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Dining with a Disney Imagineer at Hollywood Brown Derby

On February 28, 2011 I got to dine with a real life Disney Imagineer at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Wyatt Winter. Dining With A Disney Imagineer is a separate, special event you can reserve through Disney Dining for two locations at the Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Why Choose Dining with a Disney Imagineer?

It was no secret to anyone who knew me back in my 20’s and early 30’s, what a fan I was of the whole concept of Imagineering. And I was kind of a Disneyphile. That’s a person truly obsessed with Disney. It’s true, I have always loved vacationing at the Walt Disney World Resort and I was and still am into the creation of water parks and thinking up the ultimate escapisms.

The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant is open for lunch and dinner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. It’s an upscale atmosphere that harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. True story – The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort is an authentic replica of the famous Brown Derby – the Hollywood landmark and hangout for Tinseltown’s biggest and brightest personalities.

Dine with an Imagineer offers engaging conversation with a Disney Imagineer, a 4-course meal and a special souvenir with a large group of people. The meal is pricey – it was $60.99 USD + tax and gratuity at the time of my experience. I believe the cost of this experience is now $89.00 per adult plus tax and gratuity. Our souvenir was an autographed plate which I indeed put up on display in my office at the time.

 

Should I Bring My Children To This Event?

Right on the website when you make your reservation, it specifically says “This experience is designed for Guests ages 14 and older and may not appeal to younger children.” Bold as I was I thought – hey man, no way. I’m on a family vacation, my toddler is coming too.

I’m not the only person who thought that way and as cute as I thought I was bringing her along with my fiance and I, there was probably only one other person in the group who thought she was cute, the others found her to be an annoyance. Likewise, there were 3 adolescents across the table from me dragged along by their father. The daughter paid no attention whatsoever and was drawing her name loves Justin Bieber in hearts the whole times and sighing how bored she was. The 2 boys indulged their father for about an hour, then started to get VERY restless.

Folks, unless your child has engineering in on their minds and project management and can discuss it for hours on end, DO NOT BRING YOUR ADOLESCENTS, CHILDREN OR TODDLERS TO THIS DINING EVENT. This is a three hour meal and even the most well behaved 10 year old will act out at some point.

Hello, Hollywood – Dine like a celebrity in the Golden Age of Hollywood at The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This gourmet American cuisine restaurant is an authentic replica of the original Brown Derby that was a longstanding Hollywood landmark. The menu features world-famous Cobb salad, steaks, seafood, pasta specialties and fine international wines. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Scott Miller, photographer)

What Is On The Menu?

Believe it or not, there was once a time where I did not document everything I did with pictures. I do not possess a picture of my meal, I have instead substituted with a stock picture from Disney’s media site below.

As far as restaurants go, the menu does change frequently. For our meal, we were served our choice of:

Soup – Asparagus Soup with Blue Lump Crab Crostini and a drizzle of Sherry Gastrique

Salad – Individual Classic Cobb Salad with Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Avocado and Cobb Salad Dressing

Entrées

Choice of one:

Char-grilled Filet of Beef with Herb-roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Cremini Mushrooms, Cippolini Onions, and Cabernet Wine Syrup

or

Noodle Bowl with a Grilled Breast of Chicken, Soy Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Bok Choy, and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Red Curry Broth

or

Spice-rubbed Black Grouper with Sautéed Haricots Verts and Sunchokes,

Rainbow Carrot Slaw, and Citrus Butter

Desserts

Choice of one:

Grapefruit Cake – Light Layers of Yellow Cake with

fresh Grapefruit Cream Cheese Icing

or

Double Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée with
Dark Chocolate dipped Biscotti

Coffee, Tea, and Non-alcoholic Beverage

The food in bolded letters is what I ate and loved.

FROM DISNEY PARKS BLOG Inspired by the historic Hollywood locale, this signature dining location features three items from the original menu: the famous cobb salad, grapefruit cake and the Shirley Temple cocktail. https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/05/celebrate-the-29th-anniversary-of-disneys-hollywood-studios-with-these-fun-facts/
Cobb Salad at Hollywood Brown Derby. Picture from Disney Parks Blog

Tell Us About Wyatt!

Okay, onto the exciting part – meeting and chatting with Wyatt Winter. At the time of our experience, Wyatt was an Associate Project Manager with Walt Disney Imagineering based in Florida. His responsibilities include coordinating, planning and overseeing the day to day aspects and execution of various projects across the Walt Disney World Resort. So while Wyatt surely has some creative bones in his body – he presented as a businessman first and foremost. I do not want to burst the bubble of those thinking you’re going to sit with an animator or set designer. It could happen as there are a few who rotate the dining gig.

Wyatt’s Walt Disney Imagineering projects include Spaceship Earth, National Treasures at the American Adventure, Tomb Warriors in Epcot, the AFI Showcase in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Epcot 25th Anniversary Gallery. At the time of our experience, he was working on the newly announced Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital.

Wyatt got into Imagineering by starting out in the parks as a cast member. Yep – his first job was sending guests into the wilderness on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Magic Kingdom and later was a skipper on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park while in university. So he already had an in with the folks there!

There were obviously some things that Wyatt couldn’t talk about or give much details about – upcoming secret projects for instance. He was happy to talk about the Fantasyland expansion. If my memory serves correctly, it was about to start at that time. Disclaimer – he was not a project manager on the Fantasyland expansion at that moment. He was keen to speak about his completed projects.

Hey Disney! I Want To Be An Imagineer!

I was extraordinarily interested in the process of becoming an Imagineer. As a permanent daydreamer, I have developed my own alternative universe on many occasions. That makes me practically qualified, right? For now, I’m just going to keep dreaming and one day apply for jobs at pop up on Disney Careers. If you manifest it, it can happen.

Dining with an Imagineer in Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios
My toddler daughter and I outside Hollywood Brown Derby

Want to know where we stayed on that trip? Check out my post on Disney’s All Star Movies Resort here!

*** DISCLAIMER – I booked my Walt Disney World Resort Vacation through Fairytale Dreams and Destinations. This post is not sponsored by them or by Disney. I received no compensation for my expressed opinions***

This post was originally written for an old blog on March 5, 2011. It has been updated to reflect new costs and information on February 25, 2019.

Want To Dine With An Imagineer at Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Walt Disney World Resort? Check out our experience! #dinewithanimagineers #disneyshollywoodstudios #disneyphiles #disneyobsessed #wyattwinter #fantasylandexpansion #holllywoodbrownderby #cobbsalad


KathrynAnywhere is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

20 Photos That Will Inspire you To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park With Your Kids

Snowshoeing is one of those Canadian winter past times that we all, as Canadians need to experience. Why? Because it snows in this country for at least 3 months of the year in southern Ontario. Longer periods of time in other parts of the country and it’s no fun to be inside all winter. We all need fresh air! Where better than a winter wonderland in February like MacGregor Point Provincial Park to snowshoe at?

Here are 20 Photos To Inspire You to Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park With Your Kids This Winter:

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MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located on the eastern shores of Lake Huron in Western Ontario. The closest towns are Port Elgin to the north and Kincardine to the south. The drive from Toronto was approximately 3.5 hours including a quick stop for fuel and food.

PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

Snowshoeing is essentially hiking in deep snow. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Snowshoeing is a great cardio workout that helps you burn more calories than walking.

PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

I remember being on snowshoes as a child in Waupoos in Prince Edward County. Good memories of my time with the Girl Guides and Pathfinder units I was a part of. As with all of my fun childhood memories, I do my best to introduce my own children to the activity as well.

PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

It might have been my little man’s first time winter camping and being on his snowshoes, but he took it on like an old pro.

PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is open year round, but not all campsites are open. The campsites and yurts in the Algonquin campground are open through the winter. We were staying in Yurt #60 in the Algonquin campground.

PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

The sites in the Nipissing campground are closed, making that area perfect for snowshoeing because it’s not being used at all.

PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

Due to the snowstorm that we had for a couple days straight while we were there, there were some high snow drifts and a few unplowed roads that were awesome to take advantage of! The only competition my son and I had for breaking in the fresh snow was with cross-country ski enthusiasts.

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PHOTO BY BRIAN TAO, LUXOGRAPHY 2019 20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

The Old Fringe Trail is also good for snowshoeing if you can get over there.

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If you do get to Old Fringe Trail, stay off the ice of Lake Huron! Stay off of all ice.

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20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

Spending a couple days with my son on snowshoes (and him being pulled around intermittently in his sled), at MacGregor Point Provincial Park was a great bonding experience for us. I was able to introduce him to winter camping in Ontario, which is something he had not done yet! He got to try out sleeping in a yurt, which was different than the cabin and glamping tents he slept in last summer. He visited another great Ontario Provincial Park and got to know the Canadian past time of snowshoeing.

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20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

Little Man, being a city kid, doesn’t always get a lot of space to run and play.

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20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

At MacGregor Point Provincial Park, we had all the space in the world for him to play to his heart’s content. Everywhere was his playground! I loved watching him play so freely.

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20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

If ever you are given the chance to spend a couple days in a winter wonderland with time to snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, take it. The yurts in the campground are comfortable, warm and toasty, there are heated comfort stations and also there is a skating oval and rink to enjoy!

Hope these 20 photos have inspired you to snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park with your kids this winter!

20 Photos That Will Inspire You To Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park #FindYourSelfHere #OntarioParks #YoursToDiscover #DiscoverOntario #DiscoverON #Snowshoe #MacGregorPoint #ProvincialPark #MacGregorProvincialPark

Disclaimer: We were guests of Ontario Parks during our visit in MacGregor Point Provincial Park. Our views remain our own.

And a mega thank you to my friend, photographer and pseudo-uncle to my kids, Brian Tao for coming along!



KathrynAnywhere is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

What Are Post Vacation Blues And How Do You Cure Them?

Have you ever felt a lingering sadness after returning home from a vacation? Maybe it feels like a lack of purpose? It’s an odd feeling because you should be refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to tackle the world, but you aren’t able to and feel like you lack the motivation to do anything. This is called post vacation blues and they are feel.

I am feeling the post vacation blues right now. Just over a week ago, I returned with my family from Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos and it was one of the best family vacations we have ever had. Without that sun, sand, water and Pina colada in hand, it’s hard to be motivated to do anything. I’m unfocused and scattered. And while this isn’t the first time I have had this feeling, I think this is the worst I’ve ever gone through. I got home and had to dive back into a full work plate.

When our plane was taking off on the runway to come home, there were tears streaming down my son’s cheeks because he didn’t want to leave. It was a sweet moment to know what an amazing vacation we had put together for him to be feeling that way when we left. He kept saying before we left for the airport that he didn’t want to leave and asked if we could stay just one more day.

I felt what my son did too, I did not want to leave. I could have used another week away from work and my computer. It took me a couple days after being home, but I was soon into this thick fog of being fairly dissatisfied with my life.

We don't want to leave Beaches turks and Caicos! Do you have post vacation blues? #pdb #depression #vacation #neverwanttoleave #dontwanttogohome #postvacationblues

How Do I Know If I Have

Post Vacation Blues?

If you are recently back from a trip or a vacation and you are feeling anxious or depressed, that’s likely the cause. You could also be irritable, feeling tired, have a headache or want to be left alone. It is honestly difficult to acclimatize back into regular, daily life of work and responsibility after getting used to lying on the beach or not having a set agenda every day or falling in love with a new place that you did not want to leave.

Sometimes we are also dealing with two other factors – reverse culture shock, which is getting used to being at home again after being used to “living” another way. The other is financial shock. That’s the shock of checking your credit card statements and balances once you’re home and realizing how much you have spent if you were buying extra experiences, food, drink, accommodations and all.

My son is now happily running around with his friends at school. I, on the other card do not even have enough focus to plan my next vacation with my daughter.

How Do You Cope With

Post Vacation Blues?

Book Another Trip!

One of the first things I typically do to beat the depression after vacation is to book another trip. If I don’t have the financial means to book it immediately, and let’s be honest, the vast majority of us save our money for a year before we can take that vacation, I at least start to plan it. I look at where I want to go next, what experiences can I have, who will I travel with?

Look On the Bright Side

I’ll try to turn the post vacation blues into a benefit to think about how fortunate I am to have had this experience. I’ll frame it to myself as how amazing it was to have shown this to my kids, not what a bummer it is to be home.

Give Yourself Time To Adjust

If you can give yourself a day or two buffer between your arrival home and having to re-enter the workforce, do it. Organize your photos, do your laundry, get back into your time zone if you have jet lag.

Book Social Events

Don’t sit around at home. Make plans to see friends or colleague socially so you’re not siting at home and work all the time.

Get Back Into Routine

Get back into the gym on a regular basis if that is something you do. If it’s not something you do regularly, consider doing so. The good endorphins that emerge after physical activity are mood stimulators.I’ve never heard anyone regret a workout. And you’ll be healthier.

Decorate Your Work Space and/or Home With A Souvenir

Whether you frame a picture (or two), or have brought back a memento, display it. It’s inspiration for the next trip!

We don't want to leave Beaches turks and Caicos! Do you have post vacation blues? #pdb #depression #vacation #neverwanttoleave #dontwanttogohome #postvacationblues #oceanblues #shadesofblue

 

The depression after travel helps us all to look at what we are happy with in our life and what we are not happy with. Really hits home when you want to change the direction of your sails. We are all responsible for our own happiness, right?

Do Not Do The Following:

That said, when you are in post vacation depression, do not make massive life changes. Do not sell your house, ask for a divorce or liquidate assets. Really think about what you are doing and why. This is not the time to make rash changes.

I do want to add, as an ending note, if you find yourself feeling the post vacation blues for longer than a couple weeks and you find yourself in a severe depression or having thoughts of harming yourself, please seek help immediately. There are something that jumping back on a plane cannot cure.

Have you ever suffered post vacation blues? How long did they last? What did you do to shake them? Comment with your suggestions below.

Have you ever suffered post vacation blues? How long did they last? What did you do to shake them? We don't want to leave! #pdb #depression #vacation #neverwanttoleave #dontwanttogohome #postvacationblues #oceanblues #shadesofblue #familytravelblogger #momtravelblogger #bestfamilytravelblogs #travelbloggersexchange #travelblogger #canadianblogger #canadiantravelblogger #torontocontentcreator

Flying With Kids From Canada? What You Need To Know!

Unless you live under a rock up there in the Great White North, you’ve noticed that it is winter around these parts. Sub-zero temperatures, snow, slush, ice, lack of sunshine, people suffering from seasonal affected disorder (SAD), it’s all quite awful to many Canadians. Some families can only endure so much and book themselves on a trip south to the warmth and sunshine. YAY! But wait, they arrive at the airport and find out… GULP – that their family is seated all over the airplane, the kids ALONE, seated beside a stranger. Here’s what you need to know about flying with kids from a Canadian airport to the sunny south!

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Flying With Kids From Canada?

 

1.) At this point in time, airlines are not obligated to seat your children with you UNLESS you have pre-purchased your seats on the airplane. Yes, as in pay money for your seat on top of the fare you already paid. Many airlines, including Air Canada and Sunwing have published tariffs on their website that state a parent will be seated with a child under 12 at no cost. It’s not an option that comes up when you book your flights online. You will need to call in after booking to select seats. If you opt to select your seats through their online system, you will have to pay.

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Please ensure you check the airline’s policy before you book the tickets. It’s best to be prepared rather than surprised when you arrive at the airport. In the future, there will (hopefully) be a passenger’s bill of rights in Canada that will state across the board that airlines will not be allowed to charge passengers to be seated with their children. This bill of rights is long overdue and is currently in the consultation process.

Flying With Kids? What you need to know! #flyingwithkids #airplanerides #travelwithkids #kidstravel #willisitwithmykids #seatedwithkids #flyingfromcanada #flightdelay

2.) Weather delays happen. One of the most unfortunate realities of departing from a Canadian city is that there could be a major snowstorm. And that could mean that you and your children will be hanging at the airport for a few hours. Or you’re in the plane, but seated on the tarmac for awhile. Or the flight is cancelled and you have to rebook. You can check in for your flight 24 hours in advance on most airlines, but at that time, the flight coming and going on time is not guaranteed. Check your flight status before you leave your house.

Having insurance on your vacation is the best gift you can give yourself. Being out hundreds or even thousands of dollars due to a weather delay is a terrible situation to be in. It’s one of those things where sure, you could spend a couple extra dollars to upgrade your room view at the resort, or you could spend that couple hundred dollars on insurance. Personally, I buy the insurance and could care less about my room view as I’ll be at the swim up bar or on the beach.

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3.) A lot of kids do not sit still very well for very long. Shocking bit of information right there! You will have to devote some of your carry on baggage space to small games and activities. As a side bit of information – not all airplanes have TV’s on the seat back. It’s acceptable to walk with your children up and down the airplane aisle as long as you don’t do it during the food and drink service times.

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4.) Speaking of carry on baggage, on most Canadian airlines, passengers are allowed on small carry on bag and a personal item such as a purse or laptop. Check each airline’s website for size restrictions on carry on as it varies. This means that you cannot have bag upon bag of kid’s toys in your hand when you come to board. If your little one can bring their own backpack, make sure whatever they are bringing fits into that backpack.

I recommend that you do be sure to pack extra underwear, a t-shirt and a pair of shorts in there. Bathing suit is a bonus and doesn’t take up much room.

I cannot stress to you how fast the overhead compartments fill up when boarding. The space under the seat in front of you to tuck in bags is small too, so don’t overpack.

5.) You cannot bring bottles of water and drink boxes from home in your purse. Due to security measures, all fluids have to either be packed in checked baggage or purchased after you go through security. If your child is insisting to bring it on the way to the airport, have them finish it either in the car, when in line to drop baggage off or in line to go through security. Once they hit the check point though, they have to discard it. Security does not care about your child’s wants.

Same goes for sunscreen by the way! Pack that in checked baggage or purchase it at a much higher price once through security or at your destination.

Exception to the rule: If you are travelling with a baby under two years of age (0-24 months), you can bring baby food, formula, medications, milk, water and juice, in reasonable amounts that will be required during your flight(s) and any connections. These are exempted from the liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions only if you are travelling with a baby under two years of age (0-24 months), however they must be presented to a screening officer for separate inspection.

6.) Travelling as a single parent or without your spouse? Get a letter signed by the other parent stating you are allowed to travel across international boundaries with the children. I’ve personally never been asked for the letter at customs, but I would rather have it and have it signed by a lawyer or notary public than be stopped at the border and have the trip ruined. You can get a sample one from the Government of Canada here: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children/consent-letter

7.) Passport! Don’t forget your passports. Yes, children require a passport. And many countries stipulate that the passport has to be valid for 6 months after travel, just in case you get stuck, stranded, whatever in their country. A parent’s valid passport is not good enough for children to fly on.

I do a flight south to the Caribbean with my children every year. Often once or twice during the year to other destinations. My kids are now 9 and 4, so that means I’ve been flying with kids from Canada for almost ten years. I’ve been there and done that! Maybe even seen it too, so if you ever have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

Flying With Kids? What you need to know! #flyingwithkids #airplanerides #travelwithkids #kidstravel #willisitwithmykids #seatedwithkids #flyingfromcanada #KATHRYNANYWHERE #travelwriter #familytravelblogger #travelbloggersexchange


KathrynAnywhere is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. 

Weird But True Canada by National Geographic Kids Will Blow Your Mind

When I was a child, I would sit, cross legged in my parent’s basement flipping through their collection of National Geographic magazines from the 1970’s and 1980’s. I was mesmerized by the photography and the wild exploration that I held in my hands. It seemed like every part of the world was showcased and it was all at my finger tips. The journalism or photos were not necessarily geared towards children at all and maybe I didn’t get the context of what I was looking at, but it did fuel a fire of curiosity in me that’s been insatiable ever since. For that reason, I’m so glad that National Geographic Kids reading materials exists.

Weird but True Reading #natgeokids #momsmeet #ngkids #weirdbuttrue #bookseries #kidsbooks #funbooksforkids

A lot of reading materials have changed in the thirty (or so…) years since I was a kid. The things I used to read have been re-written, rebranded or taken out of circulation, meaning, there isn’t a lot of the same books I can nostalgically bond over with my children unless I held on to them. I did keep some books from high school and college, but my kids and I are not about to fan girl over The Catcher And The Rye by J.D. Salinger or Thomas Moore’s Utopia right now. We can bond over National Geographic Kids magazines and books.

Child reading Weird But True Christmas

We’ve partnered with Moms Meet to bring you our review of Nat Geo Kids Weird But True books. Thanks to our now over postal strike, we received our package right before Christmas. As soon as it arrived, my daughter broke into it and grabbed the Weird But True Christmas edition. I wouldn’t normally post such a low quality picture, but I caught it in a hurry.

Weird but True Canada Reading #natgeokids #momsmeet #ngkids #weirdbuttrue #bookseries #kidsbooks #funbooksforkids

For the kids that can’t get enough of the NatGeo Kid’s magazine, they might be interested to know that there is also a Weird But True volume of books for kids to devour!

The 10 volume series (it’s also their 10th anniversary), plus a few special editions are perfect for the kids who love to know EVERYTHING. You know the children in your lives that like to impress adults with all the information they know? The kids that want to tell you that once police arrested a goat for loitering outside a donut shop in Saskatchewan?  I have kids like that and you can find that last fact on page 192 of Weird But True, Canada. National Geographic Kids Weird But True is excellent for children to fill their brains with.

Weird but True Canada Reading #natgeokids #momsmeet #ngkids #weirdbuttrue #bookseries #kidsbooks #funbooksforkids #readeveryday #funreading

Speaking of brains, did you know that messages from your brain travel along your nerves at up to 431 kilometres an hour? Yes, I’ve now been told that fact by both my kids a couple times. They found that one on page 21 of Weird But True, volume 1.

 

Weird But True Canada Blew Our Minds

Weird but True Canada Reading #natgeokids #momsmeet #ngkids #weirdbuttrue #bookseries #kidsbooks #funbooksforkids

Reading before bed is part of our nighttime ritual. I’ve said this a million times before, literacy is so important to me and reading to and with my children is paramount. We did a lot of reading together of Weird But True Canada. The books are geared towards kids ages 6-14, but my four year old son soaked it all up with us. I kid you not, we would read some of the facts and then I would immediately google it. One, because I didn’t know that was true or two, because we started to plan new road trip travel routes from some of these facts.

Weird but True Canada bedtime Reading #natgeokids #momsmeet #ngkids #weirdbuttrue #bookseries #kidsbooks #funbooksforkids

Starting at page 14 – we learned that the Athabasca Sand dunes in Saskatchewan can be nine storeys tall. I’m ashamed to say I did not know we had sand dunes in Canada. I’ve been to sand dunes in Namibia to ATV and watch the sunrise! Looks like I’ll be travelling to Saskatchewan for more than just business in the future. And the kids will be joining me!

When the kids saw that there is a hotel in Banff that is haunted, guess what happened? They started making plans for us to travel there. And actually stay there. They want me to sleep in a haunted hotel? I’m not sure it’s going to happen like that, but we can go ride the elevator and see if it stops on floors no one has requested. I will sleep somewhere else. Preferable in a hotel that is not inhabited by ghosts.

We also now have to go see the Della Falls in British Columbia to see if it’s really is almost as high as the CN Tower because… well, we just must. Since I waterfall chase anyway, I suppose we can put this on our “must see” list of places!

Weird but True Canada Reading #natgeokids #momsmeet #ngkids #weirdbuttrue #bookseries #kidsbooks #funbooksforkids

Miss M and Z Man really enjoyed reading all the Ontario and especially Toronto based facts as it gave them a sense of connection. We go through Toronto’s PATH system frequently for dentist, banking and orthodontists appointments and it’s very familiar to them. To explain to them the volume of 200,000 people passing through there daily and they are part of that was really cool!

As for the Toronto restaurant that once made an ice cream cake that weighted as much as five rhinos? Turns out that made the kids love Dairy Queen *that* much more. There will be an ice cream cake present now for Z Man’s upcoming 5th birthday.

There are 300 tidbits and strange facts out Canada in the book to entertain your kids with. Guaranteed there will be facts that make you groan, laugh, google and raise an eyebrow at.

National Geographic Kids Weird But True books are available to purchase at natgeokids.com/wbtbooks, National Geographic Kids Weird But True! Canada is available to purchase at Indigo, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, Target, Walmart, Amazon, and wherever books are sold.


Weird but True Canada Reading #natgeokids #momsmeet #ngkids #weirdbuttrue #bookseries #kidsbooks #funbooksforkids #readeveryday

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Silver Creek Conservation Area – First Hike of 2019

It took me 6 whole days into the year of 2019, but I finally got out for my first hike! Said like a hiking junkie, but really it’s been a mere ten days since my one hour jaunt at Sager Conservation Area and before that was an embarrassingly long couple month stretch. It got cold here, okay?!

I joined the Hamilton and Toronto chapter of Women Who Explore for the first adventure of the new year at Silver Creek Conservation Area. Fresh air and fresh trails for me as this was a spot I have not hiked before.

I ventured out to Silvercreek Conservation area on the Bruce Trail yesterday with members of Women Who Explore Ontario. #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike

Don’t let this boardwalk fool you as it did me. It lulled me into complacency.

I Didn’t Know Anyone!

This was also me jumping into a crew of women – none of them I have ever met before, but being with people who hold similar interests, enjoying an afternoon together. I really need to do this more. Sometimes parenting is really insular and while I have met many other parents, we don’t always share the same interests just because we had children around the same time.

The group of Women Who Explore before the hike at Silvercreek Conservation Area
Photo courtesy of Rizie, taken by https://www.instagram.com/3nature3lover3/

Being a parent is part of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am. I completely appreciated getting into the outdoors without my littles running behind me and having adult conversations that did not include poop consistency or sleep regression once! Score!

I ventured out to Silvercreek Conservation area on the Bruce Trail yesterday with members of Women Who Explore Ontario. #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike

Silvercreek Conservation Area is part of the Bruce Trail. I’ve been slowly ticking off a handful of kilometres at a time on the trail over the past couple years. Anyone want to place bets on how long it will take me to get through it? Anyone got 12 years on the betting card?

I ventured out to Silver Creek Conservation area on the Bruce Trail yesterday with members of Women Who Explore Ontario. #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #silvercreek #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike #canadahikes

Where Is Silver Creek Conservation Area?

This lovely place full of many kilometres of trails is only one hour by car from my front door and even better, I could use the Toronto Premium Outlet Mall as a half way stop to shop! You can find this conservation area northwest of Mississauga and Brampton. In terms of driving route, I took Trafalgar Road north from the 401.

Google Map of Silvercreek conservation area #DiscoverOntario #Yourstodiscover #explorecanada

As this is part of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, everything is clearly marked. Main trail and side trails are clearly well maintained throughout the year. We could see the paint parkings on trees everywhere, at no time were we lost. Anytime we had a question about where we might be or which way we should go, we referred to the Alltrails.com application many of us had on our phones.

On the topic of mobile phones, my service was often in the 3G level. Only at the road where we parked did I have LTE strength. I tried to post a short video to my Instagram stories at one point during the hike and did not have enough signal to do so.

Frozen Waterfall on hike in Silvercreek Conservation Area #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike #explorecanada

Just over 20 women in our group alone invaded the Silver Creek Conservation Area and hiked approximately 4.5 kilometres over some fairly icy terrain. The first trail we did was the approximately 3.5 kilometre Roberts Side Trail, that loops into the main Bruce trail back to the trail head and it took the group almost 80 minutes to complete. It was slow going in many areas. As I type this, my muscles have pretty much recovered from screaming after an epsom salt bath.

I fell on my ass

I have a bit of a bruised ass from a wipe out at the bottom of a set of icy stairs.

Icy hiking terrain, I fell - Photo by Melissa Ponte at Silvercreek Conservation area #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike
Photo courtesy of Melissa: https://www.instagram.com/melissainthewild/

Everybody falls! Doesn’t matter your experience or fitness level, how awesome your boots are or how careful you’re being. You’re no match for the ice! Just get up and keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t quit. Mother nature will have your ass if you do!

Old Bridge and Frozen Waterfall on hike in Silvercreek Conservation Area #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike #explorecanada

Quite a few of us took a misstep somewhere on the trail. The ice is a tricky little sucker that way. Without crampons, it was difficult. Some areas were full of mud as there had been a thaw the day before. I didn’t even think I would need crampons given the non-snow or winter type weather we have been having in Toronto. So even though I had packed more snacks than necessary and 3 pairs of socks into the car, I didn’t bring crampons. Lesson learned.

Icy hiking terrain - Photo by Melissa Ponte at Silvercreek Conservation area #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike
Photo courtesy of Melissa: https://www.instagram.com/melissainthewild/

Do you have crampons? If you’re doing some winter hiking that might see you traversing some ice, I highly recommend you look into getting a set for your own safety as they aren’t expensive and can be shared with others when you’re not using them because they are adjustable to your shoes/boots:

The second trail we did was the Irwin Quarry Side Trail and that was approximately 0.9 kilometres. I’d really like to head back to this area in the spring or summer with my kids and check it out again. As the conditions were fairly icy, I spent a lot of time looking down, at placing one foot in front of the other opposed to looking up and actually taking in and enjoying the scenery. Okay, I did see some gorgeous scenery….

Beautiful Frozen Waterfall on hike in Silvercreek Conservation Area #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike #explorecanada

I found myself trying to jump from rock peak to rock peak, looking for something that wasn’t frozen as a lot of the ice was in between everywhere. This normally would not be a difficult hike at all. I’d rate the trails we visited as easy to moderate under normal circumstances. With the ice, it was a highly level of difficult. Although, oddly enough, there were a couple men on a run who just zoomed past us.

photo taken by: https://www.instagram.com/dmcristinat/

Here’s to a new year and to new adventures! What a great hike to reconnect with mother nature after the craziness of the holiday season and to reassess my own outdoor goals for 2019. More time outside = a happier me.

Can’t wait for the next outing!

I ventured out to Silvercreek Conservation area on the Bruce Trail yesterday with members of Women Who Explore Ontario. #silvercreekconservationarea #brucetrail #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexploreontario #discoveron  #ontarioforyou  #girloutdoor #girlsthatwander  #hikingculture #gogalavanting  #girlswhohike #canadahikes