Category: Travel

Planning a DisneyWorld Vacation Part 2

DisneyWorld ResortsPart 2 of this series is all about booking a resort/hotel. I want to start packing my bags right this minute.  From day one of our planning process we  saved and budgeted to stay at a DisneyWorld resort.  I’m admittedly biased here, but I’m happy to say that there are plenty of other decent options nearby with a good relationship with Disney. So, don’t let my biases deter you from going at all! For today, though, I’m giving my reasons for loving the Disney resorts so much that I schedule time into our trip to just to enjoy our hotel. I mean resort.

1. The service really is better. I’ve stayed at non-Disney resorts here before, and they are fine. Really! They often cost a little less, but the service, cleanliness and atmosphere just don’t quite compare to the Disney resorts.  Staying at a Disney resort only adds to your total experience, with bonuses like extended park hours, Fast Pass perks, and the little “pixie dust” touches, like impromptu visits with favorite characters. Read: no standing in line for hugs from Goofy!

DisneyWorld Resorts  Goofy

2. Convenience. All the Disney resorts offer frequent complimentary shuttles to the parks.  From some resorts you … >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

South Africa Banana Braai

South African Banana Braai Title

Today I’m going to introduce you to the best thing ever. Are you ready for this? Think of your palate exploding with chocolate, coconut, and banana, and you have a South Africa banana braai. Not only am I going to give you the how-to, but I’m going to throw in some free history lessons along the way. Let’s start with braai. What the heck is that??

braai ~ (pronounced bry) a structure on which a fire can be made for the outdoor grilling of meat. English translation, grill or barbecue.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s look at all you need to know to wow your friends with the best banana braai ever.

1. Grab your favorite guinea fowl tablecloth. What? You don’t have a guinea fowl tablecloth? I guess any old tablecloth will do, BUT did you know that the guinea fowl are native to Africa? We have the helmeted guinea fowl here in S. Africa, and they are absolutely beautiful with their blue heads. If you want an authentic, traditional table setting, guinea fowl are the way to go.

South African Guinea Fowl

2. Create your toppings bar. This is the best part. My toppings bar included chocolate (of course), peanut … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

A Family Cruise to the Mexican Riviera

This is a continuation of my cruise post you can find here on Petit Elefant.

cruise mexican rivieraOur first cruise embarked on Jan 28, 2011, it was a nine-day Mexican Riviera cruise aboard the Carnival Spirit. We loved that ship’s set-up. We booked two cabins. On the Carnival Spirit, on decks five through seven there are six interior cabins that connect to balcony cabins. What that means for those of you that haven’t cruised before, is that you get a phenomenal deal, due to the fact that interior’s are less than balconies. We chose this option so that our girls could sleep in the interior room, and we’d have the balcony, but because the rooms connect, we’d leave the door open and our living space was much more comfortable. For nine days the cost was $67 per person, per night, all inclusive.

Sadly the Carnival Spirit was moved to Australia in 2012 with it’s sister ship the Carnival Legend. However, they have two other sister ships with that sweet set-up, the Carnival Pride which sails on the west coast, and the Carnival Miracle which sails on the east coast.

What does that mean, all inclusive? First of all the food, taken >> find out more...

Stephanie Porter

Aloha! I'm a food lover, joyful mother, travel addict, irreverent friend, hip-shaking dancer, car radio-singer, make-out lover, and writer. Love to travel? Join me. Cheers!

I Flew On An Airplane Without A Ticket

No airplane ticketI’ve told this story many times, but the other day I realized I’ve never written it. It’s time to put it out there, because it’s unreal. I still don’t know how it happened, but it did. I flew halfway around the world on an airplane without a ticket. This is not fabricated. Honest. Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

It was 2006, the year before we moved to S. Africa, and we were taking lots of short-term teams over to do what we could to help with the orphan crisis that resulted from the AIDS pandemic. S. Africa is a long ways away, about an 18 hour flight from the U.S. East coast. For some reason, my husband and I planned a trip that was only a week long, including travel, with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. The odds were against us before we even began, but we were young and we forged ahead with that “I can do anything” attitude.

When we checked in at JFK airport in New York, something was up. The gentleman at the gate frowned slightly when he ran my boarding pass and told me the same thing the ticket agent said when we … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

Cruising Tips for Families

Okay folks, let’s talk cruising. For those of you that have been on a cruise,  I’d love to hear your thoughts too. For those of you new to cruising, curious about cruising, not interested in cruising, or simply are turned off by it, scoot a bit closer. I’m talking to you. Frankly, my dear, I used to be you.

cruising tips for familiesI used to scoff at the bulging bulk of all those ships. I would turn my nose up at the blatant hedonistic buffets, and masses of humanity that would lazily float, nay, sludge through our oceans. I was afraid I would go stir-crazy, and feel trapped on a ship. I was skeptical about how much I would really see at port. Is a cruise really worth it?

Then I went on a cruise with my family, and I was changed.

My husband’s best friend had been trying to get us to cruise with them for years. They’ve been cruising for about half their lifetime, and their boys have been on more cruises than years they’ve been alive. So they are obvious fans.

In 2011, after a lot of research we embarked on our first cruise with our friends. I hope >> find out more...

Stephanie Porter

Aloha! I'm a food lover, joyful mother, travel addict, irreverent friend, hip-shaking dancer, car radio-singer, make-out lover, and writer. Love to travel? Join me. Cheers!

Dublin for a Day

DublinDublin! Have you ever been there? I have. For a day. Seriously. We were in Ireland visiting friends, and we had one day as a family to explore. Cliffs or Dublin? We chose Dublin, because the hazy, rainy day would have blocked any beautiful views of the cliffs. I guess we’ll have to go back someday.Dublin Ferry

First bit of helpful information you will receive today…how to get there. Since we were already in England, we opted to rent a car and take the ferry over to Dublin. It was such a fun experience for my kids! We took the StenaLine which was fantastic. There was plenty  to keep the kids entertained.

Dublin BikesI found Dublin to be a quaint little city. It lacked that hustle and bustle which was just fine with me. My husband was happy because there were so many people that looked like him…red hair, freckles, and fair skin!

When you only have a day, you have to plan wisely. Of course, we didn’t do everything we wanted (another reason to go back), but I’d say we covered a fair bit to etch a memory. Here’s what we did and my take on the experience.

Dublin Trinity College1. Visited Trinity >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

Packing for a Beach Getaway

pack for beach getawayAnyone else dreaming of summer like I am? There is nothing better than spending a day in the hot sun at the pool or the beach. Preferably with a cold beverage in hand. And a good book to read. It all sounds so perfect! I love that packing for a beach weekend means packing light. Just a few essentials and I’m good to go.

Luckily I am headed to Mexico this week for a quick getaway with my husband and some of our friends! I can’t wait! I’ve rounded up a few MUST-HAVE’s for a weekend getaway in the sun! Check these beauties out!beach getaway packing

1. Tie Dye Cover Up from Forever 21: Cutest cover up ever! Looks comfy too.

2. Tanning Lotion with SPF 15 from Coppertone: This is my favorite sunscreen when I want a little bit of color but also don’t want to look like a lobster at the end of the day!

3. Embroidered Bag from ASOS: How fab is this bag? Perfect for holding all of your beach needs!

4. Botanical Maxi Dress from ASOS: I love ASOS dresses! They always run true to size and they are adorable!

5. Twist Scarf from Ban.do>> find out more...

Rachel Utterback

Atlantis for Families

Atlantis for Families

Atlantis.

Just the name conjures up mysterious treasure, mythical stories, and mountains of adventure. The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas offers up all of that intrigue.

My husband and I visited Atlantis in October of 2008. It was a sales incentive trip through his company. It was an amazing trip, but I desperately missed our young daughters, who were just four and two years old at the time. We kept thinking, during that trip, of how lovely it would be to return with our girls, once they were older.

In February of 2013, we were able to do that. We were grateful that it was another sales incentive trip, so we only had to purchase flights for our daughters.Atlantis for FamiliesI’m not going to sugar coat it, Atlantis for families, is an expensive vacation. Yes, the resort runs deals, and special offers throughout the year, and I do recommend you take advantage of them. Since everything has to be brought to the island, there’s no way around the high prices, even when someone else is footing the lodging bill. However, there are things you can do to try to save your budget.

Since we had been to the >> find out more...

Stephanie Porter

Aloha! I'm a food lover, joyful mother, travel addict, irreverent friend, hip-shaking dancer, car radio-singer, make-out lover, and writer. Love to travel? Join me. Cheers!

A Family Trip To Kenya

Family trip to KenyaThe end of last year I was homeschooling my kids when an opportunity for our whole family to go to Kenya came up. It was a chance to find education outside of a textbook and to do something for others. It was right, so we went. This is the first time I’ve sat down to write and reflect on the trip and the impact it had on my kids. I don’t know if I will ever fully know how what they witnessed with their eyes, traveled to their hearts, but perhaps telling the story of the day I met one amazing sho sho will help…

Family Trip to Kenya

Family Trip to KenyaFirst stop…the market. While waiting to buy food parcels, the kids and adults gathered to see the song and dance show that we were performing to entertain the kids gawking at this small army of white skinned weirdos who obviously weren’t from around these parts. We failed miserably at trying to be inconspicuous to avoid mzungu prices. However, if the color of our skin affected the price, I wouldn’t have noticed. Seventy dollars to buy food parcels for 24 elderly families was a steal, and I would have gladly paid more.

HandClapBy the time we arrived at the … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.