We just booked our next vacation — and although we’re bona fide adults, we’re super-stoked to be heading to Disney World for their annual Marathon Weekend in January 2013. But in order to get motivated, we figured browsing the attractions we’d see while running couldn’t hurt. And what’s more exciting than Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom? Um, nothing! [Ed. note: In fact, I'll be running through the castle come January 13.] Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we booked the Waldorf Astoria Orlando for our stay.
Cinderella's Castle attracts millions of visitors every year, and I get to run through it!
Who doesn’t love family bonding? While perhaps it’s best in small doses, it’s always great to get away with the fam. But depending on the age of your tots in tow, it can take a downright rocket scientist (or an Oyster.com staffer) to find just the right spot for your family vacation. So pack up the mini-van and head to these hotels with the coolest family-friendly amenities around!
Family-Friendly Feature: A Water Park
The Waterpark at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort -- Orlando
Check out more amazing family vacations after the jump!
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The snow has finally started to fall which means that it’s time to take a ski vacation with the family! Whether your kids are future Olympians or have yet to perfect the “pizza,” they probably won’t want to do just that — and hey, you might need a break from the kiddies yourself — so we’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly hotels in our favorite cold weather destinations. After (or in lieu of) a day on the slopes, tots can enjoy numerous kid-friendly amenities — everything from swimming in the year-round pool to bowling to participating in activities at the kids club — at these luxurious resorts.
SKI SPOT: Vail
WHERE TO STAY: Four Seasons Resort Vail
The Outdoor Pool at the Four Seasons Resort Vail; Vail, CO
WHY: The Four Seasons Vail opened in 2011 and has been one of the area’s top hotels since then: All the rooms have stone fireplaces, balconies, and huge marble bathrooms with standalone soaking tubs. (How cozy does that sound?) Not only do families enjoy the beautiful, heated outdoor pool (open year-round), but the Teen Club, with an air hockey table, video games, foosball table, and iMac computers, is also a popular hangout for the young ones as well. Plus, there’s on-site daycare in the kids’ club and young children receive a welcome gift upon arrival.
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It’s not impossible to squeeze in a last-minute family trip before the kids are back at school. We’ve rounded up the most affordable, family-friendly vacations filled with some extra bonding moments for the end-of-summer-blues.
Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando
Average Price: $226/avg. night
Pearls: Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Location: Disney World, Orlando
From the gazelles and giraffes freely roaming the grounds to the enormous pool with a waterslide, the safari-themed Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge was designed to amaze and delight children. Throughout the day, staff members lead (free) educational activities for children like craft-making, African drumming, or mini-lessons about the where giraffes come from. Here, even the learning is captivating.
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Any chance to squeeze in family time is precious, which is why picking a hotel that is fun for both adults and kids alike is important when we have a day off from our busy lives. These hotels will show your whole family a good time this Memorial Day Weekend.
1. Hotel Marlowe, Boston
A “discovery” theme (hallway carpets patterned with stars and moons), kids’ menus, large guest rooms, and lots of freebies — welcome treats for kids, free use of bikes and kayaks, a free lending library of books, free cribs and playpens, free child-size bathrobes — make Hotel Marlowe a great choice for families. Plus, across the street, hotel guests get free use of the telescopes at the Museum of Science observatory.
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Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Jamaica
Everyone knows a water park is only as good as its best slide, so we did a little digging and found the tallest, longest, and most heart-stopping slides on Oyster. Put on your big-boy pants, because these slides are not for the faint at heart. Read More »
Sesame Street character at Beaches Sandy Bay, Negril, Jamaica
If you want to plan a family vacation with wow factor, look no further: Picking a hotel with one of the following kid-friendly attractions will earn you major points with your kids. And with activities this fun, you just may end up acting like a kid yourself.
Cartoon character interactions: For young children, getting to meet a favorite cartoon character or puppet can be a magical experience. At Beaches Sandy Bay and Beaches Boscobel in Jamica, kids can engage in singalongs with Elmer, Zoe, and Grover from Sesame Street; Lilo and Stitch host breakfasts at Disney’s Polynesian Resort; and kids can dine with characters like Mary Poppins, Alice, and Cinderella at Disney’s Grand Floridian.
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Your kids can play with a spider monkey named Mario at the Paradisus Real in the D.R.
Taking your kids on the trip of a lifetime is easier than you think. There’s nothing like wildlife to inspire awe in the little ones, and luckily for you, a handful of hotels on Oyster have the kid-friendly attraction to trump all kid-friendly attractions: animal habitats. That’s right — the following hotels don’t only host humans. Animals from lions to dolphins to penguins to monkeys call these properties home, and the thrill your kids will get from interacting with these exotic creatures can transform a humdrum family vacation into an awe-inspiring experience your kids won’t soon forget. Read More »
The Alamo Square Playground has kid-size versions of San Francisco’s famed Painted Ladies
Sometimes a kid just has to be a kid. After visiting San Francisco’ indoor museums and cultural attractions, head outside, to the playground. Here are three awesome play areas near the sights.
Chinese Playground (Sacramento Street, between Kearny and Grant): Take a break from the knick-knack shops and the dim sum restaurants and head to this urban playground. The pagoda-roofed play structure makes you realize you’re not in Kansas anymore – you’re in Chinatown. Best for the younger set, this play area features a large sandbox, various slides and a wobbly wooden bridge. It’s easy walking distance from the Hilton San Francisco Financial District. Read More »
The fireworks show at Disney's Magic Kingdom
It’s without a doubt that one of the ‘must-dos’ in Walt Disney World is to find a perfect spot to watch Epcot’s Illumination Show or the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Show. But the perfect spot doesn’t have to be inside one of these parks. If you stay at any of the Disney Resorts, there are several spots you can enjoy these fireworks without having to pay admission. Read More »