Houston / Galveston Fun (Rodeo photo Reba concert)

Houston/ Galveston Fun


The Houston/ Galveston area has so many wonderful things to see and do. This year Houston is host to Super Bowl 51 Patriots Vs Falcons. Annual events for the area include Galveston, Mardi Gras in February this is the 106th year for the island.  Mardi Gras is tons of fun plenty of live music, drinks, and parades they do offer family events, but this is mostly an adult event.  In Houston one of the favorite annual events is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this event established in 1931 occurs annually usually in March. This event has brought families fun for generations with carnival rides, fabulous Texas BBQ, shopping, great headliner music entertainment, pig races, etc. it’s fun for hours.  Baytown, host a yearly NHRA race around April.  This event is lots of fun for the whole family with nitro cars going head to head in a quarter mile at 300+ mph.

Year round entertainment is plentiful in the Houston area. The Downtown Aquarium, features carnival style rides, larger than life aquariums, and a restaurant. Houston has many museums to choose from Science, Health, Children’s, and Holocaust Museums just to name a few.  Houston, boast a great theater district with theaters both inside and outside. The Houston Zoo is not to be missed it’s truly Texas sized at 55 acres. The Houston Space Center has many great exhibits and hands on actives for the young and old alike. Be sure not to miss seeing the Apollo control room and the future of Mars exploration spacecraft.  The USS Texas BB-35, it’s notable for being the only remaining World War I-era dreadnought battleship. A short drive from the USS Texas you have the San Jacinto Monument at 567.31-feet-high this monument is 12feet taller than the Washington Monument. Houston, is also the home of many professional sports teams including football, basketball, baseball, and soccer just to name a few most of the facilities offer stadium tours also. Houston also has Wet’n’Wild SplashTown its a great sized waterpark guaranteed to cool you off on those hot Texas days.  Opening in the Spring of 2017 Gilley’s after many years the old Houston icon is coming back to Houston in a new location.  If Gilley’s sounds familiar to you that was the dance hall used in the filming of the Urban Cowboy.

Galveston Island is a great place to have a fun and relaxing time. The Sea Wall & The Strand are extremely popular places to be with food, live music, and fun abounding.  The newest adventure is the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier (amusement park) its built out 1,130 feet over the Gulf of Mexico built in the same location as the original that was destroyed during Hurricane Carla. After that the original was replaced with the USS Flagship Hotel that was destroyed during Hurricane Ike now the new Pleasure Pier stands in its place. Moody Gardens is also great family fun with 4D theaters, a rainforest, aquariums, a beach, and a flight museum. The Island of Galveston is very rich in Texas history and American history many immigrants that where moving to America came to Galveston from overseas the area has  many old home tours that are great to see.  Schlitterbahn Galveston Island it’s an indoor water and outdoor water park for guaranteed fun even in the winter. Last but not least The Galveston cruise ship terminal, Disney, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines have 4 to 7 day trips to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Within a short drive of the Houston / Galveston area are some places that you may want to visit also. The Blue Bell Ice Cream factory (in Brenham, Texas) and Shiner Brewery (in Shiner, Texas) these Texas originals are sure to please.  Surfside Beach is a great little beach that allows you to drive and park on the beach unlike Galveston were you have to park on the Seawall.  A Casino is now located just north of Houston in Livingston, Texas, called Naskila Gaming. Lake Conroe (near Conroe, Texas) is a great place for boating fun.

 Lodging is vast in the area from 5 star hotels, hotels with a view of the beautiful Houston skyline, or a relaxing view of the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston.  Whatever your heart’s desire it’s here for you.  Food is also plentiful in this region.  Although, I have to say I’m partial to the shrimp, BBQ and Mexican food in the area.


Disney World trip Reveal

     So you have made it to the reveal of your Disney vacation now what? There are many ways to reveal your surprise. I am going to tell you about my reveals first.


     On our first trip we left Christmas Day my kids went and stayed with their grandparents on the 23rd to have Christmas with them before we left. This allowed for my husband and I to get everything packing and ready without them seeing it.  On the 24th we picked them up with a truck full of luggage and headed toward the airport. We lived about 1.5 hours from the airport at this time so we wanted to stay closer to the airport to help make our 6AM flight Christmas Day much easier. We told the kids that we were going to stay at a hotel with an indoor pool as part of their Christmas gift. They did not think anything of it they were so excited like most kids they love hotels.

      When we checked in my husband took the kids down to the pool. I used this opportunity to unpack the luggage from the car for our Disney World trip and hide it around the room.  I hid suitcases behind curtains, in drawers, and wrapped in blankets that I borrowed from the front desk on top of the make shift closet rack.  Boy what I would have given for this hotel room to have had an actual closet. Then, I joined the rest of my family at the pool.

    Later after we read The Night Before Christmas the kids were fast asleep I drug out all of our luggage into view and the BIG gift boxes for each child that had all of the Disney reveal information in it. The boxes contained: lanyards with pins, autograph book with sharpies, T-shirts that said “I’m going to Disney World,” disposable camera, Disney gift card, new DS with a new game for the plane ride and line waiting amusement, and a letter from Santa telling them they were going to Disney World.


      The second reveal was a bit simpler.  About 6 months before our trip my husband had a major surgery and we had to take him back and forth to the doctor often.  So we used this to our advantage. We told our boys that we needed to get up early to take dad to see the doctor.  While the kids played with their friends the days before the trip I was busy packing privately in our bedroom.

    So the day of the trip my husband and I pack our car before waking the kids. We get them up and in the car a few months before bought a new house this time we are only 15 mins from the airport. We make the exit to the airport to throw off the kids I say “I need to use the restroom.” So we exit and we head to the park and ride, as we are entering the parking ride.  The kids are looking around like what’s going on. We find our parking spot and tell the kids to get out of the car.  We go back and open the trunk to reveal the luggage with my husband saying. “Hey, let’s go to Disney World.”

      The tips I can pass from the reveals are simply this use what you have. The first trip we got the grandparents involved to help and used the pool to divert their attention from the bigger picture. On the second trip we used the fact that we had visited the doctor’s lots to get them out the door early and not suspect much.

    Other reveals I have seen:

  • Scavenger hunts

  • Mickey shaped food pizzas, pancakes etc.

  • A Disney puzzle with the message on the back.

  • Character phone calls

  • Santa phone calls

  • Disney stuff as a gift

          Just remember to have fun with it. For more ideas I highly recommend going to YouTube. As always you can contact me at: amanda@adventureisouttheretravel.com or any of our agents at www.adventureisouttheretravel.com. We would love to make your Disney dreams come true.


How to Plan a Surprise Disney Vacation

Ahh! The surprise Disney World Vacation! Yes, it’s as fun as it sounds.

I have planned two surprise trips for my children. The question I always get asked is. HOW did you do it?  Disney requires a lot of planning and it can be a bit tricky, but it is totally worth the extra effort. I mean who does not enjoy seeing a child’s little face when a surprise is revealed? So with that being said, I have a few tips to help you with your surprise Disney World trip.

  • Be sure to let anyone you tell know that this is a surprise vacation. People love to talk about Disney and the cat can be let out of the bag well before you want it to be. So you may want to limit or selectively chose whom you tell about the trip.

Now as you progress with your reservation there are going to be things you will need or want to discuss with certain members of the traveling group. Like dinner reservations those are going to need to be booked 180 days from the first day you arrive and FastPass+ reservations these should be booked at 60 days before the first day you leave for the trip. Provided you’re staying on Disney property and yes you will want to stay on property.

  • When possible try to discuss trip details when the children/person is not around. I know this is not always possible so that’s why I included the next tip.
  • If you should need to discuss the trip while the children/ person is/are around. I highly recommend using a code word for “Disney and Disney World”

When we were planning our trips we used the code word “ceiling fan.”   The reason for this is because if my kids hear the word Disney or Disney World they would have started listening to every single world we said.  So get together and pick a code word. Remember to stay away from using anything that they will be interested in.  Examples kitty, puppy, and any toys things that they may want it could lead to a meltdown especially if you’re dealing with small children. Also, they may end up upset they did not get that item instead of being happy they are going to Disney World.

  • Avoid using the names of characters when discussing the trip while in the presence of the children/ person these names will draw attention to your conversations and it could send up a hint.
  • Be careful when you’re working on your computer like on My Disney Experience and booking your air travel. Kids love to try to sneak peaks at what you’re doing and some of them can spot the Disney header from a mile away.


So these are just a few pointers for getting thru the planning process of a surprise Disney World trip. Stay tuned for my next post about how I revealed the trips. As always you can contact me at amanda@adventureisouttheretravel.com  like me on Facebook” Travel Agent Amanda.”  You can also contact any of our other agents at www.adventureisouttheretravel.com . We would all love to help you plan the perfect vacation for your family.