Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday: Best and Worst Trips

Happy Tuesday, friends! Thanks for joining me today as I link up with Andrea at Momfessionals to share about my best and worst trips. I really sat and thought about the worst trip I ever went on, and honestly, I couldn't think of much. If I really had to choose, I would say the one when I was a kid on a 14 hour drive home from St. Louis and had a stomach bug or car sickness the whole time was my least favorite! Ugh- that's my nightmare come true!

I recently linked up with Shay and Erika for their Workin' It Wednesday post where I wrote all about how I plan for a trip. You can read that post HERE!

When I surveyed my family a few months back for a blog post, I asked them what their favorite vacation was. The consensus was our family trip to Dallas in 2015! It's just a four hour drive from Houston, and we love museums, food, and shopping, so the Big D was right up our alley!

We stayed close to the Perot Museum and Dallas World Aquarium. The hotel was fine, but this part of town was set up for people on business trips. We walked a few blocks and ate lunch at the Corner Bakery and took advantage of some fun photo ops in and around some shops and restaurants. 





After lunch, we headed to the Dallas World Aquarium which was just across from our hotel. The tickets are pricey, but they were 100% worth it! Everyone in our family loved it. You start at the top of the aquarium and work your way down through different environments.


We got to feed toucans!



It was super kid-friendly and again, we had lots of great photo opportunities!




There's a neat walk-through tank with sharks!


We don't have penguins at the Houston Zoo, so we were so excited to see some up close and personal. Random fact: My favorite Spanish word is pingüinito or "little penguin!"



We'd had a long day of traveling and walking, so we took a siesta at our hotel and then walked a few blocks to a Dallas staple for dinner- El Fenix.


The sun was still up and we had some new energy to burn, so we stopped outside of The Perot Museum and played leap frog and the xylophone. 



The next day, we met up with some old friends at The Perot. This is a really neat science museum for kids of all ages!

 

They've got everything from dinosaurs to robots to Texas wildlife!


Our favorite part was an area where you could choose to race against a dinosaur, a football player, a track athlete, and more!


I even got in on the action and had my booty handed to me!


Later that afternoon, we went window shopping at Northpark Mall and then had dinner at one of Robert and my favorite restaurants, Campisi's. We went to the Egyptian Lounge location on Mockingbird which is super fun if you're into the old-school Italian mafia vibe. 


On our way out of town the next day, we went to the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum. As a history teacher, you know I eat this all up, and as much as I love Georgie boy, I was actually fairly disappointed in the museum. First off, it is expensive! My other major complaint was that it really focuses more on his time in office and didn't do much to showcase his life prior to the office. His dad's museum in College Station does a much better job balancing the two, and as much as I respect the office, I think it's important to see what that person did before he or she came to that position of power. I also think it humanizes them a lot more, too.

That being said, the Oval Office was very cool!



This last picture is quite fitting for today as I'm currently at my new school district signing my contract for next year! I know this is not very exciting news for you, but it is life-changing for me and my family. I will be working in our home district where the kids will both be in school next year and also where Robert works. We will be on the same schedule, I'm finally getting a raise, and my hour commute will now be cut down to 20 minutes which gives me a lot more time with my kids! I'm very excited and also very nervous as I haven't taught 8th grade American history in 4 years! Change is good, but it is also hard to say goodbye to friends and move out of your comfort zone. 


Now, while Dallas has been our favorite trip thus far, I have high hopes that our Disney World vacation next summer will beat out Dallas. I'm talking with my travel agent, Dani, in a few weeks, and I'd like to give her a better idea of what we do and don't want. So, I have some questions for you and would love your input:

1) What restaurants do you recommend both in the parks and at places like Downtown Disney and the Board Walk? We are thinking we'll do the food plan that gives us 2 big meals and use those for a big lunch in the parks and then a big dinner either in the park or outside.

2) As of right now, we're building in 2 days for Universal Studios. A lot of the rides look like they're going to have a too tall height requirement for Ari. Also, I'm looking at the site, and I can't see why I would need 2 days there. Do we really need 2 days there? OR if you think we need 2 days, do you think the boys would like 2 days there and the girls do the second day back at Magic Kingdom? 

3) If you tell me we really need 2 days at Universal, I was thinking we'd do 1 day at Epcot, 1 day at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 2 days at Universal, and 1 last day at Magic Kingdom again. We're going to skip Animal Kingdom as we have had a ton of animal exposures. How does this schedule sound? What do you think I should change? 

Please, please, please give me your insight! 

To read more of my Show & Tell Tuesday posts:
Steal & Splurge
My Loves
Kids' Parties
Most Embarrassing Moments
Top 5 Pictures
Prom(s)
Grown-Up Parties
Memory Lane

Thanks for stopping by! Did you check in for this morning's Tuesday Training post? I'll see you back here tomorrow to share a little bit about my 2nd box from Sephora Play! Ciao!

26 comments:

  1. Hi Allie- you must be so excited for your trip- I think your schedule is perfect, although, Ari may be too short for many of the rides at Universal. I am thinking it is probably best to divide and conquer like you mentioned- I still can't get enough of Magic Kingdom.

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    1. I 100% agree with you, Holly. I need to have Robert look through the websites to see if he even wants to do a second day there. Magic Kingdom seems like it will be the best for Ari and I to visit a bunch.

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  2. I am thrilled for you Allie!!! It's going to be so wonderful for all of you!

    We did one day at Magic Kingdom, and I wished we would have done two, SO much to see and do! Yes to nixing Animal Kingdom. So.Much.Walking. We did not do Universal, so I can't say anything about that. We stayed at Coronado Village? I think? We loved it. Def try to get breakfast at the castle with all the princesses!!

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    1. Thanks, Cara! I'm thinking Magic Kingdom is going to be our favorite! We are hoping to do dinner at Belle's castle one night! :)

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  3. Congratulations!!! That is such amazing news! You be able to get in so much more family time. As a fellow long-commuter I can sympathize with how rough it is. I'm so so happy for all of you. That school is lucky to have you.

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    1. Thank you, Tara! I've been waiting for months for everything to be finalized, and today was the day! I'm so excited but also very nervous!

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  4. Congratulations on your new job...I know you'll do great! That will be wonderful to not only cut down on your travel time but to be on the same schedule as your family.

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    1. Thank you, Heather! I'm going to be out of school before the kids, so I'm ecstatic to get so much more time with them, especially as their schedules pick up.

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  5. Oh my, so much I want to say. First those pics of the kids in the word "BIG" are too cute, especially Ari's. Totally made me chuckle out loud. Second, I am so PUMPED for you and your new teaching job. I'm seriously giddy that you are going to be in the same district as the rest of your family and with such a better commute and a RAISE!!! All the praise hands sweet girl! Third, DISNEY!!! It's been 13 years since we went. We were there for Katie's 6th birthday. Magical to say the least! Our favorite character meal was at the Crystal Palace (I'm pretty sure we did breakfast) with Pooh and friends. I was practically in tears because I just love those characters and it was also our favorite as far as food went. It was a buffet. As far as Epcot goes. Your kids are pretty much the same ages ours were. Benny was 3rd grade and Katie was KG (we took them out of school for a week, only time we've ever done that). We felt like a partial day at Epcot would have been fine. Benny LOVED Fast Track and that's when the Mission to Mars (I think that's what it's called) had just opened and we did that. Katie barely made the cut and I was so worried about her on it, but Benny was the one who totally freaked out!😳 We staying in the Animal Kindgom and loved it (the only downside was it was about the furthest hotel from the other parks) Staying in the parks and using their transportation is the way to go in my opinion. My biggest piece of advice is to build in some down time. I didn't. I was like, by golly we're here and we are doing this! We were exhausted by the end of the trip and would have enjoyed it more had we had a little break for some pool time. I'll stop now, this is practically a post back to you😂 I want to go back to Disney now that I'm thinking about all the fun!!!

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    1. Crystal Palace was recommended on a site I was on recently, so I'll definitely check it out. You are the second person to tell me to build in a down day, so I need to really consider that. Thank you for the Disney insight and for your thoughts during my job hunt!

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  6. Congrats on the big changes at work. It sounds awesome! Your trip to Dallas looks so fun! I can't wait to visit Texas someday.

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    1. Thank you! We've got the BEST food in the world, so make sure to wear some elastic pants! :)

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  7. First of all, congrats on your new position!! I know that will make such a difference in your family to not have that killer commute. So happy for y'all!

    Since we just got back from Disney, I have lots of opinions on this! For character meals, my top pick would be the Akerhaus breakfast in Epcot if you have a princess fan. Crystal Palace is nice in Magic Kingdom for the Pooh characters. Be sure to make dining reservations if you plan to go to Downtown Disney. It was crowded!

    With kids your age, I think one day is plenty for Universal! We did it all in one day, and that included the Harry Potter area and all the big rides. Universal is fun, but we felt like it was more crowded and less organized. For example, they do not have a fast pass system like Disney. Instead you either have to wait in line, stay at a Universal hotel to get an express pass, or buy an express pass on top of your ticket. At the last minute, we decided to buy the EP just for the kids which was still quite an expense. But if we hadn't done that, we would have waited for at least an hour for each ride. We never had to wait more than about 20 minutes for any ride at Disney, even though it was peak crowds at Spring Break.

    I would do another day at MK instead of day 2 at Universal. Or spend a day relaxing at the pool and an evening at Downtown Disney (now called Disney Springs.) Or go to Animal Kingdom for just a half day. The Nemo show and Everest roller coaster were some of my kids favorites from the whole trip.

    Hope this helps!

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    1. Tanya, this is AMAZING information! Thank you so much for your insight. I need to get my man to sit down and look at the sites to see what he really thinks he wants to do. I just learned a few months ago that he's never even been on a roller coaster- yikes!

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  8. First of all, congratulations on your new position!! Second of all, I have always wanted to go to Dallas! And third, we are going to Disney for the first time with the kids next spring and I AM ECSTATIC. I cannot wait. You guys are gonig to have a blast!

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    1. Thanks, Lindsay! Oh this will be perfect- you'll have to go and scope things out and tell me what I need to know for next summer!

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  9. There is never enough time for me at Disney! I could spend days at each park! We went to universal & sea world in February & wished we would have stayed an extra day at Universal. And Animal Kingdom was our favorite but your system will prob be fine for yalls first trip! Seriously I could spend a month there & not get tired of it! And yes on the down time! Their water parks are great, too! Have you considered extending your vacation to 2 weeks instead of 1? ;) Have fun! It really is the most magical place!

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    1. Thanks for the input! If I could extend my budget, then yes! :)

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  10. We're headed to Dallas in July! We're planning to take our Harry Potter fan to Universal next May for her birthday! Can't wait to see how y'all enjoy it and Disney. We've been there and loved it! Whatever you do, though, don't do the Luau. Complete waste of money.

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    1. My mom said we did the luau when I was a kid and said the same thing! We for sure want to do dinner at Belle's Castle and one night at T-Rex Cafe. How many days are you doing at Universal? My students are telling me I only need a day there.

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  11. That looks like such a fun trip! I have family in that area and they love it there!

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    1. You need to go visit them! The art museums in the area are also pretty great, and the food is fabulous, although I do love Houston more than Dallas.

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  12. Looks like you had fun in Dallas!! I live here and I still have yet to go to the Perot Museum!! It is definitely on my summer bucket list!! And you will have SO much fun in Disney!

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    1. Definitely try out the Perot- the elevator glass got me a little dizzy but it's fun!

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  13. We love the Dallas Aquarium! In January I took my teenager and a friend for the weekend and we did the Perot and the Bush library....I loved both but would really love to go back to the library again to really spend more time. I couldn't believe the boys weren't more interested...and then I remembered they weren't even born when 911 happened! You guys should totally come to CS this summer for a day and do the museum, run around campus (I have a fun abc post that is great for kids), eat at the chicken and play in all the splashpads around town. It really is a cheap and easy getaway from Houston. Plus...we could meet IRL!

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    1. The 9/11 section of the museum was so intense for me. I had to move along quickly and go recover. It is so weird to me that I teach students who weren't even born at the time- it feels like it was just yesterday. I'm totally checking out your ABC post! We usually go up each July/August to go to The Warehouse and Jacque's. I'm sad to hear that she closed the store! We're going to St. Louis this summer, and I'm starting my new job a little earlier than usual, so not sure if we'll make it up this year, but I'll definitely let you know if we do!

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Hi friends! Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from you!