The end of September/beginning of October my kids had a week off for Fall Break and we took off for New Orleans on a spur-of-the-moment, long weekend trip!
The cotton was being harvested on the roads from Arkansas to Louisiana. I always love seeing the cotton come in. So beautiful.
We stayed at a Hyatt Place hotel, close to the Convention Center downtown in the warehouse district. It was close enough to everything that we didn’t get our car out of the parking deck until we left.
New Orleans is so friendly and fun. So many interesting people and gorgeous weather in the fall. I absolutely adore it.
Fun things we did:
- Ate beignets in Jackson Square at Cafe du Monde
- Visited the Audubon Aquarium (Fun if you haven’t been, but we visited the aquarium in Atlanta this past year and this one paled in comparison, probably pass next time.)
- Walked in the French Quarter *
- Ate at Mother’s (This is our favorite restaurant in New Orleans! You have to be prepared to order when you get to the front of the line though!)
- Listened to live jazz on the street *
- Ran in Jackson Square *
- Visited the St. Louis Cathedral *
- Toured the French Quarter on a Carriage Tour
- Visited the World War 2 museum (we could have spent two days there- amazing)
- Walked through the Farmer’s Market *
- Toured the Old U.S. Mint (*Neat museum of money, history, and musical history. We also happened on a swing dance/band festival! All the real NOLA jazz is in that area of the city now, the FQ is mainly a tourist attraction. Lots of great places to eat or listen if you park close to the Mint at the end of the Market.)
- Toured the old cemeteries *(we didn’t do an official tour, just parked down by Cemetery #2
*All the starred things are FREE!!!
Trip wasn’t too expensive, except for food. If you get out of the tourist areas you’ll get better deals. For attractions look for coupons/deals online before you go. There were some really cool places to eat and hang out down in the warehouse district that I’d like to try next time. With a baby that was tired by the time we stopped to eat we didn’t try any of the fancier places.
On the way home we drove down to the ocean and stopped at a beach in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Beautiful little town and they happened to have a church shrimp festival going on that was fun to walk around. The kids had a great time playing in the sand at the beach before the long trip home.
We’d made arrangements to tour Vanderbilt after lunch, so we visited the Parthenon in nearby Centennial Park. My kids are huge Rick Riordan fans (author of the Percy Jackson series) and we like to make “Percy Jackson” stops when we travel. In Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Percy and the gang stop by the Parthenon to obtain a magical pearl. The museum inside the Parthenon even has some notes from the movie and props, which the boys loved.
After a quick lunch at a quaint old diner (place was cuter than the food was) then headed to Vanderbilt for the tour.
|This is a DORM @ Vanderbilt|
is located in the old Cypress Gardens park
We ate in Mythos in Islands of Adventure which I’d heard good things about on Universal fan websites. It was better than anything else we ate in any of the parks, but the service was not the best. (Pretty much everywhere in Orlando the service was slack though.) The frozen butterbeer was a hit in Harry Potter World. My eleven year old was chosen at Olivander’s for the wand selection, which he’d been hoping for before we left. Made his vacation I think! (Hint, if you’re in line try to not get next to other eleven/twelve year olds as they pick those kids for the “chosen.”)
I didn’t get to ride much of anything being pregnant, but the kids rode everything they wanted at all of the parks multiple times because the lines were non-existent. The only time it took was the time it took them to walk to the front of the ride! Perfect time to go to Orlando!
the Magic Kingdom
Deals in Orlando:
*I found a smoking hot deal online on the Legoland website before we left- kids were free plus they got a free Chima Lego set which was over a $20 value.
*Plane fare from LR to Orlando? Try Allegiant Airlines, direct flight. Cheap- but we aware that they charge you to sit together and also for each carry on and checked bag. They are 1/2 price if you check bags at home online. Pack light!
*Universal Studios tickets were cheaper when bought online ahead of time. I printed them before we left and walked right in.
*Disney doesn’t give a discount for buying tickets ahead of time so we didn’t, and didn’t have any trouble buying them at the park. Their sales people are very helpful in figuring out which pass is best for you.
*Coupon in tourist book for Wonderworks which equaled over $10 off I believe. The kids loved that place.
*Be ready to spend lots of money for subpar food. Nothing besides chains really and service is horrific in Orlando. If we had driven I’d probably had taken a cooler and snacks/lunch to the parks. It’s easy to shell out over $100 just for fast lunch there. Next time…
*I found a great hotel deal on Groupon at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista. Fantastic
price, cheaper than anything else I’d found and free breakfast, happy
hour, snacks, and movies in the pool! With a family of 5 the Embassy
Suites is a usually a nice choice. The location was fantastic too-
right by Lake Buena Vista so we were close to the Disney and Universal