10 Tips for a First Visit to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA

We visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg in August of 2019. I saved the following post, hoping to share it at the start of the 2020 season. Unfortunately, the COVID 19 pandemic hit and I didn’t feel it appropriate to post when the amusement park was closed. Busch Gardens is scheduled to open in late July and I am sharing the following observations and tips for families choosing to visit the park this summer. I also believe most of these tips will be relevant in future years as well. For the latest updates on Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s schedule check here and for updates on regulations, check here.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is an almost 400 aces amusement park in James City County, near the popular “Historic Triangle” of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. The complex is organized by European countries and includes over 50 rides, with 9 rollercoasters and 3 water rides, and plenty of family fun. The park is closed in January, February, and parts of March, with select hours and dates for early spring and later fall. Check the full calendar here. On a research trip to Busch Gardens, I learned quite a few tips for saving time and money and for maximizing family fun while visiting the park.

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10 Places We Love in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a big state- over 46,000 square miles, over 12 million people, and several popular cities. I remember the first time my husband and I, pre-children, drove a lengthy part of Interstate 76 to get to Pittsburgh (one of the first baseball parks we visited); it felt like the road went on forever. Many years later, we have travelled through most of Pennsylvania (and traveling 330 miles in one day is now a breeze- our record is 710 miles in one day!) and found a lot of spots we love! Although there are many more places we have yet to visit, here are our top 10 family friendly spots in Pennsylvania:

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10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

We recently visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for the first time. We visited during the holiday break in December, which is the busiest week of the whole year. We knew that ahead of time but, boy, was it packed! The staff did a good job of keeping people moving and safe. It also rained on and off all day. So, not ideal conditions for visiting a major (and expensive!) amusement park, but we still had fun. We also learned a lot.

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10 Must Do Activities at the Contemporary Resort in Disney World

There are so many options when it comes to hotel accommodations at Walt Disney World- everything from camping at Fort Wilderness to staying inside Cinderella’s Castle. We’ve been to Disney World three times, and each time we’ve stayed at a different level resort. On our second trip a few years ago, we splurged and stayed at the Contemporary Resort, considered a deluxe resort because of its amenities and proximity to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Parks. While we were there, we found so many fun things to do. Here are our top ten favorite things:

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StoryLand in Glen, New Hampshire

Opened in 1954, StoryLand is a nursery rhyme themed amusement park that will take you back in time. Story Land is located in Glen, New Hampshire, a small community in the town of Bartlett in the beautiful White Mountains. It’s a short, ten minute drive to the town of  North Conway (a popular skiing destination) with many family friendly things to do. StoryLand is fun for the whole family, but it especially caters to younger children in size, calmer rides (with a few exceptions for the thrill seekers), and plenty of interactive shows and meets and greets. Even on a busy day, you won’t wait more than 30 minutes for a ride (and that’s an unusually long time)

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My Top Disney World Dining Recommendations

This past weekend, I was at a party chatting with a friend about her upcoming trip to Disney World. She asked for my dining recommendations. Before she knew it, I had pen and paper out, my My Disney Experience app on my phone open, and it was about thirty minutes before she could get a word in the “conversation”. I had a LOT of recommendations.

We’ve been to Disney twice already with our children, and have five days booked for this summer, as part of our larger road trip. While I wouldn’t consider myself a Disney expert, I did speak to a lot of people for personal recommendations and read a lot of blogs before each of our trips. I was very interested in where to eat to have the best family experience.

You can make dining reservations 180 days from the start of your stay. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make dining reservations ahead of time, and as soon as you can. When you make a reservation, they will ask for credit card information to hold the reservation. There are various cancellation policies based on the venue; some restaurants give you up to five days, and some are within 24 hours of a reservation. There are also a few dining options that will require you to prepay for your meal. Disney has various dining plan packages at various price points, and include snacks, quick service meals (you order at a counter, pick up your food, and find a place to sit), full service (buffet and menu options), and formal dining. Note: Disney Dining Plans are only available if you are staying on a Disney owned property.

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