Sunday, January 19, 2014

Family Travel and Making Memories with CAA #‎CAAOrlando‬

#sponI was 9 years old, and it was my first plane ride. My family was on our way to our Florida dream vacation. I imagine my parents were just happy to get away from the cold and their work for a week, but my brother and I were excited for Disney World! Back then Disney World was just the Magic Kingdom, so we did it in one day and then moved on to other area theme parks, including Sea World and the now closed Circus World. We have 3 photo albums documenting that trip, including a picture of my very upset brother whose Circus World face painting was a sad clown. He wanted to be a happy clown like me. We don't have photos from our experience on Space Mountain. We had no idea what we were in for, and I've never stepped onto a roller coaster again! (Yes, I'm a bit of a wimp.)

Family vacations, if well planned, can provide some of the absolute best memories from childhood. Getting away and experiencing something new is a wonderful thing to share with your kids. I've been lucky to be able to share my great Orlando memories with my boys by bringing them three times in the last three years.
Meeting Mickey Mouse is a hit at every visit!
Unlike my brother, Boo was very happy with his face painting experience.
I have two tips to help you get the most out of your next family vacation. Number one, plan it well. Number two, be ready to throw that plan out the window.

Contradictory? Maybe. But give me a chance.  A little research and a planned out calendar can go a long way towards ensuring you get to all the attractions you want to see. Particularly in an area like Orlando, there is so very much to do that you really need to prioritise and be sure you have time built in for your wish list. Theme parks, golf, water parks, animal attractions, balloon rides, ziplining, and more. You could spend the whole summer and not fit it all in, so make a plan.

At the same time, be prepared to make changes to your plans. I find that we get a little over-ambitious in our plans and then attraction fatigue begins to set in. Especially for Boo, since he gets over-stimulated so easily, he may suddenly need downtime when the schedule says it's time for Universal. So, be ready to go with the flow and listen to your kids and their needs. An exhausted kid at a theme park throwing a tantrum is no fun way to spend your day. An exhausted kid who's allowed to sleep in and then play in the pool for an hour? Much happier day for everyone, and you still may get some park time in later!

We just returned from our latest trip to Orlando, and I'll be writing about our adventures over the next week or so. In the meantime, I want to tell you about a fabulous contest happening right now with CAA South Central Ontario! They are giving away a trip for four to Orlando, including airfare, accommodation, and attraction tickets, worth about $6000. What a great trip to win for your family!

There are two ways to enter the contest - share your favourite Florida travel memory in a text entry of up to 150 words, or share a photo memory on Instagram using the hashtag #CAAOrlando. All shared photos using this hashtag will be automatically added to the contest gallery. Contest is open to residents of the CAASCO membership area, and entries will be accepted until February 15, 2014. Winner will be chosen at random. Best of luck!!

Disclosure: As a Brand Ambassador with PTPA and CAA South Central Ontario, I received compensation for my participation. All opinions expressed on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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