Archive for the ‘Family-Friendly Destinations’ category

What’s Your State Eating This Thanksgiving?

November 27th, 2014

Family eating Thanksgiving Day dinner togetherHappy Thanksgiving! Families across the United States are celebrating their thanks with friends and relatives today while enjoying parade specials, football games and home-cooked food. However, not every Thanksgiving meal is the same across the nation. On Nov. 18, the New York Times released “The United States of Thanksgiving,” which lists dishes that represent each one of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Families in Vermont can see what those in Seattle will be cooking and Miami residents can add the traditional Michigan dish to their menus. Here’s what the New York Times says the U.S. is cooking today:

Lucy Buffett’s Oyster Dressing

Russian Salmon Pie

Cranberry Sauce With Chiles

Roast Heritage Turkey and Gravy

Sourdough Stuffing With Kale, Dates and Turkey Sausage

Pecan Pie Bites With Gravy

Quince With Cipollini Onions and Bacon

Du Pont Turkey With Truffled Zucchini Stuffing

District of Columbia
Garam Masala Pumpkin Tart

Mojo Turkey

Pecan Pie

Mochi Rice Stuffing

Hasselback Potatoes With Garlic-Paprika Oil

Pumpkin Soup With Ancho and Apple

Persimmon Pudding

Thanksgiving Cookies

Harvey House Candied Sweet Potatoes

Pocket Dressing

Shrimp Stuffed Mirlitons

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Sauerkraut and Apples

Clam and Chourico Dressing

Baked German Potato Salad

Grape Salad

Ale-Braised Collard Greens With Smoked Ham Hock

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Marinated Venison Steaks

Standing Rib Roast

Turkey French Dip

New Hampshire
New England Roast Turkey

New Jersey
Crepes-Style Manicotti

New Mexico
Slow-Cooked Red Chile Turkey

New York
Double Apple Pie

North Carolina
Sweet Potato Cornbread

North Dakota

English Pea and Onion Salad

Green Bean Casserole

Cranberry Sauce With Pinot Noir

Glazed Bacon

Puerto Rico
Mofongo Stuffing

Rhode Island
Indian Pudding

South Carolina
Salty Pluff Mud Pie

South Dakota
Pear Kuchen

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Peanut Vinaigrette

Turkey Tamales

Caramel Budino With Chex Topping

Vermont Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Corn Pudding

Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms With Bok Choy

West Virginia
Pawpaw Pudding

Wild Rice With Mushrooms

Three Sisters Stew

Will you be serving any of these dishes at your family’s Thanksgiving Feast today? Tell us in the comments below!

For all of the state dishes and recipes, read the full New York Times article on its website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz


IlluminOcean Creates Waves in Orange County

November 26th, 2014

Families look at the Dana Point IlluminOcean attraction filled with lightsEnjoy 40 nights of holiday lights in Ocean County, California, with the new IlluminOcean attraction, premiering in Dana Point, California, tonight through Jan. 4, 2015. The harbor becomes the hub for the new holiday event, with thousands of twinkling lights sculpted into the wonders of the sea, including a 50-foot GlowMotion tree and 100-plus-foot lighted tunnels.

Debuting tonight, the nightly event illuminates Dana Point Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. on weekends. Resorts in Dana Point are also participating in the illumination, with their own IlluminOcean lights, such as a surfboard at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel and an entranceway of lighted palm trees leading up to the resort’s oversized Christmas tree.

Throughout the event, Dana Point will be hosting a number of holiday-themed events, including Winter Wine Cruises from the harbor on a catamaran; boat rides with Santa on Dec. 6 and 7; and the FantaSEA Holiday Boat Parade of Lights from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13, where hundreds of boats show their holiday flair in a parade visible from anywhere along the harbor.

Resorts also host holiday events, including the 7th annual Holiday Surfboard Display and Auction, with dozens of surfboards on display throughout the Ritz-Carlton lobby and an auction benefitting Surfers Healing. At the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa, families can enjoy S’mores and Stories Under the Stars on Friday and Saturday nights. The St. Regis, Monarch Beach is hosting a Gingerbread Academy, Dec. 6 to 21, where families can decorate holiday houses with the pastry chef and team.

– Lissa Poirot

Snow Days, Winter Nights & New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND California

November 25th, 2014

Entrance to LEGOLAND CaliforniaThe holiday season is warm in California, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t snowy days or wintery nights. LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad hosts its annual Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights from November to January and this year the special event includes a new ice skating rink on top of all the other festive fun!

Snow Days
LEGOLAND’s Snow Days are included with your regular admission ticket. Enjoy special events and activities like Snow Tubing, Snow Play, the Holiday Village Build in LEGO Clubhouse, live entertainment, holiday treats from the Fun Town Holiday Food Truck, and more. There will also be special characters like LEGO Santa and the LEGO Toy Soldier for kids and families to take pictures with.

This year, a new ice skating rink is set up near the ticket plaza and guests can enjoy an afternoon on the ice for an additional fee. Ice skating sessions are 90 minutes long and there will be six sessions available for families each day, except on Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17, when there will be only four. Skaters must be at least 3 years old.

Winter Nights
The holiday fun continues into the evenings at the theme park with Winter Nights – events and activities that are also included with your regular admission ticket. Enjoy the Snow Play and Snow Tubing activities, as well as live entertainment and magical trees decorated with lights, including the 30-foot LEGO Tree that lights up to music in Fun Town.

Winter Nights events will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 28 and 29, and Dec. 6, 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30.

The Winter Nights Holiday Fireworks event will take place at 7 p.m. from Dec. 26 to 30.

Kids’ New Year’s Eve
On Dec. 31, ring in the New Year with your kids at LEGOLAND California. The Kids’ New Year’s Eve events are included with your regular admission ticket and begin at 11:30 a.m. Enjoy live entertainment on the Holiday Stage in Fun Town from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then more live entertainment on the Miniland Stage from 2 to 6 p.m. At 6 p.m. fireworks and the Brick Drop ring in the New Year.

Snow Days and Winter Nights events and activities are available now through Jan. 4, 2015. General admission to LEGOLAND California is $90 for guests 3 and older. For a limited time, guests who redeem their ticket to the Our Gift to You Guest Service Kiosk now through Jan. 4, 2015, will receive a free ticket to return to LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium between Jan. 5 and Mar. 1, 2015. For more information, visit the LEGOLAND California website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Ring in the New Year at a Kalahari Resort

November 24th, 2014

For a special New Year’s Eve celebration, book a stay at a Kalahari Water Park Resort. Both the Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky, Ohio locations are offering a New Year’s Special deal for families. Splash, play and ring in 2015 at one of these water park resorts.

Kalahari Resort Wisconsin Dells
Boys sit in a circular raft on a waterslide at the Kalahari Resort Wisconsin DellsNot only will you be able to enjoy access to the resort’s indoor water park and indoor theme park, but the New Year’s Special offers comfortable accommodations, too. Book the package and receive a Hut or Desert Room for up to four guests, plus tickets to the New Year’s Eve Buffet for two adults and two children between 4 and 12 years. Additional tickets may be purchased upon arrival. Buffet reservations are required. The package is valid for a two-night stay starting on Dec. 30 or 31, 2014. Package rates start from $670.

Kalahari Resort Sandusky, Ohio
Young girl bodysurfs on ride at Kalahari Resort SanduskyThis location may not have an indoor theme park, but it is home to America’s largest indoor water park. Enjoy a two-night stay in a Hut or Desert Room for up to four guests, admission to the water park for each guest, each day of your stay, and tickets for the New Year’s Eve Buffet for two adults and two children between 4 and 12 years. Additional tickets may be purchased upon arrival. Buffet reservations are required. The package is valid for a two-night stay starting on Dec. 30 or 31, 2014. Package rates start from $600.

Room upgrades available upon request for a fee. Restrictions may apply.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Celebrate Grinchmas at Universal Studios

November 23rd, 2014

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

It certainly does mean more — that’s why Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando celebrate Grinchmas each year.

Universal Studios Hollywood
The Grinch and Whoville characters dance together at GrinchmasAt Universal Studios Hollywood, Grinchmas will take place on select dates, Dec. 6, 2014, to Jan. 3, 2015. Families will have a chance to meet The Grinch and his dog, Max, and get pictures with the beloved characters. They’ll also enjoy story time with another beloved character: Cindy Lou. Other highlights will include cookie and ornament decorating at Universal Plaza, and perhaps best of all, a Studio Tour Backlot Grinchmas Who-bilation of Who-Ville, where Whos will sing and dance!

Universal Studios Orlando
The Grinch sites with a young blonde girl at GrinchmasAt Universal’s Islands of Adventure – in Seuss Land, of course – Grinchmas will also take place Dec. 6, 2014, to Jan. 3, 2015. In addition to meet-and-greet experiences with the storybook characters, families will have a chance to attend The Grinch and Friends Character Breakfast at Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous (additional fees apply). At The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, visitors will witness a live retelling of the holiday classic, complete with whimsical music.

Standard park admission is required to attend all events.

– Amanda Geronikos

SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration

November 22nd, 2014

The Shamu Show at SeaWorld OrlandoSanta joins Shamu this season at SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration and families should jump into the festive fun, too. On select dates from Nov. 22 to Dec. 31, 2014, enjoy special events, attractions, activities and savings.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Family Fun Tour
This special three-hour walking tour takes kids and parents through the park’s favorite attractions and activities, including the penguins, plus a meet and greet with the birds; Elmo’s Christmas Wish show; a meal at Santa’s Fireside Feast; and front-of-the-line access to the Polar Express Experience. Tickets start from $59 for adults and $49 for children.

SeaWorld Christmas Shows
During the holiday season, special Christmas shows will be offered at SeaWorld. See your favorite Sesame Street friends at Elmo’s Christmas Wish; sing a long to more than 30 carols at O Wondrous Night; walk through the magical area of glistening trees as the lights dance to music at Sea of Trees; watch Shamu and friends splash at Shamu Christmas Miracles; and see skaters dance on ice at Winter Wonderland on Ice.

The Polar Express Experience
Board the train to the North Pole via the Polar Express. Hear the story, see the sights and listen to the sounds of the season as you make your way to see Santa Claus.

Santa’s Fireside Feast
Dig into a holiday meal with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Fireside Feast. The exclusive dinner features an all-you-can-eat buffet of festive dishes and desserts. A complimentary family photo is included and the perfect way to end the feast. Tickets start from $29 for adults and $19 for children between 2 and 9 years.

Special Holiday Savings
During SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration, families can save by booking shows in conjunction with dining experiences. Book the SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Show Seating with Santa’s Fireside Feast and tickets start from $44 for adults and $29 for children between 3 and 9 years. Book the SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Show with Dine with Shamu and tickets start from $49 for adults and $39 for children between 3 and 9 years.

Additionally, there are two other ways to save on the holiday experience at the park. With the Kids Free Ticket deal, families can save up to $90 by getting one free child’s admission ticket (ages 3 to 9 only) with each paid adult ticket. These tickets must be used by Dec. 31, 2014. The Kids Free Package deal includes one free child’s admission ticket (ages 3 to 9 only) with each paid adult ticket, accommodations at a SeaWorld Orlando hotel, free admission for kids to Santa’s Fireside Feast (if booked before Dec. 1) and one free Cup that Cares for beverages. The Kids Free Package can save families up to $235.

Lastly, save by purchasing the All-Day Dining Deal, where for one price, families can eat all day long in the park. Tickets start from $30 for adults and $15 for children ages 3 to 9 years.

Admission to the park is required for all events and activities and is not included.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz