The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

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One of my bucket lists, and I have many going, is to visit each National Park in the great U.S.A. I have been blessed to have been to many already, so I am well on my way to checking them off.  I am always intimidated by the “big city” on driving in, around, and especially the anxiety around parking.  You’d think that living in Florida I would be used to bumper to bumper traffic and being constantly on my guard when changing lanes or using my GPS, but alas, I was still intimidated here. Thankfully I was there on a Saturday morning, around 9 a.m., and the first parking lot I saw I took!  $10, pre-paid CC only lot, I didn’t care because it was nice and close to the Park and it was also close to the highway to get out- a VERY important detail!rsz_img_0198rsz_img_0199rsz_img_0200

I was there around 9 a.m. so lucky me, I had pretty much the place to myself.  The sun was shining, and the walk TO the Park was pretty neat!  I walked underneath their train system, then up a large hill lined with trees and clean sidewalks.  It was the kind of Park that you see picnics in, joggers running by, and kids holding parents hands.  As you get to the cusp of the hill, like a movie being revealed behind the red velvet curtains, the great Mississippi in all it’s majesty presents herself. It was so beautiful, it almost takes the attention away from the Arch that sits quietly above your head. Riverboat cruises and helicopter tours are provided down on the river, a large paved staircase located next to the one side of the Arch.rsz_img_0203rsz_img_0205rsz_img_0207

Constructed in the early 1960s, and costing $13 million, the land they needed to build the arch would need 40 blocks of the downtown St. Louis area, and demolish it they would along with 290 Businesses.  Ouch! The legs were built seperately, so if they were even off by a HAIR, they would not reconnect at the top correctly! Can you imagine them getting to that point and being like “well crap, it’s a do over!” LOL.  Kind of a cool fact, it is as high as it is wide. 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide! Now, the Tram wasn’t operating, due to Covid at the time, but my Mom had ridden it and said it’s a spectacular view but a terrifying experience- especially if you don’t like heights.  Part elevator and part ferris wheel, it takes you to the top where you can see out of windows, and then back down again. rsz_img_0208rsz_img_0188rsz_img_0213

Personally, I was just happy to touch it. I was so happy standing underneath it, taking pictures, and enjoying the view of the Mississippi. They had food trucks near the Main Entrance of the Park, and then souvenirs being sold out of another truck.  It’s a great location to walk from to enjoy the River or the Downtown area, which I then walked to get to the City Museum. Check out that post HERE.  It was a great experience, everyone had masks on, and you can easily social distance in this spacious area. Enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Lincoln-Douglas Debate…Stepping into History

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I have so enjoyed learning all about Abraham Lincoln this past summer…his life was seriously fascinating. Some of my adventures I have planned out, and some have just happened to me. The Debate area was one of those “Hey I didn’t know this was here” kinds of things, and embarassingly enough, I SHOULD have known that. Pretty sure I was taught it back in second grade, but hey, my mind isn’t what it used to be. Is anyones? rsz_img_0022rsz_img_0024rsz_img_0025

Located in the town of Alton, IL, lies the spot of the infamous and final Lincoln-Douglas Debate, at the Alton City Hall on October 15th, 1858. What did they debate? Douglas wanted slavery, Lincoln did not. Why it was such a big deal was because this little unknown laywer from the country was going up against Stephen Douglas, who had held the Senate seat for over a decade. Douglas would win the Senate seat, but Lincoln would go on to win the Presidency in 1860.  rsz_img_0033

Unfortunately the building that housed the Courthouse burned down, so the spot that remains is marked by the statues of the famous political men. They built a beautiful, brick lined Park with signage, which has a view of the Mississippi River and the town of Alton. I was there on a Friday, August 21, 2020 and there was noone around, so I felt safe to enjoy it during these Covid times. So stop on by and check it out, a great moment of history to stand upon yourself! For more of my Abraham Lincoln Road Trip, click HERE!

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Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Roadside Attraction….The World’s Tallest Man

RoadTripLogoNothing is more exciting than when you figure out what you really love to do and enjoy.  I knew I loved to travel, and I really loved to write, but I had no idea I would love the strange, the spooky, and those fun, kitchy roadside attractions as much as I do! I have been having so much fun this summer finding them, so I truly hope you enjoy all the roadside fun I find!

Born February 22nd, 1918, in Alton, IL, Robert Wadlow would come to be known as the “Worlds Tallest Man” growing to 8 feet and 11.1 inches. His shoe size was a 37AA(He holds the World Record for the biggest feet), and his hands measures at 12.75 inches from the wrist to tip (Another World Record), and he weighed 490 pounds.  Ironically, he was born like every child, at a mere 8 pounds and 7 ounces, but by 6 months old, he was already 30 pounds! At 5 years old, he clocked in at 5 feet and 4 inches tall, then at age 8 he was 6 feet tall and weighing 169 pounds. Just before he turned 13, he was measured at 7 feet and 4 inches tall and became known as the “World’s Tallest Boy Scout,” rsz_img_0155

Robert was a smart boy, and one summer had a lemonade stand with his siblings. Of course people came to see him, so he’d make them pay for the drink before he stood up for a picture! They made over $100!

Then at age 19 he was deemed the “World’s Tallest Man” at the time measuring in at 8 feet and 4 inches. Funny enough, he never played basketball because the Coaches were too worried about his safety.  Side note, he also met Walt Disney at a Convention in Kansas! rsz_img_0157

At 21 he signed with Ringing Brothers AND Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, making dignified appearances in a suit and tie…I can’t help but thinking about him in the movie “The Greatest Showman.”

He died at the young age of 22 in a Michigan hotel room after a parade appearance he had made. A poorly fitted brace created a blister that caused an infection that took his life.  He only lived 22 years, but he did a lot in his short life than most do in their 80 plus. rsz_img_0160

I found his statue, which stands at his height at death, which was 8 feet, 11.1 inches tall, at the SIU Dental School grounds at 2810 College Avenue. There is parking BEHIND the Statue on the College grounds, but College Avenue that runs in front of him has ZERO parking on it and can be very busy, so keep that in mind.  See his statue, his chair, and the plaque that explains who he is.  A great stop, don’t miss the fun photo opp!

Check out more of my Roadside Attractions HERE. Enjoy!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Regal Eagle Smokehouse at Epcot

When you live here, you can get spoiled with having so many choices to dine from every time you enter a Park. One choice was Liberty Inn, located in the American Pavilion area back in the World Showcase at Epcot. It was an airconditioned oasis out of the hot sun, and there aren’t many back in that area to escape too so it was always a welcome sight. Down for refurbishment over the last several months, I had heard rumors of a BBQ Smokehouse replacing the Inn. What I didn’t know was that it would be Muppet themed, ever so slightly, to give a nod to the great eagle himself, Sam Eagle. Hearing this news, I was more excited about the Sam aspect and less about the BBQ, so I headed in yesterday, on it’s 2nd day open to try it out.IMG_1500JPG

Craig and I headed in at around 11:30 and it took about 20 minutes to maneuver “Wallcot” and get back into the World Showcase, and of course its furthest point, America. I was shocked at how packed the place was since WS had barely been open an hour. We grabbed the very last line, briefly looked up, saw BBQ Chicken leg, sounded yummy, told Craig that’s it and then proceeded to camp out for a booth that I got lucky with right away. In our haste, we didn’t look at ALL of the menus. Yes folks, we were reading off the kids menu. They are on large digital screens, but they didn’t change out like they do at Cosmic Rays, so we assumed it was the same across the top- it wasn’t. So Craig wound up ordering me something like a chicken leg, which was the Kansa City Smoked Half-Chicken which came with garlic toast and your choice of side which he chose coleslaw for me. Since he was flustered with the crowds and not reading the menu right, he chose the Power Greens Salad as a fall back, it was served with chilled pull chicken and fresh citrus. (Oranges and grapefruit). I was holding our table, so he told me that the staff were running around pretty lost, but he understood because it was only day 2. They gave us a Smores Brownie for making Craig wait so long for our food which was nice.

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Kansas City Smoked Half-Chicken
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Power Greens Salad with Chilled Chicken
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Smores Brownie

Food? So the chicken I had was smoked and had that nice smokey taste to it, but it definitely needed to be drowned in bbq sauce more because it was a tad on the dry side. For half a chicken, I didn’t feel I was getting much meat off the bone, so for it being as large as a portion as it “appears” to be, it didn’t fill me up. The Garlic toast was good and the coleslaw I would have liked to be a bit more creamier and less peppery. I like KFC coleslaw, so if that tells you anything about my taste buds when it comes to coleslaw.
Craig had the Citrus Salad which had ZERO dressing on it and NONE given with it. He assumed it came on it since it wasn’t offered, and it was dry as a bone. The radish shavings and dry cranberries didn’t add to any type of rich flavor, it was just dry. He thinks it was supposed to come with some type of lime cilantro dressing, but we both witnessed a dry salad. Again, the crowds and Cast Members were frazzled to a point that it wasn’t worth our time to complain to management at that time- they had enough to deal with. The Smores Brownie was very heavy in taste and dry, I am more a fan of the moist brownies.IMG_1492JPG

Cost? The Salad was $11.49 and the Half-Chicken was $13.99. On par with Disney pricing? Yes. Worth the money? No. You can have a better salad with a heck of a lot more chicken on it and lots of good veggies or fruit at your local Wawa here or ChickFila. I know, they aren’t on Disney property, but for us locals, I wouldn’t be going in again for either item. I am curious to hear what everyone else has had and what they thought of it.IMG_1487JPG

Atmosphere? It’s homey and adorable in there in all it’s Americana goodness. Very little “Sam” is represented, so that was disappointing, but they did take out those horrible metal chairs and tables and replaced them with warm and inviting booths and picnic tables. The fountain was removed from the center of the Restaurant, and definitely gives off more of the “Smokehouse” feel and less the Greenhouse vibe it had going on before. It seemed to have a lot more seating now, and the noise level seemed to be the same as before- it was always very loud and echoey in there- still is.  There is seating inside and outside as well, outside surrounding a large BBQ smoker.  They also have a walk up for drinks and food outside if you don’t want to make your way inside the Restaurant.IMG_1484JPGIMG_1503JPGIMG_1502JPGI wouldn’t go out of your way to eat here, it’s a Smokehouse like the rest. But if you are hankering for some BBQ, and you find yourself in Epcot, this will do just fine.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The 2020 Sea World All Day Dining Deal: Part Two…The What and Where Food Reviews

If you haven’t caught Part One: The Sea World 2020 All Day Dining Challenge, please check it out FIRST. If you have, well then let’s talk about this gluttonous venture that was my day yesterday. I would’ve loved to have kept this all one article, but it was just going to be too stinking long so here we are, a FRESH chapter to dig into. SW10

Alrighty, I am just going to go in chronological order of our day, that way you can follow much easier from the transition of the first chapter on this. So we began at “Seafire Grill.” This place is on the far right as you walk into the Park, and it’s located right before you hit the long bridge across the waterfront area. What I used to love about this Restaurant, was that they had a porch on it for outside dining. I would grab my Mexi-bowl of goodness and listen to the seagulls (piped in mind you) and just enjoyed the warm breeze outside. Then they made it a bar. Wah wah. So when we grabbed our very light breakfast offerings (Continental as advertised) we opted for a high table in the courtyard area outside. The inside of this Restaurant has no music, it’s quiet, it’s dark, and clearly used for dinner shows but they open it up for seating during the day. It basically feels like you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be. Hence, we ate outside. Plus, it was 60 degrees and overcast so it was somewhat pleasurable. No heat stroke today Satan! The fruit in the fruit cup was fresh, which was a light way to start our day, and the blueberry muffin we had, had a very wet consistency. Delicious but a bit mushy. I like them more fluffier.SW3

Onto “Mango Joes,” located in the back corner near Antartica. The outside porch of this one is under construction right now since they are making another rollercoaster near it. The inside is just for lining up and ordering, all dining is outside here. We had the impossible burger….and it was, ok. Strange honestly. My brain says “This should be beef” yet my taste buds don’t know what to make of it. I wouldn’t have it again, but I am glad I tried it. The side summer salad was DELICIOUS!!! They had a couple of choices of salads here, but this one had peaches, strawberries, crumbled cheese and red onions- sooo good!! SW2

Waterway Grill” is one of their largest Restaurants- also has an Annual Passholder lounge here. If you have a large group, this is a great place to sit inside and enjoy the ac! They had very limited seating outside, but we found a table that was just outside the “Infinity Falls” ride. We did have some bees….so there’s that for eating outside. Here we had the Churrasco Steak with beans and rice. The Steak was incredibly chewy, so we opted out after the first bite. The rice and beans were really good and we poured the sauce that came with the dish all over that instead of the steak. You can’t go wrong with carrot cake, it was yummy!SW5

Expedition Café” was a walk up area inside to order, and then you pay and eat either outside or in an designated air conditioned hangar they have for it. A very well themed area for the penguins, this was a fun stop to eat and look around. The Asian dish we had of Orange Chicken, Teriyaki, Fried Veggies and Rice were actually really good. The Orange Chicken had a bit more breading than bird, but otherwise I would highly recommend this dish. And of course, chocolate cake was delish…hard to mess up that one! The White Cherry Icee was really good, but oh boy did I get the cold headache from that one, take caution my amigos.SW6

Captain Pete’s Island Hot Dogs” is a hot dog stand right outside the Sting Ray petting zone. A walk up, the tables are all outside, but thankfully under coverage. By this point I couldn’t think about food anymore, so when we got this footlong chili cheese hot dog, I had to find every strength in me to take a few bites, which I did. They are the brand “Nathan’s” – well known for those dogs. I thought it was delicious, and honestly intimidating for the size of thing. Seriously. I don’t know who can eat one of these in a sitting. It came with waffle fries (because Sea World believes in waffle fries for some reason, for everything) and a bag of cookies (which I had today and they were very good- Chocolate Chip!). For $13, you do get a lot for a hot dog, and the fries, but it’s still $13.SW8

I love a good BBQ, so “Voyagers” was exciting for me. The Rib platter had 2-3 ribs, a quarter chicken, a sausage, waffle fries and a dinner roll. The ribs were chewy, and didn’t “fall of the bone” like “MoriMoto.” The Chicken was delicious and the sausage was just ok. The roll actually had some flavor to it, so that was a nice surprise – kind of like Kings Hawaiian. The Cherry Cheesecake was smooth and yummy. We sat outside, limited seating, but inside is another large restaurant with booths and large tables for big groups.

By the time we hit “Spice Mill,” I was pretty sure that if I was the fuzzy pumper from a playdoh set, people would be able to squeeze out food from every pore. We had the Bacon Cheeseburger, which was HUGE, and a side of potato salad. Both were excellent and they offered all the fixings for the burger. They have lots of seating indoors but they have a wrap around porch on the water which makes this location relaxing to enjoy.

Last but not least, we hit “Seafire Grill” again, but this time for dinner. Still quiet and dark, we found a table off to the side to enjoy our last meal of the day. We chose the grilled chicken wrap, which was tasteless, and a side of Chocolate cake (which again was delish). I would recommend ordering something hot here, the wraps were pre-made and who knows how long they were sitting out. It was a mundane way to end the day of dining, but there you go.

I hope you find this helpful and check out the YouTube vlog that accompanies this visit on my “The Relocated Tourist” YouTube channel!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The 2020 Sea World All Day Dining Deal: Part One…The Food Choices

Living the Relocated Tourist life, you discover little ways here and there to make the most out of your money, especially since I am in them 3-4 times a week. Having been a Passholder for a while, I had been curious about this “All Day Dining Deal” that they advertise all over their site and Parks. I am usually in the Parks from open to mid-afternoon, usually because I am trying to beat rush hour on the way home, so it is rare these days to do an open to close in any of the Theme Parks. An “All Day Dining Deal” for myself never seemed worth it because I usually ate breakfast at home or on the way, grabbed my lunch at the Park and then was home well in time for dinner. That being said, I thought it would be a fun blog to challenge myself to the “All Day Dining Deal.” Meaning I would eat on the hour, every hour the Park was open, to see what kind of food options, drinks, and such I could get out of the deal. Here’s the gluttonous tale…. I hope you’re hungry….said no one ever after doing this challenge.

First, I want to start off by thanking my amazing husband, Craig, who willingly agreed to do this challenge with me. Sea World was having a great offer for Passholders for the month of January, where I could bring in a friend for free. I am the Passholder of the family, so these deals are nice for me to bring in a family member on occasion without having to pay for family passes. (A nice perk if you’re thinking of becoming an Annual Passholder). So let’s state the facts first for your reference. It was a Monday, it was in January, their hours were 10-6, and it was a quiet Park. We were pretty sure there were more employees than visitors. January is typically a slow month in the Parks, so keep that in mind. These facts are important when deciding when and if you’d like to do the dining plan. Time of year means more or less people, which means more or less lines, which means more or less time to achieve this challenge in the first place. You have to get in line, then order your food, then pay for food, and then eat your food all in a span of time before the next hour was up to eat again. You’d think this would be an easy task, it wasn’t. Had we had bigger crowds with bigger lines, not only would we not have gotten so much done, but we wouldn’t have wanted to do as much because more people usually causes more stress which leads to me in my car going home as soon as possible.

We got to the Park right away at opening, again 10 am, and immediately bought the dining plan at a kiosk just inside the entrance, right next to the “Sea World” sign photo opp. (These kiosks are located throughout the Park) Since I am a Passholder, I was able to save 15% off. So for any adult, it would be $39.99 with tax, ($19.99 for children) and for me it was $33.99 with tax. They give you a wristband with a UPC Code for them to scan every time you purchase something. It was purchased at 10:09 a.m. which now was basically the green light to start eating. What is in the Dining Deal? The one that I bought gives you ONE entrée, ONE side or dessert, and ONE beverage. You can upgrade to include alcohol for $15 more- that’s ONE drink per hour. Who knew you could get lit at Sea World? Tis true! IMPORTANT NOTE- The ONLY place serving breakfast was “Seafire Inn” which is a couple right turns off the entrance. Again, you want to get the most for your purchase, so we headed there to grab breakfast first. You could get a fruit cup($3.99), choice of bakery item ($3.99), and then a drink($3.99) (fountain drink, bottled water, or milk). The total value of breakfast was roughly $13 let’s say. We recorded our time down at 10:17 a.m. and made sure to keep track of everything we were eating. Check out the next blog post about reviews of the food and the places we ate- I would’ve added it here but it would make this post about 80 pages long, aint no one got time for that! SW11

A note here, you can ask for a receipt for each transaction, but there are no prices listed on said receipt, you will want these for the time stamp on the bottom, so you know when you can get your next meal. When they say you can eat every hour, they mean it, and not a MINUTE sooner. Now drinks? They are more relaxed on those. I was told you can get as many as you want throughout the day, but I was told by another Team Member that they allow 12 beverages per visitor which equals a normal Park day’s hours are usually 12 hours. Since they were only open 8 on the day we went, she still said the system allows 12 each. So keep that in mind if you already used your meal credit for the hour but you’re dying for a bottle of water, go ahead and get it.

Next we hit up “Mango Joes” at 11:17 a.m. which was in the back corner of the Park, next to “Wild Artic.” Now being lunch time, we could get a little more creative with our choices. I wanted to pick different items at each offered location so that I could report a variety of offerings the Park has. We all get sick of chicken nuggets and fries don’t we? Here we chose the Impossible burger (which for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a plant based, vegan option)($14.99), a side summer salad($4.99), waffle fries came included with the entrée, and a Coke Zero($3.99). A total value of $25 let’s say with tax. Now just after TWO meals, we had gotten a value of $38- already $5 over what I paid into it. SW12

At 12:17, we found ourselves at “Waterway Grill” which is a brand new Restaurant back behind the newest ride “Infinity Falls.” A cleaner menu, they offered tofu, steak, and chicken, which was a nice variety to choose from. We chose the Churrasco Steak($15.99), which came with rice and beans, a large piece of carrot cake($3.99), and another Coke Zero($3.99). By the way, all meal plans come with the regular size drink, and not the 2 Liter size. Value around $25 for that meal. SW13

After saying hello to my favorite penguin crew, we dined at “Expedition Cafe” which is just outside their ride and area. We dined at 1:20 p.m. and I was super excited that they served Asian food here. We chose the Teriyaki chicken, Orange Chicken, Fried Veggies and Fried Rice combo ($15.99) with a large piece of Chocolate cake($3.99) and mixed things up a bit with a Lemonade($3.99)this round. A total value of $25 with tax. I even snagged a White Cherry(they had three flavors here) Icee ($4.99) after dinner as part of my “unlimited beverages.”SW14

At 2:20 p.m., we headed to “Captain Pete’s Island Hot Dogs” stand where we picked up a Foot Long Chili Cheese Hot Dog ($12.99), more waffle fries included, a bottle of water ($2.99), and a bag of cookies ($3.99). Total Value was roughly $21. I was excited about the cookies being in a bag, it was the first item we had received that I could take home with me, funny thing is I just remembered they were in my bag and currently eating one as I write.SW16

3:20 p.m. came fast, so we headed to “Voyagers” which is a BBQ Smokehouse. We got the Rib Platter which was 3 Ribs, a quarter Chicken, smoked sausage, waffle fries, and a dinner roll ($18.99). Also was a piece of cherry cheesecake ($3.99) and a Sprite ($3.99). A value roughly of $28.SW17

Since there was a large line at the last one, our time was bumped to 4:30 p.m. for the next gluttonous adventure. We headed to “Spice Mill” where we got the Bacon Cheeseburger with all the fixings ($13.49), a side of Potato Salad ($3.99) and TWO bottles of water ($2.99 each) (because again I could get as many as they’d let me). Total value was $24.SW9

5:30 p.m. came and we could see the end in sight….all I could think about is how much pepto I was going to have to take to counter act the battle that was about to happen in my digestive tract. We ended where we started, “Seafire Inn” where they now were serving dinner. We chose the Grilled Chicken Wrap ($12.99), piece of Chocolate Cake ($3.99) and another Coke Zero ($3.99) to end the day. Total value of this meal, $22 with tax.SW18

So again with estimation of tax, for the $33.99 that I had spent for ONE dining, all day, plan, the TOTAL value you COULD get in one EIGHT hour day is $183!!!! Now, let’s be realistic. Who is going to eat EIGHT meals during a Park day? Between rides and shows, you can barely sit for one, maybe two meals. The point though is that if you do your research, you can find the best value for that plan, and also you can get those beverages any time you like. Bottled water any time is a HUGE commodity in the Florida heat, so that alone with your meals is well worth the dining plan. NOW if you or your family are light eaters, I would say it’s not worth it. Split some meals up and save the cash. I split every single meal with my husband all day long – ONE plan- and we were STILL stuffed to the gills!!

Check out my next post about my review on the food we ate and the places we ate for this Challenge HERE. I hope you found this informative and that it helps YOU out on your next adventure to Sea World, Orlando!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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How We Did Washington D.C.

rsz_img_3226Over the last two road trips I traversed, I was blessed to be able too visit Washington D.C. on each.  I fell in love with the history, the patriotism, and the overall city.  I was truly hooked.  So when Craig and I discussed what we could travel too before our next chapter, we decided on D.C. so that he and Emily could experience it for themselves. Thus the planning began.  And since all I have done since 2011 is move across the County 4 times with my family and no real vacation with them, it was exciting to plan a joint venture together.

D.C. isn’t Disney….obviously…but I hadn’t planned anything like it since my move and Mickey trips. So I decided to make a list of everything I had enjoyed, and everything I hadn’t done yet. Then I had Craig and Emily each make their lists and that was the base of the planning.  I had been fortunate enough to have a dear friend live near DC that I had been driven in and out both trips, so doing it on our own was going to be a challenge.  There is so much information out there, like a Disney vacation, that it did become overwhelming. I didn’t know what areas were safe, or the best play to stay or heck even whether to use LYFT or UBER.  So, here’s the real of it – we winged most of it.

If you want to do things like the Holocaust Museum, the Capital, the White House, and specialty Museums, tickets need to be reserved/purchased well before you head there. We planned around 60 days out, and I mean REAL planning, and we lost out on getting into several places because the tickets were already sold out.  Some places you can check the day of your touring to see if tickets are available, as some are offered the day of.  I am sure this is more of a summer issue, as this is the busiest time. So pick your week, book the tickets, and then work around those times.  Those times are in stone so you can find what is located near those places and tour them each day in blocks, so you aren’t running across town wasting time and energy.

So this is what worked out for us, we had our locked in times for certain things and then just toured around that.  For transportation, we parked at Arlington every day and walked in and took LYFT back to the car.  It was easier doing this because you stay out of the busier traffic from the city in this area, on and off the highway nearby, and the parking was reasonably priced. A LYFT ride back to Arlington from the Mall area usually was around $8-$10- well worth it when it feels like your feet are about to fall off.

We did a week in DC and it was plenty of time. Spending 2-3 hours per Smithsonian, we took our time. The popular Natural and American History ones were over run with school groups, so it was difficult to really enjoy those, whereas the African-American, Art, and others were quieter and you could actually read and enjoy the calmness. The Spy Museum took about 3 hours and was worth EVERY PENNY!  We filled a backpack every day full of snacks and drinks, something you will want to do if you are out and about touring for 6-7 straight days. Bottled water and drinks are available in most gift shops and food trucks, but there are “Dollar Guys” on most corners who are selling bottled water and Gatorade for $1.  We went that route when our drinks were gone, or we tried to save our bottles and refill them at drinking fountains.  Food trucks offer a large variety of foods, and we found they were mostly there on the weekends only. Many offered samples, so ask to try something if you aren’t sure.

I don’t think there really is a “bad way” to do D.C. I think there is so much to see that you truly do need a plan so that you don’t miss anything, but we did so much more than we had hoped.  It is set up in a way that on your way (by foot) you come across something else, and so on.  I HIGHLY recommend walking it (if possible) because you just get to feel the city so much more.  One of my favorite days was walking Constitution Avenue on my own and just enjoying the sights and sounds.  My favorite building by far was the Library of Congress- soooo beautiful- like being in a Castle.  I can’t say anything was really a negative, as much as a disappointment was that the reflection pool was being cleaned so it was empty and the National Cathedral had a commencement so they only gave us certain angles to see it.  Stick to the Avenues to stay in the shade, walking around the bottom of the Washington Monument is awesome the first time, but it is incredibly hot and in zero shade of anything to walk past more than once. Scooters and bikes are left all around the Mall to use to get around as well- we didn’t use them.  LYFT worked 3 out of 4 rides. The last ride she got lost taking us back to Arlington and winding up near the Pentagon, so we are disputing the charges since we were about a mile from Arlington and a ride of about $8 wound up being $22 because SHE got lost.  Seems shady so we shall see what happens with that dispute. One driver actually told us she doesn’t know the city at all…. WHY would you tell your riders this? She was super kind and did wind up getting us where we needed to go, but I was shocked she said it.

I don’t know if we will ever go back, as we have some big things coming up next year, but I am happy we had this family trip together, although we missed our Kyra very much.  I highly recommend a visit!RoadTripLogo

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Distracted Parent at the Parks

rsz_img_e6378Recently on a trip to the Parks, I was waiting in line at Slinky Dog with the family.  As we all know, the culmination of tired guests at the end of a long day, can make those lines seem even longer. I GET IT.  But that being said, I watched as a couple were in deep discussion over a map or kissing, whatever, as their small children of probably 5 years old, played around my family and I behind them… at first it’s cute. You tell yourself that kids will be kids and let them have their fun.  Then they step on you….they don’t mean it so you try to keep your cool and again convince yourselves that these little humans don’t realize they can be jerks.  But as I watched the parents, time and time again over the next 90 minute wait we had, my blood began to boil.  If you say something, you’re the bad guy.  PLUS you get the added bonus of waiting in line with the people you just asked to stop for however long and that’s just as uncomfortable. At one point we had moved forward a good ten feet and their kids were playing on the poles and Mom and Dad didn’t even notice they were a good 4 parties behind them. Nothing. It wasn’t until the kids ran up to join them that they even looked down.

I get it folks, people want to celebrate with their kids in this happy place.  But you know what doesn’t make it happy anymore? When I constantly have to watch your child for you because you are too distracted.  Parenting is rough, many of us have been through it or are still in the trenches. And yes, it does take a Village. Here’s an example of when I was more than happy to help. I have found that the parade environment, at Disney especially, can be a very toxic place. The reason is that EVERYONE feels entitled to see, have the perfect spot, and it doesn’t matter who around them has to deal with it.  I have sat hours beforehand to get a perfect picture or that “just right” experience and I don’t mind standing to let little ones sit or stand in front of me.  When parents ASK ME I have totally ok with it- as long as the kids are going to sit still and I am not having to babysit. But when parents decide to SHOVE their little human in front of me and yell “Its just a child, it’s just a child” I truthfully want to shout back at the parent “It’s my foot, it’s just my foot.” Read into that how you want.  I was sitting on Main Street with the family on a vacation back in the day and a stroller came behind us, parked, and the child’s ice cream dripped down my back.  Nothing like getting my spot early only to have to deal with a sticky backside and parents who didn’t care as I looked back at them with “the look.”  Or holding a place for hours on end just to be made to feel like you’re a bad human because you got there first and did the time and they can’t believe they can’t just walk up and sit in your spot. Oh and on a side not, for Pete’s sake if you need to put your child up on your shoulders to see, stand in the BACK.

What people get wrong about the Parks is that they are for EVERYONE. Not just families, not just the single rider, and certainly not just for the kids- EVERYBODY. So it just takes a little time and respect to watch your kids in line, say sorry when your kid does something to a stranger, and please don’t play it off when they do and think “It’s just my kid being a kid.”  Most people, like myself, will give the benefit of the doubt repeatedly because we don’t want to come off looking like jerks either.  We want your kids and your family to have a GREAT time, just be aware that you’re not the only one enjoying the magic.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00