Want this view? Check out my review of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

Our Stay at the Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World

Love the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World? So do we!! Join us for this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop as we share our reviews of the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.

As a long-time Hilton Honors member, I was looking for a place where I could use my points to stay at or near Walt Disney World. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had enough points for a complimentary regular room and a discounted suite with a Walt Disney World view. With that, my parents, my husband and son and I spent a wonderful three nights there… wonderful as there were many pros to staying there, though with a couple of cons.

First the pros: Continue reading


Fall in Phoenix? It Must Be Time for the Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are exploring pumpkin patches, family farms, and more Fall fun! Our stop is the Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party!

Fall in Phoenix? Visit Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili PartyIt’s fall and in many areas, that brings images of beautiful leaves changing colors and picking apples. In our Arizona desert, though, many of our trees stay green all year and apple orchards are rare. What we do have, though, is an amazing Pumpkin & Chili Party at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, Arizona.

My family has made a visit to the Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party an annual tradition. It wouldn’t be fall without a pumpkin and why get one from a store when you can pick one straight from the patch? Schnepf Farms has two patches to choose from, one with larger pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and a smaller one for pies or decoration.

Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the chili. It is great and served with cornbread, corn on the cob, and a brownie. If chili isn’t your thing, they also offer grilled chicken breasts, hot dogs, burgers, corn dogs, pulled pork, brats, succotash, and more. You won’t go hungry!! My son’s favorite treat is the glowing cotton candy. Who knew that serving cotton candy on a glow stick would make the whole thing glow? It’s really fun.

Fall in Phoenix? Visit Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili PartyBut that’s not all. Schnepf Farms is huge!! We spend much of our time at the amusement park area. There are rides for smaller children like spinning airplanes and lady bugs and honeybees. Older children and adults enjoy the small roller coaster and swings. The tunnel slide built into a small hill is fun and my son really loves the country road rally where one drives a pedal-powered car around a track. This year, they’ve also added a zip line.

Fall in Phoenix? Visit Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili PartyWhat’s a farm without animals? Schnepf Farms has a petting zoo. Get up close and personal with goats, a cow, a horse, and more. There are small machines where food is dispensed (bring quarters) so that guests can feed the animals. For even more fun, kids can enjoy a pony ride, but for me, the best animal attraction is Hillbilly Bob’s Pig Races. Watching those little pigs race around the track is so amusing. They have different colored bandanas so you can cheer your favorite on.

If you’re in for a challenge, try the 10 acre corn maze. I will admit I’ve gotten lost in there once. For less of a challenge, there’s also a smaller corn maze, only 4 acres. Each year, the corn maze is a different design. This year, it’s a picture of Mark Schnepf, one of the owners, which I think is sweet. Past corn maze celebrities have included Oprah Winfrey, Larry Fitzgerald, and Muhammad Ali.

But that’s still not all. There’s a train ride (which is kid-friendly during the day and haunted for older kids and adults after dark), hay rides, jumping pillows (think bounce house without the sides), miniature golf, a rock climbing wall, Lil Farmers Play Yard, Extreme Canine Dog Show, a farmhouse museum, shops (try some of the canned goodies like bread n’ butter pickles, they also sell pie), crafts, bonfires for marshmallow roasting (can be rented for a private party which includes marshmallows, roasting sticks, and picnic tables), and on Friday and Saturday evenings, fireworks.

Fall in Phoenix? Visit Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili PartySchnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party runs Thursdays through Sundays October 1 – October 30. Hours are Thursdays 10am – 9pm, Fridays & Saturdays 10am – 10pm, and Sundays 10am – 9pm. Tickets are $18 plus tax at the gate. Discounted tickets can be purchased for $15.00 each at any Fry’s location. SRP also has a coupon for buy one, get one free that is valid on Thursdays.

The admission price includes nearly everything including all the shows, the amusement park rides, the petting zoo, and the museum. There is a small fee for the train rides and pony rides. Food, of course, is also extra. For example, the chili meal is $12; hot dogs are $3. Pumpkins are priced by size.

Want to know more? Check out Schnepf Farms’ short 1-minute video.  It’s made me excited to go again this year!!! I can’t wait!


For more Fall fun,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure | Fall Fun

It's Time for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

It’s Time for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World

We are visiting Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party as part of this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing the Fall events happening at the Disney Parks.

It may only be the beginning of September, but Disney is already helping guests celebrate Halloween. A great way to ring in the season is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a separate ticket event on select nights at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort®. This is a really fun way to spend time with one’s family. Here are my top 5 reasons we attend. Continue reading

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

I’m going on a cruise in a few weeks and once again, there’s the question of do I need travel insurance? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple yes or no answer because so much depends on what coverage one already has, where one is traveling, how much money has been spent, and more. Here are the questions I had to answer for myself before determining whether or not I should purchase travel insurance. Continue reading

Are You Only Scratching the Surface of What There Is to Do at Epcot's The Seas with Nemo & Friends?

Go Under the Sea Figuratively (or Literally!) at Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking a closer look at the fun you can find in Future World at Epcot.

Odds are, if you’ve been to Epcot, you’ve visited The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Many visitors, though, barely scratch the surface (or the deep) of this amazing pavilion.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Copyright Disney, Used with Permission

Photo courtesy of and copyrighted by Disney Parks

We’ll start with the main attraction, The Seas with Nemo & Friends. This is a darling slow moving ride in which guests climb in a “clamobile” to enjoy scenes from the movie.  In addition to the animated scenes from the movie, due to the magic of Disney, Finding Nemo characters can be seen swimming among real fish.

Another popular attraction is Turtle Talk with Crush. It often takes a few minutes for new visitors to realize that yes, Crush is actually talking to the people in the auditorium!  He answers the audience’s questions about life in the ocean and refer to people’s shirts as their shell. Kids and adults alike love this interactive show, which lasts about 15 minutes, and it’s a really great way for kids to learn about sealife. New this summer, Crush will also be introducing  friends from Finding Dory so now he’ll also be answering questions about whale sharks like Destiny, beluga whales like Bailey, or octopuses (or septopuses) like Hank.

Are You Only Scratching the Surface of What There Is to Do at Epcot's The Seas with Nemo & Friends?Most visitors will also wander around SeaBase to see the animals. Disney participates in manatee rescue and conservation and the resident manatees are always a hit. Love dolphins? They have those, too. There is also the giant coral reef home to numerous fish, several species of shark, sting rays and sea turtles. If you’d like to see something extra, catch a fish feeding at 10:00am or 3:30pm daily. There’s also an area for kids to explore. My son loved hanging out in Bruce’s mouth!

Want to dine among the animals? There is a great table service restaurant, the Coral Reef Restaurant. There are huge windows that look into the same aquarium with the fish, sharks, sting rays, and sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a scuba diver or even a scuba Mickey.

Of course, these are all the locations that most people visit and like I said, this barely scratches the surface (or the deep) of this amazing pavilion. There are also several tours (for an extra charge) that will take you behind the scenes and as I’ve been on all of them at least once, I can tell you these tours are absolutely amazing and worth the extra money. Before discussing the individual tours, though, I just want to mention that being behind the scenes at this pavilion is incredible. You’ll see the massive filtering system, animal care areas, how they move the manatees in and out, kitchen and feeding schedules, and more. It truly gives a much more in-depth explanation of what all is involved to keep this pavilion running and the animals healthy.

In addition, there is nothing like seeing the aquarium from its surface. It is huge!!! All of the water areas are actually just walled off sections of one giant tank. Since 5.7-million gallons is difficult for most people to picture, look at it this way, its diameter of 203 feet would easily accommodate Spaceship Earth with 20 feet on either side to spare. The water pressure is so great that the acrylic viewing panels are at least 6 – 8 inches thick, which is much more noticeable from in the water. Now, on to the tours.

Guests 13 and older can interact with those lovable marine mammals on the Dolphins in Depth tour. Guests will visit the dolphin areas learning how these mammals are cared for and what they eat. This is done down to a science as each animal has their own diet. The highlight of the tour, of course, is the 30-minutes spent in about waist-high water interacting with the animals. While the dolphins have to “choose” to come to the guests for the interaction, they must love it because they always do and with a limit of 8 guests on the tour, each guest is sure to have a great experience. Best thing about this tour compared to the others? Nonswimmers can enjoy it, too.

Love to snorkel? Want a guaranteed view of lots and lots of animals? Then the Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour may be for you. Guests 8 and older can snorkel in the coral reef area of the tank. Yes, that’s the section with all the fish, the stingrays, and the sharks. Don’t worry about those last ones, though. While guests can easily see the sharks, they usually hang out closer to the bottom. I really loved this tour until I got SCUBA certified and then there became nothing like the…

Photo taken by my friend Amy of Pixie Dust Delivery Service and the Daily Pixie Dust Blog

Photo taken by my friend Amy of Pixie Dust Delivery Service and the Daily Pixie Dust Blog

Epcot Seas Adventures – DiveQuest. I’ve gone SCUBA diving in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, and there just is no way to see the collection of marine life in the wild that can be seen here. It truly is incredible. The first time I did this tour, I was a little leery of the sharks, but after a few more times, I’ve gotten more daring. Touching them is prohibited (and ill-advised), but if one kneels at the bottom of the tank near their swim pattern, they will swim right around you. My other favorite thing to do on this tour? Interact with the guests outside of the tank! Kids seem to love SCUBA divers and they are constantly waving to you and wanting to interact with you. For me, it’s a great way to share my experience with them. I often spend a lot of my dive around the viewing windows for that exact reason. If a diver’s family is available in the viewing windows, the videographer (divers can purchase a DVD of their dive at the end of the tour) will make it a point to film the diver with his or her family. One of my favorite moments was when my son was small, he put his hand to the window on the outside and I put my hand up to his on the inside and the videographer caught it. Of course, to enjoy this tour guests must be SCUBA certified and at least 10 years old.

I’m sure you can now see why I’ve spent hours and hours inside Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Many guests only give it a walk-through and miss out on some amazing memories and learning experiences. I hope you’ll give it more time and even take one of the tours on your next visit.

For more about Future World,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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