Category Archives: Family Travel

Sailing a way of life for some families

Courtesy Glenn Maddox

The Maddox family on their boat in Canada in 2010. From left: Glenn, Linzi, MeiLing and Pam.

Picture a sailing vacation: swimming in tropical waters, lazy days exploring palm-tree-lined islands, eating mangoes and watching sunsets.

Sounds nice, right?

What if it were not for a week or two, but a year or two … or five? On a boat where your sailing companions are less than 40 feet away, always? Where 80-mile-an-hour winds can make you reconsider your plan? Where at times you must stay awake for 32 hours on a long stretch of open ocean? Where your boat engine breaks down, and a fellow sailor happens to have the needed part and is happy to help you install it? Where the biggest question of the day is do you snorkel, tidy the boat or explore a beautiful island?

Now try doing it with kids.

A handful of brave — and lucky — families live this way. They home-school their kids, believing the world’s ports and people are the ideal classroom. They spend days, sometimes weeks, at sea without contact with anyone else. They rely on a tight-knit, global community of fellow sailors. They wake up in a different marina daily or weekly, snug in their cozy floating homes, wondering what the day will bring.

Two families — the Doolittles of the Bay Area and the Maddoxes of Anacortes, Wash. — harbored long-held dreams of epic sailing trips with their families. Not independently wealthy, they waited for the opportunity when money and timing lined up.

For the Doolittles, it was realizing the boys were at an ideal age: “Not so young that they wouldn’t remember and appreciate it, and yet not so old they could do anything about it.” For the Maddoxes, it was when Glenn was laid off, with a hefty Christmas bonus.

They went for it. And didn’t look back, despite storms that battered their boats, money worries and (at least initially) disapproval from extended family questioning the safety of taking young kids out to sea.

The Doolittles
Ben and Molly Doolittle, along with boys Mickey, now 10, and J.P., 8, sold their house last September, bought a used 38-foot Catalina, and two weeks later, sailed out of San Francisco Bay. They are midway through a two-year adventure through Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Currently, they’re back in the Bay Area, taking a short break from the hot, humid El Salvador summer, and earning a little more money from their medical insurance business, which they run remotely on the boat.

Next month, they plan to resume the trip, sailing from El Salvador to Costa Rica by Thanksgiving, Panama by Christmas, then onto the San Blas Islands, the Caribbean side of Panama, Belize by Easter, then Key West and home by fall 2013 for Mickey to start sixth grade.

While he’s enjoying the break, Mickey said he’s excited to return to the boat where it’s “quiet and you wake up to dolphin pods and sea turtles and whales.” It can get lonely, he said, but he and J.P. scope out the “kid boats” at each harbor in search of friends. In addition to being home-schooled by mom Molly, who used to be a fourth-grade teacher, the boys jot down trip notes and observations in their own blog. Molly Doolittle also keeps one for the family.

Molly Doolittle said her favorite part of sailing is being part of such a tight community of sailors who rely on one another.

“If someone needs help, there’s no hesitation – you just jump in,” she said. “It’s like a throw-back to when people really helped each other out.”

Ben Doolittle, who sailed solo for two years before he met Molly, said he always intended to do a big sailing trip with his family, a pact they made before marriage.

“I’m a dad with two kids and a wife, and Molly is mostly at home with the boys,” he said. “So my option is living in the U.S. and working all day and having a house, or taking advantage of this opportunity to sail with my family.”

“You wake up when your body says to, you make coffee and you say, ‘What do I want to do today? Is it boat tasks? See local culture or volcanoes and rainforests? Snorkel?'”

Ben Doolittle said for him, the sailing is secondary to the travel.

“In my mind there is no better way to see the world,” he said. “You have your home, your books and your computer, but every morning you open your door in a new place.”

The Maddoxes
A year-and-a-half ago, Glenn and Pam Maddox completed an epic, five-year sailing adventure with their two young girls, who were just 2 and 4 when they set out. In five years, they covered roughly 40,000 nautical miles in their new Catalina 440. Only the adoption of another child, a medically fragile boy named Bryan Tian, from China where they sailed to and volunteered, could alter their dream to sail completely around the world.

In the spring of 2006, Glenn and Pam, along with daughters Linzi, now 10, and MeiLing, 8, sailed from Tampa, Fla., to Nova Scotia, then down the U.S. coast to Savannah, Ga., then to the Turks and Caicos Islands. From there, they spent almost a year in the Caribbean going as far south as Guayana, then turned around and sailed to Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and through the Panama Canal.

From Panama, they sailed to the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island and back to Chile where their scariest disaster awaited: a six-day storm with winds gusting to 80 mph that battered their boat against the rocks. It took nine months — and much of their savings – to fix it. Once deemed sail-worthy, the boat headed to Easter Island and the South Pacific, hitting Pitcairn Island, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and on to China where they volunteered for three months at the same orphanage the girls came from.

That’s where they met their newest arrival, Bryan Tian. The Chinese government would not allow the Maddoxes to adopt him, however, until they had an income and a residence. That ended the around-the-world dream, but started a new chapter in their lives. They headed for home, sailing from Hong Kong to Taiwan, Japan and the Aleutian Islands, the Bering Sea and then down the coast of southeast Alaska, ending in Anacortes in the fall of 2010. Pam got a job, they moved into an apartment and waited for Bryan Tian to arrive, which happened about three months ago.

Glenn Maddox said the original intent of the trip was to be close to and really get to know their adopted daughters.

“But Linzi and Mei-Mei took us on a trip,” he said. “We got to see the world through their eyes and it was amazing to see how well-received they were in all these remote places — like rock stars. The girls made this trip unbelievably unique. We got to live in their wake.”

Now a stay-at-home dad, Glenn doesn’t know what the future holds. Bryan has at least one more surgery, and the girls have mostly adjusted to school. They recently sold their beloved boat, “ending an era,” he said, “But Linzi needed braces and Bryan has had $25,000 in surgeries. This is an important time not to be sailing because he has needed so much medical help. But it was pretty sad to say our trip is absolutely done.”

The Glesers
More common than families on long sea journeys are empty-nesters and retirees. Virginia and Robert Gleser of Modesto, Calif., spend half of each year sailing to and around Mexico, often hosting their eight kids and six grandkids for visits on their boat named Harmony. Virginia wrote a new book focused on maintaining healthy relationships amid the occasional stresses of bad weather and boat breakdowns, and the ever-present tight quarters.

Next month, she starts a book tour of “Harmony on the High Seas, When Your Mate Becomes Your Matey,” starting with the Oregon Women’s Sailing Association in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 8.

Virginia says keys to happiness and success together on the water are appreciation, gratitude, forgiveness and celebration. And one more biggie: “Communication is the No. 1 relationship tool whether on land or sea. But in a boat’s small space, if you fail to communicate what you need and what you are feeling, emotions and tensions can build to uncomfortable levels,” she said.

After the book tour, the Glesers plan to head back down to Mexico for six months on Harmony, enjoying warm waters, the camaraderie of other sailors and their grandchildrens’ visits.

“We will remain in Mexico at least for now, but maybe when the grandchildren grow a little older they can come with us farther afield, maybe to the South Pacific or the Caribbean,” Virginia said. “Who knows? Our plans are made in sand at low tide.”

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5 last-minute family getaways

Laura Begley Bloom from Travel + Leisure shows it’s not too late to take your family on a summer vacation, spotlighting discounts on trips to a beach resort in Saint Martin and a great outdoor getaway for the kids in San Diego.

It’s not too late to treat your family to a summer getaway thanks to these package deals at kid-friendly hotels.

Orlando: Sheraton Buena Vista
This 490-room renovated property has two outdoor pools (with dive-in movies to watch poolside) and a 79-foot waterslide that’s a hit with kids of all ages. The Summer Sojourn deal, available for travel between August 1 and October 31, provides two nights’ accommodations, a full-day poolside cabana rental, your choice of children’s activities with the pool captain, welcome drinks for a family of four, 10 percent off spa treatments and shuttle service to the Disney theme parks. From $169 per night.

Related: America’s Best All-Inclusive Resorts

Tucson, Ariz.: Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort
Westward Look’s historic haciendas sit on a homestead dotted with brush and cactus and make a great base for all kinds of activities. Take advantage of horseback riding with wranglers, a guided nature program, three swimming pools, tennis courts (five lit at night) and a Celestron 2000 telescope for checking out the nighttime sky. With the
summer savings deal, a five-night stay starts at $79 per night, and a seven-night stay from $69 per night.

San Diego: Rancho Bernardo Inn
The Kids Rule package includes accommodations, a welcome goodie bucket, unlimited access to the golf range, an in-room camping and s’mores kit, an in-room pizza party and family night, a Treasure Hunt and Walking Fountains Adventure and access to the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve. Through September 3, this 237-room Spanish Colonial-style property hosts regular kids’ activities, from a pajama parade to dive-in movies, while adults will appreciate the spa with treatment casitas. From $219 per night.

Telluride, Colo.: Fairmont Franz Klammer Lodge
Ski towns such as Telluride can be a great value in the summer—there’s still a ton to do, but prices come down from their winter highs. Case in point: the Children’s Discover package covers accommodations in a 2- or 3-bedroom residence, valet parking, airport transfers and an eco-adventure class. (Fishing poles and BMW cruise bikes are also available.) It goes for $250 per night, which represents savings of 60 percent.

St. Maarten: Sonesta Maho Beach Resort
This 10-acre resort is just five minutes from the airport, so you’ll be relaxing by the swimming pools (one with a swim-up bar) in no time. The Ocean View for Two package includes three nights in an ocean-view room; all on-site activities; a day pass to the beach at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort; and all meals and drinks including house beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. This all-inclusive deal allows for a maximum of two children (age 11 or under) to stay and eat for free. Book by October 31 for travel through December 21. From $290 per night.

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New vacation necessity: professional photographer?

Mariah Milan Dagupion | Photography

Peter Clarke and his 3-year-old son, Charlie, of Canada hired professional photographer Mariah Milan in December to take pictures of their vacation on Maui, Hawaii.

Some travelers are adding this to their list of vacation necessities: professional photographer.

With friends and family increasingly scrutinizing vacation photos via Facebook, some travelers think photos captured on an iPhone or point-and-shoot no longer cut it. Many vacationing couples and families don’t want to have to worry about packing a camera and all its chargers and cords, while some find that it’s impossible to get everyone in the photo if Dad always has to take the shot.

In response, some vacationers are now hiring professional photographers to capture lasting memories of their trip. Mariah Milan, a Maui-based photographer, says that vacation photography now comprises half her business that was once exclusively wedding shoots. “It started out slowly, and every year it’s gotten busier and busier for families. Year after year I set records.” She added, “Before, it was a luxury item … but now it’s moved more into a kind of experience.”

Likewise for Tricia Keffer, founder of the vacation photography company Tricia Co. “I’m going to be looking to hire up for this coming winter and summer.”

The business has taken off recently because, for many, vacation photography is more worthwhile than the experiences of the trip itself. But the photos aren’t cheap. Most packages range from $500 to $1,000 an hour. Therefore, tough decisions often have to be made.

“You can either spend $400 to go on a snorkeling thing or you can spend $500 to have the memories of your trip,” said Janna Bridgeman of Regina, Saskatchewan, who booked a vacation photographer when she was in Hawaii over Christmas. “It’s worth it to have the memory.”

But not everyone is convinced that a paid professional is needed. “How it felt to me personally? It was a necessity,” said Bridgeman. “How it felt to my husband and my dad and my brother? It was like, ‘Whatever, we can take our own photos.’”

The “whatever” attitude, however, may be waning.

A variety of upscale hotel chains from the Four Seasons to Rosewood Resorts now offer services of professional photographers, and more families are using these photos for holiday cards and framing enlarged shots to adorn the mantel.

Milan noticed the desire of vacationers to have a final product to take home, and has seen that the photography session has become an experience within itself. “People go to luaus and they experience it, but there’s nothing to take home from it; and, so now, the portrait session for families is kind of a family activity.”

It’s sometimes about showing off, too. “I do get the comment, ‘Oh, can we grab one on this beach for my Facebook profile?’” Milan said.

Stacey Wright, who frequently vacations in Florida with her family and hires a photographer, justifies the expense in order to get great photos of her vacation memories.

“Yes, it’s a luxury,” she said. “I’m just a sucker for pictures.”

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10 best U.S. landmarks for families

Lindsay Hebberd / Corbis

A view of the Hoover Dam at the Nevada-Arizona border.


1. Statue of Liberty, New York


Families can check out the statue as part of one of the many harbor cruises available (think Grey Line Tours), which will take you near Liberty Island and provide plenty of photo ops. However, to really experience this national treasure, book a cruise and tour through Statue Cruises, where you sail to Liberty Island and climb 354 steps to check out the view from atop the statue’s crown. In addition, every ticket to Liberty Island includes a stop at Ellis Island, where visitors can explore the American Family Immigration History Center and search for their ancestors using the interactive database. The Statue of Liberty is open seven days a week, but check the Statue Cruises Web site for specific dates and times of available excursions. 

Note: The Statue of Liberty is currently undergoing extensive interior renovations, so crown tickets are not available at this time. 

Nearby Hotel: New York Marriott Marquis

2. Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
Situated in the corner of a right angle between the U.S. Capitol and the White House, the Washington Monument is easy to spot in downtown 
D.C. Dedicated in 1885 and opened to the public in 1888, the Washington Monument stands at 555-feet, 5 1/8-inches tall, with walls constructed of white marble, blue gneiss and granite.


For those who prefer to admire it from afar, you can snap some photos of the monument from the National Mall. However, the more adventurous won’t be able to leave without enjoying a view from the top. Doing so means climbing 896 steps. No, not really. An elevator takes visitors to an observation level, where they can take in panoramic views of the nation’s capital. 

The monument is open for visitors from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily. While free tickets for same-day visits can be obtained at the Washington Monument Lodge along 15th Street starting at 8:30 a.m., these tickets sell quickly. It’s recommended that you pay a small fee and reserve timed-entry tickets in advance. Otherwise, you might miss your chance to fully explore the monument.

Note: The Washington Monument is currently closed due to damage sustained in the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake. Check the website for the latest information on tours and tickets. 

Nearby Hotel: Omni Shoreham Hotel

3. The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Mo.
There’s no missing the famous arch standing high above 
St. Louis. Reaching a height of 630 feet, this iconic symbol has reigned over St. Louis for more than 40 years. The Arch pays homage to Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States. Impressive from the bottom looking up, it’s even more stunning to see the view from the top looking down. 

A four-minute journey takes visitors to the apex, where they can walk along the observation area, take in the views and snap unforgettable vacation photos of downtown St. Louis, the Mississippi River and the neighboring state of Illinois. Hours for the Arch are seasonal, so check the website for current operating hours during your visit. While entrance into the Gateway Arch is free, there is a cost for tram tickets to the top of the interior. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.

Nearby Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis 

4. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
While the Golden Gate Bridge serves as a necessary thoroughfare across the Golden Gate Strait, it also serves as one of San Francisco’s most visited tourist attractions. Built between 1933 and 1937, the bridge spans 1.7 miles, and the main towers stretch 746-feet above the water. It is a striking fixture when seen from a distance, and quite the architectural marvel when viewed up close.


Guests of San Francisco can admire the bridge from one of the parking lots on either side of the bridge, but a better option is to take a stroll through the groomed gardens on the southeast side of the bridge. Additionally, there are a number of walking, biking and hiking trails on the south side of the Golden Gate, all free of charge. Visitors can get even closer by actually traversing the bridge on one of two sidewalks. 

Note: Due to ongoing maintenance and construction projects, access to sidewalks may be restricted. For the most up-to-date access information, visit the Golden Gate’s website prior to your visit. 

Nearby Hotel: Argonaut Hotel

5. Space Needle, Seattle
Featured in seemingly every story, music video, TV show or movie set in 
Seattle, the 605-foot Space Needle is a lasting symbol of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Its futuristic design was in line with the fair’s theme of “Century 21.” Today, the Space Needle is synonymous with Seattle, and serves as the city’s No. 1 tourist destination.

When visiting the Space Needle, guests must purchase tickets to the observation deck. A 43-second elevator ride whisks passengers up 520 feet to the observation deck, where they can take in 360-degree views of the Seattle area. For a more leisurely visit, consider a meal at the SkyCity Restaurant, which revolves around the structure at 500 feet above ground level. 

Although this landmark is open year-round, there are occasions when it closes for special events, holidays and/or maintenance, so check the Space Needle Web site before planning your visit.

Nearby Hotel: Hotel Monaco Seattle

6. Mount Rushmore, Keystone, S.D.
Seemingly off the beaten path, 
Mount Rushmore rises high above the Black Hills of South Dakota. Carved into a mountain of Harvey Peak granite, the four presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt — were chosen by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, as he felt they represented the first 150 years of American history. Although the project began in 1927, it suffered numerous funding challenges, which stretched the work for 14 years. It was completed in 1941, and quickly became one of the country’s top tourist destinations. 

During a visit to Mount Rushmore, visitors can enjoy a 30-minute guided tour along the Presidential Trail to the base of the mountain as they learn about the natural and cultural history of Mount Rushmore and its surroundings. A 15-minute Sculptor’s Studio Talk delves into the tools and techniques used in the carving of the sculpture. Weather permitting, you can also enjoy a 45-minute evening program, which takes place in the park’s outdoor amphitheater. Those interested in the Black Hills and the American Indians who called this area home will enjoy the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota Heritage Village in the first section of the Presidential Trail. An audio tour is also available for rent. 

Due to its location, the summer months are Mount Rushmore’s busiest tourist season, though the memorial is open year-round with the exception of Dec. 25. While it’s free to enter the park, there is a fee to park your car.

Nearby Hotel: K Bar S Lodge

7. Hoover Dam, Nevada-Arizona Border
Built between 1931 and 1936 to stem the flow of the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam was constructed for a variety of purposes, including flood control and water storage for irrigation and hydroelectric power. Standing 726.4-feet tall from foundation rock to the roadway atop it, Hoover Dam contains 3.25-million cubic yards of concrete. Today, it attracts visitors who want to see its magnificent architecture firsthand.

Guided tours of both the dam and the adjacent powerplant are offered year-round with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Summer is the busiest time of year for Hoover Dam, and January and February are its slowest months. Visitation hours change with each season, so before heading to the dam, check its Web site for a current operating schedule, as well as limitations on vehicle access.

Nearby Hotel: Desert Rose Resort

8. Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles
Erected in the hills surrounding the City of Angels in 1923, the Hollywood Sign quickly became an icon in American pop culture. However, its original intent was to boost real estate sales for a suburban housing development called Hollywoodland, owned by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler. The original $21,000 billboard consisted of 13 letters, each 30-feet wide and 50-feet tall. Although it appeared solid, each letter was actually comprised of 3-feet-by-9-feet metal squares held together with scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles. 

After the Los Angeles development became a casualty of the Great Depression, the city acquired Hollywoodland’s property in 1944. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce removed the letters spelling “land,” and repaired the sign. The sign received official landmark status in 1973 from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board; in 1978, the old sign was completely scrapped and replaced with a modern structure made of concrete, enamel and steel.

Today, the Hollywood Sign stands on Mount Lee, which is not accessible to the public. If you want to get a postcard-quality shot of the sign, head to one of two sites: Griffith Park Observatory or the Hollywood Highland Center.

Nearby Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Hotel Suites Hollywood Walk of Fame

9. Empire State Building, N.Y.
Standing at an impressive 1,453-feet, 8 9/16-inches tall, the 
Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks. Construction began in 1930 and progressed quickly, with the building officially opening on May 1, 1931. Two observatories were included among the 103 floors, the first on the 86th floor and the second on the 102nd floor. At 1,050-feet up, the 86th Floor Observatory is probably the most well-known, due to its 360-degree outdoor deck. It also includes indoor viewing galleries, so you can visit in rain or shine. The 102nd Floor Observatory is an indoor viewing area 1,250-feet above ground.

Guests can visit the Empire State Building year-round, both day and night. Hours are 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, with the last elevator ascending at 1:15 a.m. Tickets are required to access either or both observatories; to enhance your visit, you also can rent an audio tour. Prior to going up to the observatories, visitors are subject to security screening similar to that at airports. Visit the Empire State Building’s website for detailed information on guidelines and restrictions. 

Nearby Hotel: Casablanca Hotel

10. U.S. Southernmost Point, Key West, Fla.
Key West, Fla., isn’t the end of the Earth, but you’ll reach the southernmost point of the continental United States when you stop at its landmark. To commemorate this momentous occasion, visitors can snap their photo next to the colorful Southernmost Point marker in Key West. The City of Key West erected the concrete marker in 1983, which also marks the distance to Cuba: 90 miles (which is actually an approximation).

The Southernmost Point is situated on the corner of South and Whitehead streets, just a few-minutes’ walk from downtown Key West and most of the city’s major attractions. The bonus for families? There’s no cost to visit, nor is there a limit on visiting hours, though you’ll definitely want to see the landmark during daylight hours. However, the Southernmost Point is crowded throughout the day, so it’s best to stop by early in the morning. Capturing a snapshot as the sun rises definitely makes for a memorable photo!

Nearby Hotel: Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa

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5 sweet spas that cater to kids

Great Wolf Lodge

Kids don pink robes and tiaras at the ice cream-themed Scooops Spa at Great Wolf Lodge.

Day spas were once sanctuaries for mothers fleeing their offspring for an afternoon of bliss. Today, many spas and salons around the world also cater to kids, providing everything from princess-inspired up-dos to therapeutic massages to ease aches and pains caused by sports or illness.

Live Poll

Would you take your kids to the spa?

Some parents think children should wait until they grow up before partaking in such indulgences. “I think it is a very strange thing to do with a child,” says Kerry Mullin, a mom from Columbia, Mo. “Completely wrong priorities.”

Others, however, think a spa is a fun spot for a special mommy-daughter day or a vacation treat.

“Kids need to have relaxing time, too, and it’s good to get them in the habit of taking care of their hands, feet and skin,” says Heather Cagle, a mom from Macomb, Ill.

Here are five spas that embrace a young clientele:

Scooops Kids Spa at Great Wolf Lodge – 11 locations in North America
The ice cream-themed Scooops Kids Spas offer a sweet twist on the standard spa experience. Guests (ages 4-15) don a pink robe and sit atop ice cream cone-shaped stools during manicures or relax on an oversized banana split sofa during pedicures. Kids pick flavored fizz soaks, sherbet scrubs and delicious nail colors. Afterward, spa-goers are treated to a scoop of ice cream. During the daily Social Hour, Violet the Wolf (a lovable Great Wolf Lodge character) visits the spa to pose for pictures. Prices range from $29.99-$89.99.

The Spa at JW Marriot Cancun Resort – Cancun, Mexico
The Sweet Paradise Chocolate facial at The Spa at JW Marriott Cancun includes gentle cleansing and sunblock to prepare kids for fun in the sun (ages 6-12). Teens can rejuvenate sore feet after a day of exploring Mexican ruins with a Peppermint Patty leg and foot massage (ages 15-17). For a splurge, there’s the Mayan Princess for a Day package, which includes a pedicure, manicure, hair-styling session and glitter makeup (ages 6-17). Price range: $10-$135. 

Matt Stroshane / Disney

Mini spa-goers can get hair extensions and glittering ensembles at Disney’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Four Disney Locations
For the ultimate indulgence, there’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., two locations at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and aboard Disney’s newest ship, Fantasy. The entry-level Coach service includes a royal hairstyle, shimmering makeup, face gem, cinch sack and princess sash. Want to thoroughly spoil your wee one? Purchase the Fantasy’s Royal Sea package, which includes three makeovers, princess gowns and tiaras. Landlubber boys can join in the fun with a Knight package that includes a hairstyle and sword. (Ages 3-12.) At-sea boys, girls and even grown-ups can pick a Pirate makeover complete with bandana, eye patch, sword and sheath, tattoo, pirate medallion, treasure bag and pirate makeup (ages 3 and above). Price range: $15.95-$595.95.

Laniwai Spa and Painted Sky Spa at Aulani Resort – Oahu, Hawaii
Most treatments for children and teens at Disney’s Aulani Resort focus on well-being and self-confidence. At Laniwai Spa, new parents can take turns learning the art of baby massage and enjoying a spa treatment as part of the Ka Makana package (for parents with a child age 2 and younger, pricing starts at $150). The entire family can enjoy an Ohana massage treatment in a private suite (for three to six family members, ages 5 and up, pricing starts at $300). Painted Sky Spa is a teen gathering space (ages 13-17) with a lounge, yogurt and elixir bar, computer stations and activities like Hula dancing lessons and Xbox fitness. Treatments are tailored to meet teens’ needs, like make-up application lessons and facials that treat acne. Painted Sky price range: $20-$135.

Massage Envy – 800 locations in the U.S.
In addition to loosening kids’ muscles sore from the physical stress of athletics, Massage Envy relieves pain caused by surgery or early-onset arthritis with pediatric massages (age 8-plus). Price range: $39-$59.

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor of, a site for anyone who wants to travel with children … and stay sane!

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