Lincolnshire Marriott Resort Makes a Great Family Destination

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Our family was recently hosted by the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort for a quick staycation.  I had previously been to the resort for events and weddings but had never stayed overnight.  I was excited to see what there was for families.

 

 

 

We arrived late in the afternoon.  And found that the beauty of the location started before we even entered.  The grounds are gorgeous and the boys wanted a photo by this water feature before we headed in to check in.

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The lobby was also beautiful.

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The room was very comfortable.

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And the view was very pretty.

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But our favorite part….was having the pool and hot tub almost entirely to ourselves.

IMG_20140503_213754 The fact that it was not crowded really gave us a chance to relax, be silly and enjoy each other’s company!!

IMG_20140503_214049We spent several hours playing in the pool before heading to bed.

 

In the morning we got up and had a fabulous breakfast buffet at The Fairfield Inn Restaurant with made to order omelets, freshly prepared waffles and pancakes and lots of fresh fruit, pastries etc.

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And I had coffee!  And the server made my morning by even bringing me a to go cup to fix a cup to take with me!!

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After breakfast we wandered around the property until it was time for the show we were seeing at the theater (link to my post about that here).  I have to say I really was surprised by how great of a family destination Lincolnshire Marriott Resort was.  The staff was all fabulous and we all had a great time!

 

And it was totally a bonus that The Cheesecake Factory is less than a mile away so we HAD to stop there.

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School House Rock at Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire

IMG_20140504_093253We were recently invited to check out the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire.  Specifically were got to check out a Sunday morning show of School House Rock part of their Theater for Young Audiences series.  This happened to be the final show of the season for the series, but no worries, they’ll be back at it next school year.

I have been to a few shows at the theater over the years so I didn’t really have any doubts about the quality of the show.  And the boys enjoy live theater so I was confident they’d like it.  But I was very pleased with how much fun it was.  The show was super cute and included some great pop culture references.  The singing and choreography were fabulous.  And I LOVED that at the end the performers came out, introduced all the other individuals involved in the production and then took some time for an Q&A.  As a mom I thought this was extra special because my boys enjoy theater and often have questions about how things happen.

Boys are already asking when we can go back for another show!!

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Special note, we arrived about a half hour before and there was almost no one there, the theater filled quickly in the very last few minutes before the show.

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Check out Our Video Recap of #DisneyKids

The boys and I had a blast at Walt Disney World  a couple weeks ago and many more posts will be coming soon but this video is a fun recap from the boys and I about the trip and what we loved!

 

Sunday’s Plans for #DisneyKids

Today is our last day.  Kids will get to experience a runDisney Kids Race at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and a tour of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort before sadly heading home. Be sure to follow along on Twitter or Instagram to see all our fun!

 

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ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Play at the next level at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. These 230 acres of professionally run, state-of-the-art facilities host over 60 sports and thousands of events for athletes of all ages and abilities. Train and compete with your team—or catch the excitement as a spectator—in this grand sports setting where classic athletic ideals meet contemporary innovation

 

art-of-animation-resort-dining-gallery-00 Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Be surrounded in the artistry, enchantment and magic of Walt Disney and Disney•Pixar movies. Stay at a Disney Resort hotel that invites you to explore the storybook landscapes seen in such classics as Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. From delightfully themed family suites to wondrously detailed courtyards, Disney’s Art of Animation “draws” you and your family in to become a part of some of your animated favorites.

Saturday’s Plans for #DisneyKids

Today’s plans include two amazing character dining experiences and fun and freetime in Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Be sure to follow along on Twitter or Instagram to see all our fun!

hollywood-and-vine-gallery01Breakfast with Disney Junior Friends at Hollywood and Vine

Join popular Disney Junior pals for Character Dining as they host 2 fun-filled, musical meals.

A few of your Disney Junior favorites are coming to Hollywood & Vine—don’t miss this chance to eat, play and dance along with friends from Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Handy Manny during this fun and interactive dining experience.

The breakfast buffet features such favorites as Mickey waffles, frittatas, pastries and fresh fruit. For lunch, you can treat your taste buds to a buffet of kid- and adult-friendly entrees like baked chicken, deli meats, hearty pastas and fresh salads.

Be sure to save room for a treat from the ice cream sundae station too!

Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change.

 

 

akershus-royal-banquet-hall-gallery01Princess Storybook Diner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Her Highness the Queen is holding a feast in honor of the world’s best-loved Storybook Princesses—and you’re invited! Dine in a medieval castle as Disney Princesses and Friends mingle with Guests to give autographs and pose for pictures.

All who attend the royal banquet can expect to meet several of the following Disney Characters:

Snow White
Cinderella
Belle
Princess Aurora
Ariel
Mary Poppins

Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit. Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change.

Friday’s Plans for #DisneyKids

Today’s plans include a character breakfast, a parade and a magical makeover.  Be sure to follow along on Twitter or Instagram to see all our fun!

crystal-palace-gallery02Breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and Friends at The Crystal Palace

Join Winnie the Pooh and a few of his Pals for a willy, nilly, silly good time!

Inspired by Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s, The Crystal Palace brims with light, topiaries and tropical palms—and is an enchanting spot to meet some favorite Disney Friends!

Plus, while you dine on scrumptious fare, Disney Characters stop by for laughs, photos and autographs.

Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit. Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change.

festival-fantasy-parade-04Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade

Celebrate the stories you know and love in a whole new way with a magical mix of innovative floats, vibrant costumes and original music.

Paying homage to the unbridled magic and vivid pageantry of Fantasyland and its many inhabitants, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is a thrilling sight-and-sound spectacular that winds its way through the streets of Magic Kingdom park each afternoon.

Be a part of this grand gala, which includes spectacular, state-of-the-art floats starring Characters from some of your favorite Disney stories, plus colorfully costumed performers on stilts, pendulums and swings.

During the fantastical procession, be on the look-out for:

A garden of Disney Princesses, starring Cinderella, Belle, Tiana, Elsa and Anna
Flynn Rider and Rapunzel from Tangled sailing in an ornate longship in search of another “best day ever”
An under-the-sea jubilee starring Ariel, Sebastian and an enchanted ocean ensemble from The Little Mermaid atop a sparkling music box
Peter and Wendy from Peter Pan soaring through the sky aboard a pirate galleon pursued by Captain Hook, Mr. Smee and Tick-Tock the Crocodile
Merida from Brave accompanied by her triplet “bear” brothers and a troupe of Scottish dancers, atop an enormous bagpipe
Maleficent as a fire-breathing, clockwork dragon wrapped in battle with Prince Phillip and his mighty Sword of Truth
High-flying fun with Mickey and Minnie in a giant hot-air balloon, plus a cavalcade of beloved Disney Characters from Pinocchio to Snow White

It’s a dazzling sight unlike anything you’ve even seen or heard, and a festival of fun for everyone!

 

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The Pirates League

Avast! Captain Jack and his crew of scallywags are scouring the high seas in search of treasure—and new recruits! Sail away with The Pirates League, and transform ye self into a living, breathing swashbuckler from the days of olde.

First, be ye christened with yer Official Pirate Name from the leather-bound captain’s log. Then, make yer way o’er to the Muster Station, where the League’s veteran pirates will give you a marauder’s makeover as the adventurer of yer choosing:

Thursday’s Plans for #DisneyKids

Today’s plans start with a VERY early morning wake up and the boys first ever airplane flight!  We’ll have a few hours to explore on our own before heading to a welcome dinner. Be sure to follow along on Twitter or Instagram to see all our fun!

We are staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It looks AMAZING!!

 

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Step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel. Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. Delight in dazzling pool areas, exciting animal programs and one of the largest collections of African art in the United States as you experience your own African safari adventure with a touch of Disney magic. animal-kingdom-lodge-std-pv-2-q-g00

 

Prepping for Our Trip to @WaltDisneyWorld #DisneyKids

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you MAY have heard….we are leaving for Walt Disney World….TOMORROW

I have successfully managed to keep this trip a secret by doing most of the prep while they spent the weekend with their dad. Including getting my much needed pedicure for Florida ready toes.

This trip will be the first for Bryan to ever get to a Disney park and a third time there for the older boys but the previous trips were when they were super tiny and involved only a literal handful of short hours. I have to be honest and say that I was unprepared for the previous trips and they resulted in less than magical experiences despite my love for all things Disney. But I am super excited after checking out the My Disney Experience app. I am not big on waiting in line (yes we’ll also being taking advantage of some FastPasses) and AM big on character sightings, both of these will be greatly helped with this app. I can’t wait to use it in the parks!!

Jumping Fun at Jump America in Gurnee IL

Jump America trampoline park gurnee il family night (1)Recently the boys and I went to check out Jump America’s Saturday Family Night.  I have to say I was not at all prepared for the chaos that found us when we arrived.  With the “family night” deal being specifically from 6-8pm I would have anticipated them being ready to move everyone in quickly.  But it took almost a full hour before the last of the crowd was able to get in and jumping (including us).

I was, however, pleasantly surprised that with the all the people that were there (though management insists they are never that busy, even on a Saturday night) that the boys never really struggled to find a place to jump.  There were short wait times to play in the dodge-ball area or jump into the block pits but nothing I thought was unreasonable and there was always an open trampoline in the straight jump areas.

As a mom I was pleased with the amount of monitoring there was to keep the kids safe while jumping and that there were separate areas for different ages.  There was an area for kids 7 and under I believe, 8-13 and 14 and over.

jump america gurnee il trampoline park family fun

 

In addition to the foam block pit area and two dodge ball areas (which also seemed to be separated by age or size though I didn’t see them specifically labeled) there was also this fun basketball area where two kids are allowed to play against each other (with a hoop behind their opponent and a slightly lower than hoop level mesh ‘wall’ between then) for 3 minute games.jump america gurne trampoline basketball

 

The Family Night package also includes pizza, however we didn’t get pizza.  I’m not really sure about letting the kids eat and then continue jumping…it just didn’t seem like a wise idea.  But the pizza smelled and looked good BUT some people did wait in line for what looked like a decent amount of time so if you didn’t have a non-jumper to wait for you, you’d be losing precious jumping time.

We stayed for the full two hours and while the boys insisted they still had plenty of jump left, I think they were really slowing down.

The boys loved it and I’m sure will be begging me to go back shortly.  The regular rate of $12 per child for the first hour is a little steep for me but I might consider investing in a punch card or package for something fun to do to blow off some extra energy especially during the cold months!

Jumping into the foam pit:

Bryan jumping:

Live Shark Encounter comes to Chicago for Aquatic Experience November 15-17, 2013

 

This looks like a great way to spend a fun and educational day as a family for a reasonable price.  I think my boys would love the live shark encounter.  My only worry is them sharing our deep dark family secrets of our experience with fish as pets!image001

The World Pet Association(WPA) announced today that the only traveling shark show in the country, Haai Inc’s Live Shark Encounter,  will be among the unique exhibits on view at its inaugural Aquatic Experience – Chicago show, Nov. 15-17, 2013. Attendees will get to see sharks up close as a diver provides entertaining and educational information before entering a specially designed 5,000-gallon tank to swim and interact with these awe-inspiring animals. Additionally, a Great White Shark Museum on site will provide more details and artifacts on display, including a replica of the Carcharodon Megalodon Jaws (an ancient meat-eating 60-foot shark).

Aquatic Experience – Chicago is the first show in industry history to combine everything aquatic under one roof—from saltwater and freshwater fish and pond. Consumers, retailers and families can hear from National Geographic’s Monster Fish host Zeb Hogan industry’s best and trend-setting manufacturers. In addition to Hogan, many experts in the field will be available on-site at to meet in person and share their enthusiasm for the underwater world. Tickets are on sale now for Aquatic Experience – Chicago at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center (1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL) with daily individual tickets starting at just $10 and daily family passes for $25. Tickets to the Saturday dinner with keynote speaker Zeb Hogan are $60. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.aquaticexperience.org

Live Shark Experience

The World Pet Association (WPA) is the oldest industry organization promoting responsible growth and development of the companion pet and related products and services. WPA works to inform and educate the general public in order to ensure safe and healthy lifestyles for our animal friends. WPA is the host of America’s Family Pet Expo, the world’s largest consumer pet and pet products expo, held annually in Costa Mesa, California. The organization also produces SuperZoo, an annual pet industry trade show that showcases a comprehensive collection of exhibits and offers a variety of informative educational seminars. For more information, please visit www.worldpetassociation.org  Discus fish. Image courtesy of the World Pet Association.