While I consider myself a Disneyland expert, I’ve never been to Disneyworld. Preparing for our upcoming trip has been an education to say the least. I’ve read book upon book, talked up frequent visitors, queried travel agents, and read, read, read. Given the amount of time I’ve spent researching, I thought I’d share some tips on how to plan the trip. I’ll fill you all in on the results when we get back – telling you what worked, and what didn’t.
WHAT TO READ – WHERE TO START
Allears.net – This site features detailed hotel info (including reader reviews), Disney restaurant menus, tips, guidelines, info on all things Disney (including Broadway shows). They offer a free email newsletter with tips and discounts.
Mousesavers.com – This site also features tips, discounts, insider info for all things Disney. Read through the all applicable parts of the website before booking anything. They also have a free monthly emails with articles and discounts – don’t miss this because some of the discounts are really helpful.
Disboards – To me it sounds more like they’re “dissing” Disneyworld, but that’s not what’s meant by their url. The site came highly recommended to me by a friend writing a book on Disneyworld. Lots of info and reader forums. Plus restaurant menus.
Sign up early for Disney emails on their official site and look for pin codes and discounts in the emails. Consider signing up with several email addresses to extend your chances of getting those discounts/codes. After we booked and paid for our trip, I got an email from Disney offering 25% savings off the standard rates (we had already paid in full). While the promotion was listed on the official website, I wouldn’t have known to look for it. That new rate saved us $75 on the hotel we initially booked, and $125 off at a sister hotel in the same value category (we switched to the cheaper hotel). There was a $50 change fee. Continue reading “Preparing for Disneyworld – with Kids”
I did a corn maze for the first time last year, and am making it a yearly tradition. The kids are now old enough to last in there for more than 10 minutes. We wandered around for probably two hours (maybe an hour longer than was really fun for the kids). Interestingly, I was dizzy when we got out. So many twists and turns. I let them take turns picking the direction. If it weren’t for the staff positioned at one spot in the maze, we never would have made it out. Even after getting directions out (it was something like – turn right at every turn until after the bridge, then turn left at every turn), it still took us 15 minutes to exit! I look forward to the day when my husband and I go together, and we compete, Survivor style, to see who can make it out first.
Let me share some corn maze tips with you, before giving you a list of New Jersey corn mazes to consider!
CORN MAZE TIPS WITH KIDS
–Before you go in, use the bathroom. This cannot be stated enough.
–Bring food and water. Your kids will need some nourishment during their breaks. Bring your own, or buy something on site. Most farms sell food too.
– it takes 36 apples to make a gallon of cider
– it takes 8-10 years for an apple tree to begin producing fruit
– the science of apple growing is called pomology
– a bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds
Thank you Hillview Farms for the apple facts.
If you’re looking for some New Jersey history, and a chance to see what things were like in the 1700-1800s, head over to the Miller-Cory House in Westfield, NJ. (And read on to see what to do in downtown Westfield when you’re done).
The house was built in 1740 – on 100 acres of land. You wouldn’t believe it now, since it’s in the middle of a residential neighborhood where most lots probably don’t exceed .3 acres on average. Inside you’ll find the house with typical period furniture, and kids can see what a kitchen with no electric dishwasher looks like! Pots and pans hang from the walls, the floor is uneven and the walls wood-paneled.
The house is open on Sundays in fall through spring, or for prearranged group programs on weekdays. It’s staffed by volunteers – including a lot of elementary school teachers. They dress up and lead kids in crafts, read stories and talk with kids about the theme of the week. There’s also open-hearth cooking demonstrations in the building next door. Continue reading “Miller-Cory House Museum – and kid-friendly downtown Westfield”
And know that the East Coast Spa Week is coming up October 11-17 – get a massage, facial or other body treatment for just $50. In Manhattan alone, 102 spas are participating, offering massages, facials and more. Included are Red Door Spas, Perricone MD Flagship Facial Salon, Clarins Skin Spa, Jurlique, the Spa at Trump, and more.
KGB Deals is offering several great packages right now – look for the deals listed on the right side of the web page.
–$12 entrance to Turkish and Russian Baths ($30 value), plus 20% off all services while you’re there (including the platza oak leaf scrub, Dead Sea Salt scrub, Dead Sea mud rub, and Swedish or Russian massages). Get the deal here.
–$29 for a spa manicure and pedicure plus hand or foot reflexology at Tribeca Spa of Tranquility ($70 value). Get the deal here.
I’d heard good things about the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ, but kept hesitating to go because my daughter Dori isn’t a big zoo fan. We finally decided to take the plunge – and even Dori had a fabulous time. It was a manageable size, and the exhibits were really well done.
This New Jersey park claims to be the largest drive-through safari outside Africa. It’s 350 acres, and it does take awhile to drive through. You’ll see something different each time you go through, but at least early in the day, it’s cooler for the animals and you may see more of the 1,100 that live there.
Admittedly it was a bit odd in the beginning and end, because you can see Great Adventure rides in the background. It’s hard to picture these animals in the wild, with the Kingda Ka coaster doing its thing. But once you journey a little further inside, you forget about the amusement park (you can’t see it anymore) and just focus on the animals.
When my 9 year old daughter and I planned a girls’ day in New York City, we wanted to see a show. We’ve already seen Mary Poppins (we loved it), and do want to see Lion King and Wicked (still too expensive). I looked off-Broadway and found ImaginOcean, which just celebrated its 100th show.
ImaginOcean is created by John Tartaglia, best known as the creator (and Tony nominee) of Rod and Princeton in Avenue Q. I love, love, love that show (and the music), but it is NOT appropriate for kids. Like Avenue Q, ImaginOcean also uses puppets and is a musical (though you can’t actually see the puppeteers during the show). ImaginOcean started as a cruise ship show, and was expanded to the current off-Broadway production.
The show revolves around three fish friends, Tank, Dorsal and Bubbles (with an octopus, seahorse, and jellyfish thrown in as well). With the help of a treasure map, they’re trying to work together to find a treasure (spoiler: they’re rubber bracelets that you can buy in the gift shop after the show) and realize the value of friendship. Dorsal is a neurotic, fearful and annoying fish who is probably channeling children’s fear of failure and the unknown. The plot was a bit boring for adults, but the kids loved the whole thing.