Epcot may not be the first park you think of when you’re planning your trip to Disney, but it should definitely be on your list! Although it doesn’t have the big roller coasters that are so attractive at the other parks, it has something that the other parks do not….Worldly Experience! Out of all the other theme parks we’ve been to, Epcot does the best job of sharing these other countries with you in a way that keeps both adults and kids engaged! Does it have the same ‘magic’ that Magic Kingdom does, no, but it has many other reasons to fall in love with it all the same!
You Don’t Want to Miss
The park is big and it’s broken into two sections, the World Showcase which features 11 different countries and the Future World which has the rides and other things geared for families.
The World Showcase has 11 countries circled around a giant lagoon. You won’t find a lot of thrilling rides in this section, but there are several movies, boat rides, and shows that will give you an overview of the country that you’re in! The pace is slow and there is much to see and take in!
What we loved most about this area is that families can eat and drink around the world and kids can keep entertained by exploring all that each country has to offer! Two things we especially enjoyed were The American Adventure and Go Behind the Great Wall in China!
In the World Showcase you’ll find Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada!
Future World is where most of the rides are located! Some are stand alone rides and others are in Pavilions with much to see in each one!
Epcot’s most popular rides include:
- Soarin: It’s safe to say that this is the most popular ride at Epcot. You’re seated in a row of seats and taken on a ride across the world! You’ll see places like San Francisco, The Grand Canyon, the California Coast, Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park, and other awesome places!
- Spaceship Earth: This ride is inside the iconic Epcot ball and shows you how human communication has evolved since the beginning of time!
- Test Track: This was a favorite among my girls. On this ride you get to build your vehicle and then take a long, fast ride!
- Mission Space: This ride offers both a simulated version and a version for those who experience motion sickness or have other health concerns.
Other things we enjoyed besides the rides were the Circle of Life movie and the Living with the Land indoor boat ride. The Circle of Life is a 20 minute film featuring Timone and Pumba from The Lion King. It focuses on environmental responsibility and is perfect for school-aged children! Living with the Land is a boat ride through a greenhouse that shows you have farming and agriculture has evolved. It’s fascinating to see how they are growing so much of the food they serve at the theme park!
The New FastPass + = Not My Favorite
This one could be considered a good or bad depending on your style, but in my opinion, I am not a fan of the new Fastpass+ system! We are not the type of family that plans trips months or even weeks in advance so making reservations for rides is just totally out of the question for us! I don’t know weeks or even days ahead of time what rides we will want to go on and at what time. We are a fly by the seat of our pants family and enjoy unplugging from technology when we’re on vacation. We do not enjoy having to rely on it to change or make reservations on an app. For families like us, this just doesn’t work! Also, as a ‘day of’ type of family having to go to only a couple designated kiosks was a royal pain in the butt! Most of the more popular rides had either been unavailable or had come back times that didn’t work for us….it feels more business than pleasure!
- Wear comfortable walking shoes. The park is very large (twice the size of Magic Kingdom) and requires a lot of walking
- Allow plenty of time to rest, eat, drink, etc.
- Don’t go expecting the same things you expect at Magic Kingdom
- While many guidebooks say to map out your day and have a plan, know that it’s OK to go with the flow, too!
The Halona Cove Beach / Eternity Bay is located near the Halona Blowhole and Sandy Beach in Oahu, Hawaii
Visiting Hawaii (Oahu) with Kids – Hilton Hawaiian Village
Choosing the right area to stay in can be a tough decision. Between the famous North Shore and Turtle Bay area, the beautiful and peaceful Ko’Olina area on the Leeward Coast, the breathtakingly stunning Kailua area on the Windward Coast, or the infamous Waikiki Beach area in Southern Oahu the choices are endless.
After hours of searching hotels and trying to decide the best fit for our family we decided to stay in Waikiki Beach -a bustling beach city full of life! We chose Hilton Hawaiian Village because of it’s sprawling grounds, multiple pools, lagoon, and wide beautiful stretch of beach. It’s also within walking distance to shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Did you Know: The North Shore is an infamous spot that attracts surfers from around the world, but those big waves do not happen in the summertime. They are in the winter months (November-February). Summer waves are gentle making it a perfect spot for beginners.
Campfire Lodgings Mountaintop Camping – Asheville, NC
Located just minutes from downtown Asheville, NC, Campfire Lodgings was a perfect place for our first trip in the new travel trailer! It offeres paved back-in sites with full hookups and each site has a grill and picnic table. The premium sites have a million dollar view (pictured above) and the other sites are just a short walk from the open common area so everyone can enjoy it.
Kayaking with Dolphins in Hilton Head
Who: Spencer, Myself, and our two girls.
What: Kayaking the pristine waterways and inlets of Hilton Head Island.
When/Where: First thing in the morning on Broad Creek.
Why: Our goal was to see dolphins in their natural habitats. Mission accomplished!
If you are looking for a fun and active way to get on the water and see dolphins in their natural habitat in Hilton Head consider renting kayaks and paddling the calm inlets of the island! We chose Kayak Hilton Head and renting two tandem kayaks for two hours. This gave us more than enough time to explore the waterways and see a lot of gentle, slow moving dolphins right next to our kayaks!
On our recent trip to Maui we decided to stay at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa for the second time! A couple years ago my husband and I stayed here and fell in love with the resort and knew when we returned with our kids we’d want to stay again!
One of the most popular beaches on Maui is Kaanapali Beach and Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa is perfectly situated at the end where black lava rock meets the ocean. This popular snorkeling spot known as Black Rock is one of the many reasons we love this resort! When you combine comfortable rooms, expansive grounds, an amazing pool, and a beach that offers both a sandy bottom and amazing snorkeling with a beautiful tropical reef and fish you have to perfect recipe for an unforgettable Maui vacation!
Where to See Amazing Views of Diamond Head Crater and Waikiki
If you have a little bit of time to spare and want to see amazing views of Diamond Head Crater, Honolulu and Waikiki consider driving Round Top Drive! It’s hard to believe that only minutes away from the bustling city, but here you can get some of the most magnificent views in all of Oahu!
Visiting Hawaii with Kids
Is traveling that far really worth it? That is a question I frequently get asked when talking about visiting Hawaii. The simple answer is YES! It is. Endless sunshine and the kind of weather you dream of, soft sand between your toes and beautiful beaches at every turn, tropical reefs just off of the beaches, and more things to do than you can pack into your vacation are the exact recipe for a perfect vacation and I think it’s definitely worth the journey!