I was shocked that Cobey figured out from the clues right away that we were going to Morristown. The only winter encampment I knew about was Valley Forge so I thought that would be his guess. Cobey said I knew Morristown was the only winter encampment in New Jersey so it must be it. I should have known better.

We first stopped at Washington’s Headquarters. They were getting ready for a tour of the Ford Mansion when we got there so we did that first. The tour was very good and told of stories of Washington who stayed there and the Ford family. We then went back and watched the movie and walked thru the museum. The movie did a great job of telling the story of Morristown. The museum had some neat things but was a room off here and there and did not have a good flow.  I am not even sure we saw it all. The Junior Ranger program was okay. I liked the page where they answered why you would want to be a soldier, an officer or not be in the army at all.

We then went to Jockey Hollow where the kids got to hold a musket and dress in costume. Here we got to see the Wick Farm which would have been typical of the time period. There was a lady in period costume at the Wick home. She told a few things about the house but she seemed too involved in her book to answer questions. The ranger at the visitor center on the other hand was eager to answer any questions. There is a display in the visitor center of the wooden huts and then several you can go into down the road a mile. I enjoyed Washington’s Headquarters more but both were good to see.

We then headed to Thomas Edison National Historical Park. This was not on the plan but we decided we had some extra time. This national park was amazing. The Junior Ranger Program was well thought out and they let the kids work on one together which makes so much sense. We only had two hours and that was not enough time. This park cost $7 for adults and the kids were free. They give us each an audio tour that includes a kid’s version. I  learned so much about Edison that I had no idea about. The park is located in his Laboratory Complex. You can also tour his estate but we did not have time for that. Claire liked the freight elevator that the staff encouraged Edison to use when he got older. He never would and always took the stairs. We thought the doll with the phonograph in it was funny. We enjoyed the phonograph demonstration and finding out Edison was part of the early record industry. I knew he was an inventor but never knew what a businessman he was. I loved his three- story library. It was just beautiful. I would love to go back and spend more time here and then go visit the estate.

We had an awesome day in New Jersey. The only bad part was the drive to Connecticut which took twice as long as the GPS said. The kids were excited to see New York City even if it was just to drive thru. I could have done without that part.

The last two nights we stayed at the Doubletree in Princeton. I was a little nervous when I drove up because it looked old. The last Doubletree we stayed in was just okay. This one was much better than okay.  The lobby was well appointed  and the staff at check-in were friendly and helpful. Every staff I encountered during my staff was also smiling and friendly. Claire loved her lemonade and cookie at check-in. The room was nice and the beds were comfortable. We loved all the extras in the bathroom. The breakfast was a hot and cold buffet and made to order omelets. Everyone found something they wanted both mornings. The hotel pool was very great – bigger than your average hotel pool with very NICE seating for me. Claire wanted a hot tub but I think the seating and size of the pool more than made up for it. I enjoyed the hotel so much that I may have to come up with a reason to go back to the area just to stay there. It is definitely a barefoot hotel.

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Disney Dream Cruise

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Saturday May 7, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Crusies, Kid's Corner, Travel

We just got back last night from a cruise on the new Disney Dream. We went with our good friends-  the Carrolls on the four night cruise with stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay. This was our third Disney Cruise so we had high expectations. Some were meet and some where not.

First things to know before you go. They are still doing the Pirate night even bigger and better than before so bring your kids pirate costumes for added fun. If you have a little girl don’t forget her favorite princess costume, it makes the photos even better. They still have a formal night but now says optional. I would say overall people dressed more casual than previous cruises. I would say pack with what you want to wear and comfortable in. We will continue to dress up because I love to have photos made and don’t dress up normally so I like to on a cruise. We saw someone bringing in a case of water and a cooler. I will check the rules before we go next time because that could save some money.

The design of the ship is wonderful. They have thought of every inch and it is absolutely beautiful. I loved the curved hallway to our stateroom and the stateroom seemed to have more storage which is a great for a small space. We decided to try the room without a verandah this time and got an outside room with a porthole. It ended up being a great choice. The porthole is huge and the kids loved sitting in it. They actually fought over a time or two. We were second floor mid ship in a fairly inexpensive room and we loved our location. We were very convenient to everything. I would book the same if we were doing it again.

One of the highlights of the cruise was the excursion the kids and I took in Nassau. Bruce went diving and he said it was one of his better dives. We went on the Junkanoo Museum and Fort Tour. I picked it because the kids love forts and history. The Junkanoo Museum and tour was by far the best part. We went into a small house full of very elaborate costumes made from paper for the parade. We were told about the history of the Junkanoo. The tour guide was passionate and interesting. You can learn more about the history here:  http://www.bahamasgateway.com/junkanoo.htm. We then moved into another room where we got to use bells, whistles and drums. The kids loved it. Everyone got to taste three soft drinks that are made for Junkanoo. As we left we got to try on some Junkanoo. Check out the photos in the photo gallery. We then went to two different forts. The first one had a tour guide more interesting in tips than giving us information. The second tour guide was pretty good. The kids liked the story behind Queen Anne’s Staircase.

The service in the dining room was very disappointing.  The first night was terrible. We got our drinks after our first course and the service was overall slow. It did get a little better but our head server did not seem to understand English well enough to get request sometimes. One time our friends where handed a stateroom card that was not theres. They did not interactive with us like on previous cruises. This was not isolated case. I talked to other guest who had been on Disney before and all I spoke with said service was not as good. It seems the transition to the bigger boat has been a hard one. The food was excellent and they bent over backward to get meet my gluten-free diet.

The kids now get a GPS tracking band when they get on the ship. This was different from our previous cruises. The kids areas were designed different. They had the club and the lab that were linked in the back by a eating room. The kids could move from one area to the other freely.  My son loved driving the ship in the simulator. My daughter loved the dress up area. It seemed a little more chaotic to me than the smaller ship but that could have been just the sheer number of kids. The kids still loved it and spent lots of time there.

We were excited to see more characters on this cruise than previously on Wonder and Magic. I don’t know if this is a change across the board or just on the new ship. Some of the characters we did not see on previous cruises were the Incredibles, Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Ariel and Tiana.

I also loved the new option of buying all your photo on CD. It is a great deal for a family like ours that takes lots of photos.

The adult area with several lounges and a night club was very nicely designed. It was dead the times we went during our cruise. The spa seemed much more spacious. The treatment room I was in was huge. I had a seaweed wrap and massage. The treatment was wonderful. My only disappointed was the shower’s drain in the spa locker room had so much hair that it was blocked. Really grossed me out!

The Aquaduck which is the slide that goes over the ocean was a bit of a let down for me. You can’t really tell you are over the water and it is pretty slow. It was fun but I would not wait it a 30 min or longer line to ride it. The kids had fun riding it. My advice is to go during off times  like my son rode five times in row on the last evening after dinner. If you don’t plan to go ashore during port that is another great time. If you get on board early, head straight for it and you may not have a long line.

Claire and Bruce went to the Anyone Can Cook program and they both loved it. Claire loves all the cooking shows so I thought she would enjoy it.  Cobey enjoyed the Detective Adventure Games. They are really cool – kind of like Magic Quest with a different theme. We loved watching movies at the pool screen and in the movie theater. We saw Villains and Disney Dream. Both were great shows. There was so much on the ship that we did not get to like the good putt putt golf.

Overall, it was a great cruise and we booked another cruise for next year. We will be trying out the new route from New York to Canada. Can’t Wait!

 

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