Belmar Beach

Our First Visit to the beach on Jersey Shore. We went to Belmar Beach. It was a nice warm sunny Day. Perfect for Beach. For the beach, we usually plan to reach by 2 or 3 o’clock. after having lunch and taking rest. We reached the beach by 2:30 pm. Searched for parking, usually following people who are going back, helps to get the parking lot. Paid the entrance fee of $7 per person. Met Pari’s friends there and we all had a gala time. Pari started making sand castles, and Pari’s Dad in waters in no time :).

Beach FunFunPari is still afraid of going in the waters. How much we lovingly encouraged, forced, bribed her, nothing worked. She still doesn’t want to get in the beach waters. Still she managed to be with us for atleast 5 minutes.

BeachLater, having snacks, flying kites, collecting sea shells on the beach. Here’s the beautiful princess Kite flying in the air.

Flying KiteAfter the wrap-up, around 6 o’ clock, we had coffee and kids had ice-creams on the boardwalk. It started getting cold with the colder breeze flowing in. We stayed there till 7 pm and reached home by 8pm.

What a fun Summer Day !!!

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Summer of 2014

Well, Summer of 2015 is here, and Pari is already done making plans for this summer.  When I look into my blog to find what I did last summer..oops… nothing .. no entry. .So, before I begin with Summer of 2015.. Will just recall..good times of Summer of 2014.

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Pari made this Summer Plan and stuck on bedroom walls. We were able to do all the things except a few. I loved how she was marking on these plans after we completed them.

Summer2014plan1. Go to Beach – This summer we visited Point Pleasant beach and Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey. In Point Pleasant Beach, kids loved the rides at Boardwalk. Parking was real difficult there. I loved Asbury Park more.

PointPleasantBeach

2. Strawberry Picking – We had been to Lee Turkey Farm for Strawberry picking. This was real fun. We went with Pari’s friend and had a gala time picking up the strawberries. We went on a Sunday, reached by 2:00 PM and by 3:30 PM we were done 🙂 . Mom & Dad also enjoyed.

StrawberryPicking

3. Swim Lessons – Finally, Pari got enrolled in swimming class. On her first day, she was crying for first 15 minutes, didn’t wanted to get into waters. But her instructor was too cool. By second class, she was enjoying the waters & swimming. At the end of her summer session, mom & dad were so proud of her swimming strokes.

4. Make Popsicle – Yes we did make popsicle with sweetened mango juice, strawberry milkshake, extra sweetened lemonade and  rose syrup.

5. Go to the fair –We visited our County fair with the friends and it was too too fun. The kids enjoyed the rides, so did we.

6. See the fireworks – Kids were so excited to watch July 4th fireworks. We managed to get to see them twice. One at Kennedy Park and the other at Milltown. It’s always great to see these fireworks.

7. Watch a movie at the park – Not done.

8. Zoo – We went to a small petting park in Johnson’s park. Kids loved it. Summer of 2015 will plan to goto a proper zoo 🙂

9. Art & Craft @ Home Not at all I believe.

10. Playdates – So many playdates.

11. Picnic – We did goto the park and arranged picnic and barbecue. Kids loved it.

Disney World Day 1: Epcot One Day Trip

The first day of our trip started with Epcot. Park opening time  was 9:00 AM. How fast I tried, but could not leave the resort before 8:45 AM.

All Star Resort Bus StopWe waiting at the Bus Stop of All Star Sports Resort.

Disney Transportation Bus to EpcotDisney Transportation Bus from resort to Epcot

Pari’s Dad had to drop the rental car, and he came directly to Epcot. Me & Pari were waiting for the bus. We reached the park around 9:15 AM, and it was so much crowded. Big lines, checking of baggage, I got a but nervous, as Dad was not there. But anyways, it took a bit of time, but everything was all set. As we entered the park, the first look of Epcot’s iconic giant golf shaped ball sized Spaceship Earth was spectacular.

Epcot Spectacular
Me & Pari waited for Dad at the entrance. After we met, some photo-sessions, then we moved on to explore “The Seas with Nemo & Friends”.

The Seas with Nemo

The Seas Because it was morning, no rush, we did very easily the ride.. explored other giant aquariums inside, and moved on to our very first Character interaction to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse & Goofy at Epcot Character Spot. We had fast pass for this,
we used it, though it was not required. It was a great experience to get our first autograph on autograph book. Pari was really excited.

Mickey MInnie Goofy

Just outside we saw Chip-n-Dale, got in the queue. It didn’t took more than 10 minutes for our turn. Pari hugged them , got the
autographs and photographs done.

ChipnDale

We then strolled towards Norway, our Breakfast reservation at 11:00 AM. On the way, did some photo-sessions. We got in our first souvenir shop “Mouse Gear”

MouseGear
and Pari found Penny pressing machine, and she just started to penny presses.

PennyPress
At 10:45 AM, we reached Akershus Storybook Dining Hall, we were wasked to wait till our name was called.

AkershusThe way the server called “We now welcome The Royal Kumar Family” . It was so royal. I took my camera, and asked him to please repeat again, so that I could record that moment,He was so shy and everybody around was laughing. he finally said, and when we got inside, Pari met Princess Belle, she hugged her, and all of us got into the photo session.

We were then taken to our table, also asked about our dietary considerations. When we explained that we would like only vegetarian and chicken, she then called up for the Chef. Meanwhile, we went and got everything what we could eat from the Breakfast Buffet. The Buffet was lavish. For Vegetarians, I believe, breakfast is good option, with good varieties to choose from. Chef came and he offered for grilled Chicken and Mickey shaped waffles with scrambled eggs and mashed potato.

Princess Breakfast

BreakfastPink lemonade

Pink Lemonade

The princess interaction was really great. Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella & Ariel calls up all the little children, they go on a parade of the entire restaurant. And they come one by one to our breakfast table, they would talk, sign the autograph book and would give us the photo opportunities.

Storybook Dining Princess

We had very nice interaction with Disney Princesses. Asked Cinderella to join us for breakfast. She replied “Oh, thank you I just had breakfast with Prince Charming”. When asked, did you change your Glass slippers. She showed her shoes saying “Fairy God mother gave me these shoes with strap”. Snowhite loved my dress, and said you look like you are going to pickup flowers. Pari told Ariel, I love Sebastian’s song. Pari also asked Sleeping Beauty something.. which I don’t remember.

After having a heavy brunch, about an hour later, we moved on to explore the countries of World Showcase Plaza. Pari had to get her Passport stamped. We then reached Canada, where we saw a Friendship boat was ready to go to Morocco ( I checked Jasmine Aladdin interaction timing. their meeting would begin in 10 minutes). Perfect, hopped on to the boat. Very nice boat ride, great view of Epcot.

FriendhipBoat

When we reached Morocco, found that the queue for meeting Jasmine was already too big, and the queue was closed. Got a bit disappointed, but didn’t forget to get our passports stamped. We started walking towards France. Got a view of Princess Belle
in blue dress.

Princess Belle
Pari also saw, and was not much interested. So, we were relieved. Some photosessions and then we reached UK. Met Alice in
Wonderland. It took us 15 minutes wait time.

AliceinWonderland

Also met Winnie the Pooh and Tigger at the back. The wait was hardly 5 minutes. And we spoke, they made fun, we danced with them hands in hands. All full of fun.

Winnie & Tigger
From UK, we moved on to other country, reached Canada. About to find the place to get the stamp, then again we spotted the friendship boat, hopped on, reached Morocco again.

Inside FriendshipBoatWe then reached the place for meeting Jasmine & Aladdin. No queue, the cast member came & asked how many people. I said “three”. She asked us to wait for 10 minutes, if she can accomodate us. Within 5 minutes, we were in, and talking to Aladdin & Jasmine.

JasmineAladdin
Pari asked Aladdin if he has more lamps for her mom. My mom really needed lamp which had Genie. Aladdin was laughing and said you could take any lamp..

Afterwards, we moved to see the other Countries showcase. America, Germany, China & so on.

AmericaAmerican Adventure

GermanyGermany– Mini City Model

We met Princess Mulan in China. Pari wanted to meet her. We were the last in the queue. Longest wait, took 1 hour to meet.

PrincessMulan

Then we reached Future World- Showcase by evening, a bit tired, relaxed for snacks, watched water fountain, tasted Coca Cola from all around the world.

CocaColaThen we moved on for “Soarin” and “Spaceship Earth”, and other attractions.

SoarinSoarin

Soarin-1  InsideSpaceship Earth                                                                                    Inside Spaceship Earth

Pari was really tired by this time. She slept on her stroller, meanwhile, Pari’s Dad went for “Space”.

MissionSpaceWith sleeping Pari, we went for dinner in the park, the restaurant near Spaceship Earth. We had Naanwich sandwich, Mac & Cheese, Grilled chicken Salad.

Dinner After dinner, we saw the Illuminations, which was really good.  We reached the resort at 10 PM. In our room, the housekeeping had made this Goofy towel.

GoofytowelGoofy Towel

PariGiftDisneyPrincessDisney Princess Figurines as gift

And Pari got this gift for her first wonderful, magical Disney day.

4 day Disney Trip under 3K

Disney Trip under 3K

How we planned 4- Day Disney trip under $3000.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we first planned to visit Miami, and then travel to Orlando by car.

1. Airport Transfers – We got a taxi who dropped us at the airport in 25 minutes for $40 including tip.

2. Newark- Miami – We traveled on Sunday morning flight, which I could buy from my Airlines mileage plus points. My daughter & my husband did not have these points. So, we ended up paying $233.6 (114*2+5.6)

3. Car – After arriving at Miami Airport, we went to the Car rental, and received our car. The experience of picking up the car was superb, and driving it was again too cool with full tank. When we returned the car at Orlando, we paid $95.00 (including gas)

4. Miami Hotel – We had to stay in Miami on Sunday night. One of our dear friend who is a frequent at Marriott Hotel worldwide was generous enough to get us a room in Miami hotel using his membership points. The room was $100 worth, and we paid nothing.

5. Toll Charges & Parking– On Sunday, we drove till Islamorada, Florida Middle Keys, then we returned. On the route, we paid around $13 for toll. The receipt for this was sent by the car rental office weeks after the vacation. On Monday, we went to several places in Miami, and we paid in total around $20 for parking.

6. Disney Resort & Theme park Tickets: As we were staying in Disney All Star Resorts, and that too I selected All Star Sports resort with Standard Room, the cheapest option available 🙂 so we ended up paying $ 1299.00 for all three of us (4-Day Theme Park + 4 night stay). We did not select any dining plan, also we did not buy Memory maker or Disney Photo-pass.

7. Food -At the end of vacation, I was looking at the credit card bills for money spent on food, and it was a real surprise, we did not pay much at all. We paid $360- $400 on food. This includes expenses in Walmart, our dinner & lunches at Theme Park, does not include breakfast with princesses. Yes, we got lots of nutella, peanut butter, Strawberry spread, sandwich bread, muffins, fruits etc from Walmart, Orlando. I will give detailed description of what we ate in my separate posts.

8. Breakfast with princess Belle at The Akershus Dining Hall, Epcot– The most happiest experience in Disney was to see the smile on Pari’s face when the princesses were coming to meet us at the table. Breakfast was awesome, especially as we have vegetarian dietary restrictions. Details to follow later. There, we spent around $134.

9. Souvenirs & Gifts – I had bought 3 gifts for Pari earlier itself, and told her that I bought from Disney :). But after visiting Disney’s souvenir stores, we could not resist buying couple more souvenirs. In total, we spent around $60.

10. Extra Luggage– Yes, we did carry extra luggage, and paid $25 for one trip. As for return trip, it was included in our tickets.

11. Orlando – Newark – We paid $99 *3= $ 297. Yes, we took a chance & did not buy insurance for the trip.

So, in total, we paid $2618 for the trip.

Next Post: Disney Autograph Book – DIY

Airport Transfers to & from Home 80
NEWARK-MIAMI (114*2+5.6) 233.6
CAR (including Petrol) 95
TOLL CHARGES 15
MIAMI HOTEL ($100 Value) 0
DISNEY RESORT+THEME PARK 1299
Dinner+Lunch+Breakfast 360
Souvenirs & Gifts 60
Breakfast with Princess 134
Parking- Miami 20
Extra Luggage 25
ORLANDO-NEWARK (99*3) 297
TOTAL EXPENDITURE 2618.6

Planning for Disney

DisneyPlanning

After months and months of planning, we finally visited Walt Disney World on November 2014. We stayed in Disney resort hotels for four days. Well, this post will be series of Disney stories beginning from Disney Planning, Bookings, reservations, tips & tricks for first timers, trip plans for the day, Budget, Actual expenses and lots and lots. So, here I begin.

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The idea of going to Disney got planted on Feb 2014 . From that time, I started to explore about Disney. There are tons of information on the internet, lots and lots of sites have wonderful content exclusively for WDW Florida. I even got a book from library, called Passporter’s Guide to Disney World, Florida. After reading all these stuffs, here’s what we thought:

1. We will go on less crowded months, it means October, November, Feb or May.

2. On the trip to the parks, We will not include the weekends just to avoid the local crowds.

3. We would stay in Disney resort hotels.

4. This trip has to be the princess themed for my 5 year old daughter.

So, first of all, I ordered for Disney Vacation Planning DVD from here. And, when we received it in the month of march, then only my husband got to know that I am thinking about this. Pari got excited after looking at the DVD.

I got to know that if the kid write a letter to the Disney Princess in Florida, they will reply with the signatures of all the princesses. We did the same, and we got the response after 3 weeks. This really did a kick-start from Pari’s side. In the end of April & May, we got busy in our other summer vacation travel plans, and forgot all about Disney.

In July, again I started to explore. We wanted to celebrate Pari’s birthday which is on Feb in Disney,  we were about to book, but it was really getting difficult for Pari & even me to wait for such a long time. Then I saw some Fall offers in Disney, which was really less than what we were paying for Feb.

It took around 2 weeks of time to finalize the plan. We planned all the permutations & combinations that would fit our budget, and Pari’s Dad office vacation days and came up with this plan: First, we will goto Miami, stay for 2 days, then drive to Orlando, stay at Disney resort for 4 days.

Next Post: How we planned 4- Day Disney trip under $3000.

Liberty State Park, New Jersey

Liberty State Park is one of my top favorite picnic destination. It has the most magnificent view of Manhattan skylines, back view of Statue of Liberty, and perfect view of Ellis Island plus there are couple of Bollywood songs filmed at this location.

Well, this post is a compilation of Bollywood songs filmed at this wonderful place.

1. Hey Shona Song (Ta ra rum Pum) In this video, this location starts from 3:15 to 3:52


2. Hai Junoon Song – (New York)
This song was filmed in Liberty State Park from beginning to 3:05.. with beautiful view of Ellis Island.


3. Mitwa Song- (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna)
In this Shahrukh Khan song, this location is from 3:15 to 3:40

And below are some of the pics, which I enjoyed taking in Liberty State Park

Empty Sky Memorial

DSC08747

Beautiful view of Freedom Tower from Liberty State ParkDSC08749

Flags at Liberty State Park (featured in Hey Shona song)DSC08813

Liberty State Park Walkway DSC08952

Statue of Liberty (back view)DSC09068

The beautiful fall colorsDSC09078

The perfect playground with breathtaking Manhattan skyline (Hai Junoon song playground)DSC09094

This is the best treasured tourist destination in New Jersey, and I love it the most.

@Marina Beach, Chennai

These days , we have been travelling so much. Got a chance to visit Chennai in mid-Feb. Chennai weather was good, Not much hot. Wanted to explore Chennai, Visited Pondy Bazaar @ T Nagar. Had delicious Idlis & Dosa at Murugan Idly’s.  Next day, We had no other plans other than visiting Marina Beach. Pari was so excited to see the beach. We reached the beach @ 4:00 PM. It was hot, but not much humid.

Marina Beach, here I come.Marina Beach, here I come

Lovely sea

Pari enjoying in Marina Beach

As soon as she saw the water, she immediately rushed and started enjoying the lovely waves. Playing with waters on her own.

I didn’t get into water, so I was just clicking pictures of shadows, Leg impressions.

Marina Beach

After all the water play, we also collected lots of sea-shells. Pari went for horse riding. Had ice-cream. Still deciding which flavor. This time she had Grapes. Which Flavour

Next, Time for some Bhelpuri & Gun Shooting. All of us did it.

aha Bhelpuri

Gun Shooting

This is the Status of Balloon ( 6 gone out of 10 shots). Hope to improve in next visit. 🙂

Balloons

After this, Pari did shopping for her balloons.

Very Imp Baloons shopping for Pari

It was now 6:30.Took a glimpse of Gandhi Beach and then headed towards our Hotel.

Gandhi Beach

Gandhi Beach 2