Southeastern Railway Museum – Parent Review

 

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Today we have a parent review from Ashley Jansen. She and her younger boys recently visited The Southeastern Railway Museum

My family has been a big fan of the Southeastern Railway Museum for years now. My now 9 year old son had his 2nd birthday party there where we rented the party car and it was fantastic!! I took my 2 year old and 5 year old and his friend this past week. The museum opens at 10 a.m. and we got there right at opening to avoid the heat. Although a lot of the rail cars are inside a warehouse-type structure, it is not air conditioned. We left on the west-side of Cumming and it took us a solid 40 minutes to drive there.

There is a historic diesel train ride that the boys loved. The train whistle blew many times and we even lucked out with a real long train drive by on our ride. You are on the train for about 20 minutes. The current departing times for the train are: 10:40, 11:30, 1:00, 2:30, and 3:10.

Unfortunately, the park train ride is under repair (with the rains earlier this spring the train got flooded) and will not be back working until after Labor Day. When it is working, this small (think fair ride) train ride was so fun – went pretty fast and took three really long loops around the track.

The tip I would provide is to get there as close to 10:00 as you can. Tour the train cars in the warehouse (which took us right up to the 10:40 train ride). Ride the train. Tour the remaining buses and train cars under the pavilion. We were in the car heading home about 11:45.

Some of the trains take some climbing to get into. The 5 year olds were fine doing it on their own, but I was lifting and carrying my 2 year old throughout. I would not say it is handicapped accessible in that those in a wheel-chair or that need assistance walking there is no other way to see the inside of the cars without climbing the stairs. It is stroller friendly in that there are sidewalks around all the cars, but again to get the child into the train car you would have to climb up with the child in your arms.

Please note they are only open Wednesday thru Saturday from 10:00-5:00. Adults are $10 (65+ is $8). Children are $7. Under 2 is Free. Train rides are $3 per person (under 2 is Free).

Everyone who works there is a volunteer and are so friendly and helpful. They love to answer questions and talk about the trains to the kids. They started offering a preschool program the second Thursday of every month. The details can be found on their website if you are interested.

I highly recommend this outing! My son said on the way home, “Mommy, I loved that place. It was so so fun!”

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To learn more about the Southeastern Railway Museum, visit their website by clicking here. 

More About Ashley:

AJAshley Jansen is wife of 14 years to Mark and mom to three boys, Hamilton (9), Luke (5), and Garrett (2). Originally from Texas, she has lived in Forsyth County for the last 13 years. She loves Mexican food, watching football and baseball, reading a good book, making Excel spreadsheets, and prefers candy over chocolate and Dr. Pepper over Coke.

She and her husband are active in Browns Bridge Church serving as adult small group leaders, 2to1 premarital mentors, and GroupLink connectors. She also serves as Coordinator of the local Cumming class of Community Bible Study and on the Advisory Team of Titus2 Mentoring Women. She is a recent breast cancer survivor, but still prefers purple over pink.

To learn more about Ashley and our other contributing writers, click here.

How Facebook Changes Impact the News You Receive From Cumming Local

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How Facebook Changes Impact the News You Receive From Cumming Local

Have you ever wondered why you aren’t seeing more posts from Cumming Local in your news feed?

Facebook announced a few weeks ago that it is tweaking it’s news feed algorithm to emphasize more posts from friends and family. This means that over time you will see less posts from pages that you like. Why am I sharing this with you? Well, that’s because it impacts how you see posts from Cumming Local. Over the last month, I’ve had a several readers reach out and ask why they aren’t seeing Cumming Local posts in their newsfeed.

So, I thought it would be helpful if I give you some step-by-step instructions on how to guarantee you will see all of Cumming Local’s posts.

Take these quick steps to be sure you still get Facebook posts from Cumming Local in your news feed.

  1. Go to Cumming Local’s Facebook page and make sure you have liked it.
    On your mobile device, click on “Following” and you receive three options. If you’d like to see every post from Cumming Local, click “See First.” If you’d prefer to see what the Facebook algorithm serves you, click “Default,” and Facebook will show you posts based on how often you engage Cumming Local’s content (by engage it means how often you like or comment on a post).
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    On desktop, you can find the “See First” and “Default” options by clicking on the small arrow right next to the Like button.

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  2. Set up your notifications.To manage your notifications on your mobile device, click on the “More” button and then click down to “Notifications.” There you can select which notifications you’d like to receive on the page.

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    On desktop to edit notifications, click on the small arrow to the right of the like button and select either all on or all off. You may also choose to receive specific notifications, such as videos and photos. To do so, click on the pencil next to the notifications button to select which post types you’d like to receive notifications for.

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My hope is this will help you understand how to not miss any posts from Cumming Local. You can also subscribe to our twice weekly newsletter that is emailed out. Click here to subscribe. Also, one quick note – this information goes for any business pages that you like on Facebook. So you can use these same instructions to set them up as well.

And if you have any problems with this or still have questions, you can send me a message on Facebook or email me at info@cumminglocal.com.

Medieval Times Atlanta: Parent Review

Medieval Times Atlanta: Parent Review

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Cumming Local is so grateful for contributing writers! This guest blog post is from one of Rachael’s very best friends, Ashley. Her family recently experienced Medieval Times. Ashley’s boys are 9, 4 1/2, and 20 months old. They chose to hire a babysitter for the 20 month old. And they were glad they did. 

I will say Medieval Times is a little pricy. We chose to go ‘all out’ and do the VIP option which we thought was completely worth it, but the regular tickets would provide just as nice of an experience if you were needing to be a little more budget friendly.

The food was actually pretty good, but just remember there is no silverware given – you eat everything with your fingers or from the plate. So the soup you drink from the bowl, the baked potato you pick up and eat. This is one of the main reasons I’m glad we left the 2 year old at home. Also, the seats are normal chairs – we did not ask if there were booster seats or high-chairs, but I did not see anyone else using one.

I would highly recommend you take their advice on getting there early because the seat where you sit is given out based on when you get there. You can reserve the ‘type’ of seat (i.e. we reserved a VIP seat), but the ‘quality’ of seat you get is based on when you are in line to check-in.

You get a picture made as soon as you walk in (ours was made with the princess – I wish now we would have requested the sword in the stone which would have been more ‘boyish’). After our picture we took the time to go to the gift shop and purchase a souvenir for the boys. I’m glad we did this before because it was pretty packed after the show. We were able to let them keep their souvenir swords on the floor under our chair during the show.

The show was very entertaining and kept both of my boys very engaged the entire time. It was such a pleasure to see the excitement and watch the experience through their eyes.

Overall, I am so pleased and impressed with our experience and felt it was money well spent. The boys are begging to go back again, but we will need to space the cost of this experience out by at least a year.

Location/Ticket Information:

Location: Atlanta Castle – 5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy Lawrenceville, GA

Tickets: $54.95 per adult and $36.95 for children 12 & under.

 

Note: There are a lot of different specials available as well. All seats $30 on Wednesday and Thursday; Free Royalty Upgrade; Summer Fun Savings Adults $35.95 and Kids $29.95 (everyday but Wednesday and Thursday due to previous special); and a Father’s Day special where Dad is free 6/13-19.

Connect online with Medieval Times:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Top Five Travel Agent Myths

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Have you used a travel agent to book your vacation? I’m going to be very honest and tell you that I have not before. A few weeks ago, my husband and I started planning our 10 year anniversary trip. We decided to go back to the place we honeymooned at 10 years ago. I started shopping online. It was A LOT of work trying to find what we wanted. I ended up booking our trip through an online company. But you know what they say – “Hindsight is 20/20.”

The booking experience was very impersonal. I just shopped for the best flight, hotel room, and price. Then I typed in my personal information, payment information, and clicked book trip. That’s it. It took a little bit before I received a confirmation email which made me a bit nervous.

Now that it’s booked, I wish I would have gone through a travel agent. It would have helped me to book much easier, saved me stress, and probably saved money. And using a travel agent would have given me a person to call with any questions.

Yesterday, I was able to spend some time speaking with my friend, Jenny Reed who has been a travel agent/planner for over 15 years. She and I talked through the myths about travel agents. I felt these were too good not to share.

If you are thinking about summer, fall, or spring vacations – I recommend you give Jenny a call (678.947.5115) or email (Jenny@OurCruisePlanner) to have her help you with booking your vacation. Lesson learned for me. I will definitely use her next time!

Myth 1: Travel agents are expensive.

Truth: Travel agents are usually compensated by the hotel, cruise line or tour provider they are booking for, which means you probably don’t have to pay them a penny. Ask up front if the agent charges a planning fee.  Agents also have insider access to deals not advertised and a large buying power since they are searching and purchasing travel year round, and have strong relationships with each travel brand, which is a benefit to you. In reality, it can be less expensive to use a travel agent.

Myth 2: I have the Internet, so why would I need a travel agent?

Truth: The Internet is a great tool for researching travel, but when you have 25 different windows open and you can’t figure out which ones to close, you are bound to get stressed. Travel agents can help break through the overwhelming clutter of so many options, offer tried-and-true recommendations based on their personal travel experience and help narrow down choices to create a customized vacation experience based on your desires.  Also, it is their personalized customer service after the sale that often is the key to using an agent as well.

Myth 3: A travel agent will cut me out of the research and planning process.

Truth: It’s all about teamwork. Working with a travel agent allows you to be as involved as you would like to be in the travel planning process. Vacations are investments, so just like you would want to hire a professional to manage a cash investment, you should consider using a professional travel agent to help with your vacation investment. Find a travel agent that has a robust website with information about destinations to make you an even more educated, savvy traveler.

Myth 4: Travel agents only recommend products that will earn them the highest commission.

Truth: While some travel agents might have a favorite cruise line or destination, their recommendation is based off of personal experience and what you are wanting for your vacation. Many travel agents take familiarization trips, so they are knowledgeable about the products they are offering and can give you insider tips to make your vacation even more special.

Myth 5: I can book a vacation myself and save time.

Truth: Don’t lie to yourself…you are insanely busy. Why spend four weeks planning a four-day vacation all on your own when a travel agent has the resources, knowledge and often personal experience to help you and in a timely manner?    Travel agents actually save you time so all you have to do is worry about is what to pack.

Jenny Reed – Our Cruise PlannerTravel Planner in Cumming GA

Jenny Reed has been traveling the world since she was a little girl. She turned her love for travel into her own business over 14 years ago. From cruises to escorted tours to customized travel plans, Jenny has helped her friends, family and clients in the Cumming area and nationwide take the vacations of their dreams. She shares her passion for travel with her customers and does not charge a service planning fee. For Jenny, the best part of her job is creating travel plans so people can escape their busy lives even if it’s just for a little while!

Connect with Jenny:

Email – Jenny@OurCruisePlanner (dot) com
Website | Facebook  | Twitter
Phone – 678.947.5115

New Trails and Playground at Sawnee Mountain Preserve Mountainside

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Have you taken a hike up the new trails at Sawnee Mountain Preserve – Mountainside? Personally we haven’t. But we hope to real soon! Just need to find a time when we can do it without our littles. We’ve heard it’s a tough hike and better to go without kids under 6 years old.

The New Trails

There are 4 trail tracks you can take up the mountain. They range from 0.6 miles to 3.2 miles. Click here to check out the map.

The Playground

I (Rachael) went to the Mountainside Playground for a playdate a few weeks ago. The playground is pretty amazing! It has slides, poles to slide down, a rock wall to climb, a bridge to cross, and more. My children’s favorite part was the cave to play in. You can climb down into the cave from the top of playground but also from the ground. Inside you find “spiders,” “lizards,” and cave drawings.

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This playground also offers several swings, a playground for the younger kids, and clean bathrooms. The ground of the playground looks like mulch but it’s a solid ground. It has a bounce to it. My daughter fell a few times running around and she didn’t get hurt so that’s a win!

SMP-Mountainside2 A few tips for you:

  • The ground is a dark reddish color so it is hot. And it puts off some heat too. The playground is not covered.
  • Pack water! You kids will be thirsty after playing here.
  • Make sure to have sunscreen handy since it’s not a covered playground.
  • There is a covered picnic area that you can sit to watch your kids play. Also, that’s a great place to share a snack before you head home. 🙂

More about Sawnee Mountain Preserve:

10676361_903043403053383_2197766904284198221_nLocated just 40 miles north of Atlanta in Cumming, Georgia, Sawnee Mountain Preserve provides visitors with 963 acres of scenic passive space, hiking trails and an interactive Visitor Center. Sawnee Mountain visibly links to the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, as well as the rich history of the woodland culture of North Georgia’s Native American inhabitants. The mountain is named after a local Cherokee Native American, Sawnee.  Now, after having survived the passage of time, natural disasters, searches for gold, timber clearing, and urban development, Sawnee Mountain is the landmark host to The Sawnee Mountain Preserve & Visitor Center.

Connect with Sawnee Mountain Preserve Online: Website | Facebook

Grub Burger Bar: A Family Dinner Out and A Date Night

* As of May 16th, this contest has been closed. Congrats to Bert G!*

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Grub Burger Bar had it’s GRAND OPENING here in Cumming GA on May 3rd at 11am. I am so happy that this new burger place is open. I was offered the opportunity to go to Grub Burger Bar on May 2nd for a sneak peek and to try the food and drinks. It was a great experience! The staff was wonderful, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was just fantastic. You can’t ask for anything better in a restaurant.

For the Family:

Right when I walked in I knew my kids would love this place. It’s got a great vibe. As I walked up to order, I noticed they have some great options for the kids at an excellent price. All the kid’s meals are $5 for either a burger, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, or macaroni n’ cheese. It comes with a side and a drink. The restaurant does have a lot of high tops around the bar area. But they also have an excellent covered patio with tons of regular tables as well as booths inside. 

Grub Burger Bar also have tons of delicious milkshakes! What kid doesn’t love that? And their shakes are considered lactose-free.

For the Date Night:

One thing I love about this restaurant is how perfect it is for Forsyth County. It can be great for the family. But it can also be an awesome place to take your significant other out on a date. The exposed brick and industrial lighting give it a cool factor.

Grub Burger Bar has a full bar with anything from beer and wine to spiked milkshakes and everything in between. Here’s a fun option – have everyone order a different burger and then split them into fours. That way you can try more than one burger. I tried the Bacon Love #9, Guacapotle, Jive Turkey, and Greek To Me. Hands down my favorite was the Guacapotle. But they were all really good.

On Monday-Friday from 3pm-6pm, they offer “Happier Hours.” During this time they have drink and food specials. You can learn more by visiting them in person.

Gluten Free?

Since I’m gluten free, this was the best part about my meal. They can and are happy to accommodate a gluten free person. The one downfall is that their menu isn’t labeled with what is gluten free and what’s not. However, their staff is knowledgeable and can help you choose what to order that’s safe. The buns they use are made from Pure Knead’s. Mine was soft but yet toasted perfectly. Also all of their plain flavored milkshakes are gluten free. I had salted caramel and it was amazing!

Giveaway

In summary, I have to encourage you to go try this new restaurant. I know you will enjoy your meal and the service! And to encourage you to go, I have a gift certificate for a complimentary milkshake or fries.

Enter to win here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learn More about Grub Burger Bar: 

12507270_950427731710995_8374375215156410142_nThey are passionate about great food, great drinks and great hospitality. They believe in fresh ingredients and big flavors, delivered by caring, friendly people. And they know that a lively environment makes it all feel and taste better. At Grub they use quality, fresh, and differentiating ingredients.

snaps-0166Their buns are baked from scratch every hour. They grind their signature blend of chuck and brisket in-house daily. All of their sauces and dressings are homemade. And they are proud to source local when possible.

Connect with Grub Burger Bar:

The Collections at Forsyth
410 Peachtree Pkwy, Ste 204
Cumming GA 30041

Phone: 678.341.5689

Click here to review their menu

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Disclosure: Grub Burger Bar provided Cumming Local with a complimentary meal in order to provide this review. I was not compensated for this post. All of the opinions are my own. 

 

Day Out with Thomas: Parent Review

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Day Out With Thomas: Parent Review

Cumming Local is so grateful for contributing writers! This guest blog post is from one of Rachael’s very best friends, Ashley. Her family recently took a trip to Chattanooga for the “Day Out with Thomas” experience. Ashley’s boys are 9, 4 1/2, and 19 months old. This exhibit is open for 2 more weeks. It’s not too far of a drive from Cumming GA & Forsyth County. Go check it out while you can!

We purchased our tickets on the Tuesday before we attended that Saturday. They sell the tickets on a timed schedule and then within each time by the train car. There is no perk for being on the different cars. We were on train four and it was the same thing as train one. There are a certain number of seats per car and time slot so when we purchased our tickets the only time slots available were 5:30 and 6:30 in the evening. They start as early as 9:30 and run on the hour with 6:30 being the last train.

It is about a two hour drive from our home in Cumming GA to Chattanooga. The drive was really not bad at all and of course we watched Thomas movies all the way there and back to enhance the experience for our kids.

They recommend you arrive an hour before your train ride and you get in line to board 20 minutes before. We purchased 5:30 tickets and arrived at 4:30. It was plenty of time to see most of what we wanted. When you arrive they give each child a piece of paper that they are to get three stamps on when they visit different areas of the train yard. The problem is that some of these are timed experiences.

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The first ‘stamped’ activity is at the ‘Imagination Station’ tent. This is where my boys got their choice of train tattoo. There were also train displays, but there were not nearly enough trains for people to play with so we got our tattoos and stamp on our paper and were on our way.

The second ‘stamped’ activity was seeing Sir Topham Hatt. Because it was 4:45 he wasn’t there and no one was there to stamp our paper. To see Sir Topham Hatt: 9:15 to 6:15 on the hour. He is only there for a short while to take a photo with.

The third ‘stamped’ activity was hearing a story or watching a video. It is upstairs. We were a couple minutes late and she had already started reading (Got there about 4:50). The boys weren’t that interested in the story, but there was a sweet lady at the back that stamped our papers. NOTE: there are bathrooms in this room. To see the Thomas Video: 9:15 to 5:15 on the hour. It is just a short 10-15 minute video. To hear a Thomas story read aloud: 9:45 to 5:45 on the hour. Think librarian story time reading a couple Thomas books that takes about 10-15 minutes.

After we left the storytime we headed to the bouncy, putt-putt, and petting zoo. The bouncy is only for 5 and under which was a bummer. My 9 year old couldn’t do it and my 4 year old didn’t want to do it without big brother so that was an unfortunate bust. On to the petting zoo. My kids always get a kick out of these. My 19-month old loved petting all the goats.

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A lucky-for-us now tip-for-you: As we were at the petting zoo we heard Thomas’ whistle (all of us Thomas the Train lovers or parent of lovers know this sound well). So we ran over to the track and got to watch Thomas come in. Then they had a platform that you could get your picture made with Thomas behind you. It was 4:50 and we were first in line for the pictures (way before the entire train deboarded to get their picture made). So my tip is: I would head over to the jumpy/petting zoo area about 10 minutes before the hour.

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They tell you to get to the train to stand in line about 20 minutes before the ride. You stand in line by your train car number. As I mentioned we were train number four. The order you are in line is the order you will load the train which means the order you get to pick your seats. Since we were needing 4 seats we wanted to make sure we were able to sit with each other. No food or drinks are allowed on the trains (so make sure not to buy your ‘carnival’ snacks right before your train time because they won’t allow you to bring it on). There are also no bathrooms on the train so take those potty breaks with plenty of time before to get in line. (We did have my youngest sippy cup and bag of fruit loops on the train that he did snack on). The train left at 5:35 and we were back at 6:00 – so it’s about a 25 minute ride. Another tip for you: Sit on the side of the train you loaded from and sit as close to that door as possible. The view out that side of the train is way more interesting (stalled train cars, houses, bridges, etc.). The other side is woods the whole way. Also, sitting close to the loading door means you are the first ones off. The train is air conditioned which is a nice reprieve. A conductor walks through the car and hands out a blank, black and white, certificate. We threw these away, but some kids might think they are special. They also had a photographer going around the car taking pictures. (more on how to order pictures later).

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After the train ride is when we decided to let the boys get their snacks. There are refreshments like cotton candy, ices, hot dogs, and other carnival-type food.  We then decided to get one more picture with Thomas. This was at the front of the Thomas (so directly face-on). I read on the sign that you could give them your camera as long as it was ready to go and they would use your personal device. So we waited in line to get this picture (to myself I was thinking it would save me from having to purchase the other one that I tipped you on). Unfortunately, when we got up there for the picture she said we are allowed to use our own cameras, but she could not take them. I needed to have someone else take our picture. So my tip: Coordinate with another family (even if it is a stranger) to hop out of line to take your picture and then you can return the favor.

By the time we were done with the picture we realized Sir Topham Hatt was back out (it was 6:20) so we went over there, but were in no moods to stand in another line. We went around to the exit, let the boys see him and got our third and final stamp.

We headed to the merchandise store (where you turn in your paper for your prize). The prize was disappointing to the boys, it was a Thomas clapper. Exactly what parents want to hear all the way home, Ha! My four-year old asked why it wasn’t a train. I understand why it wasn’t a train, but something more useful would have been nice. There is a great selection of Thomas the Train trains, sets, cups, towels, shirts, and anything else you can think of in the merchandise store. My tip: there are four very nice Thomas the Train tables with a good number of trains at the back of the merchandise store that my boys were able to play with easily. So if you want a break in the shade (but are prepared for the tears when they have to walk away) go play on these train tables.

 

The last thing I would say is that our crowd was not big at all. We really didn’t have to wait for anything. I asked a staff member when we left if this was typical crowd size or if there were busier time during the day. She said the first two and last two train rides of the day were the least crowded, but the times in between were extremely ‘crazy and crowded’. Those were her words. So initially, I was a little worried and concerned having our experience later in the day, but the weather was beautiful and the crowd was lite and I think it worked out perfectly.

Would I recommend the Day Out With Thomas experience? Absolutely! If you have a Thomas the Train lovin’ child that lives in your home the expression on their face and absolute joy is worth every penny. Yes there were some disappointments along the way, but overall it was a wonderful family outing!

FYI: This is the same train ride you take if you have ever done the Polar Express with the Tennessee Valley Railroad.

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P.S. I got a lot of compliments on my shirt (My shirt says “Outnumbered #boymom) while I was there. I was able to secure a 60% discount code just for CummingLocal readers if you are interested in BoyMom, GirlMom, or even ‘Best of Both World’ shirts, hats, and more. Just go to: boymomdesigns.com and use the promo code: 3l (that is a lower-case L)

Ticket Information:

Tickets are $21 per person that is age 2 or older. Under 2 is free (but do not get your own seat). There is a $4 fee per ticket as well. Everything else I have mentioned is included with the train ticket – the only other thing you purchase when you are there are snacks, drinks, and any merchandise you choose to buy.

The pictures they take are through JED Photography. You can stop at the tent to view the pictures (they give you these little tickets with passwords on them that they scan). There is a little discount if you order at the event and they print them on the spot. Our last pictures had not been uploaded yet so we didn’t want to wait. You can order everything up to 14 days after online for the same price (and you can text them for a 10% off coupon).

To see the nation-wide tour schedule CLICK HERE. We attended the Chattanooga, TN location (CLICK HERE to go straight to purchase tickets) which is open 4/30, 5/1, & 5/7. My review would still be applicable to any location since it’s the same thing that travels to all locations.

Disney On Ice Frozen in Duluth GA

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Disney on Ice Frozen in Duluth GA

Cumming Local was given the opportunity to review the current Disney on Ice presents Frozen through complimentary tickets from Feld Entertainment.  

 

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We love to surprise our kids. And this night was an opportunity to do just that. We threw them in the car after a quick dinner and headed to Duluth. Infinite Energy Arena is only about 40 minutes from our house. So it’s not a bad drive at all.

When we pulled into the parking lot, my son began asking all kinds of questions. But we said “soon you will know!” After we got them out of the car and picked up our tickets, we told them that we were seeing Disney on Ice Frozen. And that means that it’s on an actual ice skating rink. They were so excited! This is the look of total excitement…

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Once we got to our seats, the fun really began! The start of the show included tons of well-known Disney characters coming out. Characters like Buzz, Woody, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, the princes, and much more! But the best part was when Mickey and Minnie came out to introduce Frozen. The called it One of the Greatest Love Stories Ever Told. Once Disney on Ice Frozen started, it was captivating. Even my husband and I found ourselves lost in the show. My children (ages 4 and 6) were in a trance the entire time. They couldn’t take their eyes off the show!

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The Disney on Ice Frozen show was about 2 1/2 hours long (that includes a brief intermission). But it really did keep all of our attention the entire time. There is humor, excitement, sadness, and action. If you are on the fence about getting tickets to any of the Disney on Ice shows, we say go for it! Your kids will love the show and so will you!

Once we got in the car and got buckled up, Selah was asleep before we even got out of the parking lot. Now that’s a sign of a great show!

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Disclosure:  Cumming Local was provided with complimentary tickets to attend a performance in order to facilitate a show review.  But as always, doesn’t change our opinions.

Traveling with Kids: Sanity Tips

The following is a post from Contributing Writer Jenny Reed. Jenny, through her business – Our Cruise Planner, helps her clients in Cumming and nationwide take the vacations of their dreams. Jenny is also a former Cast Member at Disney World in Orlando Fl – she can most definitely help your family find the magic of a Disney Vacation!  Let Jenny take the hassle out of your next getaway – on land or at sea!

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Traveling With Kids:  Sanity Tips

Traveling with your children can be a fantastic way to bond with them, show them the world, make memories to last a lifetime, and feed your family’s sense of adventure. On the flip side, traveling with your children also means having to sit for a long time in a vehicle or an airplane and listening to “Are we there yet?” repeatedly.

Here are a few tips to keep you sane during this journey:

1. It’s All about Music or Books
– Music soothes the savage beast. And it works on kids too! Load your music players and car CD changers with music the whole family enjoys. Also with the huge market of kid books out there, there is a tremendous number available as audio files. These stories last for hours and will keep your child entranced for some time.

2. It is Snack Time
– Food is fuel especially on a road trip or flight. Try to stay away from sugary snacks but provide healthy items like fruit and whole grain snacks. Freeze juice pouches and keep in a small cooler as they will thaw out in time for a refreshing snack break.

3. Create Car Games
– Stay away from the held kind of game, instead create the kind that use their imagination. These can include “I Spy with My Eye” or license plate games such as counting to see how many different states you can find, or try to make a sentence with the letters in a passing car’s license plate.

4. Break out the Puzzle Books
– Puzzle books are great because they take the child’s attention away amount of time in car or plane, and generally have big enough print to be able to read easily in a moving car. Try to avoid reading books, unless on a plane, the small print with the moving car could equal a sick child.

5. Try Using Clips for Good Behavior
-Each child is assigned a clip and it goes up on your visor at the beginning of your trip. If the child has good behavior the clip stays up. However – if there is fighting, screaming, or anything else that you don’t allow on car rides then you take their clip down. At each stop whoever has their clip up gets a small reward (like a candy bar, soda, etc.). Positive rewards seem to work well especially on a long trip! 

6. Plan Your Trip Wisely
– Try to leave as early as possible on a car trip, bring your child’s favorite pillow and they’ll sleep for the better portion of the trip. Also, get the kids involved in the vacation planning as well such as highlighting on a map where you will be traveling.

7. Make Frequent Stops
– This isn’t really realistic when you’re flying, but is a must option in the car. Take this extra time as it can make the trip more bearable for children.   Getting out stretching their legs and looking at the scenery is sometimes all they need to get them through to the next stop. Also, stopping at the state visitor’s centers is a great way to learn fun fact about the state and the region. Pack a picnic and make an adventure out of it!

There are always times during a long trip where everybody gets a little antsy, even the adults. Try some of these tips on your next trip and everyone will arrive happier and less stressful.

If you happen to be headed to Disney World, check out Jenny’s Magical Disney Tips.

Connect with Jenny of Our Cruise Planner:

Travel Planner in Cumming GAEmail – Jenny@OurCruisePlanner.com

Online – www.OurCruisePlanner.com

Facebook – www.Facebook.com/OurCruisePlanner

Twitter – www.Twitter.com/TheTravelExpert

Phone – 678.947.5115

 

Photo Source:  D Sharon Pruitt

My Experience at Dream Dinners

Dream Dinners Cumming GA

My Experience at Dream Dinners

Tonight I had my first experience with assembling a whole month worth of meals at Dream Dinners. I thought it would be helpful to share about my experience for those of you who haven’t been before. Dream Dinners is an innovative solution to the daily question of “what’s for dinner?” Their mission is to help you easily, deliciously, and cost effectively bring the homemade meal back to the family dinner table. Leave the time consuming shopping and prepping to them, so you can focus on enjoying dinner again. Using Dream Dinners will definitely save you time, money, and worry about putting dinner on the table every night.

My son, Finn (age 6), loves to help me in the kitchen. So when the time came for me to go in to assemble my month of meals, I brought him along. I thought he’d enjoy putting all the meals together and I was right. He loved it!

STEP 1 – “Preparation” When we first arrived, we were greeted by some very friendly faces. The staff at Dream Dinners is wonderful, friendly, and helpful. We started by getting our aprons on, washing our hands, and getting our supplies (freezer bags and instruction cards) together.

Dream Dinners

STEP 2 – “Assembly Then it was time to start assembling our meals together. Each refrigerated station was labeled very well. There was a recipe card and all the ingredients are color coded for us. Super easy! Finn had no problem doing all this himself. Everything goes neatly in freezer bags with an instruction card. We spent about 7-10 minutes at each station.

Finn at Dream Dinners

STEP 3 – “Completion and Check out” After we had assembled all of our meals, we alerted the staff. They helped us to gather all our meals and make sure we aren’t missing anything. They also showed us to the Finishing Touch freezer where there were sides, soups, and desserts. We looked through to see if we wanted to add any of those to our order. I did add a few sides because that’s less I have to worry about when I grocery shop. Then we just packed up our cooler, said our goodbyes, and headed home!

Want to know the best part? It’s this…

Dream Dinners

A freezer packed full of meals! Thank you Dream Dinners! 

Connect with Dream Dinners:

Address: 539 Lake Center Pkwy, Ste 500 Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: 770-887-4141

Website | Facebook

Also, if you’d like to try out Dream Dinners – I’m hosting a Girl’s Night Out event there on March 14th. Click here to learn all about it and register before it fills up!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however all opinions expressed are my own.