Category Archives: Travel

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

It’s official! I’ve been blogging for ONE year. That’s crazy! I started a blog just to share pictures of Gracie, and it’s truly turned into something I could never imagine a year ago. To celebrate Graceful Mommy turning one, we made a trip to the new Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. And GUESS WHAT? They are also celebrating their ONE YEAR anniversary! This trip was sponsored by Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, but all opinions are my own (as always!).

We stayed two nights at the Margaritaville Hollywood hotel (Wednesday-Friday). We truly enjoyed every second. It was fun to getaway midweek and just enjoy each other’s company in the most relaxing place EVER. Seriously, the second you walk through the door, you are relaxed.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

The hotel has an AMAZING first impression. From the moment we drove up to the hotel, we were blown away. The lobby is incredible. Very grand, yet cozy. My favorite things about the lobby are the giant Blue Flip Flop sculpture, and the margarita chandelier. Incredible! Anyways, our check-in went very smooth. Our room was ready and the front desk was extremely nice and helpful.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

The color scheme throughout the whole hotel is very beachy. It’s like the took the beach and brought it right in. I loved it. The decor everywhere was amazing. I love beachy decor!

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

Our room was a deluxe King room. When you walk in, the bathroom was to the right. There was the king bed, a desk across from the bed with a hanging TV above it. There were two inside chairs in front of the slider. Outside on the patio was two super comfy adirondack chairs. Our view was of both the intracoastal and the beach. We loved our view. It was so fun to sit on our patio and watch everything. We could even see the Hollywood Beach Bandshell from our room and listened to music from our patio each night. So fun!

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

After we unpacked our bag, we explored the hotel for a bit. Our room was on the 11th floor. This floor has it’s own rooftop pool/bar! We walked out here for a bit and showed Gracie the beach from up high. She loved it. This floor has an amazing view of the pools down below. I highly recommend checking out the 11th floor, just to get a good look at everything. The pool on this floor is adults only. Which is nice to get away from the crowd downstairs. We had Gracie hehe so we just took a look then left.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

We ate at Landshark Bar and Grill for dinner both nights we were here. The burgers were SO good. We loved the view from here- you can see it all. The beach, the pools, the FlowRider, the bandshell, the boardwalk- EVERYTHING. We love people watching (and good food). So we loved this place.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

After we ate dinner, we walked around the boardwalk and listened to the live music at the bandshell. Gracie loved walking around and watching all the bikers go past. Gracie took a hard fall when she was running and cut her lip a little. So we got some ice cream to cheer her up. All better! hehe

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

For breakfast in the morning, we ate at Margaritaville! It was delicious and had a great ambience. This restaurant looks over one of the three pools on property. One of the staff members even gave Gracie a little toy to play with while we were eating! So cute!

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

On Thursday, we took a tour of the whole property and got to see everything, even the spa. The spa is HUGE. 11,000 square feet of pure bliss. They do everything here- massages, facials, nails, everything. I’m not much of a spa person, but I might have converted after seeing this space. They had a steam room, and even a huge jacuzzi top. Ah…. it was heavenly! We also got to tour a few of the rooms. I loved every room! We didn’t get to see one of their giant suites, but the photos of them are incredible! Great for big groups.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

What We Loved 

+ The decor

+ Our intracoastal and ocean view

+Complimentary water each day

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ Live music every night

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ The toiletries (oh my gosh – they are amazing. And yes, I took some home)

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ The boardwalk (lots of people watching)

+The monopoly game in the lobby (entertained Gracie for so long)

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ Friendly staff

+ Coffee Shop

+ Hanging out in the lobby (seriously comfortable)

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ Landshark Bar and Grill

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning! Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ Being on the 11th floor

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ Fun games outside

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

+ The random entertainment everywhere

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

What We Didn’t Love 

+ There was no bathtub in our room (I’m sure this is something you can request. Our room just had a shower. Gracie loved playing in it, but we usually give her a bath every night, so that was challenging LOL.

+hmm… I’m literally trying to think of what else we didn’t like, but gosh- everything was so amazing, there really wasn’t much!

Recommend? 

I would recommend this hotel in a heartbeat. Our stay was heavenly. We truly loved every second. We will definitely be back.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Review. Great tips on bringing a toddler on vacation! This place is stunning!

Discloser: A huge thanks to Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort for sponsoring our stay. All opinions are my own. 

Disney’s Treehouse Villas Review

Disney's Treehouse villa review! I've always wanted to stay here.

Disney's Treehouse villa review! I've always wanted to stay here.

We just got back from Disney World yesterday. I’m having major disney withdrawals! Ugh, it’s so hard to leave vacation! But I can’t wait to share some photos of our beautiful Treehouse Villa!

We stayed in the Treehouse Villa from Thursday-Sunday. It was an awesome stay, and one of my favorite places now! While it’s not an actual treehouse, it does have lots of charm and is something very different than traditional Disney villas. Here are a few features of the Treehouse Villas, as well as some downsides of staying here.

➕Sleeps NINE  – The Treehouse Villas sleep 9, comfortably! The master has a queen bed, one guest room has bunkbeds, the other guest room has a queen bed, and the main living area has two pull out sofas! We were very comfortable with 6 adults and one child. However, the villas only have 2 bathrooms. With 6 adults, three bathrooms would have been even more comfortable!

➕Super cozy – I love the cozy cabin decorations of the villa. Everything is very rustic and cabin-y, which was super fun and relaxing. You instantly felt like you were transported out of Florida and into some northern state. Even driving to the Treehouse Villa was so cozy. The scenery is just to-die-for!

➕ Private and remote – The Treehouse Villas are SUPER secluded. Now, this can be a good thing, but also bad. It’s awesome because you are completely away from the hustle and bustle of Disney. The Treehouse Villas stand alone, so you definitely won’t hear any neighbors or kids running above you like in some hotels. But, it is very set back from all of Disney. That means it takes longer to get to EVERYWHERE. You have to take a bus to a bus to the park. The Treehouse villas have their own bus station. Bu that bus takes you to the main saratoga building. Then you have to get on another bus to take you to the park. If you’ve ever stayed at Saratoga Springs before, you know it’s HUGEEEEE. So usually the buses are packed. And then, you have to make MULTIPLE stops to pick up and drop off people at each building. That’s kind of the biggest bummer of the Treehouse Villas. Because of this, we ended up driving to the park most days. Or we just drove to the main Saratoga building, then hopped the bus.

Disney's Treehouse villa review! I've always wanted to stay here.

➕Private patio – The patio of the Treehouse Villa might be my favorite part! You are completely private and surrounded by trees. It’s beautiful, and a fun place to look for birds and animals. Gracie loved it out here. They even provide you with a high chair, so the whole family can enjoy sitting out there!

➕Every room has a window and view – I loved looking out of every window to see trees everywhere. It really does feel like a treehouse! Each room has huge windows. Gracie loved looking out the windows and watching the trees move.

➕Grill – We never used it, but each villa has their own barbecue grill! So fun!

➕Access to Disney Springs – The Treehouse Villas have their OWN boat dock that takes you RIGHT to Disney Springs. I love that feature!!

So as you can see we loved the Villas! However, there were a few downsides to staying here! In my opinion, the positives outweigh the fact that you’re pretty far off and secluded. In fact, I actually like that about the Villas. It’s a great place to relax after a crazy day in the parks!

Universal Studios with A Baby

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

We are die-hard Disney fans. We have annual passes and have taken Gracie 4 or 5 times already (oh my, I actually lost count). We love Disney and everything about the parks. However, we’ve been dying to take her to Universal Studios! It sort of felt like we were cheating on our first love, Disney. But we had so much fun! A lot of things are different in Universal than Disney World. So, I wanted to share 10 tips for taking a toddler to Universal (for Disney Fans).

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation! Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

1// EXPRESS PASS – The express pass is SO necessary. Disney fans know that you get three free fast passes for any ride. However, at universal you have to buy an express pass if you want to skip the long lines. This was SO worth it. We got the unlimited express pass, which means you can ride any ride (except a few Harry Potter rides) any amount of time. I don’t think you necessarily have to get the unlimited pass- but definitely purchase the extra express pass! You won’t regret it. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

2// DON’T GET THE MEAL PLAN –We LOVE the Disney meal plan. We always get it when we go. So, naturally we wanted to get the Universal Studios meal plan too. Bad idea. The meal plan works so differently than disney. We got the plan where you can get 2 quick service meals, 2 snacks, and 4 drinks. First of all, this was way too much food. But second of all, you can’t use your “snack” at a lot of places. For example, a “snack” on the Disney meal plan can get you ANY DRINK and any size at starbucks. On the Universal Dining plan, you can only get black coffee with your “snack”. Um, no. It’s really not worth the value. I would just pay for each meal and snack. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

3// THE RIDES- At Disney, there are SO many rides that you can go on with babies and toddlers. It’s actually easier to tell you the rides baby CAN’T ride at Disney. However, at Universal, it seems like they have a more strict height policy for their rides. Most rides require riders to be at least 36″ tall, although most were 40″ tall. The rides that you can take baby on are the Harry Potter Train, Despicable Me (only the stationary seating), Shrek, Caro-Suess-El, Dr. Seuss One Fish Two Fish, Twirl and Hurl. There are also a few shows that your baby or toddler would love. Gracie loved the Barney Show. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

4// PLAY AREAS –One thing we fell in love with at Universal was all the baby play areas around the park! Disney doesn’t really have spots for kids to just RUN AROUND. We ran into several play areas that Gracie loved. She just started walking a few months ago, so for her to get out of the stroller to play and run was huge. These play areas were some of her favorite moments on our trip! Our favorite play area was in the Dr. Seuss land! We had a blast. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

5//CHILD SWAP –In Disney this service is called Rider Switch. Basically if you have a baby or toddler that can’t ride a ride because of a height requirement, your whole group goes up to the line and tells the cast member you need to use Rider Switch. The Cast Member gives the waiting portion a pass (sort or like a FastPass) and the riding portion of the group waits in line. When that group is done, the other half (waiting with baby) doesn’t have to wait in line. Universal has a similar system, although instead of the waiting group waiting wherever they want, you have to wait in the Child Swap room. It’s actually kind of nice because then your party can be inside, in the cold air waiting. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

6//SWIM SUIT NEEDED – As we walked around Universal, we kept stumbling upon water play areas for kids. I mentioned all the play areas for kids to run around in earlier. Well, lots of those play areas have water and splash pads. This is so awesome for HOT, sunny, South Florida. Just make sure you bring a swim suit or a change of clothes for baby. We definitely forgot, and totally regretted it. The Curious George town is like full of water everywhere. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

7//BUG SPRAY- While we were at Universal, they provided bug spray! There were several stations throughout the park with complimentary bug spray. Now this was most likely due to the Zika outbreak, but anyways- it was awesome! Definitely bring sunscreen though. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

8//NURSING ROOM? – I’ve written before about Disney’s amazing baby care centers. They really are amazing. Universal does not have luxury rooms like Disney, but they DO have a room for nursing moms near the entrance! There are a few chairs and a changing table 🙂

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

9//FOOD – We loved the food at Universal and were pleased at how many healthy options they had! Our favorite restaurants were Mythos (nice sit-down meal) and Monster Cafe (quick-serve style). DELISH! The taco food truck in the Simpsons land was also great! 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!

10//CUSTOMER SERVICE – We are used to Disney World, which means we are used to Disney’s level of customer service. We did notice that there were some not-so-friendly staff members, however for the most part everyone was nice! We ARE used to everyone saying “have a magical day” though. Hehe. 

Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!Universal Studios with a baby or toddler! Some excellent trips for an upcoming vacation!