Author Archive

How to Get Into Diagon Alley Early

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Seeing pictures of hours-long lines at Universal Orlando Resort, full of fellow Harry Potter fans eager to get into the newest Wizarding World on it’s first day, got us scheming: How can you get into Diagon Alley before the crowds?! Obviously no day will be as busy as that opening day, but still. Here are some places to stay that will get you in an hour earlier than most muggles!

Stay at a Universal hotel. All four of them, Loews Portofino Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, Loews Royal Pacific Resort (named one of American Baby’s Most Baby-Friendly Resorts), and the brand-new, moderately priced Cabana Bay Beach Resort grant you early access to both Universal parks. Read all the fine print here, but the bottom line is, there’s not much fine print. As long as you have park tickets and an active room key for one of the hotels, you can get in early, which usually means 8am versus 9am. The other obvious advantage to a Universal Hotel is you’re right next to the parks and can either walk or ride a free shuttle, skipping the parking hassle. Hey, every minute counts!

There’s a $135 per adult, per night, tax-inclusive offer for a four-night stay at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort that includes multi-day park-to-park tickets and some breakfasts, so it’s a deal, as long as you can do a four-night getaway. Travel has to be August 17 to October 2, or November 30 to December 18, and must be booked by July 31. Start here. There are upgrade options too!

Buy a Universal Orlando package. Quite a few hotels in the area partner with Universal Orlando Resort and, if you buy a Universal-specific package, you’ll be granted those same benefits (early admission, park-to-park tickets) for about half the cost, you’ll just need to drive to the parks. For instance, Hilton Orlando’s “Universal Orlando Vacation” package boasts early admission and two park-to-park tickets for just $102/night for two people through December 18th, 2014, and $50 off if you book four or more nights using the promo code UNITRAVEL. (Based on availability, and some blackout days apply.) Those savings will buy you a serious amount of butterbeer and probably a wand, too!

Watch one staffer’s 11-year-old’s take on the Hogsmeade features at Universal Orlando Resort.

Universal Studios: Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Universal Studios: Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Universal Studios: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Add a Comment

Where to Find an Anna or Elsa Dress

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

When we heard that Frozen princess dresses have been selling out in Disney World each day, it got us wondering…are they really so hard to find? The most gorgeous, premium Anna and Elsa dresses are now on Chasing-Fireflies.com, the site behind the Wishcraft catalog. However, they’re not shipping yet and they won’t be cheap. The Elsa dress shown is $130; the Anna is $124 and when we looked, neither would be available until the end of August in smaller sizes. The size-10 Anna coronation dress looks to be backordered through the end of October!

Less-expensive BuyCostumes.com has pared-down Elsa and Anna frocks, backordered until just after Labor Day. Their Elsa is $38, and Anna is $40.

On to the Disney Store, and…they don’t have the dresses yet either, but nice ones are coming. We saw the two shown below, Anna’s with the cape and Elsa’s with cool ombre sleeves, at their fall preview. AND they are going to have an Olaf costume! No word on exactly when they’ll all hit shelves, but they’ll be about $50 each.

In the meantime, there are $30 dresses for both sister characters at Toys “R” Us and at other mass merchants. Fair warning, the user reviews are brutal. (As in, “The tulle sleeves are like sandpaper.”) But desperate times may call for desperate measures, scratchy sleeves and all. Or try and teach your little princess the virtue of patience!

Heading to the Magic Kingdom? Your kids may be more interested in meeting the celebrities characters than the rides! Watch our video.

Disney's Magic Kingdom: Beyond the Rides
Disney's Magic Kingdom: Beyond the Rides
Disney's Magic Kingdom: Beyond the Rides

Add a Comment

American Baby’s Babymoon Special: Caribbean, Arizona, Florida and NYC Deals All for Preggos!

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

This week we’ll take a break from family-travel deals and go back to our other favorite travel topic: babymoons! About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATION: Vieques Island, eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, at the W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island 

HERE’S THE SPECIAL!  Their new “Indulge with a Babymoon” experience caters to expecting couples with a $50 Cravings Credit for late-night snacking, a $100 AWAY Spa credit for couples treatments, an in-room calming essential oil amenity, and special pregnancy pillow in order to ensure a restful retreat. The experience is bookable with the rate plan WBBYMOON and starts at $319 nightly.

 

THE DESTINATION: Arizona, specifically the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson. 

HERE’S THE SPECIAL! Expecting mothers can visit the iconic Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa for the “Mother’s Dream” package, including a pregnancy massage, sensitive skin facial, customized eye contour, warm cream mani + pedi, makeup refresher and a spa lunch for $406. With an exclusive adults-only pool, a swim-up bar (for Dad to be), numerous waterfalls and five pools, parents-to-be can escape and relax before the baby comes. The two “Summer Savings” packages have rates starting at $99 from May 25 to August 31, one inclusive of a $50 food and beverage credit when booking two or more nights.

 

THE DESTINATION: Florida, minutes from all the parks and entertainment at the Hilton Orlando 

HERE’S THE SPECIAL! Couples can enjoy favorite attractions and shopping, then mom can ease her muscles with the “Mom’s To Be” full-body massage at the on-site spa for $120. The property also boasts a winding lazy river, two resort pools complete with a waterslide, 9-hole golf, bocce ball courts and more. Rates start at $99 a night.

 

THE DESTINATION: New York City, at the famed Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York, the city’s luxurious hotel occupying the upper floors of the Waldorf Astoria. 

HERE’S THE SPECIAL! The Guerlain Spa, located within the Towers, features a “When You’re Expecting Massage,” a customized prenatal body therapy to alleviate discomfort and relieve muscle fatigue, along with a Body Polish service that helps exfoliate and soften skin, leaving skin smooth and hydrated and possibly minimizing stretch marks. Answering to the high demand for pre and post-natal services, the spa features appropriate pregnancy pillows for body support in any treatment position, and has also established a partnership with Mama Mio to incorporate their skincare products.

Two packages are available. “Babymoon, An Evening In” includes a Towers suite, breakfast in bed, and Guerlain Spa Couple’s Service (massage, training session, mocktails and milkshakes), with rates starting at $975 a night. “Babymoon, A Weekend at the Waldorf” includes a Towers suite for two nights, Guerlain Spa Couple’s Service (massage, training session, mocktails and milkshakes), dinner at the Bull and Bear, and breakfast in bed, with rates starting at $1,685.

Do a search and you can find all of our American Baby babymoon specials on Goodyblog.

Not only is leisure travel good for your state of mind during pregnancy, so is exercise! Check out these ab exercises made for core-strengthening during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Workouts: Best Abs Exercises
Pregnancy Workouts: Best Abs Exercises
Pregnancy Workouts: Best Abs Exercises

Add a Comment

Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win the LEGO Movie and a New LEGO Play Set

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Everything is awesome! You saw The LEGO Movie in theaters with your kiddos
and they loved it (and they can’t stop talking about it, right?). Today, LEGO releases the movie in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD (with two hours of extra content!), right in time for road trips and backyard movie nights. Own the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack or Digital HD now and you’re set for the summer!

To celebrate, LEGO is offering ONE grand-prize winner a chance to receive his or her own UltraViolet Digital Download of The LEGO Movie (worth $19.95) and the exclusive Rescue Reinforcements toy set (valued at $70 and recommended for ages 8 to 14).

And LEGO is giving NINE other lucky readers the chance to win his or her own copy of the UltraViolet Digital Download of the movie.

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day on June 23. Be sure to check back on June 24 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. We’ve also posted all the Official Rules. Goody luck!

Violet Digital Download of The LEGO Movie; each worth $19.95.

© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. LEGO, the LEGO logo and the minifigure are trademarks and/or copyrights of The LEGO Group. © 2014 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved.

Includes UltraViolet™. Limited-time offer. High Definition not currently available on all devices. Other restrictions and limitations apply. Go to ultraviolet.flixster.com/info for details.

Congrats to our ONE grand-prize winner, Joy Person. You have won an UltraViolet Digital Download of The Lego Movie and the exclusive Rescue Reinforcements toy set! Please check your “other” message folder on Facebook!

Congrats to our other NINE winners who will receive an UltraViolet Digital Download of The Lego Movie:

  • Bernie Wallace 
  • Kalie Glines 
  • Beth Elder 
  • Kim Lish
  • Laura Muro 
  • Lauren Portmann
  • Jodi Brown
  • Vivian Sun 
  • Emma Walpole 

Please check your “other” message folder on Facebook to claim your prize!

 

Add a Comment

Score Free Meals During a Stay in Disney World This Fall

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

* This is part of a series of special travel deals. Most families take at least one vacay during the year; we’ll help yours be one of them.

THE DESTINATION: Disney World Resort, in Florida

Fall is a great time to visit Disney World: lower temperatures, fewer crowds, holiday celebrations, and discounts, like this special deal that gets you free meals if you stay for six nights. If you’ve got young kids, grab this opportunity. For one thing, the older they get, the harder it is to take them out of school for that long! But also free meals takes a huge burden off you; whether your kids gobble half a buffet or turn all picky, you’re not shelling out money for food.

HERE’S THE SPECIAL! Purchase a non-discounted 6-night, 7-day Magic Your Way package, including a room and theme park tickets, and for each night you stay everyone in your family gets one quick-service meal, one table-service meal (go ahead and make reservations once you know when you’re going), and one snack per person. Read all the details and check availability. Or talk to a vacation planner by calling 407-939-7709. 

BOOK IT! Rates vary widely but we jumped online and saw that it would be about $2,000 for a family of four to visit the week of Labor Day at the All-Star Sports Resort (a value resort on the park’s bus line). It would be about $4,820 for them to stay at the Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort (one of the more posh properties, a walk from the Magic Kingdom). Note that this special is good for arrival August 31 to October 3, 2014; arrival October 26 to November 1, 2014; arrival November 9 to November 20, 2014; and finally arrival December 12 to December 23, 2014. All of travel must be booked by August 8, 2014.

New at Disney World: Magic Bands! Learn about this sanity-saver from our editor who recently visited.

Walt Disney World: Ease Your Trip With Magic Bands
Walt Disney World: Ease Your Trip With Magic Bands
Walt Disney World: Ease Your Trip With Magic Bands

Add a Comment

Score a Family Vacation Package from Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

* This is part of a series of special travel deals. Most families take at least one vacay during the year; we’ll help yours be one of them.

THE DESTINATIONGrand Traverse Resort and Spa, in Northern Michigan 

Take advantage of this two-night Family Fun package at a 900-acre resort that’s consistently rated among the country’s best. It’s got a child-friendly lakeside beach and an indoor water playground to boot.

BOOK IT! From $457 for a two-night stay in the Hotel for up to four persons in one room during the summer season (now through August 30, 2014). Weekend rates are from $485 for two nights in the Hotel. Note: There’s also a $15/night resort fee and 11 percent tax, and some restrictions apply. 

HERE’S THE SPECIAL! The Family Fun package includes two nights, four breakfast coupons for the bistro, one in-room movie (not available in some accomodations), a pound of candy from Dylan’s candy bar, 20 arcade tokens, and either two ice cream cones or lolliopops. Click here to explore more. You can also call them at 800-236-1577.

Get your kids psyched for an upcoming vacation (or the end of school!) with this Countdown Caterpillar craft:

Vacation Countdown Caterpillar
Vacation Countdown Caterpillar
Vacation Countdown Caterpillar

Add a Comment

American Baby’s Baby Booty: Enter for a Chance to Win a $190 Jogging Stroller from Eddie Bauer

Friday, May 9th, 2014

If you’ve admired the outdoorsy Eddie Bauer baby gear, you need to know that you don’t actually purchase it at EddieBauer.com or through their catalog. The line has moved exclusively to Target and Target.com, and includes cribs, rockers, and other furniture (we photographed their gray rocker for our May Nesting page, below!), gear such as strollers and highchairs, and accessories such as their popular diaper bags and car-seat protectors.

This week, ONE lucky GoodyBlog reader will get the chance to roll off with Eddie Bauer’s Endurance Jogging Stroller, a $190 value! To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day May 15. Be sure to check back on May 16 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

And speaking of outdoorsy, check out these cute nautical nurseries.

Congrats to our winner Crystal Scott-Weister!

Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery

Click here for official rules.

Add a Comment

American Baby’s Baby Booty: Enter for a Chance to Win a $100 4-in-1 Smart Trike

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

It’s May! Thank goodness, surely the country is going to have better weather ahead. You can start to get your baby out of your living room and into the world a little more easily! 

We just photographed the Smart Trike for our July issue because it’s such a summer superstar. If your baby is 10 to about 18 months old, it essentially works as a really cool stroller, with baby feeling like a big kid but you being in charge of the pushing.

Once your baby is approaching her second birthday, she can try doing the peddling herself. You can keep the safety bar on until she’s 2. Then you take off the safety bar and it’s a beautiful little trike, good right up to her fourth birthday!

Smart Trike is giving ONE lucky GoodyBlog reader the chance to win the 4-in-1 Touch Steering Spirit Trike in pink, which goes for $100. If you’re not interested in pink, or don’t win this time but still want a Smart Trike for your tike, find their entire selection here

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day May 7. Be sure to check back on May 8 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

And are you a sucker for birth stories, like I am? Check out this true story, part of our series of birth stories.

Congrats to our winner Emily Braun!

Birth Stories:
Birth Stories:
Birth Stories: "I Was Sent Home Three Times"

Click here for official rules.

Add a Comment