Walt Disney World Makes Me Happy! @WaltDisneyWorld

Epcot photo disclaimer_zpsaa1cb05b.jpg

Over the past week my family and I stayed on site at Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. As a part of this we decided to be able to take the kids to the parks over three of our days. While this was not enough time to be able to see everything, we focused out attention on The Magic Kingdom and Epcot in this trip.

 Wilderness-Lodge-Resort

My family has been HUGE Disney fans forever. I grew up on Disney and have continued this love with my own girls as they have grown up. We have been a bit lucky to be able to bring the kids to the parks a few times in their lives thanks to another family member who is a part of Disney’s vacation club.

 Wilderness-Lodge-Resort

Staying on-site definitely has its’ perks. If you are staying at one of the Disney resorts, not only is their transportation from the resort to all of the parks and Downtown Disney, but you also have access to the parks early on days where they have Magic Hours (where they open an hour early). One thing we learned this go around about these hours though for the Magic Kingdom was that the whole park does not open early, it was only Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

 Meeting-The-Princesses

The resort that we stayed at was wonderful. As you will find in all of Disney the culture is that of total customer service and this transcends into the parks, resorts and everywhere you go. The Wilderness Lodge is set up like an old Lodge that you would find out west. As you walk into the lodge you will be taken aback with the huge open air lobby that rises at least 8-10 stories (I did not go all the way up). Beautiful totems are throughout the lobby and as part of your stay you can actually take a tour where they will explain why certain animals are where they are on the totems as well as other aspects of the resort itself. The resort has two pools, an exercise facility and arcade and even child care is available too if you want to have some time alone without the kids (for a fee). You also have the opportunity to dine at one of their two restaurants. We ate at the Whispering Canyon Cafe while we were there and the food was excellent and even better was the atmosphere. In this restaurant the wait staff really interact with you, banter back and forth and make the experience memorable. My kids will never forget having to yell out to the whole restaurant “I need ketchup!” or galloping around the restaurant on wooden ponies. This restaurant is definitely one that you should experience if you have yet to do so.

 

Magic-Kingdom

As I mentioned we took time to go to Magic Kingdom and Epcot on this trip. This was the first time taking the kids to Epcot as we had waited until the kids were old enough to appreciate some of the learning that takes place at Epcot, as this is a park that is not just about the rides. The girls also wanted to go here because this was where Elsa and Anna were. So we got up early and ran from the entrance to Norway to be able to see these new princesses. Even though we ran, it still was a 2.5 hour wait (which we did wait) and the princesses took a bit of extra time making the wait worth it. I will warn you though and say that there were people after we got in line that waited for over 4 hours, so be aware of this. I heard while at Epcot that at the end of this month they were going to be at the Magic Kingdom and you will be able to access them with a fastpass.

 Magic-Kingdom

We did not spend much time in the World Showcase, though we did walk through them all, and being that the International Flower and Garden show was happening while we were there the topiaries were amazing! The kids also thought that the different worlds were cool, though as mentioned, I think they need a few more years to appreciate the films that are in the worlds that explore the culture and customs of each of the worlds. The kids did like the different rides that were available. Some of their favorite were Test Track, Soarin and Spaceship Earth. I will warn those with younger kids that Mission Space can cause a bit of motion sickness if you or your kids are prone to this at all. One of the things that is definitely memorable was the Fireworks show that they have every night, they do this over the water and it is definitely worth staying for.

 Epcot3

At Magic Kingdom, we decided to spread this out over two days and I am so glad that we did. We found that there were a lot of people in the parks and the lines did get long on some of the rides, so it was nice to be able to spread out the park and not feel like we did not have to rush through things and we could actually see every show and ride every ride if we so chose. We were a bit disappointed that the new Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Mine Ride was not yet open, as it looks like a ton of fun. You can actually see a video of them testing the ride here . This park was such a great one for families and for kids specifically. The rides are fun, and some even thrilling. There is a bit of everything for everyone, and you definitely get to see so many of your favorite characters at this park.

One of the things that I definitely encourage you to do if you go to the Magic Kingdom is to make sure you see the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade which happens every afternoon, and you stay for the electric light parade and the Wishes Fireworks show at night. While I know this can make for a long day, it is something that you and your family will never forget.

 Epcot1

Eating while in the parks is easy and convenient. The staff in the parks have food service down to a science and while you may wait in a bit of a line, you will get your food pretty quick and it tastes great. One of the things that I love about the food at Disney in general is the wide array of variety. They rank their restaurants by dollar signs. They have restaurants that rank from one to four dollar signs based on how expensive the restaurants are. Thus, whether you want something quick or a sit down meal you can definitely get it. The one thing you need to keep in mind though is planning things out. If you want to have a character breakfast or a nice meal out as a family or as a couple, you need to plan this or you may not get to go to the restaurant that you want to go to when you want to go there. J-Mom and I decided to use a park hopper ticket which was provided by Walt Disney World, to do and experience a restaurant at Hollywood Studios on the second day that we visited the Magic Kingdom. By sitting things up on MyDisneyExperience.com we were able to select the day, time and look at the possible restaurants that were available. We chose to try Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. The atmosphere in the restaurant was wonderful, and while it was a bit loud (which we did not mind), the food we received was wonderful, and we left happy with the experience. So whether you like Italian, Chinese, Polynesian, American, Irish, Japanese, Norwegian, or almost any other type of food under the sun Disney provides it to you. On top of this they use high quality ingredients and have high quality chefs on hand to create food that you will remember.

 Magic-Kingdom

I mentioned park hopper tickets, and probably should explain for those that have never been to Walt Disney World. Park hopper tickets allow you to visit multiple parks in one day. This allows you to not be bound to only visiting one park, but instead allows you to split your day the way you wish. These tickets are more expensive than single park tickets, but if you want to be able to have the flexibility of moving around the parks during the days, they are well worth it.

 Cinderella_Castle

The final thing I will comment on this go around, is the new way in which Disney is now providing fast passes for their rides. If you have been to the parks in the past you know that you can typically get fast passes for rides to avoid lines, but you could only get one at a time. Now, Disney is allowing you to set up three fast passes a day for the first park that you visit. So again, if you have purchased your tickets in advance you can also set up your week at Disney all in the same MyDisneyExperience.com and when you have selected your parks, you can set up fast passes for some of the most popular rides. The rides at the two parks that I would definitely recommend for fast passes include: Epcot -  Test Track & Soarin (one tip – if you can ride solo on the test track ride, you can save yourself a ton of time in line). Magic Kingdom – Peter Pan’s Ride, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. These are just my picks, but they were also the rides that consistently had the longest wait times at the parks too.

 

Walt Disney World is a magical place and a place where you definitely can feel at home. The Walt Disney Company has done it right and continually makes you feel like the most important guest when you are visiting. I started a fan and remain one. If you have never experienced this, you should!

 

 

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Seaworld ( @seaworld ) Provides Entertainment & Education

We had been spending the past week in the Orlando area for vacation, playing, swimming and just having fun. On our last day in Florida, we were lucky enough, thanks to our friends at Seaworld. To have the chance to explore and see what it had to offer our family.

It had been many years since the last time I had been to Seaworld, and the first time for my girls and for me it had changed a ton since my last visit.Seaworld-Orlando

One of the things that had not changed was the great mix of education and entertainment that the park offers to their guests. My family love seeing animals, and in this park you get to see and experience so many different types of aquatic life. There were also some great opportunities that were tuck out of the main walking path that allowed us to get really up close and personal with a Kookaburra and Caribbean Flamingos too (the Flamingos were so close we could have pet them, though the handlers warned that they would bite – so we kept a bit of distance). There were also a few other exhibits that allowed you to experience the animals up close through interactive experiences. The Antarctica and Wild Artic exhibits were like this and the kids loved seeing some of their favorite animals having fun in their habitats.

Seaworld-Orlando

One of the things that had changed were the thrill rides that had been added. The Kraken and Manta were both very different roller-coasters, but both completely thrilling. Be aware though that on the Manta, there is the chance that you could get wet! The Manta provided a new kind of riding experience where you are suspended underneath the ride in almost a flying (superman) position. The Kraken takes you on more twists and turns that you would first guess, which makes it even more fun. Journey to Atlantis is a mix of a roller coaster and water ride and a lot of fun. We did get wet, but it was not too bad and the Florida sun dried us quickly. One thing that we learned quickly is that if you want to get on the rides quickly, time your visits to them during the Shamu Show, because when you do, you can usually get right onto the rides (at least that was our experience).

The aquatic shows that the park provides combine drama and beauty to truly spotlight the beautiful animals that they have on display. While I know that there is controversy on using animals for these types of shows, you can tell that the trainers and animals have very special bonds and that the trainers take the safety and care of the animals as forefront in what they do. The shows were exciting and at times funny. Whoever designed these shows knew what they were doing and the lighting, sound, as well as action was so well choreographed, and everything worked like clockwork.

Seaworld-Orlando

Also, in regards to rides for kids they have a whole section of the park (Shamu’s Happy Harbor) with a kid based theme, with smaller rides, a HUGE climbing net area, carnival barkers and more. This was a great area for my two kids to play together as my youngest was not tall enough to ride the roller-coasters.

We also decided to have lunch at the park and the park offers many different options for guests. While we did not use this, there was an all-you-can-eat option that provided you all-food access to certain restaurants across the park. We ended up just ordering off the menu and the prices were comparable to  other large amusement parks that we had visited in the past.

Seaworld also provides, for those who wish to pay a bit more, more customized up close experiences for people and some of the animals. So for example, you can feed dolphins, dine with Shamu, or other such experiences. Depending on the length and depth of the experiences, the cost differs.

Seaworld-Orlando

As a guest at the park, there were plenty of places where people would take your picture for you to purchase if you like, and plenty of places where you can get souvenirs too. So whether you want a Manta Ray Hat or a Shamu doll, you can get it all while at the park.

All-in-all, my whole family was impressed with the experience and we learned a lot about the animals that we were able to interact with.  The park had a bit of everything to educate and entertain and we all had a day full of fun!

 

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Sweet, A Great Way To Get Your Wings Fix Thanks to @Pizzahut

WingStreet

WingStreet, Pizza Hut’s chicken wing concept is celebrating March Madness and giving all Basketball fans a great way to satisfy their hunger while watching some great basketball.
WingStreet wings are kitchen-fried for great flavor and best of all, you can get them delivered just like your favorite Pizza Hut pizzas. There are eight great flavors: Buffalo Mild, Buffalo Medium, Buffalo Burnin’ Hot, Spicy Asian, Spicy BBQ, Honey BBQ, Lemon Pepper and Garlic Parmesan and you can also choose from several varieties including Crispy Bone-Out, Traditional Bone-In or Crispy Bone-In.

WingStreet
Sportscaster and radio host Scott Van Pelt stars in a brand’s new ad campaign that features wing experts in many forms, all searching for kitchen-fried, impeccably-sauced wings. In addition to starring in commercials, Van Pelt is helping Pizza Hut and WingStreet rally support of the brand’s “winged” team challenge during the men’s tournament. If a “winged” team takes home the title on April 7 – that’s any team with a nickname or mascot with wings – America can come to participating locations to carry out a free sample four count of WingStreet wings on April 10 between 1-4 p.m. local time (while supplies last; offer details found at www.pizzahut.com/wingedmascotgiveaway.html).

 

With the challenge in place, wing aficionados and basketball fans could be in luck, as the first ever tournament title winner in 1939 boasted a wing mascot, as did last year’s champion. This year there are 12 “winged” teams in the field, including several title contenders.

WingStreet

Throughout the tournament, Pizza Hut is also making daily free deliveries of WingStreet wings to select fans who tweet @PizzaHut using the hashtag #WingsDelivered.  Details about the sweepstakes will be announced soon. 

 

*WingStreet has won several awards, including:  NY National Buffalo Wing Festival: 2nd Place Best Traditional BBQ Wing Sauce (2013), Best Medium Traditional Wing Sauce (2006, 2008, 2009), Best Hot Traditional Wing Sauce (2007); Atlanta Wing Festival: Best Medium Sauce and Best BBQ Sauce (2007); Denver Post: Best Take-Out Wings with Medium Sauce (2007); Nation’s Restaurant News “Hot Concepts! Award” Honoree (2007).

WingStreet

My Take on the Wings

Pizza and wings, what could be better? I have always been a fan of getting wings and pizza at specific restaurants tailored to them but have never really found a restaurant that has made both and made them both well. However, I found that WingStreet and Pizza Hut coming together bring together both of these and they do it in a great way.

I was lucky enough to try out some of the different wings that WingStreet provides. I tried out the Buffalo Medium, Spicy BBQ, Honey BBQ, and Garlic Parmesan. All of them were very good, though of the four my favorites were the Honey BBQ and Buffalo Medium. I think that next time I would choose the Spicy Asian and the Buffalo Hot. The wings that I tried were a mix of Bone-in and boneless and both were great! The taste was bold and the taste was memorable, what more could you ask for.

 

WingStreet

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Quiznos ( @Quiznos ) Now Offers Toasty Pastas!

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Quiznos Now Offers Toasty Pastas!

All parents are familiar with the dinnertime struggle. Deciding what to eat (and what not to) is one of the first acts of independence a child makes because it’s an area where they hold actual control. But, the dinner table doesn’t have to be a battleground! quiznos-toasty-pasta Quiznos, the brand you know for its Toasty subs and delicious soups and salads, is launching a line of new premium Toasty Pastas for people of all ages. Quiznos has brought four brand new pasta dishes for everyone that include:

  1. Mac & Cheese – The new pasta lineup is highlighted by three flavors of Mac & Cheese, including Classic Mac & Cheese, Bacon Mac & Cheese and Lobster Mac & Cheese, featuring Cavatappi pasta with Romano Parmesan, Provolone and Fontina cheeses, all topped with Quiznos hand-made breadcrumbs.
  2. Spicy Sausage Marinara – The Spicy Sausage Marinara features Illinois-based Fontanini Italian Meats spicy all-pork Italian sausage and all-natural mozzarella, topped off with lightened up basil marinara sauce all served over Cavatappi Pasta.
  3. Meatballs Marinara –Featuring Fontanini’s old-fashioned beef and pork-blended meatballs, which are filled with freshly grated Romano and Ricotta cheese and a perfect blend of Italian seasonings. Layered with a double portion of all-natural mozzarella, paired with a new and improved marinara sauce and all served over Cavatappi pasta.
  4. Chicken Pesto – The Chicken Pesto Pasta features sliced all-white chicken breast, paired with diced balsamic tomatoes, an Italian three-cheese blend topped with Quiznos original Basil Pesto sauce all served over Cavatappi pasta.

quiznos-toasty-pasta My Take on the Pasta As an Italian I grew up on pasta dishes so I was excited to try these new toasty pasta dishes. I decided to try the Chicken Pesto as my first try on these dishes. Just like the other subs I have tried in the past, I was impressed with how freshly made all of the items are and how they take their time to toast the items too. For this order I also tried ordering online (as I had never done this before). The online ordering process was easy, though I did find that not all locations would take the orders online. My order was going to be done about 30 minutes after I ordered so I got in my car and headed over to the location to pick up my pasta. I arrived on time, but my dish was still being made, so I had to wait a short period of time. I made sure I was all taken care of financially and by the time this was done my food was ready! quiznos-toasty-pasta I ended up taking my pasta back to my office, and even though that was about 10 minutes away, by the time I got there my food was still a good temperature and I could easily dig in. The pasta itself was delicious, with just the right amount of pesto and chicken. This makes me wonder what the other dishes are like…alas, another day another lunch. quiznos-toasty-pasta All-in-all I was impressed and sold on this new lunch item. If you like pasta I would recommend this to all as it is the right size for lunch and the right price too – only 6.99 for my dish! Check it out today at your own local Quiznos!

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Grand Rapids Michigan is One Cool City @experiencegr

All opinions expressed in this post about Grand Rapids are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

Being from Michigan I can say that I love my State and for the most of my life have lived within its’ borders. Growing up on the east side of the State I never really spent much time on the West side of the State, but since I have gotten older I have definitely spent more time exploring all of the State. This past weekend my wife and I celebrated our 15th anniversary by exploring my State’s second largest city, Grand Rapids thanks to the great people at Experience Grand Rapids.   I currently live about an hour and a half from Grand Rapids and the drive is an easy one. In exploring the Experience Grand Rapids site before coming to the city I have to say that I was very impressed with the wide array of things to do in this city. Not only are there more restaurants than you can know what to do with, but the city is strewn with museums, artwork and more.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel: This picture shows th...

We stayed at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, an extravagant hotel in downtown, and we were placed on the Pantalind side of the hotel. This is the older side of the hotel which used to be the old Pantalind Hotel which opened originally in the early 1900′s. There is also a much more modern glass tower side of the hotel which is on the river too, but we loved our room with its’ old style charm. The hotel has a ton of restaurants within it including Cygnus (at the top of the glass tower – talk about great views), Ruth Chris Steak House, Benthams Restaurant and more! We loved how centrally located this hotel was to all of downtown!

Picture I took of Downtown Grand Rapids, MI fr...

The first night we were in town we decided to go to dinner at an amazing restaurant called San Chez, which is a Tapas Bistro in downtown Grand Rapids. We ended up meeting some friends from the area there for food that was out of this world and Sangria that was to die for. The great thing about this restaurant is that there is so much on the menu that you can choose from and then share with one another. The restaurant not only provides you with flavor that will bring you back for more but also encourages you to share so much more than food and simply talk and have a great time. 

Grand Rapids, San Chez Bistro Grand Rapids, San Chez Bistro Grand Rapids, San Chez Bistro

 

After dinner we went to a building called The B.O.B (Big Old Building) which has a ton of restaurants/Bars within it, but also has a comedy club called Dr. Grins Comedy Club. I have not been to a comedy club for a long time, but this looked like fun and the headliner Lachlan Patterson sounded good as well! I have to say that for the three acts that we saw, two of the three were great and Lachlan was definitely worth the wait! We had a great time and I would definitely come back again for not only the great comedy, but also the great wait staff as well.

Grand Rapids, The B.O.B Grand Rapids, The B.O.B, Dr. Grins Grand Rapids, The B.O.B, Dr. Grins

 

On Saturday morning I ventured out into the town looking for breakfast. I decided to job around the town and see what I could see, as well as find what was open. I was surprised to see how alive the downtown area was and then found that there was a bike race in town that morning. I felt completely safe in the downtown area and ran across a number of restaurants that were open at the time. I also found some great artwork around the city as well, both installed on property and painted on the side of buildings. This made a lot of sense, especially knowing that this city is the home of ArtPrize, a art competition that I would love to come back to see in the future! I ended up just stopping to get something small from Biggby Coffee so that we could get started for the day.

Grand Rapids, Art

Grand Rapids

Our first stop of the day was the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. This President grew up in Grand Rapids and the Museum was right across the river from where we stayed. This museum was so interesting! This was the President that my wife and I were born into and I have to say that we both learned so much about the short Presidency of this man and what he did to heal a nation after the scandal of the Nixon Presidency. We spent quite a bit of time in this museum and even visited both his and Betty Ford’s grave.

Grand Rapids, Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum

Grand Rapids, Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum SAM_0344

 

From there we went to the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). Again, this museum was only a block away from the hotel and I had heard great things about it. What I loved about the museum was that it had a bit of everything all in one place. My favorite floor was probably the third as it held artwork from Picasso to more Michigan-based artists and art that ranged in age from the 1500′s to present. They even had a few pieces that were recognized from previous ArtPrize competitions including the one below that just blew my mind. You may not be able to tell, but this is not a photograph, but instead was a pencil drawing – it was simply stunning!

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Grand Rapids Art Museum

 

Saturday night we went to Hopcat, one of the restaurant/micro breweries in town. I recently learned about the fact that Grand Rapids was recently named one of the top Beer Cities in the United States (who would have known). In the down Grand Rapids area, Hopcat along with a number of other micro breweries have started up and are providing customers with amazing blends of beer. At Hopcat, they had 64 beers on tap – yes I said 64, talk about crazy! The food at Hopcat was great – you have to try the Crack Fries and the atmosphere was loud and fun!

Grand Rapids, Hopcat Grand Rapids, Hopcat

Grand Rapids, Hopcat

 

Sunday was our short day as we had to check out by 11 and had to pick up our girls as well. We had found a pizza place named Georgios Gourmet Pizza on Friday and decided to come back for brunch seeing that it had a remarkable number of different pizzas (including a Mac ‘n Cheese pizze, a Salad Pizza, Taco Pizza and more). The pizza was definitely worth the wait as it was one of the best tasting pizzas that I have tried in the past. On top of this the crust was just right which not every pizza place can claim. What was even better though was that we found out that there are two other franchise restaurants near where we live outside of Lansing, so guess where we will be going in the near future.

Grand Rapids, Georgio's Gourmet Pizza Grand Rapids, Georgio's Gourmet Pizza

 

We just scratched the surface of this city on this trip, but rest assured we will be back. This is an amazing city with so much to offer everyone (not just adults). If you are looking for a great city that has things for all ages, food to make your mouth water, art that will dazzle and natural beauty that is awe-inspiring, Grand Rapids is the place to visit!

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Michigan’s Adventure (@miadventure) – Two Great Amusement Parks in One #sponsored

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by Michigan’s Adventure.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

Michigan’s Adventure – Two Great Amusement Parks in One 

michigansadventure11

This past Sunday I was able to have the opportunity to take my family to Michigan’s Adventure, an amusement park in Muskegon Michigan. This is a park that is run by Cedar Fair, the same company that runs parks that I grew up with such as Kings Island and Cedar Point. I grew up going to both of the latter parks, especially Cedar Point, so I was excited to be able to share an experience like this with my girls as they have not been to a park like this in the past.

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In attending the day we were a bit concerned at first about the weather as we were told that there was at least a 50-60% chance of rain in the afternoon. When we arrived there was next to noone there (I think the weather may have scared some people off), which ended up being to our benefit which also meant there was next to no lines in the park all day on rides, and there were times on roller coasters when Diva-J and I jumped on the ride all by ourselves (talk about crazy).

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The park is split into two parks, the amusement rides as well as the water rides, and I am pleased to say that we were able to try both, even with sporadic short bursts of rain that interrupted the afternoon.

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We started the day with Amusement Rides, and I was happy to find that there were many rides that Diva-PJ could ride at the offset, even including some roller coasters, which she really wanted to ride. The park guide itself was a great help in letting you know how tall you needed to be to ride the rides. One tip that we learned from another guest was to visit the front of the park where you can reserve lockers to have your child get measured and get a band with their height listed as then they will not need to be measured for the most part for the rest of the day. There were a few times when they were still measured, but all-in-all, this cut back the number of times drastically.

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This park has a number of amusement park rides for every type of thrill seeker. From the mild rides like swan boats to extreme roller coasters like Shivering Timbers, you can choose your poison for the day. Diva-J and I rode all of the roller coasters (5 in all) and some multiple times. The roughest ride for me was Shivering Timbers. While this definitely had the largest drops, you also get shook up on this wooden monstrosity. I ended up leaving with a bit of a headache, but Diva-J was asking for another ride even though it was raining when we got off the ride.

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Above was the mad mouse and this had some harrowing turns but all in great fun! You can see on our faces how much fun we were having here.

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After riding a ton of rides we were getting hungry and while there were a ton of places where we could have eaten, we were given the opportunity to try out the family grill which is almost like a large backyard BBQ with food like, hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, beans, dessert and a drink – and did I mention it was all you can eat. All of this was for about just less than $11/person for 6+ and about $5 for ages 3-6. The food was very good and though the line was long, it was worth the wait and it definitely filled my stomach.

After eating we decided to go over and try out Grand Rapids. We said to ourselves, how wet could we really get on one ride. Let me tell you, this was a naive sentiment and I wish that I had changed into my bathing suit prior to the ride because you definitely get soaked. Only a few minutes into this ride my daughter Diva-PJ and I went under the first of the waterfalls and there was not an inch of us that was not wet. Luckily most of us had bathing suits (all except my father-in-law), and after the ride we paid to get into the family dryer, but for only 3 minutes you really do not get four people that dry. Even though we got soaked we still had fun on the ride. After the fact we hear that my wife and mother-in-law were looking for quarters to try and fire off geysers at us, luckily they did not find any!

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After getting soaked on this ride my daughters and I changed into our bathing suits to try out the water park. I went on a number of the rides, but my favorite had to have been the Funnel of Fear. This was an extra-fun ride that shot you down a HUGE funnel after coming down a very dark tube. Let me tell you, if you are coming out of the tube going backwards, you definitely are in for a surprise and a drop. The worst part of that ride was carrying the tube from bottom to top as the tubes are a bit heavy, but the payoff is VERY worth it. Diva-J went down a number of the other slides and had a blast in these as well, and who wouldn’t love the lazy river or the wave pool. This water park had a bit of everything!

michigan's adventure, dad of divas, dadofdivas.com michigan's adventure, dad of divas, dadofdivas.com

 

My family had a great experience going to Michigan’s Adventure and for us, the combination of two parks in one was perfect. This park had a perfect amount of rides and we found that we were able to ride almost all of the rides during the day, and then we still had enough time to be able to go to the water park side of the park itself. WHile we could have used more time here we still had a ton of time and I know my kids would have spent even more time at this side of the park if we could have had more time, and if we had remembered to bring towels (you do need to remember this!). We are sold on this park and my kids are already asking when we can go back again. While I don’t know the answer to that, I will say that the price is pretty reasonable at only $29 for a one day pass. The price is even better if you get a 2-day pass or if you buy multiple tickets. They even offer a season pass for only $93.00. When you look at the prices of most Amusement Parks this is a steal, and if I lived closer I know that this would definitely be something that I would take advantage of! I highly recommend this park to all families – you and your whole family will have a blast together and you will leave wanting to come back for more!

 

See more pictures from our trip here - https://plus.google.com/photos/100572181234104788072/albums/5888013828881882113?authkey=CPLLvbmt4bqQpwE

 

All images were taken on the Samsung NX300

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Heading for An Adventure Tomorrow – At Michigan’s Adventure (@miadventure)

All opinions expressed in this post about michigan’s adventure are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

Michigan's Adventure, dad of divas, dadofdivas.com

Heading for An Adventure Tomorrow – At Michigan’s Adventure

Tomorrow I am taking my family to Michigan’s Adventure for what I am looking forward to being a fun-filled day of rides and maybe even a water park experience. A lot will depend on weather, but I am looking forward to it altogether. I will definitely share my experience with all of you later this week, but in anticipation of this trip let me share a bit about the park itself!

Michigan's Adventure, dad of divas, dadofdivas.comAbout the Park

Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park & WildWater Adventure Water Park
Two Parks for the Price of One

Michigan's Adventure, dad of divas, dadofdivas.com

Michigan’s Adventure is Michigan’s largest amusement and water park, featuring over 60 rides and attractions including our world-class wooden roller coaster, Shivering Timbers which is over 1 mile long and 125 feet tall. Experience six other great roller coasters, Corkscrew, Thunderhawk, Wolverine Wildcat, Mad Mouse, Zach’s Zoomer and Big Dipper.  WildWater Adventure offers Beach Party, three wave pools, tube slides, body slides, Funnel of Fear and a family play area.  Michigan’s Adventure also offers thrill rides, and kiddie rides. Take a ride on Thunderhawk,Michigan’s first suspended looping roller coaster, RipCord, Grand Rapids, Go-Karts, Dodg’em Cars, Be-Bop Blvd, Timbertown Railway, and HydroBlaster. Food stands, miniature golf, games and gift shops round out a whole summer of fun for all ages.

Michigan's Adventure, dad of divas, dadofdivas.com

Catered events are also available at Michigan’s Adventure.  Bring your employees and enjoy a day of summer fun together.

Michigan's Adventure, dad of divas, dadofdivas.com

Michigan’s Adventure offers fun for the entire family.  One of the best things about Michigan’s Adventure is that both our waterpark and amusement park are included in our every economical price of only $29.00 per person.  Toddlers 2 years of age and younger are free.

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A Day Out With Thomas the Train – Fun for the Whole Family #dowt

A Day Out With Thomas the Train

For mother’s day this year we had a blast today and were able to go out and celebrate the day at Greenfield Village for A Day out with Thomas the Train as well as just having fun at a great place! We have always loved Greenfield Village and J-Mom and I have great memories of growing up at the village and we were excited to share this experience with our girls as well.

On top of this my girls love the music and cartoons of Thomas the Train. We actually decided to keep the fact that Thomas was going to be there until we got there and let me tell you, they were completely ecstatic! Their high pitched screams were ear piercing… I think I am just starting to be able to hear again.

I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you some of the great things about the day and about the event. If you have never heard of the The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, get ready for a step back in time. This HUGE venue is filled with amazing treasures for you and your family to share. I will be focusing my comments on Greenfield Village today, but the Henry Ford Museum also is amazing and you could easily spend two days wandering around this museum, learning and experiencing everything.

At Greenfield Village, Henry Ford brought together a wide array of homes that range in age from ones built in the 1600′s in England to slave quarters to famous locations such as Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory, the home that Henry Ford was born in, the Wright Brothers Store and more. On top of all of this, you have working craftsmen making beautiful items such as hand blown glass, tin smiths, pottery, and more. Even better are the people who work at the village as they are all highly trained, and many are even wearing and working in period outfits and act as if they are from that era as well.

One example of this was the working farm. The Firestone (Yes, like the tires) home is a beautiful home from the 1800′s and at Greenfield Village it is still in working condition and the people working daily at it come straight out of the 1800′s as well. That means from working the land to cooking in the home, men and women are in traditional garb and they work hard to make the farm a working one. I can tell that the people working at this farm and at a number of the other period houses and locations work very hard at their job!

You can also have fun learning, not only seeing how people lived, but also how they played and had fun. At this location there were a number of times where our kids were able to have fun and play games that kids in the 1800′s and early 1900′s played. They loved it, and I had a blast trying to let them know about how people lived when they didn’t have indoor plumbing, electricity or a Nintendo WII!

On top of all of this was the actual event that I was hear to report on, which was a Day out with Thomas! Not only was it fun to be able to see the actual Thomas the Train, but also the park was alive with fun Thomas related games, movies, and even Sir Topham Hat! You are surrounded by the world of Thomas the Train and you can even leave the park with a bag filled with Thomas the Train items as there is a gift shop specifically geared toward the fan.

Riding on Thomas was fun as well. I think that my girls had wished that they could have gone up right to the front and touched Thomas, but we were sitting in the back of the train and because of this when you exited the train you ended up having to go away from where Thomas was (in the front of the train). The train was also on a pretty tight schedule so they were trying to keep people moving along. So my suggestion is that if you really want your child to see Thomas up close, make sure to get there prior to your allotted time and make sure to sit up toward the front. Just know that if you are in a coal fire driven train, there is the possibility that you might get some soot on your clothes (We did and we were sitting toward the back).

All-in-all, this day was a blast, from the temporary Thomas tattoos to the full scale amazing Lionel Train Display on site, they thought of everything for the Thomas lover. On top of this, at this location, you get even more, with the rich history and beauty that surrounds the village itself! I highly recommend spending a Day Out With Thomas yourself and if you are in the Dearborn Michigan area anytime soon, take a day or two to step back in time at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village – you will not forget the experience!

 

If you are a Thomas the Train fan, there are still a ton of dates out there , you really should check them out today – http://www.ticketweb.com/promo/dowt/index.html

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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Amazing Ranch on the Border of Zion National Park and #Win a Trip! #dadchat

lodges-in-zions-national-park

 

 

Want to win a Family Weekend to an awesome resort on the edge of Zion National Park? Enter Here until May 1 for a chance - http://www.usfamilyguide.com/Zion/?blogid=233

 

 

 activity-zion-national-park

Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort at Zion National Park ranks as one of the best active-life family destinations. We have 4,000 acres literally on the border of Zion. You may find that our canyoneering adventures are very unique (LINK) and very exciting for an active family. Please view the condensed information below (with links), and attached photos.

 

- 4,000 acre ranch resort adjacent to Zion National Park (literally against border of park)

- Overview of operation and location - here

- Aerial View of operation - here

 

 

Most activities (on property) of any destination resort in the region - http://www.zionponderosa.com/activities.htm

 

Swimming Pool (Two Level / Gravity Edge / Water slides) / Jacuzzi)

 

Lodging Options (Six Lodging Types)

Camping

Western Wagons

Cowboy Cabins

Cabin Suites

Vacation Homes/Cabins

RV

 

- Zion National Park

- Bryce Canyon National Park (75 minutes)

- Summertime rafting trips (90 minutes)

- Grand Canyon North Rim (105 minutes)

- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (20 minutes)

- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

- Pipe Spring National Monument

- Coral Pink Sand Dunes

- Frontier Movie Town

 

They offer fine diningrelaxation / spa treatments and excellent accommodation options. We welcome your contact and questions.

 

 

 

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club – Luxury in Madison @MsnConcourseHtl

About the HotelWelcome to Madison’s hotel. The Hotel’s staying power is confirmed by their long-standing dedication to being downtown Madison’s premier hotel and they are proud to be one of the nation’s most successful independent hotels. The Hotel offers guests a special Madison experience through their distinctive customer focus and perfect location that cannot be found at a chain hotel.

Hotel Highlights

  • Situated in downtown Madison, Wisconsin near the State Capitol, State Street, University of Wisconsin campus, Overture Center, Monona Terrace Convention Center and Alliant Energy Center and More
  • Conveniently located near American Family Insurance, Alliant Energy Corporation, Kraft Foods-Oscar Mayer, Covance, CUNAMutual Group, TomoTherapy Inc., Epic, Promega, Sub-Zero/Wolf and GE Healthcare
  • 5 miles from Dane County Regional Airport, offering several non-stop flights into Madison
  • Complimentary airport shuttle 7:00 am – 11:00 pm daily and airline boarding pass kiosk
  • 356 guest rooms, including Madison’s exclusive and newly updated Governor’s Club and 27,000 square feet of renovated meeting space
  • Underground parking ($10 per night) Low clearance
  • Complimentary wireless Internet access and wireless printing from your guest room
  • Dayton Street Grille, The Bar and room service
  • Business center
  • Fitness center, indoor pool, whirlpool and sauna
  • Dry cleaning/laundry services and sundries shop

My Take on the Hotel

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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