Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kissimmee Weekend with the Tyke

Our Family Vacation to Kissimmee

Our adventure began as any of our road trips: Daddy was driving, I was side seat driving, and Tyke was backseat driving. We did make it in a record 1 hr and 20 min in one piece.

Check in at Royal Parc Suites was a breeze, got our key and went to check out our "suite". The room was clean and lots of space. Only complaint, the two double beds. We're large people I wont lie. Tyke immediately called her bed and informed us that she wasn't sharing with anyone but her elmo and burt dolls.

After we brought our bags up and a quick change we headed out to visit Old Town. I love this place! When my daughters where small tykes I used to take them there. Long gone is the recording studio where my tykes used to make music videos. There are however many other cool stores and restaurants to explore. Something added over the past few years are the carnival type rides. For $14.00ish dollars we purchased Tyke a bracelet that allowed her unlimited times on the rides. She only went on 3. Terrified she refused to go on anymore. So the bracelet turned out to be a bad deal compared to $2 per ride normal price. Lesson learned. After the rides hubby found a hot sauce shop,he was in paradise.  We finished off with a burger and root beer float at Big Kahunas. By the way, if you run out of root beer in your float, don't fret, they have a root beer dispenser for free refills. This was a big hit with the Tyke.

After our adventure at Old Town we where exhausted and decided to turn in early. The hotel has a meet and greet where they provide an open bar (beer,soda, and wine) for an hour each evening. We bypassed this although it was still in full swing as we strolled by (and well into the early morning lol). Sleeping-was not a hit for the hubby and I. We slept laying on our sides in this small bed. Tyke however slept quite well in her bed.

Saturday morning we arose and went to the free hot breakfast buffet at the hotel. Adequately stocked with eggs, bacon, danishes, cereal, and oranges. Plenty to drink also. Enjoyed. After breakfast we decided to take the courtesy bus to the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, hubby forgot our Florida resident ticket printouts up in the room. Thankfully, the driver waited as the other guests joked that he had 3 minutes to make it back and was he going to make it...Every one's a comedian.

Magic Kingdom-It took 2 hours by the time we took the bus to Epcot where we had to take a monorail to Magic Kingdom where we had to go in another line and get back on a monorail to get to the actual park and then stand in line to exchange our computer print out for actual tickets. I'm not going to do a full review on Magic Kingdom because I'm confident that almost everyone has been there at least 2x in their life and possibly where there that weekend. Magic Kingdom is great for kids but parents in general do not care for the massive crowds or standing in line 45 min to get on one ride. Not a fan, did it for the Tyke. Enough said.

Returned to room  about 7 pm where we changed and decided to have dinner across the street at Logan's Roadhouse. Excellent choice! One of the highlights of the trip. Tyke has a short attention span, she spent most of dinner unshelling peanuts. Didn't say she was ready to go once! Dinner was great too. I had sirloin steak and lobster tail $20 and hubby had a huge rib eye for about $17. Tyke enjoyed a children's popcorn shrimp dinner (and thousands of peanuts). It was a great price and yummy.

After dinner we returned to the room to pack our self back into the double bed like sardines.

Sunday, we returned to the buffet and had another filling breakfast before checking out.  A gentleman stopped me in the lobby and asked for our email address to send me a survey of our stay. Haven't received it yet, but our stay was mostly positive with the exceptions of the small beds. Okay, normal sized people probably could have fit "a little" better.

After checking out we headed to Sea World. Hubby and I had gone there a couple years before the Tyke was born and came to live with us. We had a great time back then. This time it was even better with the Tyke! I love Sea World, no huge crowds and entertaining for the tykes and the grownups. Tyke especially liked Shark Attack, where you walk through a tunnel surrounded by sharks. We all enjoyed the dolphin, whale (and for some strange reason-birds) show. It worked! Very nice. We purchased an annual pass on ez pay to complement our Busch Gardens annual passes so we will be back.

Only complaint, a word to the wise to Sea World employees. You know the adage about assuming, not everyone that is disabled is in a wheelchair. I was a little taken back when we sat down in the disabled section at shamu, only because I just could not climb the millions of stairs anymore and was confronted by an employee who said in an elevated voice "shame on you for siting there". I was embarrassed and then hubby pulls up my pant leg in front of the guy showing my leg brace and snaps "she has ms buddy, she IS disabled". Yes, I am but I dont like confrontations so I usually try to sit where there are regular seats but this was our 3rd show and I was getting very weak. I just wish people would not assume that you should "Look" disabled. An apology for embarrassing me in front of people would have been appreciated. He just looked at me and said ..oh. Enough said.
Leaving the park was a task because by that point I was shaking and could barely walk because my legs where giving out. I guess I over did it :(

We had a wonderful vacation, the Tyke said it was a lot of fun which was our goal. We enjoyed Old Town, Logan's Roadhouse, Seaworld, and the hotel immensely.What I learned from this trip? I learned that I am not invincible and will rent a scooter next time, peanuts can be a great deterrent, and that the Magic Kingdom is best enjoyed every 3 or 4 years instead of every year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Picky or Practical?

I'm not hard to please, not really. When going out to eat, whether at home or on vacation, I just have some basic expectations. Not a long list honestly.

First-I expect that I get what I pay for. If I order a chickens strips for the tyke, I would assume I would get chicken strips for the tyke. Trust me, I have seen a cheeseburger arrive on tyke's plate when she clearly said "chicken strips". When I questioned the owner (okay we're regulars there) he shrugged and said "looks like a cheeseburger to me too". Okay where's the chicken? He says "were out and she looked like she wanted a cheeseburger anyways". Then he walks away! This was the owner lol.

Second-Clean atmosphere, I don't to be seated at a dirty table or get silverware that has stuff caked on it. Enough said.

Third-Come back please! Yes, there have been times that the server deposited our food at our table and literally disappeared. What if we want refills or more napkins? If this happens, send your husband to hunt and retrieve the items. Men are natural born hunters and retrievers.

Fourth-Wilted lettuce. Can't stand it. Please don't put wilted lettuce on a persons salad. We will not eat it and then I fear it will be recycled and given to another unsuspecting customer who moves the tomato that was atop and sees-wilted lettuce. gross.

Finally, the bill. Dearest server; I'm glad you came back even if it wasn't to refill my glass but please don't drop the bill on the table and disappear once again. If this happens, prepare to wait for the server to return for your credit card exponentially.

As my husband,the tyke, and I prepare for our vacation to Kissimmee next weekend, visions of a joyous trip fills my heart and fears of poor service, rotten lettuce, and vanishing servers clutter my head.

I'm not very picky. Honestly, I can say that I have never returned food. Usually, I just never go back. This is practicality. If it was that bad the first time, can you really imagine it getting any better? I think not.

Bon Appetite Gentle Readers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vacation Ideas to Insure Optimal Enjoyment

Once a year, we like to take the Tyke to the Magic Kingdom. She loves to visit the Disney Princesses. Her favorite is Cinderella. This year we are going on November 11th.

Planning a weekend trip can be quite a task. Selecting the right hotel, deciding where to eat, and planning activities for our little getaway has been nerve racking to say the least. Im a perfectionist and I want everything to be perfect for our family time together. After we enjoy our weekend it is my goal that my husband and the tyke exclaim that this was the best weekend ever.

How do you make it the best weekend ever you ask? There are multiple facets to being assured that everyone has a great time.

First- The big one, cost. No one wants to go on vacation and pay way more then they should have. In the same token, no one wants to come home and two days later see their bank statement and freak because there where charges and fees that they didnt expect to accrue. For example, when selecting a hotel make sure that you read all the fine print. Many hotels in Orlando and Kissimmee charge "resort fees" as well as the 13% tax. Resort fees are imposed to cover things like the resort style pool and internet access.

My suggestion on finding the best price for hotels-Go directly to the website of the hotel chain. They usually have deals for Florida Residents, AAA members, and often specials that they call " advance reservation specials" which in many cases the advance can be 24 hours prior to your arrival.

The same applies to visiting amusement parks and dinning out. Many of the Parks and Restaurants have websites where you can find coupons to print out or discounts for multi day passes. Take advantage of the multiday passes, especially if you live in Florida. They are usually good for return visits within a time frame, ie:90 days.

Second- Selecting a hotel. My biggest fear is booking a hotel and it's 20 miles away from the maingate of Walt Disney World. Seriously, this happened to me many many years ago. We might as well have stayed at home and drove over for the day lol. Always map it. Also, many hotels put on their website how many miles they are from Disney or Universal or Seaworld.

Another important step that should not be missed when selecting a hotel, read the reviews! I cannot stress this enough, do you want to wake up in the middle of the night to giant roaches pushing you out of the bed??? Or you see "heated pool" on the hotels website and then you see reviews where the customers idea of heated and the hotels belief that 60 degrees is a great temp for swimming in Dec (as well as cost effective for them) do not coinside with each other. I use tripadvisor.com.

Finally, What are you going to do on your vacation? Whether you are going for a couple nights or a week the goal is for everyone to have fun. Look at it this way, if my hubby is not having a great time he will gripe for weeks about the cost. If the tyke is not having a good time, she will have a major melt down the whole trip and then I will be griping about the cost of being stuck for the entire trip with a screaming kid or whinning husband. Get everyone involved with the plans that way if they complain after you can remind them that they where part of the decision making process. They knew exactly what amusement parks we where visiting and where we where eating.

Last thoughts, dont just try to wing a trip without planning it out. That's what our parents did and who can forget, geting lost on the way there or eating scary food at Stuckeys because the parents had no clue what else was available taking one of those strange exits off the interstate to unknown territory. TG we have the internet now, plan plan plan and have a wonderful family getaway.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Welcome to Takethetyke.com. Our goal is to provide you with unlimited possibilities when taking your tyke on vacation with you.

Who are we? My husband and I, in our mid 40's, came up with the idea of Take The Tyke after obtaining guardianship of our grandchild Maggie. Being empty nesters prior to Maggie coming to live with us, we had begun to enjoy vacation getaways. Bringing a small child along, we discovered, did not mean burger joints,amusement parks, or staying in our hotel room all the time. On the contrary there are many possibilities for Parents, Grandparents, and children to enjoy a vacation together and have a great time too.The potential for grownup time while the tykes play with kids their own age in a supervised activity based area does exist.We would like to share with you our experiences with family vacations in the US as well as abroad.

Traveling with our little tyke has taken us on many adventures that where not only fun but educational for Maggie and her Grandma and Grandpa. We have touched turtles in Grand Cayman, Walked across a rope bridge in Roatan, and hiked Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas.
Our granddaughter Maggie will also share her favorite vacation tips on our forum via video journal of the trips as well as a list of her favorite things to do on vacation.
Please feel free to share your favorites and ideas too.

Warmest Regards,
Cynthia Parrott