I have visited Savannah on a regular basis since 2009 and it never gets old. There is so much to do and there are a few things that I still have not gotten around to doing. If you have never been to Savannah, this blog post will serve as your guide.
*See my previous post on where to take some amazing photos.
1). Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House: Mrs. Wilkes is the best place to get Southern Soul Food in Savannah. The restaurant is open Monday – Friday from 11am until 2pm and closed for the month of January. It is best to get in line for the restaurant by 9am and they only accept cash. Visit Mrs. Wilkes to see what is on the menu!
2). Savannah Slow Ride: 15 person bicycle tour that is 100% pedal powered. Choose from 6 tours that include a pub crawl, ghost tour and church crawl. For more information, visit: Savannah Slow Ride
3). Savannah Trolly Tour: Old Town Trolley Tours provides a hop on, hop off service that guides you through all of the historical sites in downtown Savannah. The trolley pass is good for 24 hours and comes with a gps service that lets you know how far away each bus is from every stop. Visit: Old Town Trolley
4). Forsyth Park: The fountain in Forsyth Park is a popular tourist destination. Forsyth Park is the largest park in the historic district of Savannah Georgia. The Park covers 30 acres of land just south of Gaston Street and north of Park Avenue. The east border of Forsyth Park is Drayton Street and on the west is Whitaker. Visit Forsyth Park for more information.
5). Bonaventure Cemetery: Bonaventure is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries. The cemetery has been around since 1846. The cemetery became famous when it was featured in the 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, and in the movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, based on the book. Visit: Bonaventure Cemetery for more information.
6). River Street: River Street is home to a number of pubs, restaurants, bars, shops and nightlife. River Street
I have enjoyed each place on this list, but I still have not done the popular Savannah “ghost tour” or taken a ride on the Georgia Queen down the river. This gives me an excuse to go back!
Savannah, GA 31406 (you will need a car to get there). Wormsloe Plantation is the colonial estate of Noble Jones (1702–1775). Jones was a carpenter who arrived in Georgia in 1733 with James Oglethorpe and the first group of settlers from England. Wormsloe’s tabby ruin is the oldest standing structure in Savannah.
In 2017, there is millions of Americans that still do not have a passport. Starting in January 2018, 9 states will require a passport for travel, according to Travel and Leisure Magazine.
If you are a resident of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington, you will need a passport to fly domestically. If you don’t have a passport, you may travel with a permanent resident card, green card or with a military ID.
“Effective January 22, 2018, air travelers with identification that does not meet the REAL ID Act requirements and whose state does not have an extension must present an alternative form of identification in order to board a domestic flight. Examples of acceptable forms of identification include U.S. military or dependent ID, DHS trusted traveler cards, airline or airport-issued ID, passport book or passport card, or federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID.
We encourage you to check the REAL ID compliance status of your state on the DHS website and review TSA’s list of acceptable forms of identification. You should also check with your state’s licensing agency about how to acquire a REAL ID-compliant identification card.”
To everyone that does not already have a passport, the time is now. Avoid the rush and possible delay in getting yours in before the new year.
What are your thoughts on this new policy?
What to expect when dining with a Disney Princess…
If there is a two year old in your party, expect the worst and hope for the best! The experience is definitely worth it and we all had a great time at the end of the day, but here is a quick planning guide to help make your experience everything that you want it to be and more.
1). Plan your dining experience at least 2-3 months in advance. This will help you to get your first choice of dates and desired dining times.
2). Travel with a small party. Party’s of 4 and under have a better chance of grabbing the best seats and desired times.
3). Set your budget and be prepared to pay for the experience in advance. Payment for your dining experience is due in full when you book your reservation. The cost is $59.99 for adults and $35.99 for kids.
4). Give yourself 1.5 hours to get from the parking lot to Cinderella’s castle. Our reservation was at 9:05 am and we were staying off property. We left our resort at 7:00 am and arrived at the castle at 8:30 am. This gave us time for a little traffic, time to park, make it through the gates, rent a stroller and walk to the castle without being in a rush.
5). Buy an autograph book for all of the Princesses to sign. Breakfast is not just with Cinderella. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel and Princess Jazmine are all at the breakfast. They take their time, visit each table and take photos with each guest. They will also sign your photo/ autograph book.
6). Come hungry. The service is excellent and there is something for everyone on the menu. The kids had Mickey Mouse pancakes, bacon and eggs. We had steak and eggs, shrimp and grits, an assortment of pastries and juice.
7). Take plenty of pictures! The Disney photographers are on hand, but if you are not able to afford the digital downloads, they will allow you to take photo and video with your cell phone.
8).Traveling to Disney World in the low season will also help save on ticket prices. Make sure that you get your tickets to the park in advance and have them in hand. The box office does not open until after 9am but you can get into the park early for your dining reservations.
9). If you plan to dress your princess like a princess, please bring a change of clothes! I was so excited to dress Rian like her favorite princess, Cinderella. The day started off great and the outfit was cute. We got so many compliments! But at about 1:30pm, Rian began to cry, and rub her face, and scream, and cry! There was glitter all over the place and the tulle from the dress was itching her like crazy. To make matters worse, she refused to take the dress off. This led to us sitting on a bench trying to pry the dress off. We finally got it off and left it behind. We were able to get a shirt on and that was it. That pineapple dole whip saved our day after the meltdown!
We hope that your time at the park is as eventful and magical as our was!
Beating the Disney Fast Pass System…
Disney World Has a Fast Pass System in place for guests that purchase their park passes weeks in advance. Many amusement parks have fast pass packages available, that will help riders to get through the lines with little to no wait. I knew that Disney World had fast passes, but I didn’t know that they were free!
The key to getting a fast pass is to order your tickets to the park, a few weeks ahead of time. Download the Disney World App to your smart phone and purchase your park passes from there. After you complete your purchase, you will have the option to sign up for a fast pass. When you buy your tickets, have them mailed to you so that the fast pass logo shows up on your card. This will make it easier to get through the fast pass line when you get to the park.
You can sign each ticket holder up for 3 fast passes for the day. Get your fast passes for the most popular rides such as space mountain. We got fast passes for the tea cups, the dumbo ride and Aladdin’s magic carpet.
Here is where beating the fast pass system comes in. Your Disney World app shows you the wait times for each ride. Check to see what the wait time is for your fast pass ride, 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time. If your ride has less than a 20 minute wait, cancel the fast passes for everyone in your party, get in line and find another ride to use your fast pass on while you wait. We did this with our fast passes for the teacups and only waited 5 minutes to get on. While we waited, I scored 3 fast passes for “It’s a small world”.
Here is another trick that people don’t know about. Once you scan in to a ride using your fast pass, quickly go to your app and cancel the pass. At this point, you have made it in the fast lane and have freed up space before the system has time to know it. We did this once we got in the line for “It’s a small world” and got 2 fast passes for the “Cars” ride. The system caught my pass, but not my husband and son’s.
We did this the whole day, along with jumping on rides with short wait times and we didn’t stand in any line longer than 15 minutes. This method worked for us on a Saturday at the park during peak season in the middle of June.
1). This works best if you stay on one side of the park. We kept the rides that we got on, confined to Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and the edge of Tomorrowland. We also had a fast pass in Town Square to see Mickey. This was not a bad walk.
2). Once your fast pass starts, you have the whole hour to use it. If there is a short ride line that is available near your fast pass ride, get on that one first, then head to your fast pass line appointment.
So, here is how we made out. The system gives you 3 fast passes. We ended up with fast passes for: It’s a small world, cars, Princess Tiana, Rapunzel, Mickey’s Town Hall, Aladdin’s magic carpet ride and the Barnstormer. We also rode the tea cups, dumbo, met Minnie Mouse, Daisy, Donald Duck and Goofy without the pass.
One more tip, Daisy and Minnie Mouse have separate lines and wait time from Goofy and Donald. Hop in the shortest line with the kids while another adult in your party stands in the longer line. When you get done in the short line, join your other party in the long line to reduce your wait time. We did this and we were able to see all 4 characters and take pictures within 30 minutes.
I hope this helps you in planning your trip!
Where is the whip?! Here is where to find the Dole Pineapple Whip inside of Disney World and outside of the park. I have been going to Disney World in Orlando since I was a kid, and the one thing that I always have to get is the Dole Pineapple Whip!
If you don’t visit the park frequently, finding it can be a headache. There is only one place in the park that serves it, and that is Aloha Isle in Adventureland. The path to Adventureland and Aloha Isle can be found stage left if you are standing right in front of and facing Cinderella’s castle.
A pineapple dole whip cup goes for $4.49 and you can get a float for $5.49.
Not heading to Disney anytime soon? Well here is a list of places where you can get your fix!
Pineapples – San Fransisco
Whipped – Orange County
Dole Plantation – Wahiawa, Hawaii
You also can’t leave the park without having some ice cream ears. You can pick these up in every area of the park.
Sometimes you just need to getaway and spend some quality time with your mate in a warm beautiful place. Marco Island, Florida is perfect! Marco Island is located in the Gulf of Mexico near Naples, Florida. It gives you the feeling of being in another country and is just over an hour plane ride away.
While in Marco Island, I would recommend staying at the J.W. Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. The hotel is currently undergoing a $320 Million dollar renovation project, and you can reap some of the benefits now. There are 10 restaurants on the property, a full spa, two golf courses, a fitness center, excursions available and shopping within the resort. There is also a live Fire Dancer show, which begins at sunset nightly at Quinn’s on the beach.
The closest airport for us to fly into from Atlanta was Fort Myers, Florida. The drive from the airport to Marco Island is about 45 minutes to an hour. Even though the resort has everything that you need on site, renting a car is ideal. You can take your time and stop in Naples, enjoy outlet shopping in the area and most important, go to the grocery store. There are hotel packages available that provide a nightly resort credit, but that would be gone after one meal. Having snacks, juice and your own alcohol available in your room, will help your budget tremendously.
The J.W. Marriott at Marco Island is also kid friendly. They have a separate pool area for families and resort activities are available daily. There are also several great restaurants on the island that should be on your list to try. Marek’s Bar & Bistro is a family owned restaurant that has a diverse menu. The sea bas and short ribs are some of the best I have ever tasted. You can also take a cruise around the island on the Marco Island Princess.
Me and my husband enjoyed every minute of our stay in Marco Island and can’t wait to go back with the kids.
Family Shore Excursions in the Bahamas
Picking shore excursions that will be a good fit for the whole family can be hard, especially when your children are in different age groups. I am giving my recommendations on shore excursions that will make everyone happy while visiting the Bahamas.
During our family cruise, we visited Freeport and Nassau Bahamas. My son has been obsessed with Atlantis Paradise Island since we visited and stayed on the property for a week, a couple of years ago. The Atlantis offers day passes to guests that are traveling to the island on cruise ships or staying at other properties. A day pass is also a great way to experience all of the perks of the property, at a fraction of the cost.
We purchased the Atlantis Aquaventure Day pass at a lower rate, prior to leaving for the cruise through Bahamas Day Pass
Your Atlantis Aquaventure Day Pass is a Full Day Excursion and Includes:
The pass does not include transportation to the Atlantis, but taxis were available and ready to take you as soon as you exit the cruise port. The cab fare is set at $4 per person, each way. The kiddie pool outside of the Royal Tower is my personal favorite. Several lifeguards surround the pool at all times and all water activity is in less than a foot of water. Life jackets are available at no additional charge in every size. Food and adult beverages are available and can be brought right to your chair. This is definitely a place where you can catch a small nap while the kids play.
While in Freeport, we decided to book our excursion through Carnival. Freeport was hit by Hurricane Matthew last Fall, and most of the island still has not been rebuilt. We chose the Family Beach Escape that included a straw market for shopping, free water play, sand castle competitions, ball games, sand darts, face painting, treasure hunts and more safe beach side activities. Our kids didn’t participate in any of the activities provided by the staff onsite, they stayed in the water with us the whole time. The food provided is described as a “light lunch” but it was a full Bahamian buffet that was so good! We enjoyed jerk chicken, rice and peas, fried fish, bbq ribs, pasta, veggies, conch fritters and salad. The fruit punch was amazing. The beach was beautiful, private and secluded. Everyone there was from the ship and we felt very safe.
Each excursion had elements that catered to the kids, but they also allowed the adults to relax and enjoy the water as well.
I am heading to Orlando this week for the 2017 Blog Her conference, and I am taking the family with me! I will be honored on Friday as a 2017 Voices of the year recipient for my blog photography. We will also take Rian to the Magic Kingdom for the first time. She is obsessed with Cinderella and we have so many surprises in store for her!
We love a good cruise, and I have been on about 8 myself, but we had never taken one with the kids! I found a good deal on a cruise for the family for the Memorial Day weekend and decided to go for it. We spent 5 days and 4 nights on a cruise ship with our two kids, my mom, sister and nephew.
The first few hours were a little shaky and made my husband and I think that this may have been a mistake. We drove 5 hours to port in Jacksonville, Florida and the kids were on the verge of a meltdown before we could make it on the ship!
Here is a major key… If you are cruising on Carnival, spend $49 on the “Faster to the Fun” program. It saved our trip at the beginning and the end. We were able to board early, walk into the port with our family and cut the long lines that had formed to check in. We were in our cabin, getting settled in within 20 minutes and we avoided the long buffet lines for lunch. At debarkation, we were held in a comfortable lounge with a light breakfast and escorted off the ship first. No lines, no wait. This is extremely important when traveling with kids. Read more about the program here: Carnival Cruise Faster to the Fun
As parents, our natural instinct is to protect our kids and extensively vet anyone who will be in charge of taking care of them while we are not around. I have heard how great these kids camps are on cruise ships from so many parents, but we have always been skeptical. Camp Carnival saved our vacation! My son is 8 years old and my 6 year old nephew joined us on the cruise. My son tends to be a complainer, Im sure that he is not the only 8 year old that does not find pleasure in doing anything that is not on “his” agenda in his head.
I signed all three kids up for the camp online before we left and crossed my fingers. We dropped the kids off at camp the first night at their dinner time and they were hooked. My husband and I ended up having a quiet night alone until after midnight. The camp offered late night glow parties, theme days, arts and crafts, dance parties and workshops. The boys spent every moment on the ship, in the kids camp. My advice for you is to let them go! It reduced our stress level and gave us time to enjoy the adults only “Serenity Deck” on the ship. I had the best naps there. The best part about Camp Carnival is that the price is already included. Read more about it here: Camp Carnival
On our day at sea, the kids were able to participate in the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast with “Dr. Seuss and Friends”. The dining room was turned into the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss and filled with fun! The menu included green eggs and ham and filet mignon for the adults. You can enjoy this experience for $5 per person. Take a look at the menu here: Green eggs and ham breakfast
The kids had such a great time and we did too. We are already planning for our next cruise with the kids!