Category: travel

Five reasons to head to the elf academy if you can’t make it to Disney this holiday season

Looking for some added spice to your holiday season? Can’t make it to Disney for some reason or another? Here are five reasons to head to Essex, Connecticut with or without an elf in training:

1. You will meet real elves. There is an elf academy. Most elves there are at a minimum 250 years old. How do you know how old an elf is? You can tell by its ears.

2. There may be a few princesses present: this land is ruled by three princesses. Princess Holly, Princess Noel, and Princess Merry wander the area and greet the citizens. Princess Holly was asked recently if they have actual jobs. Her answer? “I don’t need a job, I am a princess.”

3. You will learn important life skills. Elves need to perfect three things: singing, dancing, and laughing. You will learn all of these. Don’t ask me how I don’t want to ruin the surprise

4. Mr. and Mrs. Claus appear as a couple. We have heard the stories of their great romance, but hardly had the chance to see them. And if you take the Essex steam train, you do actually get to see them walk the aisle!! (Train aisle that is)!!

5. River Junction. Looking for a family photo? Want to get into the holiday spirit? Well this is the best train station waiting room to get you and your family there! There are free crafts and activities for kids, tons of special VIPs to meet, and lots of unique photo opportunities.

Face painting
Photo op

Turn your family into gingerbread!Real postmaster sends letters to Santa Arts and crafts station

I haven’t event mentioned this unique old fashioned steam train. It’s amazing and the price is reasonable. Really a priceless experience. Just go! Click here to visit the Essex steam train website



No need to worry if where your are going is as good as we’re you’re been.

Excited about an upcoming Disney Trip? Wondering what you will need? 

I’ll speak to those who leave for Disney on a jet, or any type of plane.  Those who drive may have a bit more flexibility as far as packing

If you are flying into Disney early, I highly suggest packing on the plane LIGHT, so that you don’t have to worry about leaving a bunch of carry on luggage in the hotel while you walk around waiting for your room.  By light, I mean, think about WEARING your bathing suit on the plane. For ladies, I suggest two piece so that you don’t have to have any difficulty heading to the bathroom on the plane! Kudos to anyone bold enough to just wear a bathing suit!! I usually opt for a skirt and top. No need for towels, most hotels have them at the pool. 

Are you one of those people that likes to wear their heaviest shoes on a plane? I suggest that you try and change that habit if you are. Not only would heavy shoes weigh you down in the event of any emergency, but it’s hard to relax in small spaces with clunky attire. I suggest flip flops or sandals that are comfortable when walking. You are going to a warm climate. You will be on the plane for a while. You don’t need to be squishing around heavy sneakers in the pool. 

nature woman feet legs
Photo by Pixabay on

Bring one carry on bag, not one for everyone. Pack two activities for the plane. Let’s face it, kids barely use them and every time i TRY to read it never happens. Bring several pairs of headphones, for kids I suggest the noise cancelling one. 

Pack an extra change of underwear/ bathing suit/clothes in a ziplock bag. Baby Wipes. Travel Size sunblock.

Bring a snack.  Keep in mind that a bag of groceries may get confiscated at security.

As far as suitcase needs: Bring two dresses, two pairs of shorts, about five pairs of underwear. Dress up clothes for the kids. That’s all. There is always laundry somewhere. I wouldn’t even bother with detergent, people usually leave left over detergent in the laundry room. You can just wash your clothes. There is no need to pack a ton of stuff. Trust me.  But do pack things you may not want to buy: Toothpaste. Sunscreen(in a safe travel friendly container). Feminine Products. tooth brush. Deodorant. Consider mailing diapers (if you need them) to the resort a head of time. Any bulky items, even groceries, can be mailed ahead of time. Just check with your hotel. 

If anything, we have learned that the best way to travel to Disney is Without being weighed down. You want enough room in your suitcase for everything you are bringing back!

No matter what you say now, you will be bringing some things back.


City Mousing For A Day

What do you do when you can’t jump in for a day of Orlando Magic?

Take a trip to New York City, of course. The Disney beach mice became city mice and traveled to the American Girl Cafe for a bitty baby party. What’s that?? You will find out.

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The American Girl Cafe, located on the ground level of the American Girl Store near Rockefeller Center, is not only a cafe that caters to children and their dolls but it one of the top rated brunch spots in the city.

The food is absolutely amazing! Just check out the menu, pictured below

If you do not have a doll of your own to bring, you can borrow one, from a wall to the left of the entrance of the cafe. That goes for adults and kids alike!

The bitty baby party includes one appetizer to be shared by the table, one entree, cake and ice cream, and really great party favors for the kids and their dolls (celebration t-shirts, wands, and miniature doll cakes).

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Although the dolls are pricey, the food in the cafe is amazing and we’ll worth the moderate price tag. Make your reservation, though. They book up quickly!


I don’t mean to cause a stir but the word is out. Disney Resorts do take packages. So instead of dragging the necessities to my Boardwalk suite next week I will be mailing myself from laundry detergent, sunblock, and razors. Thankfully diapers or not on my list of necessities ANY LONGER. 

So what needs to be enclosed on your box? Your name c/o the name of the lead guest. Your reservation number and check in date. And the exact address of your Disney Resort Hotel. 

It’s to bad we can’t jump in a box and mail ourselves.



You don’t need to turn your home into a makeshift aircraft to get to Celebration, just outside of Orlando: It’s a $10 to $20 cab ride from most Disney resorts.  If we are staying in a room with a kitchen, for more than a week, we always take the trip.  

Celebration, a community that broke ground in 1994, is just south of Walt Disney World. World Drive is the major north-south road in Walt Disney World with the Magic Kingdom at its northern-most point and Celebration at its southern-most point with Celebration Boulevard leading the way into Downtown Celebration. Once in Celebration, follow the signs towards Market Street to reach the downtown. The center of town is located at the intersection of Front Street and Market Street. The “town”, or “community” of 8000 people is situated on top of 11 miles of Florida swamp.

There are restaurants, nail salons, and grocery stores. Try:

Publix: 29 Blake Boulevard, Celebration FL 34747

Goodies Supermarket: 2901 Parkway Boulevard Kissimee, Celebration FL 34747

Many of the celebration restaurants will deliver food directly to your hotel, on an evening that you don’t feel like a restaurant or room service.

Is it worth the time and energy to spend a few hours of your vacation shopping? That depends on your needs. Companies like THE GARDEN GROCER will deliver groceries to you – for a price.  



Word broke this week that Frontier Airlines will be flying directly to Orlando Airport. For those on Long Island, they are offering $39 flights each way from Islip Macarthur Airport.  You can now purchase tickets for flights starting on August 16th, 2017. This will mark Frontier’s second NY port of call, the other being LaGuardia.

There will be one 10:45am flight leaving Islip to Orlando daily. There will be one 7:00am flight leaving Orlando to Islip daily. That’s it. Just one flight each day.

F9 1779 Depart ISP: 10:45 a.m. Arrive MCO: 1:30 p.m.
F9 1778 Depart MCO: 7:15 a.m. Arrive ISP: 9:55 a.m.
Frequency: Daily
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Service Start: Aug. 16

For me, I panicked. I called my husband immediately. We’ve already purchased our flight for four to travel in August. A flight that cost roughly $1500. But if we decide to cancel I priced tickets for everyone totaling roughly $340. Sounds crazy, right?

After much debate, we decided to stick with our current flight plan. Why? We know nothing about Frontier Airlines. And if we were two adults traveling alone it might be worth the risk of possibly dealing with delayed or cancelled flights. While we always run the risk of such airline headaches, going with what we are used to with two children just seems like a safe bet.

But I am very curious to see how those first flights go the week of August 16th. And even more curious to see if other airlines will lower their rates in response to this new competitive fare, which seems to be about $89 each way.

What have I been able to find out about Frontier? The new low fare is very enticing, but there are often add-ons. Frontier labels itself as a “no frills” airline. Any thing in addition to your ticket comes with an extra charge. For example, you pay per suitcase, for assigned seats, and often pay for carry on items.

They offer bundled choices as you purchase your tickets. The following bundle description is taken directly from their website

Customers can take advantage of Frontier’s bundled choices, The WORKS or The PERKS, containing all of Frontier’s most popular options for one low price. The WORKS is available at at time of initial booking and includes one carry-on bag, one checked bag, best available seat including Stretch and Exit Row options, full refundability when canceled at least 24 hours prior to scheduled departure, no change fees and priority boarding. The PERKS is available after booking and has the same options as The WORKS except the ability to change flights and refundability.

In other words: would you like fries with that ticket??

A litany of negative complaints meets the Frontier researcher on this consumer affairs website, from exorbitant extra charges to unreasonable delays- click here to read them. Even though I didn’t purchase tickets yet, I am waiting with an open mind. You never know!

No need to hide your children in suitcases, we should all travel comfortably.