ALL POSTS IN [Family Travel]

Summer Hull of the blog Mommy Points shows us how to take advantage of travel rewards points and miles to make the most of our vacation dollars with her new Travel Channel web series. By breaking down the often-complicated frequent-flyer programs out there, Summer makes it easy for anyone to redeem miles and points in exchange for memorable family vacations.

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 Casa de Campo 

Chances are, if you’ve been keeping up with the Kardashians, you know that the famous family stayed at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. But Casa de Campo is more than a respite for the rich and famous – as one of the best sporting resorts in the world, it’s offering its guests the opportunity to get away with family and friends to create their own 2012 summer games in the Caribbean.

Enjoy their luxurious accommodations, world-class sports facilities and 5-star meals while following the actual games on big screens displayed throughout the resort. When you’re not following the official Olympic Games, Casa de Campo’s summer inclusive package includes sporting adventures such as tennis, horseback riding, skeet shooting, 63 holes of legendary golf on 3 Pete Dye-designed courses, and an array of water sports ranging from freshwater fishing and kayaking along the Chavon River (backdrop to 1979 film, Apocalypse Now!), to deep-sea fishing in the Caribbean Sea and sailing at the 370-slip Marina & Yacht Club. Guests work with preferred travel professionals or the resort’s concierge service to personalize their adventure itinerary.

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We’re in the midst of summer and that means one thing: time for family vacations. Well, cookouts, too, but it’s mostly a chance for busy families to pause and spend precious moments together in between the routines of a normally hectic schedule.

But with endless possibilities for family getaways, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the prospect of schlepping the kids somewhere new. Travel Channel is here to make it easy on you with tips to plan a trip everyone can enjoy.

Want to avoid the hassle of airports while having a little more control over your budget? There’s a reason why road trips are a classic family adventure — read our tips on road-trippin’ in the US.

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What happened this week in the travel blogosphere? Well, retro is in, cleavage is out. Here’s what else grabbed our attention on Travel Channel’s blogroll.

Opening today, the new Disney film Brave is sure to be a hit – set in Scotland, it’s already inspiring trips to the country, including those with a special itinerary designed by Disney. Gadling explains… READ MORE

Yesterday was the summer solstice, and now that the days are longer and the heat is rising, it’s time to fill those lazy days!

Not sure where to go? Check out our 2012 Summer Hotspots.

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The Water Quality & Health Council (WQHC) recently conducted a survey that found that 1 in 5 (adult) Americans admit to peeing in the pool and 7 in 10 admit to skipping the shower before swimming – even though 93% of Americans claimed they would never reuse someone else’s bath water. Is there a difference? READ MORE

National Get Outdoors Day

This Saturday, ditch your spot on the couch and get moving in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day. Each of the 132 different celebrations nationwide will promote healthy living and outdoor activities through their information centers and “active fun areas.” Brush up on your survival skills, learn to fish and pitch a tent, or have your photo taken with Smokey the Bear! READ MORE

NBC’s 17th annual TODAY Summer Concert Series kicks off  (appropriately) … today! If you’re an early bird and in Manhattan on any Friday this summer, head down to Rockefeller Plaza around 6 a.m. to stake out your spot for a free live show. Usher is the first on the all-star roster of performers, which also includes Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Train and Jason Mraz. READ MORE

by Troy Petenbrink

Orlando, the home of Mickey Mouse and sunshine, is the No. 1 tourist destination in the US. It attracts over 50 million annual visitors — and it’s gearing up for more. As Orlando approaches its summer season, it is launching many new and exciting upgrades to its amusement park attractions.

The Amazing Spider-Man at Universal Studios Orlando

Sea World
At SeaWorld Orlando, Orca has some new friends, with the introduction of TurtleTrek, a mix of uber-technology and naturalistic habitats. On the tech side, visitors can experience a 3-D/360-degree film in a cool dome theater that uses dozens of projectors to immerse the audience in an underwater journey of a sea turtle’s life. Real rescued sea turtles, along with thousands of fish and manatees, can also be seen as are part of 2 new habitats — one saltwater and one freshwater.

EcoSafari’s EcoPark
Fans of roller coasters might enjoy The Rattlesnake at Forever Florida EcoSafaris’ expanded EcoPark. The roller coaster-style zipline launches from a 65-foot-high platform before whipping around a 1,000-foot course and reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

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by Bill Burke

Go for a swim at Walt Disney World’s new Art of Animation Resort, and you’ll hear characters from the Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo talking to you — from under the water. It’s just one of the details the Imagineers at Disney have added to this newest resort to make it as immersive as possible.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the central Florida vacation kingdom’s newest hotel — featuring 1,120 family suites and 864 studio rooms slotted into Disney’s “value” level pricing.

Spacious Family Suites
Guests enter through Animation Hall — a lobby festooned with giant reproductions of early concept drawings of Disney/Pixar characters. Cast members (that’s Disney-speak for employees) wear paint-spattered vests, representing the artist’s creative process. Entering into the resort-proper just outside the lobby plunges visitors into a vividly colorful world of animated features. The “Finding Nemo”-themed pool — Disney’s largest outside of its water parks — is designed to make guests feel as if they’re living in the undersea world of Nemo, Dory and friends.

The family suites sleep 6 with a master bedroom, a pull-out couch in the living room area and a pull-down bed that also doubles as a small dining table. The suites also include a microwave, small refrigerator and counter space for preparing small meals. The resort, like all others on Disney property, is serviced by Disney’s motor-coach transportation system — which will ferry guests to and from theme parks — and the free Magical Express service, which brings guests to and from Orlando International Airport to their resort.

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