10 Disney World Tips For Parents – The Perfect Day

We’ve been to Disney World with toddlers four times now, and these are our 10 best Disney World tips 2018 for parents.

We wish we knew these Disney World tips the first time around.

Honestly, we’re still figuring out how everything works.

But these are the Disney World tips you need to know to have the perfect day with your kids.

disney world tips and secrets

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10 Disney World Tips For The Perfect Day With Kids

If you’re bringing older kids to Disney World, you have much more flexibility.

These Disney World tips are meant for parents bringing toddlers and little ones.

Why?

Disney World really is the happiest place on Earth if you know these simple, insider tips!

1. Arrive Early

I don’t mean 9:00am or 10:00am early – I mean a few minutes BEFORE the park opens.

We only just figured out how important this is.

Not that our kids are a little older (ages 3 & 7) it’s finally easier to get up & out the door early.

In the past, we arrived around 10:00am or 11:00am, and here is what you can expect if you arrive at that time.

This makes a massive difference in your entire day – especially when going to Disney’s Magic Kingdom which takes extra effort to from the parking lot.

We breezed through security and straight onto the monorail – zero lines!

We arrived at Magic Kingdom & the park was nearly empty – zero lines!

While everyone else is stuck queueing up for the monorail, you have 1-2 hours of prime Disney World time.

2. Pre-Book Early Fast Passes

As soon as you buy your tickets, you’ll want to create & link your tickets on the Disney World website.

Then select 3 FastPasses, meaning you can skip the long line & get in the fast lane.

BUT, the real tip here is to select 3 MORNING FastPass tickets.

 

You want to use up your FastPasses as early in the day as possible.

Why?

Once you finish your 3 pre-booked FastPasses, you can keep rebooking FastPasses one at a time.

All. Day. Long.

You first have to finish your 3 initial FastPasses before you can start rebooking.

Make sure you don’t have a FastPass scheduled for later in the day or that’s it – you’ll be waiting in line all day for everything else.

Worst of all, don’t wait until the last minute to make your FastPass reservations.

Otherwise, there will be nothing left.

3. Keep Booking FastPass Tickets

This is the SECRET SAUCE to your magical day & a trick so many Disney World visitors don’t seem to know about yet.

Once you use up your 3 pre-booked FastPasses you can keep rebooking your FastPass one at a time.

Until recently, you had to walk around the park & then queue up for a FastPass Kiosk to rebook.

While these kiosks are still around, you can now book fast passes directly from your smart phone!

Literally, as soon as we enter a FastPass line, one of us is on the phone booking the next FastPass ride.

If the next ride is farther away or we have time to spare in between rides, we will line up to do something with a shorter wait time in between.

So, how do you book these FastPasses & check the most up-to-date wait times?

See #4 below – download the app!

4. Download the App

It’s 100% worth taking a minute to download the Disney app on your phone before going to Disney World.

Not only can you keep track of the FastPass tickets that you pre-booked (#2 above), you can book your next FastPass tickets directly from your phone too (#3 above).

You’ll get interactive park maps, and up-t0-date wait times on all the rides & attractions.

We still love using the Disney World paper maps, but the app is the perfect way to plan your day.

5. What To Do When You Need Break

You can & should be having breaks throughout the day – it will save your sanity.

There are plenty of easy ways to work this into your schedule… go to the shows!

Orlando is hot – shows offer air conditioning.

You’ll be on your feet most of the day – shows offer comfy seats.

If you time it right, you can eat & watch the parades go by.

There are SO MANY SHOWS.

6. Rider Swap

With a toddler and an older child, there will be rides your toddler won’t be tall enough to ride.

The first few times we went to Disney World, we thought one adult would have to sit out on every ride so the other adult could take the older child.

Yes & no.

Disney World makes it easy for adults to take turns riding while someone stays to watch the younger kid.

Here’s how you do it.

When the first adult goes to ride with the older child, have them tell the ride worker that you would like a Rider Swap.

This frees up the second adult to take the younger kid on a smaller ride.

 

Disney World Tips rider swap

Once the adult & older kid return, just take the Rider Swap pass back to the entrance.

The other adult can go right in again… and the older kid can ride again!

The Rider Swap option is a fantastic option for parents.

You can learn more about Rider Swap here.

7. Take Your Own Photos

If you’re on a “no expenses spared” trip to Disney World, I totally get that.

But you don’t have to spend $199 on the Disney Photo Pass if you don’t want to.

Whenever your kids are taking pictures with characters in the park, Disney World very kindly allows you to take your own photos too.

Disney World photo pass

They will step aside give you a chance to quickly take a few of your own pictures.

It’s a great way to capture the moment without spending a fortune.

And they’re really nice about it, so you don’t feel like a cheapskate. 

8. Dining In the Park – Pros & Cons

Here are my best Disney World tips about dining inside the park so far.

Believe it or not, there is definitely a learning curve when it comes to dining in Disney World.

Some restaurants are first-come, first-serve while others require reservations and get fully booked in advance. 

We’ve eaten in Liberty Tree Tavern & Mama Melrose’s with a reservation and Harbour House without reservations. 

Disney World restaurants

This past visit we booked a table at the Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace to have the character dining experience.

There was plenty of choice in the Crystal Palace buffet, and the kids loved having Winnie The Pooh and friends visit our table during the meal.

 

 

We’ve found only two possible problems with dining in Disney World:

  1. The price – make sure you review the menu before you book, so you realize what you will be spending.
  2. The commitment – you can cancel up until 24 hours ahead of time without a penalty, but if you cancel on the day they will charge you per person.

We ended up leaving the park one day & returning a few hours later for our dinner reservations because the weather was bad & the kids were tired.

Upside: you won’t need to pay for parking again & the park at night is a totally different place!

9. Bringing Your Stroller – Pros & Cons

If you have kids under 7 years old, a stroller in Disney World is a must-have.

You have a few options here.

1. Bring your current stroller. This is ONLY an option if you have a stroller that is BOTH very compact and easy to quickly collapse! There are a few times during the day that you will have to quickly break that stroller down in order to keep moving.

2. Rent a stroller in Disney World. This is a nice option if you want to rent a double stroller or avoid the hassle of dragging a stroller on & off the tram just to get into the park. The downside of course is the price – you will have to rent for each day you are in the park.

3. Bring an umbrella stroller. These are designed to break down fast & have a low profile.

Disney World stroller

For the price of just one day stroller rental in Disney World you can buy an umbrella stroller to use for your entire visit & then bring home!

10. Bring Your Own Water & Snacks

After a long day at Disney World we returned to our hotel & another dad asked me in the elevator how our day was because he was bringing his kids the next day for their first visit.

I told him to bring lots of water & he was shocked that we could bring our own into the park!

YES, Disney World allows you to bring your own water & snacks with you.

We always bring 2 bags – one packed with water & snacks that we can leave tied to the stroller using this clip (it doesn’t lock, but the clip just adds a little security – although the park always feels VERY safe).

The second bag is small & contains just a few valuables for the day – cash, phone, camera, etc.

We didn’t worry about the price of eating nice dinners in Disney World, because we bought a grand total of ZERO water bottles during the day.

We splurged on a few Mickey Mouse ice cream treats, but how can you not!

More Disney World Tips

Get more Disney World tips from Traveling Dads here:

Havana Cuba – Everything You Need To Know

Looking to visit Havana Cuba?

Last year we traveled to Havana without doing much research ahead of time.

What a mistake!

When you think of Havana, you might only thing of retro cars and live music.

But visiting Cuba can be a culture shock.

Even though it’s only 106 miles from the US Coast, basic places & products we take for granted are impossible to find.

Why?

There are no supermarkets or pharmacies!

It’s safe to assume that if you don’t bring it, you won’t be able to get it.

Changing money isn’t easy either & it’s difficult to find internet access.

Before you travel to Havana Cuba, here is everything you need to know.

 

Havana Cuba - everything you need to know before you travel on vacation. Last year we traveled to Havana Cuba without doing much research ahead of time. What a mistake! Visiting Havana Cuba can be a culture shock. Basic places & products we take for granted are impossible to find. Before you travel to Havana Cuba, here is EVERYTHING you need to know.

Havana Cuba – Everything You Need To Know

Looking for something that isn’t here?

Leave a comment below & let me know what questions you have about Cuba & I’ll find answers for you.

Pictures of Havana Cuba

havana cuba pictures of cuba today

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Havana Cuba Pictures

Looking for recent Havana Cuba pictures?

I went to Havana Cuba in 2017 and all of the pictures below are from that trip.

Looking for Havana Cuba pictures? These are my unfiltered Havana Cuba pictures & travel photos from a trip to Cuba in 2017. Havana Cuba pictures show classic cars, military demonstrations, tanks, guns, architecture, and daily Cuban life in the streets.

Havana is just 106 miles from Key West in the USA, but it feels like suddenly we’ve gone back in time.

Some things I expected to see – like the beautiful classic cars & building that have been perfectly maintained.

Other views are less stunning – like crumbling buildings & dirty city streets.

There is a constant pull between feelings of nostalgia & realization of oppression.

The purposeful & visible government displays of weapons & tanks are a jarring reminder that a communist government still controls its people.

It’s hard to say whether it’s despite of all of this or because of all of this, but the Cuban people have a quiet strength & pride that rises above the oppression.

As a tourist in Havana Cuba, don’t let the pictures fool you.

There are things you need to know before visiting Cuba.

Such as, when our luggage didn’t arrive on the plane, we were 100% unable to buy basic necessities like deodorant & toothpaste because there are NO STORES!

Hint: don’t check your luggage when traveling to Cuba.

Here’s more about my trip to Havana Cuba in 2017.

Despite all of this, the people of Cuba are resilient & optimistic.

Havana Cuba Pictures

Havana, Cuba

 

Just click on the album above to see nearly 100 Havana Cuba pictures.

What else did I learn during my visit to Cuba?

Here are 7 things NOT to do when visiting Cuba.

El Chalten Patagonia: TOP 12 Sites For Tourists

My wife & I recently spent a few kid-free days hiking & trekking around incredible El Chalten Patagonia.

We read a lot about El Chalten before we visited, but getting there left us with an entirely different perspective.

Patagonia is even more amazing that I expected, and I definitely plan to visit again.

el chalten argentina

From secluded picnics in front of glaciers to watching glacier calving to trekking around Fitz Roy, El Chalten is an awe-inspiring place.

If you’re thinking of one day visiting El Chalten Patagonia, pin & save this post to keep it handy.

El Chalten Patagonia is even more amazing in person than you think it will be. We bought the guide books, but these TOP 12 El Chalten sites were more helpful for trekking & touring than the travel guides.

El Chalten Patagonia: TOP 12 Sites For Tourists

Before & after we visited El Chalten we traveled to other parts of Argentina.

This guide book for Argentina is fantastic as is this guide to Patagonia, but for El Chalten specifically we found the best tips always came from other travel bloggers.

Here are the top X resources I found useful for our recent trip to El Chalten Patagonia in Argetina:

These are the websites we found most helpful when we visited El Chalten.

I’ll do my part to update you soon with a few more posted related not only to El Chalten but to other parts of Patagonia & Argentina.

If there is something specific you want to know, just leave me a comment below.

Until my new posts are ready, here are a few more pictures from our trip.

 

el chalten trekking

Even the drive to El Chalten had fantastic views… and lots of guanaco (wild llamas).

A glacier & lake view for our picnic lunch.

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Sensitive Skin Care: 5 Family Travel Tips

 

With traveling as much I do, I’ve learned how important it is to protect my own sensitive skin from the elements.

When traveling with my kids, it’s even more important to be prepared, as kids are so much more sensitive to these changes.

Sensitive skin doesn’t have to be an issue when your family travels. Care for your family’s sensitive skin with these products, tips and remedies. A little attention to the soap and care will go along way in protecting your family’s body from rash problems that flare up during travel.

We’ve learned the hard way that we have to take care of our daughter’s sensitive skin whenever we are traveling.

We’ve come up with this list of five tips, and Baby Dove on the list as one of our must-haves.

Sensitive skin doesn’t have to be an issue when your family travels. Care for your family’s sensitive skin with these products, tips and remedies. A little attention to the soap and care will go along way in protecting your family’s body from rash problems that flare up during travel.

Did you know a little one’s skin is 30% thinner than ours??

No wonder kids have extra sensitive skin!

One of our daughters has super sensitive skin & it seems like she always has skin problems when we travel.

We’ve come up with this list of five tips that help take care of our daughter’s sensitive skin whenever we are traveling.

If we forget on of these 5 things, she is pretty much guaranteed to have irritated skin when we travel.

Sensitive Skin Care: 5 Family Travel Tips

Here are five tips for caring for sensitive skin when traveling with kids.

Snacks

I don’t know about you but we tend to eat more junk food than usual when we travel.

Did you know eating certain foods can cause a flare up in those with sensitive skin?

We make sure we bring along snacks that are gentle on our kid’s tummy.

Having snacks kids are used to is a massive help in controlling sensitive skin issues.

Sensitive skin doesn’t have to be an issue when your family travels. Care for your family’s sensitive skin with these products, tips and remedies. A little attention to the soap and care will go along way in protecting your family’s body from rash problems that flare up during travel.

Hand Wipes

Having Baby Dove Wipes handy will save lots of peace of mind, since kids touch EVERYTHING!

For those travel moments when it’s impossible to wash hand, it helps to at least be able to wipe down the kids hands & environment before eating.

This can massively help control sensitive skin issues by avoiding contact with problems altogether.

The Baby Dove Wipes are hypoallergenic, convenient & portable, so they’re perfect for travel.

Weather

Changes in the environment can be tough on sensitive skin.

Anything too hot or too cold can mean the skin needs extra moisture.

We love using skin care products specifically made to protect the moisture & combat the elements.

Comfortable Wear

Traveling is not the time to pack crazy uncomfortable clothes the kids never usually wear.

It’s important to keep kids comfortable while traveling to avoid things like pinched feet or fussy faces.

It definitely helps our daughter with her sensitivity to avoid irritations from the materials she isn’t used to wearing.

Baby Dove

Dove is our family’s trusted brand because it’s made with hypoallergenic-neutral formulas that don’t irritate sensitive skin.

Plus, it’s dermatologist and pediatrician-tested, so we feel good about using it on our little one.

Our kids love how soft & protected their skin feels with Baby Dove.

They’re very sensitive to smell too & Baby Dove leaves them smelling fresh & clean.

I’m crazy about sharing my love of travel with my growing kids, but the reality is that travel can be tough on them.

In order to make the all our travel memories as positive as possible, we try to keep everyone comfortable despite the disruption from our routine at home.

Baby Dove is one of those little comforts from home that make traveling with kids much easier.

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Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami

Last week I had meetings in Miami & stayed at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami.

When traveling with work, I rarely get a chance to get outside during the day.

Luckily I’m solar-powered & my eyes pop open at dawn everyday.

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to walk around an empty city at sunrise.

It’s the best way to take in a city at my own pace, before the hectic workday begins.

I clear my head, get in some exercise & discover a new city, all at once.

We live about an hour away from Miami, so I rarely visit – probably only once or twice a year when friends are visiting.

Here are my pictures of the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami pool and room & nearby Brickell neighborhood.

Quiet morning walk around the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami Pool

 

Sun coming up at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami Pool

 

Outside view of the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami

 

View from my balcony at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami

 

Brickell neighborhood of Miami Florida

 

My suite at the Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami (checkout that view!)

 

Another view from my Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami suite.

 

Time for breakfast! Mandarín Oriental Hotel Miami Brunch & Decor

 

Sun going down on Brickell

 

Brickell Miami photo at night.

 

A final fantastic view of Brickell in Miami Florida

 

5 Travel Hacks For International Travel With Baby

 

If you’re new to international travel with baby in tow, it’s easier than you probably think.

Our daughter’s first overseas trip was from our home in Paris, France to my visit my wife’s family in Dallas, Texas.

She was just 4 months old.

I know it’s annoying when people tell you how easy it is to have international travel with baby, but once your baby turns in to a toddler, you will realize it’s true.

Follow these 5 simple tips to make your international travel with baby a more comfortable experience for you, your baby & everyone else traveling around you.

New to international travel with baby? Don't worry - we've got you covered with these 5 Travel Hack tips & ideas for trips with infants on planes. http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/international-travel-with-baby

5 Travel Hacks For International Travel With Baby

Here are the best 5 hacks I have found that have made international travel with baby a piece of cake.

Leave Early

As a corporate traveler, I know exactly when I need to leave to get to the airport at just the right time.

As a dad, I’ve learned it’s important to head to the airport much earlier because if something can go wrong – it will go wrong.

More than once, we’ve had major diaper blowouts while waiting in line to go through security.

Give yourself that extra time, so your stress level stays low & your baby can feel relaxed.

Carry On Comfort

Speaking of major diaper blowouts, plan to bring at least 2 changes of clothes in your carry on & more diapers than you think you will need.

Pack them in a ziplock back that you can re-use to seal up the dirty clothes.

Forget fancy baby clothes, make your baby as comfortable as possible – even bring along pajamas.

Baby clothes are tiny, and you could really regret it if you don’t have a clean change of clothes handy.

New to international travel with baby? Don't worry - we've got you covered with these 5 Travel Hack tips & ideas for trips with infants on planes. http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/international-travel-with-baby

Prevention Is Key

International travel with baby means less time available to change & clean baby exactly when you would like to.

It’s much harder to change diapers during travel, but there’s an easy way to avoid irritating baby’s skin & mood!

To baby comfortable & clean throughout your trip, just pack Desitin Maximum Strength cream in your carry on.

Desitin helps keep a barrier between the diaper and your baby.

New to international travel with baby? Don't worry - we've got you covered with these 5 Travel Hack tips & ideas for trips with infants on planes. http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/international-travel-with-baby

This will ensure they wouldn’t get a heat rash or irritated – especially during long trips.

It’s one of those products you will keep on hand for years because older children too can get relief from this protection.

 

Pack Their Favorites

Once your baby is old enough, bring along their favorite snacks & toys.

You are allowed to bring whatever milk, water & baby food your child needs for the flight.

If you’re bringing jarred food, just pack it in an easy-to-access place in your carry on & present it with the milk you are bringing.

Snacks & toys are a great way to keep baby entertained & satisfied with full bellies.

Deep Breaths

I know this one might sound silly, but plan to feel overwhelmed at some point during the trip.

A fellow traveler might be rude or your flight may get delayed.

It’s going to happen.

Remember to enjoy the experience…

New to international travel with baby? Don't worry - we've got you covered with these 5 Travel Hack tips & ideas for trips with infants on planes. http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/international-travel-with-baby

Hey, even if it’s terrible – those make the best stories later!

Have your own tips for international travel with baby?

Leave your questions & comments below.

7 Things NOT To Do When Visiting Havana Cuba

Planning a trip to Havana Cuba?

Wondering if it’s really possible to travel there from the USA?

At the beginning of this year my wife & I took a kid-free trip to Havana Cuba (thank you grandparents).

Below is what we learned during our time in Havana Cuba – specifically what NOT to do.

When you’re done with this, here is everything you need to know about Havana Cuba including:

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

You might be wondering HOW we were able to visit Havana Cuba from the USA.

Obama created 12 legal reasons US citizens can travel to Cuba.

Many of them are very abstract, such as “support for the Cuban people” (not sure how long these rules will apply under Trump.)

You just have to pick one and fill a form for the airline, but that’s it.

When you come back they may or may not ask in the airport where you just came from.

As bloggers, my wife & I simply visited as journalists.

We bought this travel guide & you want to buy it ahead of time (there are NO STORES there – more about that below).

This map is a life-saver too. 

You can view all our trip pictures are here: Havana Cuba pictures.

What NOT To Do When Visiting Havana Cuba

It’s easy enough to get there, but what we found when we arrived was TOTALLY different than we expected.

Here are 7 things you should NOT do when you visit Havana Cuba.

Don’t Check Your Luggage

I highly recommend NOT checking your luggage.

Why?

Our luggage didn’t arrive on our plane…

It arrived 36 hours later!

This is a BIG deal in Havana Cuba because there are NO shops – NONE.

Want to buy toothpaste? Sorry.

Forgot your deodorant? Too bad.

If you must check your luggage, at least pack a few toiletries & change of clothes in a backpack…

Whatever you can’t survive the trip without should be in your carryon.

Bring basics like these handiwipes and tissue packs.

You will thank me later!

Don’t Take Where You Stay For Granted

We stayed in an Airbnb in Havana Cuba – and Airbnb didn’t let us down at all.

They were fantastic actually.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

Here’s a picture of our street.

The reality of life in Cuba means you might need a little extra support & our Airbnb host gave us a cell phone to use to contact him during our stay.

Now, he wasn’t able to help us with the missing toothpaste or deodorant, but I’m sure he would have if they actually had stores.

Don’t Forget –  You’re In A Communist Country

The propaganda was ridiculous.

In a beautiful square they played COPS-style videos to the crowds.

Related: Travel Photo Album – Havana Cuba Pictures

Meanwhile, the public infrastructure has been sadly neglected leading to falling down buildings & insufficient sanitation.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

Some buildings being held up by sticks while families still live in them (notice the laundry!).

Others collapsing completely.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

How beautiful these buildings would be if they’d been properly maintained.

Here’s hoping one day they will be restored to their full glory.

Don’t Assume There Are Stores

OK I know I told you earlier that there are NO stores in Havana Cuba.

Actually, we saw 1 store.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

This is a picture of their version of a CVS pharmacy.

This strange shop (likely owned & operated by the Cuban government) had no essentials.

If you forget to pack your toothpaste, you’ll have to find someone willing to share (lucky for us, the family staying in the other room of our apartment had some to spare!).

There is no CSV or Walgreens or Cuban version of a convenience store.

The locals have to wait for their rations, so they don’t have any left to sell or share with you.

Don’t Skip A Classic Cars Tour

It’s a fun way to see Havana Cuba & if your driver/tour guide is half as friendly as ours, you’ll be all set.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

You can book them for short or long tours & have them drop you off somewhere convenient for you.

Don’t Pass Up A Drink In Each Famous Bar

Yes, they’re packed full of tourists, but they’re also full of great music & serious bartending.

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

La Bodeguita Del Medio – Havana, Cuba

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.
 
 
The show & the prize!
 
Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.
 

El Floridita – Havana, Cuba

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

 

Crowds again, but so worth it!

Havana Cuba: looking to travel to Havana Cuba? Here’s what NOT to do along with tips & photography from our 2017 trip to this vintage destination. There are lots of things to do on your trip to Havana Cuba. Here’s everything from architecture to photography to hotel to food to decor. If Havana Cuba is your destination, here’s what NOT to do.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

This seems to be the motto of the people in Havana Cuba.

One good thing about visiting a communist country is that there is virtually no crime, so we felt very safe walking everywhere at night.

It’s a massive cultural shock to American consumers used to having “stuff”.

But WOW were we impressed with the resilient Cuban spirit.

More About Cuba

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Highlights Of Our “Hurrication”

 

We spent this past week on a “hurrication” (the “vacation” you take while running away from a hurricane!).

Here are some highlights of our 2017 “hurrication”, thanks to Hurricane Irma.

2017 Hurrication Highlights

Living in South Florida is mostly fantastic, despite the hurricane scares.

This year was a little different.

Predictions of a direct hit from Hurricane Irma freaked us out enough to pack everything into our mini-van & make a run for it.

We stayed in a number of hotels along the way, but we kept moving as Irma’s path changed.

We made it all the way up to Alabama before we finally felt able to relax – safely out of the storm’s path.

our hurrication story

Spending days on the road meant eating out more than we would like!

Once we checked into our hurrication hotel in Alabama, we hit the local Publix in search of our favorite snacks.

My wife loves that Liberté is an organic snack & I love the adventurous flavors!

I always pickup the coconut flavor for myself, but we usually grab a few of the mango flavors too.

We settled back into our hotel to watch the storm from a video camera in front of our house.

The power stayed on almost all of the time, so we were able to see the wind & the rain.

our hurrication story

Once the worst was over, I attempted to catch up on a few work emails missed during the last few days…. which wasn’t easy to do with the kids going stir-crazy!

We needed to get outside ASAP!

our hurrication story

Luckily there was a park right next to our hurrication hotel, so we spent a few hours exploring Alabama’s great outdoors.

our hurrication story

FINALLY, after a week, it was safe to drive through Florida & go back home.

We drove to Georgia in heavy traffic & spent the night.

The plan was to sleep early & wake up early to hit the road & beat traffic.

Believe it or not, the highways were packed ALL NIGHT.

This is a picture we took at 4am!

our hurrication story

Our 6 hour drive turned into an 11.5 hour drive, but the kids were fantastic.

our hurrication story

While the hurrication itself was stressful, it was replaced by the RELIEF to be back home to a house fully intact with AC, water & electricity.

Our only “damage” was a blown-over fence.

WE WERE LUCKY & grateful to be home.

Thank you to Liberté for sponsoring this post & helping cover some of our hurrication costs.

our hurrication story

Hurricane Evacuation To Ross Bridge Resort, Marriott Birmingham

We live in South Florida, so when Hurricane Irma rolled in, we rolled out… all the way to Alabama where we will spend the weekend at the Ross Bridge Resort Marriott Birmingham.

Now, Alabama wasn’t on my bucket list, but the Ross Bridge Resort more than exceeded my expectations.

It took 45 minutes to travel the last 15 miles of our journey (3 out of 4 license plates were Florida tags), but this Marriott Birmingham hotel rose up to meet us.

 

ross bridge resort marriott birmingham hotel

Helloooooo curb appeal!

We did look like a bunch of evacuees as we piled out of the mini-van with our kids – their toys & snacks literally falling out of the door when it slid open.

As always, Marriott’s friendly, professional staff makes us feel right at home.

I used my Marriott points to book the room, which came with a big balcony & this stunning view.

ross bridge resort marriott birmingham hotel

It’s a relief to have plenty of entertainment here for the kids – restless after spending 3 days in the car.

Once the golf course closed, the kids loved walking the paths, collecting pine cones, and chasing birds.

The hotel grounds are stunning in every direction.

ross bridge resort marriott birmingham hotel

I expect we will do the same every night, as it’s a great way to end the day… the sunset walk is beautiful, yes, but mostly we go to wear the kids out!!!

ross bridge resort marriott birmingham hotel

In the mornings we stuffed our faces with a ridiculously delicious breakfast – biscuits & gravy, mountains of fresh fruit & a honey-baked ham.

Then we hit the pool, where the kids spent the day going down the waterslide.

ross bridge resort marriott birmingham hotel

We aren’t sure yet how long we will need to stay at this Marriott Birmingham hotel – we’re watching to see where Hurricane Irma is headed.

Even though we don’t yet know where we will go next, the Ross Bridge Resort has provided a welcome sanctuary as a home away from home…

Now, if only we could actually GO home.

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It?

Recently we stayed at the Legoland Florida Hotel, which is immediately next to the Legoland Florida theme park.

If you’re wondering whether it was worth the cost to stay at the Legoland Florida Hotel, keep reading!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It?

Not only did we take the kids to Legoland… we took the grandparents too!

Legoland is not only a fun theme park for the whole family, but it’s much less crowded than many of the other major theme parks, making it a better overall experience!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

The Price Is Right

Believe it or not, the Legoland Florida Hotel is much less expensive than you might imagine.

We’ve looked many times into stay on property for other theme parks, but usually the cost is astronomical. Not so for Legoland Florida!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

And, if you get the Awesomer or Awesomest annual passes (also very reasonably priced – especially if you’re Florida residents like we are), you get a 10% DISCOUNT on your hotel stay too.

Location Location Location

Staying on property gives everyone the flexibility to enjoy the day.

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

We like the idea of being able to go back & have a nap in the middle of the day… With grandparents & toddlers this can make or break the day.

Luckily our toddler managed to completely knock out in the stroller.

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

 

Staying on property means we can enjoy the theme park even from our room!

We could see some of the rides & caught a huge fireworks show just before bedtime.

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

Early Admission After Breakfast

Staying in the hotel comes with a full buffet breakfast and early admission to the park.

 

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

We get up EARLY with kids, so we definitely used this perk.

More Entertainment Inside!

The kids were obsessed with the Lego decor & activities inside the hotel lobby: bricks, bricks, bricks!

Legoland Florida Hotel: Is It Worth It? We took the kids and the grandparents to the Legoland Florida Hotel to stay on the property. Here's what happened: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/legoland-florida-hotel-review/

I can’t believe we managed to get out of the hotel without taking any pictures of the rooms!

There was a treasure hunt inside the room with free lego toys for the kids to build & keep.

Plus, the bunk beds & kids lego movies playing in the room – it’s heaven for the kids & the adults.

Since we bought the annual passes, we will just have to go back again to get you those pictures – stay tuned!

Niagara Falls Video

We were in nearby Buffalo for a wedding earlier this year & couldn’t miss a few trips over to Niagara Falls.

niagara-falls-videos

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Niagara Falls Video

It was September, which is a perfect time of year to visit Niagara Falls.

First we saw it from the USA side.

niagara falls video usa side niagara-falls-video

Then we had to get down into the falls.

And get closer still!


It’s a terrific view even as the boat leaves Niagara Falls!

A few days later we passed back by from the Niagara Falls Canada side.

This is one fantastic waterfall!

It was cool to watch the boats try to approach the falls!

Amsterdam: Places To Visit

I hope Amsterdam is on your list of places to visit.

Traveling to Amsterdam, Netherlands? Looking for tips on hotels & food during your visit to Amsterdam? Find your top 10 bucket list things to do in Amsterdam here: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/amsterdam-places-visit

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Amsterdam: Places To Visit

We went a few years ago & while I wouldn’t suggest going in February (don’t we look cold!), Amsterdam is full of beautiful scenery & lovely people.

I usually plan out our entire trip ahead of time, but honestly for Amsterdam I didn’t do much travel planning.

We were living in London at the time, so it was cheap & easy to jump on the Eurostar & head to Amsterdam.

One thing I suggest is picking up this Top 10 Amsterdam Travel Guide.

It’s full of pictures, covers all the highlights & is small & lightweight, so it’s a handy reference.

Here’s a little video montage of our Amsterdam visit.
 



 

If you need a complete guide to Amsterdam NOW, you can download the ebook here from Lonely Planet.

Traveling to Amsterdam, Netherlands? Looking for tips on hotels & food during your visit to Amsterdam? Find your top 10 bucket list things to do in Amsterdam here: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/amsterdam-places-visit

 

If you are planning ahead & want more detail than just the Top 10, order the book to be delivered to you here.

Traveling to Amsterdam, Netherlands? Looking for tips on hotels & food during your visit to Amsterdam? Find your top 10 bucket list things to do in Amsterdam here: http://www.jetsetdaddy.com/amsterdam-places-visit