hope area here).
Unfortunately for us it was past the peak spring flower season, which is why I urge you to go now! Even without the maximum number of flowers, though, it’s a beautiful place I’d like to spend more time. The best views for us, ironically, were at the entrance – ironically before we entered to pay. See what’s in bloom before you go.
We saw a ton of butterflies.
Lots of butterfiles at Bowman’s Hill Preserve. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Continue reading Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve
You may have seen the famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware. It’s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. More about the painting (and its inaccuracies) further down.
You can see the actual site of the crossing at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania. Continue reading Review: Washington Crossing Historic Park with Kids
My kids do a lot of traveling, but they’ve never traveled on the plane alone. Until now. I just booked my daughter on a cross-country flight to stay with her best friend for a week.
If you’re considering sending your child on a flight alone, here’s where to start.
Kayak.com has a list of airline fees, which includes unaccompanied minor fees. You’ll see that the fees vary a lot according to the airline, ranging from $25 on Alaskan Airlines (one way), to United’s $150 fee one way. That’s in addition to the airline ticket. Some charge by the kid, some charge by the family, and some change the rate depending on the flight length. Of course you’ll want to confirm the rates with the airline as well.
When you start looking into flights you’ll want to ask yourself these questions: Continue reading Tips for traveling as an unaccompanied minor
With 10 Tony nominations and a positive New York Times review, I was glad I had tickets to see the Pippin revival the day after its official opening. I’ve not seen Pippin before so I can’t compare how this revival is different, though the circus theme is new, and the lead player is a woman instead of a man. And her arms are so buff that Michelle Obama’s look downright flabby in comparison.
Let’s start with the million dollar question for my family-friendly theater-goers:
Is Pippin appropriate for kids? Continue reading Review: Pippin – appropriate for kids?
To make the days at Disneyland and California Adventure even MORE fun, I bought the book Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: a Field Guide to Disneyland Resort’s Best Kept Secrets (see Hidden Mickeys on a Disney Cruise here. See the rest of this Disneyland/California Adventure series here.)
Note that the book is a few years old so it’s a bit outdated (Cars Land isn’t in there and it covers the time before the renovation of Buena Vista street and the main entrance). We had fun reading through the scavenger hunt and additional clues to find the Hidden Mickeys. We found the scavenger hunt way too difficult and preferred to just read the hints and look for them (we would have missed everything otherwise!). There’s also a Hidden Mickeys book for Disney World.
Like in the book, I’ll separate these out between actual Hidden Mickeys and mere decorative Mickeys. Unfamiliar with a Hidden Mickey? It’s a representation of Mickey in a place you might not look for it or expect it. You can read more about it here and here.
Here are a few we saw at Disneyland and California Adventure:
This one is in the exit area of Astro Blasters, the Buzz Lightyear ride, on a larger picture.
Continue reading Hidden Mickeys at Disneyland and California Adventure
Disney parks have the most awesome thing since all-inclusive tickets: the FastPass. While parks like Six Flags and Universal Studios charge for these “get to the front of the line” passes, everyone has access to FastPasses at Disney for no extra cost.
Can you see the difference in lines? We waited about 5 minutes to board our space craft inside. The others? Oh, about 90 minutes.
What are they?
A FastPass is a timed ticket to get you into a special, faster line during a one hour period. Otherwise you ride “standby” which is Disney lingo for “huge long line.” The FastPass line sometimes get you in immediately, but more likely you have to wait a few minutes (though we’ve never waited more than 15-20 minutes unless the ride was broken down). Continue reading How to use a FastPass at Disney parks
I did a lot of reading before heading to Disneyland and California Adventure (and even more for our Disney World trip). Some might say too much reading. But since it was going to be crowded (spring break) and I wanted to maximize our time there (and minimize lines), it was totally worthwhile. Here are some tips you likely won’t read in other Disney guides. This is part of a Disney/Disneyland series.
FYI – this is part of a Disneyland/California Adventure series. See the bottom for links to other posts in the series.
Being nice pays off
Twice, being nice to the Disney cast member during a problem (a ticket purchase snafu, and a ride breakdown) caused the cast member to give us an extra “readmission pass” Continue reading Tips You Won’t Read Elsewhere – Adventures in Disney
This trip to a Disney park was the first I made with a smart phone. What a difference! I tested out four apps and review them here for you. If you have an extra phone battery, bring it with you! I had to switch batteries late in the day, and I didn’t use my phone for much more than checking line times. An iPad would be ideal – if you have a data plan. We also had my brother in law save his phone battery by not using it during the day (only leaving it on if the group split up for FastPass retrieval) so he’d have a fresh battery if mine died. If you go that route, turn off the data plan (use airplane mode) to save on battery drain. (This is part of a series on Disney/Disneyland)
FYI: Disneyland DOES now have official charging station lockers. It’s $2/hour. Here’s the scoop on charging stations at Disney. We didn’t check it out while there, but it’s nice to know it’s available.
Here’s a list of outlets at Disneyland/California Adventure.
It does not appear at present time that Disney World has the same charging systems. Here are some places to charge your phone at Disney World and here.
I’d recommend spending time on the apps before you get there so you know what you’ll need and where you’ll find it and won’t drain your battery looking. There are a lot of tips and good planning information you can find there as well, which can make time in line go faster as you share these with your fellow travelers.
I reviewed these apps specifically for Disneyland, though there is some Disney World information there too.
TouringPlans.com Lines app
If you’re not familiar with touringplans.com, it comes from the authors of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland (and Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World). It’s a fabulous book I recommend you buy. They have a touring plan that helps save you time by helping you avoid the lines by going to the attractions in a certain order. I’ve used it – it works.
Pros: You want this app mainly for the Line feature. Continue reading The Best Disney Park Apps (and where to charge your phone at Disneyland and Disney World)
In my many years going to Disney parks, we’d never been on a ride when it broke down. Sure, we’d be in line when it broke down, but not actually on the ride. How did we get so lucky on this trip? Not only did we experience five ride breakdowns, but we were evacuated from Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure. Do you get your FastPass back if you’re stuck on a ride? If you’re in line but it closes? If you’re evacuated? Read on for answers below (this is part of a series on Disney/Disneyland):
The day our stranding on Grizzly River Run, we spent the day at Disneyland. For periods ranging from 1-10 minutes, we got stuck on Astro Blasters, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean (Indiana Jones broke down while we were in the FastPass line, though fortunately cleared before we left).
I totally beat my sister.
On the Pirates ride, we were surprised to play bumper boats as we approached the waterfall with Blackbeard talking. He talked, and talked and talked until we could repeat his conversation by heart. Fortunately after about 10 minutes, we moved on. Continue reading What Happens When a Disney Ride Breaks Down
I grew up in Arizona and later moved to California. Disneyland has always been my park. After moving to New Jersey I felt I had to check out Disney World – after all, it’s in the same time zone and everyone in New Jersey has been to Disney World! Yet, most of my East Coast friends have NOT been to Disneyland and always ask me what that park is like.
Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
So here’s a primer. (This is part of a Disney series – most posts to come) Continue reading Disneyland Primer