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How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Have you ever considered moving to another country? I know I have, especially over the past 4 years. Being that my father is from another country and I spent my childhood summer’s in another country, living in another country has always been an exciting and viable option. In fact, I’ve spent my life learning languages and experiencing other cultures with my parents and now, traveling with the Big Guy and our girls, for just such an occasion. But how do you make yourself feel at home when you move abroad?

While the thought of moving to another country is exciting it can also be quite a scary thing to do; leaving behind friends, family and everything you’ve known.  But be brave, it will be worth it. Inevitably, when you first arrive in a new country, you will feel overwhelmed and it’s common for people to feel homesick. Before you start worrying that you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life, you need to give yourself time to adjust. Everyone goes through this. 

To be honest, it takes a couple years to feel completely at home in a new place. Think of it as a new opportunity for adventure. It always takes time to get used to a new place, but it’s especially tough when you are in a new country with a totally different culture. However, there are some simple things you can do to make yourself feel at home. 

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Get Your Home Sorted

Before you do anything else, you should get your home sorted. If you don’t feel comfortable in your own home, you will struggle to feel at home in a new country. Make an effort to create a cozy, welcoming home for you and your family. You can fill it with some things to remind you of home but you should also buy new things to celebrate the transition. Once you start feeling comfortable in your own home, you then have a safe space to come back to and you can start exploring the new country.  

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Learn About The Culture

When you first arrive in a new country, you will still feel like a tourist and everything will feel a bit unfamiliar to you. The best way to settle in is to make an effort to learn about the culture. Be open to new things. Seeing a lot of the local tourist attractions and going to museums is a good place to start. You should also be adventurous with the food that you eat, as well. Go out and find lots of local places to eat, and instead of cooking your favorites from home, look up some recipes and start using local ingredients. Try to engage with local holidays as much as possible too. When you start engaging with the culture, you will feel more like a local. You’ll stop feeling like a visitor and start feeling like you’re home.

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Consider Applying For Citizenship

Even though you are a permanent citizen and you have the right visas in place, it can still feel like you are just a visitor. If you want to put your roots down and you plan to stay for the long haul, you should consider applying for citizenship. If you get in touch with an immigration lawyer, they will be able to advise you about the process. It’s easier to become a citizen in some countries than it is in others, so consider how long the process is before deciding whether it’s right for you. If you do become a citizen, you will feel much more at home. 

How To Make Yourself Feel At Home When You Move Abroad

Host Visitors From Back Home

Having people visit you from back home will really help if you are feeling homesick. It also gives you a good opportunity to show people your new life and the home that you have created for yourself. After these visits, your new lifestyle will feel more permanent and being able to share it with your family puts a more positive spin on things. 

It’s important to give it time when you move to a new country because the transition takes time. If it didn’t, that would just be weird. Don’t let fear of change stop you from trying new things. If you don’t like it, you can always move back home but a life of untaken chances and unrealized dreams will definitely end in regret. Be brave. Follow these simple steps and go for it! You’ll feel like a local in no time. 

What would be your best tip for how to make yourself feel at home when you move abroad?

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How to Plan the Perfect Camping Trip for Your Family, GORVing, Family vacation,Summer travel

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Planning a family vacation is always a little stressful, especially in an ever evolving global pandemic. Aside from just being safe these days, you have to find a way to keep each member of the family entertained – from fussy toddlers to brooding teens, and do so without going broke. Organization and little planning go a long way when planning family trips so there’s no meltdowns during your trip. Have you ever thought about planning a camping or RVing trip for your family? Honestly, we’re considering buying one. Our teen girls are begging us because we’ve had such great times on our past trips. That’s saying something when “roughing it” is our daughters’ dream vacation.

Right now with vaccines in full effect and summer approaching, we’re all struggling to plan our next trip. COVID-19 travel restrictions are constantly changing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to plan a memorable and exciting family vacation. Just think outside the box and plan an adventurous camping trip. You won’t be disappointed, believe me! Been there, done that, doing it again and again for infinity. 

A camping trip is perfect opportunity to just breathe.

How to Plan the Perfect Camping Trip for Your Family, GORVing, Family vacation,Summer travel

There are a lot of benefits to a family camping or RVing trip. You get to spend some time unplugged from technology and listening to each other instead of stuck behind your phone. No fear of missing out on everything happening right where you are. Yes, I know after 2020 and quarantining, more together time might not be what you had in mind. But choosing to be together is something entirely different from being imprisoned together by a global pandemic. 

Also, you can get up close and personal with nature, which is an adventure within itself. Vacationing in national parks and sharing that quiet time taking in nature with your children is priceless. Everyone can shed the roles of who they are expected to be and just be. If you get up early enough, you can even sneak in some together time with your partner. What relationship can’t benefit from that?

Camping means finding quiet moments to appreciate each other without the noise of the world interrupting.

How to Plan the Perfect Camping Trip for Your Family, GORVing, Family vacation,Summer travel

With that in mind, here are some tips you can use. Here’s how to plan the perfect camping or RVing trip for your family! 

  • Choose your destination for overnight camps carefully. While you may want privacy and relaxation, choose a site that is not too far from civilization. If you’re new to camping, you’ll appreciate access to shops and similar facilities if you need them. With kids, you’ll need them. It’s a good idea to reserve a spot at a camping site or national park far in advance ( like now) mainly due to the rise in popularity of camping trips in 2021. 
  • Plan an itinerary for activities that you can participate in around your chosen destination. For example, while an afternoon hike will always be exciting (and won’t cost you a penny), it becomes distinctly less fun if it’s raining. Instead, you might want to check out a local museum or head to the movie theater. Try to have a plan in place so that each day is varied. Remember that you can always drive to a neighboring town too. 
  • Ensure that you have everything you need for a successful camping trip on hand. For example, you cannot simply purchase a tent and a few sleeping bags and hope for the best. You should also ensure that you have easy access to a first aid kit, flashlights, and similar safety-related products. Also, if you’ll be cooking and preparing your own meals, you’ll need to purchase a tent stove or camping stove. This means that you can save money and make exciting meals from scratch instead of having to stop by restaurants. Make it more exciting and catch what you eat. There are plenty of options to choose from, and you can see the full list here.
  • Take turns choosing which activities you participate in each evening. For example, this could mean that you bring a collection of board games, host an outdoor movie night or my favorite sitting around a campfire talking under the stars. Giving every member of the family a turn to select the activity means that everyone will be happy and enjoy their vacation.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where is your dream destination for a family camping trip?

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Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure, The HULK Coaster

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

We just got back from a quick road trip to Orlando. It was a pretty spontaneous decision, think of it as a red wire blue wire sort of situation where we were all about to die from being trapped in the house for a year and we decided to give Universal another try this time, we chose Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It’s home to themed lands like Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, Marvel Superhero Island and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The first time we went to Universal was way back in 2012. The girls were too little at that time but we didn’t realize that until we were there. So we spent a lot of money to stand in the rain and watch the gang from Victorious sing some songs on stage, rode 1 ride and went home. It was a bust. This time was definitely more fun for our family.

We figured the girls were older this time and definitely would love it. And while what we got to do see, ride and do was good it still wasn’t Disney. The thing is Universal and Disney World are completely different kinds of parks and if you’re used to Disney, you’re going into the whole thing with the wrong mentality.  So here’s a quick rundown of why you should go to Universal Islands of Adventure and why you shouldn’t go to Universal Islands of Adventure.

Why you should visit Universal Islands of Adventure

·  Thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies

Universal Islands of Adventure has some thrilling rides. If you like to go fast and hard when you play, Islands of Adventure are for you. The rides will not disappoint but be prepared to be whirled, twirled, fast and furious and to the extreme. Warning: That Dudley Do Right Rip Saw River ride looks harmless but it is, in fact, Splash mountain on steroids and it is raging. It may be the most fun you’ve ever had getting wet but YOU.WILL.BE. DRENCHED. I suggest bringing either a poncho or an extra set of clothes.

·  You love Marvel

Not going to lie, the Incredible Hulk Coaster and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman were two of the best rides I’ve ever been on. Did they both almost make me throw up? Yes. Did I love it? Yes! Did I lose my voice screaming from excitement? YES!! If you have kids over 8, they will probably love it.

·  You love roller coasters

Universal has some pretty awesome coasters that will leave you dizzy and discombobulated but screaming for more. If you love roller coasters, Universal Islands of Adventure is for you. Bonus; VelociCoaster is coming June 10th and we saw it being tested and it looks amazing.

·  Dr. Seuss makes you happy

I’ve spent a big chunk of the last 16 years reading Dr. Seuss whether it was to my girls, to my nieces and nephews or to the sweet preschoolers that I taught but I never found the stories to be as beautiful and endearing as I found Seuss area to be. It is bright, colorful and beautiful filled with whimsy and imagination. However, as I mentioned before, Universal is for thrill-seekers and even the carousel and The Cat in the Hat ride seemed to go very fast. I know the area looks like a kid’s playground but it isn’t as tame as it looks. We loved it but I’m not sure how well a toddler would fare.

·  Harry Potter fans

Hogsmeade is like immersing yourself in a Harry Potter book. It is beautiful and if your family are Harry Potter fans, it really brings the story to life. The butterbeer was amazing (we preferred the frozen) and the Ollivanders wand experience was really cool. However, there are only a couple of rides and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™ is only available by virtual queue and it is virtually impossible to get a spot. We had a time 3 times and the app booted us out and we lost our reservations. It was very frustrating.

Why you shouldn’t visit Universal Islands of Adventure

·      It expensive

There is the initial cost of the tickets (1 day/ family of 4/ $579), then if you don’t want to spend all of your time waiting in lines there is the option to purchase express passes ($69) and unlimited express passes ($89), parking ($26), and lockers ( $2 each time you ride something that requires you to put your bag in a locker). That is not including souvenirs, food and drinks. There are definitely more budget-friendly ways to plan your trip. Don’t wait to the lat minute like we did.

·      Express pass will make or break your trip

Unless you love waiting in lines and only being able to fit 4-6 rides in on your visit, you better buy yourself an express pass. It was our first real trip to Islands of Adventure so we didn’t know how any of this worked but now we know. If you are staying in a Universal hotel, which we were not, you do get express passes included in your hotel stay. But as we were not, we spent all day waiting in lines and didn’t get to experience as much of the park as we had hoped. Very disappointing. However, if you are staying at a Universal Resort express pass is included so I would highly recommend staying on grounds. Resort rooms were very affordable, we just waited too late to book.

·      CoVid rules de jour not de facto

Universal Islands of Adventure does have great guidelines in place for following CoVid safety protocol. However, not everyone was, you still had to scan your finger to enter the park and there wasn’t anyone really enforcing the rules in the lines until you entered a building. Several times, I had to ask people to step back and stay on their 6 ft apart socially distanced marker. That was very frustrating and made me feel anxious because people were invading my personal 6ft apart space.

In the end, there are more reasons why you should visit than why you shouldn’t. We wanted to love it but it wasn’t what we expected. Maybe it was CoVid? Maybe it was being unprepared? Or maybe we are just Disney people? Either way, we’d love to go back and give Universal another try and check out the VelociCoaster. It looks amazing and I’m sure it will be one more thrilling ride that my girls will fall in love with. Have you been to Universal Islands of Adventure? What is your favorite area? Favorite ride?

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DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Aloha Windy City! Cold winter weather got you down? If you’re anywhere that it’s cold, I’m looking at you Chicago, you know we are all in desperate need of some sunshine and warm weather. Well, guess what Chicago??? Disney is bringing just what the doctor ordered, some warmth, ukuleles, palm trees and the sand between your toes right downtown at Union Station. Maybe we can’t all fly off to Hawaii right now, much as we’d love to, so Disney Aulani resort is bringing Hawaii to Chicago!

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creators Day and how to get invited?

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Have you been spending your winter days walking the cold streets of the loop biding your time until summer is back in Chicago? Spending your nights running to and from trains, buses and cars to your home or office trying not to get frostbite? Have you been dreaming of warmer destinations or even Grant park in July? At this point, I’d sacrifice the Sox for some sunshine.  Do you need sunshine with a side of Disney? Because I know I do.

READ ALSO: Best Disney Resorts for Families

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, ChicagoDisney is bringing the Aloha Spirit to Chicago!!

Who: Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii

What: Bringing sun and Disney fun to Chicago for the enjoyment of winter-worn commuters

Where: The Great Hall at Union Station (225 S Canal St. Chicago, IL 60606)

How: Aulani is bringing Rays of Aloha the sun and joy of Disney and Hawaii for a magical, one-day, event at Union Station, providing a warm and happy retreat for the approximately 100000 commuters through a fun (Instagram-worthy) experience.

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Come and enjoy a magical fire put while dipping your toes in the sand, delight in a hula performance and be carried away by the sound of ukuleles floating between the palm trees. There might even be a surprise guest.

#DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, mickey mouse, minnie mouse

I don’t know about you, but for this Disney loving family, this sounds like the perfect mid-week event to get your head in an Aulani state of mind.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing your Dinsey Trip

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

Where: Wednesday, February 19, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

DIsney World, DIsney Creators, DIsney Aulani resort, Union Station, Chicago

This will just be a taste of all the Aloha spirit that you could experience in the actual Aulani Disney Resort. I’ve stayed at many Disney resorts over the years, and Aulani is on our family bucket list, but from my friends who’ve gone, I hear it is worth the travel and you will make memories with the ones you loved like never before all with a Hawaiian setting. What could be more magical?

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purple wall , #DisneyCreatorDays #DisneySMMC Walt Disney creator, Disney social media moms celebration, Disney Creator Days, What is Disney Creator Days, Walt Disney World, Disney Corporation, castaway cay, Disney Creators Celebration, What is Disney Creators Celebration, #DisneyCreators

.Looks like Disney’s Social Media Mom Celebration may be gone forever. It’s time to say tootles mouseketeers. Well, not gone (never forgotten) but refreshed. Disney World is not just for moms and neither should it’s creator celebration be limited to just mothers (though I did love the idea since I am a mom). Enter Disney Creators Celebration for all Disney loving content creators and influencers. Hey, what do you know, I still qualify because I am one of the most Disney loving creators there are. But what is Disney Creators Celebration? Here’s all you need to know including how you can get invited yourself.

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Traveling, family travel

You might not always find it easy to spend time with your family in the chaotic modern world. Sometimes you just need a break from everything. You have work, and your kids have school. You also have to “adult” with responsibilities that take up a lot of your time. Forget about “spare time” that doesn’t even exist anymore.  Everybody’s under the same roof, but everyone does things separately more often now because as the kids grow up, they want to be with their friends more.

Maybe your kids binge-watch Netflix shows, play games on their phones or watch YouTube.. You might be doing the exact same downstairs. Wouldn’t it be nice if you all spent some time together? Well, here are some great ideas to help you have fun with your family every weekend. You’ve got to make that time off really count.

Go on a road trip.

If you’ve never been on a family adventure in an RV, then you’re missing out. In fact, it doesn’t have to be an RV. The point is that you should hit the open road with your loved ones and share some experiences. Make a plan regarding the route you’d like to take. Maybe you’d like to stop at a particular beach to admire the views and relax. Maybe your kids would like to stop at an arcade. The point is that a road trip can appeal to every family member. It’s a chance to do something that keeps everyone happy.

Make sure you stock your car well. The journey is part of the experience. You need plenty of snacks to keep everyone well-fed and happy. Bring plenty of water if it’s going to be a long journey, too; you might even want to get some flasks that you could refill whenever you stop anywhere. That’s a smart and sustainable well to make sure you drink enough on trips; you don’t have to buy water bottles. You should also prepare a great playlist for the journey. Obviously, you’ll talk and relax, but music will set the scene for your adventure. And you don’t have to go on a road trip every weekend, but it’s certainly something you should try to do regularly. 

Play some games.

You could always stay at home and play some games if you want a relaxing weekend indoors, of course. You don’t always have to go outside and explore the world in order to have an adventure. You could unearth the dusty old board games that you might have used when you were a child or try some new games. You could even start playing mobile games as a family. 

Have a concert at home. 

Going to a concert may be fun, but when you’re a family with small children it can be difficult. That´s why if you and your family members play any instrument or take any type of music lessons, like guitar, piano or violin, setting up a makeshift stage with curtains and even a stage light can be a fun night to show off whatever they already know or anything new they may have learned. Making this a monthly thing, families can come together and spend some time doing what they all have in common and maybe even learn from each other.

Have a movie night.

You might even want to think about having a movie night if you want to relax with the family at home. There’s nothing more exciting than turning your living room into a mini cinema. You just need some comfortable seats for everyone and a few delicious snacks.  Of course, you could really switch up your weekly movie night by filming your own movies. You don’t have to be the next great Hollywood director. The goal is to simply have fun as a family. Then, you can watch and laugh together later.

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Road trip Essentials when Traveling with Teens, Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

Traveling with teens this summer? Making one last road trip for Labor Day? What are your road trip essentials when traveling with teens? I’ve been really laser-focused on the fact that we only have a few more precious summers left with the girls living at home. If we’re being honest, I’d like to just hide them inside the house and keep them all to myself for the next few years but alas, being a mom means raising good human beings that can go out into the world and thrive, do all the good human things. It’s my duty as a mom to help make the world a little less crappy by populating it with awesome little people.

Firstly, don’t be afraid to travel with your teens. Traveling with teens on road trips is a lot less painful than you might imagine and certainly less suicide-thought inducing as traveling with toddlers in Christmas traffic. Holy shit, I’ll never do that again. Well, maybe one of these days with grandkids but the same rules don’t apply when you didn’t birth them yourself, right?

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teenagers

My point is that teenagers are pretty awesome. They’re funny, full of personality and they can pump gas and go buy snacks. I’ve grown to love long road trips, especially in an RV, because being trapped in the car with your husband and kids for 18 hours really does say I love you. But more importantly than that, spending that kind of time traveling to new places, talking to fill the space and being in such close proximity to one another really is a recipe for making memories, inside jokes and bonding.

road trip essentials when traveling with teens, Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

You may find yourself exhausted and tired of being trapped in a car or traffic or even a little frustrated while it’s happening but you will always make the most beautiful, subtle and nostalgic memories that you could ever imagine. Trust me. You want to do this before they go off to college.

Road Trip Essentials when Traveling with Teens

A Clean Car

Make sure the car is clean, free from clutter and the heat/ air is charged and working. Don’t find this shit out the wrong way.

Carpool Karaoke Mic

We received the Carpool karaoke mic for review purposes and it has been so much fun. My girls love to sing in the car, so do the Big Guy and I so this was the perfect addition to our road trip essentials.

Apple Music

We could not survive a road trip without all of our favorite music and playlists. No matter the genre or your mood, you can always find what you’re looking for to serenade you in the soundtrack to your life.

Hand Sanitizer

This is a no-brainer. Messes happen. Germs happen. Things get sticky when you’re eating and driving or karaoking in the back seat. No one wants to eat chips with gas pumping hands. Be safe, bring the sanitizer.

All the Snacks

We usually hit up the local supermarket or Walmart and get a good assortment of fresh fruit and already washed and cut veggies to snack on in the car. But a few other favorites are coconut and chocolate Lar Bars, wasabi and Himalayan sea salt dark chocolate almonds, Bubly preferably in Blackberry, San Pellegrino, toasted coconut Oikos and Cheese sticks to name a few.

Bluetooth headphones for everyone

Sometimes you, they, he just wants to tune out the other people in the car and listen to some tunes they want to listen to. You can only listen to Baby Shark and laugh as a family so many times before someone goes bat shit crazy and drives the car into a guard rail.

Entertainment

An Ipad for Streaming movies on Hulu, Netflix, prime and watching Youtube is a necessity. But if your teen is extra to the extreme, bring along all the Tarte makeup and be entertained while they film their own make-up tutorials or Tik Tok themselves silly. Truly, it’s entertaining for the entire family. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Electronic chargers, Sneaker boxes

There is nothing so somber and woeful as a teen without charged electronic devices. They are great until you cut them off cold turkey from their electronics. For my girls, it’s not even being on the devices so much as it is having the security of the option to do so.

Pillows and fuzzy blankets

We all need and like to be comfortable when on a long road trip. For all the time spent bonding, we are, for all intent and purposes, in very close proximity to one another and sometimes you just need your space so the least you can do is be comfortable as to alieve any unnecessary aggravation and a nap and rest seems to do the job on many levels.

Money

Carry some cash and make sure that you’ve got a card “for emergencies”. Nothing ruins a road trip faster than being broke.

Games that prompt conversation Get to know your kids on the road

We have several games like would you rather, have you ever, conversation starters that really let you get to know your children and vice versa.

READ ALSO: Growing up too fast

We really do have so few summers with our children. When they are little days and hours seem to go on forever. We linger there wishing it to go faster and then before we know it, hours fade into days and time speeds up so fast that just as we are beginning to really know and like our children, they leave us. Make the moments count. They won’t all be winners and every moment won’t be special but together really is better than apart.

What’s at the top of your list of road trip essentials when traveling with teens?

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Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Earlier this summer, we visited Portland Maine for the first time. I made of list of things to do in Portland Maine with teens and kids this summer. I fell in love with the state of Maine a few years ago on our first trip to Ogunquit and it’s been our summer New England vacation spot since. There is just something about Maine in the summertime that I find to be beyond quaint and charming. It is one of the most peaceful and relaxing vacations I’ve ever experienced.

Earlier this year, I was invited to visit Portland Maine and experience all that Portland has to offer but as many of you remember, I fell the week before I was supposed to fly out. I savagely dislocated my elbow and flying was not an option. Luckily, my family was headed to our annual Boston trip in June so I knew I had to get to Portland check it out.  I was not disappointed.

Disclosure: I was hosted by Visit Portland for some of this trip so that I could experience some of the local flavor of Portland Maine but all opinions are my own.

We stayed in our first ever Holiday Inn By the Bay. It was right in the heart of Portland with a breathtaking view of the Casco Bay from our rooms. Yes, rooms, for the first time ever we got adjoining rooms with the girls and, parents (if you haven’t tried this yet) GAME CHANGER!!!

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about the Disney Dream Cruise

Here we were with this beautiful room, with a gorgeous view and the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in (and I’ve slept in a lot of hotels over the years through my travels) and my girls are safely right next door. We left the door open (mostly) but there was the option to close it. Best of all, no sharing the television or listening to bickering. It had to be one of the most relaxing stays we’ve ever had in a hotel.

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Also, though we were only a short walking distance from old Portland ( a quaint and fun walking area full of shops and restaurants) the Holiday Inn Express offered free shuttle rides to and from any Portland area destinations we wanted to visit. Mostly we walked but having the option at night after dinner, when the girls were exhausted, to be picked up and taken back to our hotel was awesome. It was also nice to get that time to chat with the driver, a local, and get recommendations for places to eat and things to do. He was super helpful and kind, as were all the staff at the Holiday Inn Express.

Here is my list of things I think everyone who visits Portland Maine should check out

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Portland Schooner Sunset Sail

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

These schooners are a part of history and they are so quaint and charming. I had never been on one before. Seeing the sunset over the water is breathtaking. The crew is kind, engaging and entertaining. The ride is smooth and it’s hard not to feel relaxed and free on this sail. I recommend for anyone who wants to enjoy life and be present in the moment. You definitely don’t want to miss this moment. We went with our tween and teen girls, I would definitely suggest taking a small picnic to eat and if you want to make it a romantic evening with your favorite guy or lady bring along a cheese plate and some wine or champagne and watch the sunset with your favorite person.

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Maine Duck Tours

So much awesome information and history. You get a complete historical tour of the entire town and bonus, you get to take a bus into the cove. My favorite part was learning all about Portland from our knowledgeable and good-humored tour guide. It was especially nice because it was our very first trip to Portland and we didn’t know a lot about the area. It was interactive and a lot of fun going through the town as the tour engaged with the people of the Portland. My only suggestion would be to make sure that you wear the provided life vests when you enter the cove as a safety measure in case of bad weather. The day we took our tour the weather was calm.

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Portland Head Lighthouse

I love lighthouses. If I’m near a coast, you can be sure I’ll find the lighthouses. Cape Elizabeth is the home of Portland Head Light. Situated along the spectacular shores of Fort Williams Park. The Park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. Aside from being cool to look at the Portland Head Lighthouse is surrounded by beautiful trails, cliffs and photo ops galore.

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland MaineThe Holy Donut

Holy ish batman! Who knew potato donuts could be this delicious? Who knew there was such a thing as potato donuts? They are definitely worth the wait. They are delicious. If you ever find yourself in Portland Maine, you must get yourself a hoy donut. Your taste buds will thank you.

 

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

The Porthole Restaurant and Pub

Fish and Chips and live music. The staff is friendly and helpful. They have the best fish and chips I have ever tasted and on Friday nights, it’s bottomless fish and chips. Also, live music on most nights. We loved it so much we had it twice.

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Becky’s Diner

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Maine blueberry pancakes and the charm of old Portland is what  I ordered and exactly what I got! Becky’s Diner was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diner’s, Drive-ins and Dives. I had heard that Becky’s was a local must and when I showed up, the line didn’t lie. Thankfully, the staff at Becky’s is not only great at making delicious food, they are on the ball. They have great personalities and know how to get people in and out of booths with great customer service.

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Flatbread Company

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

I am a pizza connoisseur and the pizza at Flatbread Company is next level. Made with all organic and locally sourced ingredients, this is definitely farm to table pizza. And you can taste the difference. They know food and they put twists on old favorites that I was pleasantly surprised by. I am a green pepper on my pizza kind of gal. When I tried to order it, I was informed that there was no such thing available there but they do put red pepper on pizzas so I tried it. OMG, so much sweeter than regular green peppers. Took my pizza experience to a new level.  Also, they have a summer salad that is out of this world.

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Gorgeous Gelato

Oh EMM GEEEE! My girls ( and the Big Guy and I) love ice cream., frozen custard and gelato. Frozen treats are our weakness. In fact, if you have followed the TRUTH for any amount of time, you will realize I almost always seek out and find the best pizza and ice cream/frozen custard/gelato place in every single vacation destination we visit…ever. We try them all, I just tell you about the best. Gorgeous gelato in Portland Maine is an authentic and delicious gelato destination that offers a large variety of flavors to try.

Did I mention that Portland is a foodie heaven??? So many great food options and lobster to be eaten any way your heart desires.

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READ ALSO: Vacation 101: We’re not the Griswolds but We Play them on Vacation

There was so much to see and do that we definitely did not get to see and do it all in 4 days but I look forward to visiting again soon with my family and exploring some more.  There were so many delicious nooks and crannies, corners to turn and cobblestone roads to explore to this quaint and adorable coastal town. When you are in  Portland Maine, the people are so friendly that you truly feel welcome and relaxed. It’s the perfect place for a summer getaway with your family, your teens or just you and your partner. Portland offers something for everyone.

Things to do in Portland Maine this Summer, Portland Schooner Company, Portland, Maine, Holy Donuts, Becky's Diner, The Porthole, Maine Duck Tours, Flatbread Company, Gorgeous Gelato, Holiday In by the Bay, Portland Maine

Have you been to Portland Maine?

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What are your favorite things to do in Portland Maine this Summer?

 

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father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad

Somewhere between college and yesterday, the Big Guy has somehow become an outdoorsman. Surprises me too since I practically had to promise lewd and lascivious acts to get the man to eat lunch at an outdoor café due to “bugs” yet, here we are. We went on a family camping trip a couple of years ago and he has since been sold on the idea of all things in nature and I’m here for it.

Disclosure: I was provided some of the products on this list for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

While we’ve been camping in cabins and RVs, he’s been leaning more towards “roughing it” getting back to his great outdoorsman roots; he has even been hunting and purchased a weather proof hunting backpack. He used to camp with his parents as a child. I, on the other hand, prefer my 5-star hotels to camping in a tent from https://www.survival-cooking.com/tents/best-waterproof-tent-for-rain/. Though I will say, there is nothing quite like camping in the great outdoors and looking up at the stars from around a campfire with nothing else around except for the sound of locusts and your children laughing. It really is magical.

READ ALSO: Why RVing is the Best Family Vacation

I fully support the Big Guys new found choice to fully lean into his more rugged side. Of course, he’s a tech junkie, metrosexual so this will be camping outdoorsman at its finest and most tech-savvy. The man already cooks like a gourmet chef, is the perfect father to daughters and is one of the smartest people I know. He does life to the fullest.

In celebrating this new endeavor, I have compiled a Father’s Day Gift Guide for the Great Outdoorsman in your life.

Classic Square Floating Sunglasses – Coopersfather's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses

Floating sunglasses? What? Yes, there is such a thing. The Cooper frame from Rheos is designed to combine the best of style and performance. Made of a specialty material that’s lightweight enough to float on water, the Coopers will never sink if they fall over the side of your boat. The reduced weight also ensures these sunglasses won’t slide down your nose, cause long-term wear fatigue or result in tension headaches.

Soft-Touch nose pads are embedded for additional comfort and grip. The frame itself is designed to provide enough coverage to protect from all angles of sun and glare, with a style that looks just as good on and off the water. The Coopers feature polarized, anti-scratch, anti-glare, anti-fog, hydrophobic and oleophobic lenses with 100% UV protection in a variety of amber, gray and mirrored options. Basically, the Big Guy can run, hike, kayak, all-terrain bike and if the glasses fell off, they would float and he could find them.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towelChawel Nomad Towel

The Nomad is the surf-inspired series with over 24 sq. ft. of absorbent surface for drying off. This quick dry changing towel has armholes, an absorbent hood and absorbent zipper pocket. The Chawel Sport will give you extra warmth and cover from the elements. Take your Chawel on your next surf safari, camping trip or backpacking adventure. The Chawels extra uses will save space and weight on your next trip. Use the absorbent stuff sack as mini towel, while the Chawel can stuff into its zipper pocket. Created by a beach lifeguard in Vancouver, BC. Think of it as the MacGyver of towels. Perfect for the MacGyver Outdoorsman in your life.

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3.0 GALLON SUMMER SHOWER: SS761

He’s got the Nomad towel why not give your camping loving dad a shower too. What else would you get the dad who has everything? Give him the gift of a hot shower anywhere he goes! Designed with an efficient 4-layer construction for optimal heat retention and performance. Simply fill and layout in the sun clear side up and you will have a hot shower in no time. Anyone who has ever spent a day roughing it in the great outdoors knows there is nothing more satisfying than a hot shower at the end of a long day.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet

RFID Theft Protection Leather ID Wallet

The wallet looks unassuming and like any other classic men’s leather wallet. It can hold 3 – 10 cards. It has a divided pocket for cash and receipts and a clear ID pocket with thumb slide window. It’s made with Nappa leather and has a moisture wicking nylon interior. It only weighs 1 ounce. No worries of there being a George Costanza situation going on here.

AFX

Some dads may not be as spry as they once were but still want to be active and should definitely be able to do so. That’s where the AFX Pro comes in to save the day. The Big Guy was a competitive soccer player well into his 20’s and suffered some leg injuries. Anyone who has been an athlete knows that all that high-intensity playing can play havoc on your body. You have to take care of it. Unfortunately, as we get older, we feel it a little more. That’s why the AFX Pro is perfect to keep dad in shape. AFX is a revolutionary new strengthening system that enables you to strengthen the muscles and tendons of the entire foot and ankle complex. It’s a system of resistance bands and training videos to help get you back into ultimate shape. When you put AFX to work, you’re harnessing a source of strength you never knew you had.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet, backmate

The Backmate

Speaking of getting older. We all are and that includes dad, even if he hasn’t felt the effects of it yet. I think most of us at one time of another have experienced back pain. The Backmate sets up in any doorway in seconds and provides fast relief from back and neck pain, stress & sore muscles. Dad can give himself a deep tissue massage any time to relieve the pain, lower stress levels and make his body stronger.

READ ALSO: Why Every Family Should go on an RVing trip before their kids grow up

The best part? 

All you need is TWO MINUTES PER DAY! Just lean into your problem areas, and let The Backmate do the rest! It relieves upper and lower back pain, alleviates tension headaches ( from bickering kids), improves mobility and range of motion, regulates nervous system for daily stress relief, reduces inflammation and increases circulation for faster healing and recovery.  Sounds like a winner to me. Plus bonus, I can borrow it.

The CloudLine Hiking Sock

The Cloudline hiking sock is a legend among serious backpackers and hikers. I know you are thinking,” come on Debi, it’s a sock! How legendary could it really be?”

Well, have you ever gone hiking and had to walk around with waterlogged feet? It is the worst. But the Cloudline hiking sock features ultra-soft medium weight cushioning throughout for long mile comfort. Premium merino wool wicks moisture, regulates temperature and resists odor making this the perfect sock for all but the warmest temperatures. See, I told you this sock was more than a sock.

tentsile, father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet, backmate, air beam bud

TENTSILE Connect Tree Tent

The Tentsile Connect Tree tent is built on a spacious and comfortable platform suspended above ground for versatile arboreal camping. It’s a family adventure like no other. Each tent sleeps 2 people and can be attached to other connect tents to create a suspended super camp with 3 or more tents. The suspension system keeps the tent off the ground making it environmentally friendly, plus comfortably away from roots and rocks for a sweet sleep.

Heavy-duty straps combined with 3 ratchet buckle system lets you tension and suspend the tent from 3 trees of at least 10 in. in diameter, at about 4 ft. above the ground.

Rainfly attaches snugly in inclement weather and can be pegged out for ventilation. It also has a 50 sq. ft. covered “dry porch” area under the tent to keep shoes, bags, dogs, and bike out of the rain. The maximum load weight of occupants and gear when suspended is 880 lbs. (do not exceed); recommended setup height is 4 ft. (1.2m). So basically even the burliest of outdoorsman can stay in the Tentsile connect tree tent. Plus, it’s just super cool. I’m pretty sure that’s the main reason it’s on the Big Guy’s list. Did I mention that TENTSILE plants 18 trees for every tent sold.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet, backmate, air beam bud

Lotus Belle’s Air Beam Bud

This easy to set up blow up yurt is perfect for the family who likes to experience outdoor adventures together. The inflatable Air Beam Bud, the first ever inflatable glamping tent is a must. It’s 10 x 10 foot in groundsheet diameter, has two mesh windows with canvas exterior blinds just like the Lotus Belle. It’s 7.8 feet tall at its highest point, so even comfortable for my 6’5” Big Guy. It’s big enough to fit a queen sized bed and only weighs 40 lbs. so you can transport in a backpack. There’s no center pole so you can use 100% of the space inside. It’s super-fast to assemble! The Air Beam Bud comes with a porch awning so no need to buy separately. The groundsheet thickness is super thick and waterproof. It’s perfect for the dad of girls who wants to be in the outdoors but doesn’t want to contend with some of the normal discomforts that come with the outdoors.

What would be the best Father’s Day Gift for the Great Outdoorsman in your life?

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Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

Disneyland’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opened officially May 31st! It’s finally here and we’re so excited. We’ve been waiting for this day for four years. Last night, our entire all things Disney and all things Star Wars obsessed family gathered around the television at 10 p.m. to watch the reveal live. Yes, we are that family.

Our trip is already planned. We will be arriving at Walt Disney World on September 1st to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. What better place for the couple who were introduced at their reception to the Star Wars theme and who honeymooned at Walt Disney World than Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge?

In 2015, when Walt Disney Company revealed plans to build “Star Wars” lands at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, legions of Star Wars fans collectively held their breath. When Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger, revealed that one of the rides would allow us all to live out our childhood fantasy of piloting the Millennium Falcon we thought we were dreaming. We’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since.

READ ALSO: Galaxy’s Edge Opening Day Revealed

Disneyland’s “Star Wars” expansion is the biggest in the park’s history with 14-acres of complete Star Wars immersiveness for as far as the eye can see. Just imagine, you and your family at a trading port on Batuu in Black Spire Outpost on the edge of the wild wild west of space. It looks incredibly immersive and interactive and we can’t wait to experience it for ourselves this fall at Walt Disney World.

I’ve done some research and here is everything you need to know before you visit Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

 You will feel like you are in a galaxy far far away

 When you enter Galaxy’s Edge, you will be on a planet called Batuu. You might remember it from the “Star Wars” comic books and television series. Disney describes Batuu as “on the frontier of Wild Space — the uncharted region beyond all known star systems.” Welcome to Black Spire Outpost, a port on Batuu.

Black Spire Outpost is a trading village built on a dry riverbed on Batuu in the center of Galaxy’s Edge. It absolutely looks otherworldly with rock spires towering before visitors.

There is no overt signage to be found around Black Spire Outpost. It’s all coded.  But here is some inside info:

Savi’s Workshop ( where you can make your own Lightsaber) has a flag with a stylized lightsaber on it.

The Docking Bay 7 Restaurant has a 7 on the building.

Each market place shop has a sign on the building.

It’s a fun hidden code to figure it out and you can do just that using the app. But I’ll tell you more about that later.

Know the Star Wars lingo before you go to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

Rumors

Bright suns: Hello

Till the spire: goodbye

How much does something cost? They will answer in galactic credits, not dollars.

For example, a creature counter might be 70 credits.

Don’t ask anyone where to buy or build a “Lightsaber” because they won’t tell you. Hello, it’s contraband, You’ll have to inquire about the “scrap metal”.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

Guests only have four hours to visit Galaxy’s Edge, so plan ahead.

If you have a Galaxy’s Edge reservation, you can’t just show up whenever you want. Guests are assigned specific, four-hour windows during which they can visit. Each guest with a reservation will receive a wristband for their assigned time from the “Star Wars” films will escort you out of the land. I don’t know but I think it would be pretty cool to get escorted out by Stormtroopers. If for some reason you leave earlier than your four hours, you cannot come back in. So don’t do that unless it’s an emergency.

It’s been suggested to use your time in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge very wisely. We read that the 4-hour reservation is plenty of time to do it all but you have to prioritize. The suggested order was to first visit Savi’s workshop to build your lightsaber ( which takes an estimated 15 minute wait time and 20 minutes to build your lightsaber), next visit Oga’s Cantina ( which currently has a 2 drink and 45 minute maximum), then Smugglers Run: Millennium Falcon experience, merchandise and then food.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing your Walt Disney World Vacations

I’m planning on building my own droid at the droid depot so I need to a lot of time for that. I’ve also heard that a visit to Dok-Ondars Den of Antiquities is a must see with high-end souvenirs. It’s also been said that you can probably hit Smugglers Run more than once if you wait to go again at the end of your 4-hour window. I’ll test the theory in September and let you know.

Once you’ve experienced all of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge main attractions, take some time to immerse yourself in the citizens and environment. Soak it all up, you are in a galaxy far far away after all. How many people can say that?

How to be one of the first to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

To get inside Galaxy’s Edge between its grand opening and June 23, visitors will need a reservation in addition to park entry tickets. Disney is anticipating beyond-capacity crowds. Even with your reservation, you are capped at 4 hour increments. There are no spots left unless you are staying at one of the Disney-owned hotels. Prices are currently starting at $500 a night. An identical version of Galaxy’s Edge will be opening at Walt Disney World in Orlando on Aug. 29. I will be there with my family on September 1st, ready to get my Star Wars on.

In anticipation of the new attractions’ popularity, Disney has taken steps to better equip Disneyland to handle massive crowds. As part of the Project Stardust initiative, Disney has added new parking and expanded pedestrian walkways throughout Disneyland Resort.

Ride queues have been reconfigured to put guests in the shade, and extra seating was added to the Adventureland and Tomorrowland sections of the park. The reservation system for Galaxy’s Edge may also help control crowds in Disneyland.

You can be part of the Resistance or the First Order experience.

Disney parks usually offer passive experiences.  I love riding the rides and watching as everything happens but that is not Galaxy’s Edge. Galaxy’s Edge is taking it to the next level.  It’s role-playing where you are part of the action. Disney’s employees have always been cast members, but the staff at Galaxy’s Edge go a step further. They are Batuu residents who greet you by saying “bright suns” and never break character.

The story of Black Spire Outpost is new and set after the events of “The Last Jedi.” Therefore, don’t expect to run into Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader or Yoda. They’re dead so it wouldn’t make sense for them to be walking around the park. It’s an entirely new place and everyone is experiencing this for the first time.

READ ALSO: What’s New at Walt Disney World

One thing that I think is really cool is the atmospheric encounters instead of character meets with Rey, Kylo Ren, Stormtroopers and Chewbacca. No crazy lines because the characters are walking around the land interacting because that’s where they belong. Also, spontaneous atmospheric entertainment.

If you come across one of your favorite characters, I’m looking at you Chewie, they will stay in character while photo pass photographers take a “scan of you”.

The Galaxy’s Edge Rides.

Galaxy’s Edge will include two thrill rides, Rise of the Resistance, a visit to a Star Destroyer that includes a face-off with the ruthless Kylo Ren and the Smuggler’s Run where you can pilot the Millennium Falcon.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run recreates the experience of flying the spacecraft piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca. Each ride vehicle seats six people, and the ride is designed to be interactive so guests will use controls to either pilot the ship, use blasters to defend the craft or keep the ship running smoothly as flight engineers.

Piloting the Millennium Falcon

Once aboard the Millennium Falcon, you hang in the main hold, which looks identical to the Falcon from the films. Once it’s time for your mission, strap in the Falcon cockpit. Each person is assigned one of three roles and you work as a team.

You can ride stand by, single rider or fast pass but fast passes aren’t available yet. We’ve read that the queue is shorter at the end of the 4-hour time frame.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Galaxy’s Edge’s second ride won’t open until later in 2019.

The Food at Galaxy’s Edge.

Oga’s Cantina will be the first place to ever serve alcohol in Disneyland. The bar serves already mixed cocktails and beers in souvenir glasses. This is not a full bar so don’t expect to order whatever you want. A fun bit of musical entertainment is provided by D.J. Rex.

I’ve heard the drinks are fun and creative but quite pricey if you want the cool souvenir mugs and who doesn’t? A regular cocktail at Oga’s Cantina can cost around $17, not including the price of a souvenir mug. Single beers cost $12 each, or $75 for a flight of 4 beers. The one I’m most looking forward to trying id the Fuzzy Tauntaun. It is Ciroc peach vodka, rolls peach schnapps, simply orange with tangerine, pure cane sugar and buzz foam ( be warned it will make your mouth tingly and numb) and cost $15.

READ ALSO: Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families

Several restaurants serve “Star Wars” themed food, including a Ronto Wrap which is a sausage, pork gyro topped with coleslaw.

The Milk Stand serves the famous Blue and Green Milk frozen beverages. They’re coconut milk based frozen drink with the blue one tasting fruity and the green one tasting more citrusy. Blue and Green Milk drinks cost $8.

There is one free souvenir in Galaxy’s Edge and that’s the cardboard coasters at Oga’s Cantina. They’re single-use and free to take home. We hear you can even ask for a fresh one if yours gets mucked up by your drink.

How to navigate Stars Wars Galaxy’s Edge like a native.

Download the Disneyland and Play apps before your visit. They’re free! The Play Disney Parks app, adds a deeper level of storytelling to your Galaxy’s Edge experience by turning your smartphones into an interstellar “datapad.” You can use the app to activate droids, scan cargo crates to see what was inside and translate shop signs written in Aurebesh, the “Star Wars” language.

You can also use the app to interact with other guests in a game called “Outpost Control,” where you choose to play for the First Order or the Resistance. Earn galactic credit if your side starts to win.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

The Market Place at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

This is the place where you can find and purchase all things Galaxy’s Edge except for anything labeled Star Wars or Galaxy’s Edge including workshops where you can build your own lightsabers or functioning droids. If you are wanting anything labeled Galaxy’s Edge or Star Wars you’ll have to buy that outside the land. But there is plenty of cool stuff to buy in Galaxy’s Edge.

Galaxy’s Edge has nine stores offering roughly 700 items, almost none of which are available for purchase elsewhere. Want to take a pet home from Batuu? Check out the creature stall in creature corner where you can adopt pets like the Kowakian Lizard Monkeys (very similar to the banshees of Pandora.)

The Black Spire Outfitters is where you can buy costumes.

Jewels of Bith is a souvenir shop.

First order cargo: bat Allison order

Droid depot is where you can buy and build your own BB8 or R2-D2 type droid. It comes with remote control and talks to other droids. Various personality chips are available.

Build Your Own Lightsaber

Savi’s Workshop is where visitors can build and purchase their own lightsabers for $199 plus tax. But don’t ask, “where do I buy my lightsaber?” because the locals won’t tell you. After all, lightsabers are contraband. If you want your very own famous weapon used by Jedi fighters like Luke Skywalker and Yoda you’ll have to ask where to find the “scrap metal.” There are over 120,000 possible lightsaber combinations.

All these amazing Star Wars immersive experiences to be had within your 4-hour reservation. I can’t wait for our trip to Walt Disney World this fall to experience Star Wars; Galaxy’s Edge for ourselves. I’ll be sure to bring you all along.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney CruiseWhat are you most looking forward to experiencing most at Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

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