Help Planning Your Next Disney Vacation

Help Planning Your Next Disney Vacation

When I was a little girl, my dream job was becoming a travel agent (or librarian, but that’s another blog post …). I would research and plan vacations for my family and future me. For fun. We even went on some of them. Fast forward many years and I decided this was the year to actually fulfill that dream. Since traveling to Disney is one of my sweet spots, I decided to become a Magical Vacation Planner. It made perfect sense to start with an area I know really well and let’s face it, I was already planning trips, so why not make it official? Now I get to help other families plan their perfect Disney vacation! It is so much fun. And since we’ve been to Disney so many times I have TONS of insider tips and secrets to share. Insider Tip: I know all the best restaurants, easiest ways to get around the parks and some fun things to do aside from the typical rides. So how can I help YOU plan the perfect Disney trip? If you are thinking about Disney, head over to my Magical Vacation Planner website (click HERE) and let me know – I’ll work with you one-on-one to help you make it fantastic. There is NO additional cost to you, and you get the benefit of someone who knows Disney well. It’s a win-win for both of us! I get the fun of planning more trips and you get the benefit of having an expert make your trip planning easier and efficient. Insider Tip: Other trips I can help you with include...
Marengo Cave – Indiana’s Most Visited Natural Attraction

Marengo Cave – Indiana’s Most Visited Natural Attraction

Visiting Marengo Cave is a perfect way to spend a cold Indiana day. Not only is it Indiana’s most visited natural attraction, but it’s also a U.S. National Natural Landmark. Located in Crawford County in Southern Indiana, it’s a bit of a drive from Indianapolis, but definitely worth the time, even just for a day. As the latest installment of my Explore Indiana project, it was a fun and unique experience! One of my favorite parts of visiting caves is that they are weather resistant. The cave stays at 52 degrees year-round. A hot summer day? Why not visit a cave? Too cold to be outside in the winter? A caving trip is a fun activity. The day I visited, it was pouring down rain. Although that did limit my photography options, it didn’t limit my fun in checking out the underground cave system. We started the day with a dash to the gift shop and to get acclimated to the location. The gift shop is extensive with plenty of options guaranteed to get your kids asking for souvenirs. There is also a small concession area next to it with tables and machines for sodas and snacks. We packed a lunch so food wasn’t an issue. After this short detour, it was on to the main event. There are two standard cave tours: Crystal Palace and the Dripstone Trail. You can do one or both. The Crystal Palace tour is about 40 minutes and the Dripstone Trail is an hour so it would be very possible to enjoy both in an afternoon. Insider Tip: The combined cave tour ticket...
The BEST Gifts for Every Traveler on Your List

The BEST Gifts for Every Traveler on Your List

It’s that time of the year. The time when we start racking our brains to figure out what in the heck we should get for all our loved ones. I thought I’d start early this year and scout out the BEST gift ideas for every traveler (and non-traveler) on your list. For the Gals: Travel Yoga Mat – I’ve mentioned this one several times but it’s just that awesome! This is such a great thing to take on vacations even if you aren’t a big-time yogi. I use mine for morning Pilates and just general stretching. It’s lightweight, pretty and cleans easily. A membership to The Sisterhood. This pilates program is the one I enjoy every morning. I use the ap on my phone and each morning I get a new workout (10 to 30 minutes). It’s perfect for at home or when I’m traveling. I really can’t recommend it enough if you are looking for a low impact daily workout that can be done from anywhere. Even if I just head out for a quick overnight, I ALWAYS pack my travel diffuser and a few oils. Diffusing lavender or thieves in my room makes such a difference in how well I rest. I get rid of that stuffy smell and feel and it’s just such a simple way to improve my stay. As a bonus, these small diffusers are super affordable. A lovely gift would be one of these along with a bottle of essential oils. Speaking of heading out overnight, the Vera Bradley Grand Weekender is the bag I always use. It’s perfect for a quick weekend...
A Perfect Non-Park Day at Disney

A Perfect Non-Park Day at Disney

Although I’m a huge fan of the Disney Parks, sometimes I want (or need) a non-park day. Ready to learn how to enjoy the PERFECT non-park day? Then read on … It’s a non-park day, so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn (unless of course, you want to). When I’m traveling with the family, I do like to get up about an hour before them (usually about 7:00) so that I can slowly get ready, do a short pilates routine (using my all-time favorite program – The Sisterhood and my travel yoga mat), and then have some time to enjoy a cup of coffee and a book on the balcony. Heaven. After such a leisurely start, I’ll put breakfast together for the family while they get ready. Since we’ll be eating out much of the day, it saves money to eat breakfast in the room – and we are all fine with not hitting a restaurant in the morning. If we just have a studio, breakfast will be something simple like fresh fruit and peanut butter toast, bagels or some type of breakfast bar. If we are staying in a one-bedroom, I might do eggs and hashbrowns – depends upon our mood. Insider Tip: Don’t have a car? You can easily get groceries delivered to your hotel using Shipt. We used it on our recent trip and within an hour and a half of ordering had everything we needed delivered right to the front door. And, if you won’t be in the room, the groceries can be left with the bell desk. All orders...
More than Food at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

More than Food at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

Although we LOVE trying all the different foods when we visit Epcot, I also love that there is so much more than food at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. After making your way around the World Showcase and checking out the various food booths, be sure to take some time to do some of the other fun festival activities. Enjoy live music. The concerts at Epcot are so much fun! They are located at the American Pavilion. Every few nights there is a different artist and they put on three nightly shows – each one lasting about 30 minutes. Seating is limited, but even if you don’t get a seat, you can still enjoy the music by standing along the sides or just outside the amphitheater. We’ve seen Rick Springfield, 38 Special and many other great shows. Grab a margarita at nearby Italy or Mexico and enjoy some live music! Insider Tip: If you want to be sure to have a seat, you can book an Eat to the Beat Dining Package. You can book a meal at one of 14 restaurants in Epcot and you’ll have a guaranteed seat on the same day. It is a little pricey but includes a full meal, so if you want to eat at one of the selected restaurants anyway might be a perfect solution. Details can be found HERE. Play with your food. A fun and affordable event occurs in the Land Pavilion every day at 3:30 and 5:30. For only $10 per person, you can learn to make candy sushi. Kids especially love this one – it holds their...
A Perfect Day in Spencer

A Perfect Day in Spencer

What a perfect day in Spencer, IN. Last week we spent a day exploring another county for my Explore Indiana project. This time, we headed southwest of Indianapolis to Owen County. Half the day was spent at McCormack’s Creek State Park and the other half in Spencer, IN. It was an ideal mix of invigorating and enjoyable things to do. The day was a lovely, crisp, clear fall day. Our 90-degree heat-wave had finally broken and we were treated to a perfect 65 and sunny day. As we headed south, the flat land and cornfields gave way to the rolling hills and treelines of southern Indiana. So beautiful! Indiana’s First State Park The first stop was McCormick’s Creek State Park. McCormick’s Creek is considered Indiana’s first state park. The land was dedicated as such on July 4th, 1916. The park is full of wonderful hikes, interesting landscapes, recreation, and a historic Inn. The Canyon Inn is a lovely historic building built on and around an 1880’s sanitarium that was marketed as a place for the wealthy to relax and rejuvenate. Sanitariums and mineral springs were all the rage during that time period. Canyon Inn has expanded and remodeled multiple times since then, but the inn is still located on the original sanitarium foundations. The inn has a rustic charm and houses a small gift shop, restaurant, several conference rooms and a comfortable lobby/ lounge area with a fireplace. We were able to check out one of the rooms, and although older, they appeared to be comfortable and clean. With such a gorgeous setting, I think this would be a...

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