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Cruise News: Disney Magic Gets a Makeover

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Announced today in Celebration, Florida: Disney’s first cruise ship, The Disney Magic, is about to go through a bow to stern overhaul. The most magical elements? A new Marvel Comics Avengers Academy, where young cruisers can train as superhero "recruits" in academy missions; Pixie Hollow, a twinkling forest where tea is served on stools shaped like mushrooms and acorns; and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab, a pirate-themed art room.

Adults will love the 11,500-square foot ocean-view spa and restaurant Palo, modeled after the canal-side cafes of Venice. Look for the new and improved Disney Magic in Fall 2013.

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.


Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Family Friday: Dude Ranches for Little Dudes

 

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Just thinking about my little dudes riding through the wild west on horses makes me smile. No cell phones, iPads, or TV. Just the Great Outdoors before them and me by their side. Where can I live out my country-western fantasies? Check out these great family dude ranches for the quintessential experience of the American frontier.


The secluded Encampement, in Wyoming, is one of the largest dude ranches in the country with more than 100,000 acres of hills and woods to explore. You're not required to ride with a wrangler (but you should know the ropes before venturing out on your own). For those who prefer to stay out of the saddle, there's golf, tennis, hiking, and great food from a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

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Family Friday: Kids Spa Treatments

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I am a serious massage-junkie. And as a mom, there's nothing I enjoy more than a day at the spa. As it turns out, your kids want to be pampered, too. To meet this need, hotels across the globe are rolling out treatments geared towards teens and their younger siblings.

I'm not sure my 3-year-old twin boys are quite ready for a deep-tissue rub or pedicure, but yours might be. Check out these amazing packages I found, to make your kids can feel and look years younger.

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Affordable Family Getaways: Maine, Carlsbad, Chicago

We’ve gathered five great summer getaways for every kind of family—and all are under $200 a night.

Camp for All Ages: Maine Camp Experience
A growing number of camps provide overnight camp sessions for the whole family—a great chance to have fun all together. Family Camp at Maine Camp Experience offers a range of camp options around the state. There’s plenty to enjoy: waterskiing, fishing, rock climbing, zip lining, archery, tennis lessons, arts and crafts, as well as sunset campfires and games organized by camp staff. Experiences range from specific two-night weekend sessions to lengthier, more flexible stays. Rates from $65/night per person ($55 for ages 6-11 and under 6 is free), includes accommodations, meals and activities. mainecampexperience.com

Related: More Great Family Getaways

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Family Friday: Finally, A Stylish Stroller

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Finding a fashionable stroller is close to impossible. When I had my twins, I spent a month searching for just the right one—something functional that wouldn't sacrifice my already waning style. Who would have guessed that New York's The Mark Hotel, in partnership with Maclaren, would develop what might possibly be the chicest one I've seen?

Check out the black-and-white ride above. Am I right? The Mark Hotel Baby Stroller is available for hotel guests starting April 15. I just hope they roll it out to the public soon. We moms need it.

Clara Sedlak is a mom of two and a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Jon Nissenbaum, courtesy of The Mark

Watch: Family Road Trips to Florida, Utah, and Washington

Watch Travel + Leisure's Nilou Motamed on CNN discussing family road-tripping to The Florida Keys where you can stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa and visit the six-toed cats at Ernest Hemingway's old place. Other recommendations: National Parks in Utah (try the Lodge at Red River Ranch), and Washington for Olympic National Park and a stay at Lake Crescent Lodge.

Related: Best Family Getaways and The Ultimate Florida Beach Road Trip

Family Friday: The Statue of Liberty Reopens

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"Check out the big green lady!"

I looked in the direction my kids were pointing across the New York Harbor and couldn't disagree with their assessment. From the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, the Statue of Liberty loomed large and lovely.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but despite living in New York for more than twenty years, I've never visited. This summer, I'm determined to make that trip. Closed since October due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, Lady Liberty is re-opening July 4. I have no more excuses.

Clara Sedlak is a mom of two and a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Michael Briggs

Family Friday: Embracing The All-Inclusive Resort

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Admit it. As a parent, the idea of an all-inclusive is incredibly appealing. I never thought I'd be a fan, but two kids later, things are changing.

It's the easiest kind of travel: non-stop supervised activities for the kids, free time for you, restaurants within walking distance, and of course, nighttime babysitters. And with the new crop of stylish all-inclusive resorts, it's not all blue cocktails and spring breakers. Here, four of my favorite deals for spring and summer.
 
° Club Med: Starting in May, kids under 4 stay free; ages 4 to 12 get 50% off; and teens receive a 40% discount. Clubmed.com; April through October.

° Now Resorts & Spas: With every night at the resort (3 night minimum), you'll get a $50 air credit, per room. Do the math and that could save you $200 for a four-night stay. Bonus: You're eligible for up to $400 in resort coupons. Nowresorts.com; April 1 through December 22.

° Elite Island Resorts: Travelers get a $300 air credit on stays 3 to 6 nights, and $500 for 7 nights-and one child stays free. Eliteislandresorts.com; April 8 through end of August.

° Beaches: If you book a minimum of 3 nights at any Beaches resort, you'll get 65% off. Beaches.com; through 2013.

Clara Sedlak is a mom of two and a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Club Med

Wake Up and Go: Weekend Getaways From Miami

Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Miami on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.

ROWDY WEEKEND: Key West, Florida

From Miami, you’ll head south on one of the country’s most scenic highways to get to Key West. The Overseas Highway is 120 miles of incredible bridges that pass over tropical blue water. Bring a camera! WHERE TO STAY The brightly colored Truman Hotel, just a short walk from the bars along Duval Street, has a small pool and balconies on the upper floors. PRICE $299 a night.

GIRLS GETAWAY: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Love to shop? You can’t do better than Fort Lauderdale, which has the posh boutiques along Las Olas Boulevard and more than 300 outlet boutiques at Sawgrass Mills. WHERE TO STAY B Ocean Fort Lauderdale is just north of some of the pricier hotels, but it’s a much better value: there’s free WiFi, complimentary iPad rental, and ocean views from standard rooms. PRICE $299 a night.

FAMILY TRIP: Orlando, Florida

A visit to the Magic Kingdom is the ultimate trip for every kid, but parents can have a great time, too. WHERE TO STAY The Waldorf-Astoria Orlando is set on a 482-acre nature preserve with jogging paths and golf. Disney-view rooms look onto the park’s nightly fireworks show. PRICE $299 a night.

For more easy escapes from major cities, sign up for Travel + Leisure’s Weekend Getaways newsletter.

Family Friday: The Hotel That Lego Built

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My three-year-old architect uses Legos to build "crazy towers," so I'm used to them reaching three-, four-, even five-feet in height. But now Legoland has built a true to scale version in Carlsbad, Calfornia that functions as an actual hotel. It opens April 15, and it might be incredibly cool—or incredibly weird.

The LEGOLAND Hotel has a dragon-guarded entrance; pirate-themed rooms with Lego skeletons and swords on the walls; several interactive play areas; and for parents, a somewhat Lego-free Skyline Bar.

My kids would love it. Me? I’m not so sure.

Clara Sedlak is a mom of two and a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND California Resort

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