It’s early morning and you’re tucked into your warm and comfy RV bed when you begin to hear it . . . *Plink……Plink…………….Plink* — it’s the sound of Mother Nature’s gift of rain showers dancing on the roof of your beloved RV. Be it a brief passing of rain, or a torrential downpour– you can either embrace the rain, gear up and head on out – or you could cozy up inside your RV and enjoy some rainy day activities that seem to be even more comforting when it’s pouring rain.
What is the first thought that comes to mind when someone mentions Disney World? Most people would say Mickey Mouse, Magic Kingdom and loads of kids with their parents in tow. Oh, and let’s not forget about strollers! Yes, I will admit that I love taking the whole family to Disney World.
And, I fall into all of those categories with my kids and their meltdowns from the overstimulation of a huge theme park. It is certainly one of my favorite places to go for a fabulous family vacation. Now what if I told you that there are a couple of months out of the year when Disney World can be a fabulous destination for adults, with or without kids?
Now I have your attention.
I decided to take the family down to Orlando for yet another Disney vacation, but this time it was all about the adults. Sure, the kids came along for the ride, but this was not for them. Some might find that to be a bit selfish. However, sometimes mama and papa bear have to have some fun, too.
Personally, I think that it is good for our kids to know that even though we love to bless them with fun experiences, we are people too. Parents deserve to have a little fun.
So instead of the usual trip to Magic Kingdom and the like, we decided to hit Epcot for the International Food and Wine Festival 2017. I have become such a foodie over the past 5 years that I was excited to see what goodies I would find at the Food and Wine Festival. Not only does Epcot do a fantastic job of offering a glorious variety of culinary delights from around the globe, but they offer wine pairings for their dishes, too.
There was one small wrinkle in my plan. My husband is a traditional meat and potatoes kind of guy but my recent decision to partake in a plant-based diet would limit the variety of dishes that I would be able to consume. I even had to ask myself if I would be able to eat anything other than a salad.
Once again, Disney World did not disappoint!
First thing is first! This mama bear will always find a way to entertain her little cubs, so we registered the boys for a scavenger hunt. Now that the boys were sufficiently entertained and distracted, it was time for us to begin eating our way around this culinary Epcot world.
One place that is only available to eat at during the Food and Wine Festival is their Africa region. There I was able to thoroughly enjoy the spicy Ethiopian red lentil stew with vegan yogurt and quinoa. This dish had me wishing that I had some take home containers in my bag.
Due to my dietary restrictions I have learned, albeit the hard way, that it is always best to do a little menu research prior to heading out to eat. To my delight, Epcot had a couple of vegan/vegetarian options at each food spot around the park.
If you plan to visit the Epcot Food and Wine Festival it is best to go in the middle of the work-week and plan to arrive as close to opening as you can. I failed to adhere to my own advice and went on the weekend. It was packed with tourists as well as local Floridians taking advantage of the weekend to get their grub on.
Nonetheless, this event is a must for adults who wish to visit the most magical theme park destination in the world. The festival offers so many options to parents taking a break from the traditional Disney experience. If you plan ahead, you can book your spot to participate in cooking demonstrations and seminars led by well-known chefs and television personalities. That said; plan your visit well ahead of time.
As for our family, we will be back! The kids had a great time and they were happy to see that mom and dad had a magical time, too.
We’ve recommended a ton of fantastic RV gear over the years, so it’s always hard to narrow down our choices for fellow camping enthusiasts. On this special podcast produced exclusively for Go RVing, we picked some of our very favorite gifts.
We have broken it down into three different categories: Gifts for the Lively Little Campers, Jeremy’s Picks, and Stephanie’s Picks. If you want to find even more great gift ideas, check out our other Holiday Gift guide podcasts available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or at rvfamilytravelatlas.com.
This trivia game is great for long car rides with energetic kids. 600 questions come on cards stored in a hard sided case with a secure carabiner latch. This latch will keep the cards from exploding into a spontaneous game of 52 card pick up. Trivial Pursuit is a great way to pass the time in the car and build your knowledge of national parks. It’s entertaining and challenging for kids and adults alike.
This is a perfect game to keep you entertained through the long winter months especially if you, like us, have to winterize your RV. Monopoly is one our kids’ favorite family games, and even our four year old can play along with a little help from his brothers. The board features 22 of the most popular and scenic national parks. An additional game feature has players match animals to the parks they inhabit. Parents will appreciate the optional 60-minute game speed play rules.
We have been using these walkie talkies for years at the campground, and they have never let us down. Kids love to use these with their siblings and friends. The secret is that they are really more of a present for parents. We can keep in touch with our boys when they are riding their bikes or walking to the playground, even if we are in a remote environment with no cell service. The range is great, and we love that we can lock in the settings so the kids can’t change channels.
Flashlights go with camping as much as the requisite marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Let’s face it: making smoke sabers in the campfire with flashlights is a right of passage for RV kids. We love this Nebu Poppy because it combines a lantern with a spotlight, making it perfect for finding your way to the bathhouse or reading in bed at night. This product combines functional with fun..the perfect match for an RV-themed gift.
If you really, really love someone, then get them one of these blankets. There is simply no cozier item on the face of the planet. Our boys walk around the house with these wrapped around their bodies. We have the Sequoia Throw for our RV master bed. One snuggle with these throw blankets and you will be hooked.
Nothing gets the heart rate up like making RV beds, and some people brag about the calories burned during this activity. RV beds are not only notoriously difficult to make, they also are tough to keep neat and tidy. Beddy’s bed sets are like one giant fitted sheet that easily wrap around the RV mattress. A zipper runs around the bedding set just like a sleeping bag, but way more stylish. If you know someone who stresses while making the RV bed, this would make the perfect gift!
No self-respecting oenophile should be drinking wine at the campground out of red solo cups. In fact, any sort of plastic cup just doesn’t seem to cut it. However, glass isn’t a good match for RV travel for a lot of different reasons. Enter the stainless steel wine glass. We added these to our camping collection last year and they are one of our favorite RV items of all time. Practical and fashionable equals gift perfection.
Take a stroll around the campground and you will quickly notice that personalized camping signs are a favorite accessory for RVers. We bought our family camping sign just weeks after we came home with our first pop up camper. Etsy has a wide variety of shops with adorable sign options, all customizable with your family’s names, hometown, and even pets’ names. We particularly like the colorful, fun signs from the Creative Designs 77 Etsy shop and the rustic, outdoorsy options from the Black River Wood Shop.
It’s tough for someone with a world-famous flashlight collection to pick a favorite, but if you shined a spotlight in his eyes, Jeremy might pick the Nebo Slyde King. It’s made of high-quality aluminum and is water and impact resistant. Use it as a standard flashlight or slide it open to reveal a work light. Jeremy particularly loves that it’s USB rechargeable and has a magnetic base for when you need to be hands free.
Most RVs come with exterior bluetooth speakers, but most of the time we don’t want to broadcast our music to the entire campground. The UE Wonderboom speakers are compact, lightweight, and waterproof. We use them by the grill when cooking, at the picnic table while eating, and around the campfire at night. The cute colors are just an added bonus.
Can a man camp without a flannel-lined canvas shirt? Well, Jeremy certainly can’t. It’s hard to find an option that is warm and comfortable without being too bulky. This is his favorite wardrobe addition in a long time. Jeremy is no fashionista, but this shirt makes him act like one.
We have bought our own fair share of these See America prints over the years, but they are also one of our favorite gifts to give friends and family that love to travel. If there is a national park or historic monument that your loved ones visited this year, a framed picture from See America will bring back those wonderful memories for years to come.
Picking out the perfect gifts for your friends and family is part of the joy of the holiday season. We always like to remember, however, that the holiday spirit is really about spending time and creating memories with the people you love.
Just like RVing.
A very, very happy holiday season from our family to yours. See you at the campground in 2018.
Like most people, I didn’t dream of growing up and living in a motorhome. Yet it’s literally been the vehicle that has allowed us to cross so many adventures off our bucket list and live an incredible life.
If you are someone who isn’t sure whether the RV lifestyle is for you, I wanted to share 7 reasons why you should’ve bought an RV by now.
You love the outdoors.
Photo cred: Joe Hendricks
When your ideal getaway involves a state park, a campfire, and s’mores, you know that RV life would suit you perfectly.
Our favorite part of full-time RVing is the chance to spend more time outside, whether we’re hiking, kayaking, or just taking a nap in the hammock. Best of all, this keeps us more active and healthier on the road.