A Family Outing: Colonial Williamsburg

One of my favorite places to visit in the Hampton Roads area is Colonial Williamsburg. Well, it might not technically be in the HR area, but it’s close! It takes about an hour to get there from Virginia Beach, unless it’s rush hour, of course.

Visit Colonial Williamsburg

Tickets to Colonial Williamsburg aren’t cheap; a single-day adult ticket is almost $42 (as of this posting). But I still think it’s worth it to visit there at least once, because the historical aspect is amazing. You can actually walk through the colonial town without paying for admittance, but you need a ticket for the bus/shuttle and to go inside of the shops and homes. Multi-tickets are available as well as “bounce” tickets, which allow you to visit other historical sites in the area under the same admission.

Archaeology site within Colonial Williamsburg
Archaeology site within Colonial Williamsburg

The art museum costs $11.95 alone for adults, or it’s included in your Colonial Williamsburg admission. I love this museum. The first couple times I went, they had a clothing exhibit, and I was floored when I realized that I’d be a giant compared to 18th century women and men. The last time I went, that exhibit had been removed (at least I couldn’t find it, but there’s an online exhibit HERE), but they had a foundling exhibit that included detailed records of babies that had been dropped off at the door of the local orphanage. It was incredibly sad, but also opened my eyes to how blessed I am.

If you’re a military family, you can visit Colonial Williamsburg for free, if you’re able to go on certain dates like Veterans Day weekend or Independence Day, etc. Visit Blue Star Families for more information on museums that offer free admission for service members and their dependents.

In the village itself, you can tour shops and homes that look like they would have during colonial times. The tour guides and employees are all dressed in 18th century period costumes, so you feel as if you’re really there.

I would definitely call Colonial Williamsburg kid-friendly. Some of the shops may have breakable items, but the site overall is geared towards families. The guides can break information down so children can understand, and they’ll even incorporate kids from the audience into their lectures. For example, at the local jail, the guide may ask the age of a boy from the crowd, and then he’d tell everyone what responsibilities that boy would have if he’d lived in the 18th century.

There are also plenty of large, grassy areas where kids can run and play. I’ve gone there with both a jogging stroller and a light-weight stroller, and I found the jogging stroller easiest to use, since there are gravel paths in addition to the paved. The horses being ridden or pulling buggies through town are also really fun for toddlers to see!

Restaurants and cafes are available actually inside the village (some of them are closed during the winter, though), but at the end of the village is the actual city of Williamsburg, and you can walk right across the street to numerous restaurants and coffee shops. We’ve eaten a couple times at restaurants there, and we’ve also packed our own lunch and sat on the grass to eat it.

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A Family Outing: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World

Have you noticed the stores are already rolling out the Halloween supplies? It’s not even October yet! I’m wondering if poor Thanksgiving is even going to have a chance this year, or if they’ll start putting Christmas stuff out next month.

I’ve been to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party several times with friends, but this was my first opportunity to take Baby J. We had so much fun! The only thing that would’ve made this experience better was if Hubby could’ve been there. That’s the life of a military family, though. =D My mother-in-law was with Baby J and me, so it was still a family outing.

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The “party” is held on select nights at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida. The park closes for regular guests at 7pm, and partygoers with special tickets are allowed in from 7pm until midnight. You can actually arrive a little earlier. We parked at around 6:15, took the tram and then the monorail. I think we got on our first ride (The Pirates of the Caribbean) at 6:50.

There are a few reasons why I like going to the party: it’s cooler in the evening, the lines aren’t as long, and tickets are cheaper. I think the longest we waited for any ride was 15 minutes. Of course, it’s only September. As it gets closer to Halloween, the parties will get busier. Regular tickets to Magic Kingdom are $95 right now but only $59 for the party. As far as I could tell, all the rides are still open, but some of the restaurants are closed.

It’s neat to see families dress-up in costumes together. That’s something I have yet to do. I would recommend that you be practical with your costume choice. Even though it’s evening and a little cooler than daytime, it was still in the upper 80s. I saw people walking around with thick stockings, long sleeves, and boots as part of their costumes. I also noticed quite a few sky-high heels. Personally, I think an uncomfortable costume choice would put a damper on my experience.

I flip flopped for a while on whether or not to bring the stroller. I was considering just using our mei tai. I ended up bringing the stroller and our SUPPORi sling for standing in lines. The sling worked perfectly! I think the mei tai would’ve taken too long to get Baby J in and out for each ride. The lines were moving quite quickly.

As far as strollers, there are some important things to note. You have to leave your stroller outside of the rides. There are designated areas for strollers. If you leave yours outside of a designated area, more than likely a staff member will move it (I witnessed this). Even in the designated area, your stroller may get moved by staff organizing the area. Just be prepared for that, and don’t freak out if your stroller isn’t where you left it. If you have a common stroller, I’d put something on it like a bandana, so it’s easier to recognize.

Here are some photos from our night:
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