Summertime in Vail

By Nicole Hughes

Family travel a passion for our family!  The past two summers we have visited Vail and Beaver Creek. We were lucky enough to be in Vail during the Oktoberfest celebration this summer.  Vail Oktoberfest is a family affair, with events my parents, my brothers and I and the kids enjoyed. The event is free and open to the public. This year we watched Klement’s Bratwurst Eating Contests (I think the winner ate 11) and the Stein Lifting and Keg Bowling.  My aunt raved about Keg Bowling and wanted my cousin Chelsea and I to do it.  We tried to sign up but it was already full.  Which was a good thing because kegs are heavy and let’s be honest we are girls and not strong enough to knock over 10 kegs.  After the bratwurst eating contest and keg bowling we took the gondola to the top of Vail Mountain.

Chels nic oktoberfest vail

If you plan to have a beer or two while at Oktoberfest I recommend purchasing the official Vail Oktoberfest mug, it is only $20 and it is a great memento of your trip.  There is no money exchanged it is all tokens, we purchased about $50 of tokens for beer and food and it was plenty for my cousin and I.  My brothers no doubt went through more tokens than Chelsea and I due to their advanced beer drinking skills.
vail group beersIf you are adventurous you may attempt to hike up Berry Picker Trail there is no charge for this but advise allowing at least 2-3 hours.  We had too many people with different ages to attempt the hike.  The gondola ride to the top is beautiful with views of mountain peaks and wildflowers as far as you can see.  Children 4 and under are free, 5-12 year olds are $7 and adults are $28 per person. We always go to the top of Vail when we visit, the view is just as amazing year after year.  Below is a picture of my cousin and I at the top of Vail last summer.

top of vail w chelsAfter the gondola ride to the top of Vail the Adventure Ridge awaits you.  To access Adventure Ridge via the Eagle Bahn Gondola, you must purchase a lift ticket.  Aside from the most incredible views you will ever see there are fun activities for all ages at over 10,000 ft! My son loves the climbing wall, (pictured below) he did it three times!  My niece loved the rebound trampoline she did it twice.  There are also pony rides, miniature golf, kids zip line and low ropes course.

top of vail

vail ropes

If your children would like to do multiple activities I would recommend purchasing the adventure ridge action pass.  With the pass you may choose three activities from pony rides, climbing wall, rebound trampoline, miniature golf, or disc golf for only $25.  The adventure plus pass allows up to four activities for only $35.  We regretted not purchasing the adventure action pass because our kids loved all the fun activities.  We have already started looking forward to next year.

Oceanside Harbor Days Sept 27-28

By Nicole Hughes

This weekend on September 27-28, 2014 the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce present Oceanside Harbor Days at the Oceanside Harbor. The FREE family-friendly event will feature arts and craft exhibits, great food and fun activities for the entire family. The event is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.oceanside harbor days 1

Two fun filled days of sun, sand, and surf provide a great experience for fun activities for all ages.   New this year is the Sandcastle competition, you will not want to miss the Entertainment Stage with live music, there will also be Arts & Crafts. The Food booth areas will not want to be missed, and my personal favorite is the Nail ‘n’ Sail Competition, where people make a boat and then try and see if it floats across the harbor!  It is really fun seeing which boats make it and which boats sink!

Parking – There is free parking in downtown Oceanside at the Oceanside transit parking garage located at Cleveland Street & Seagaze Drive.  Free shuttle on the double decker busses is at the North County Transit Center.  Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

oceanside harbor days 2014

Medieval Times

By Lauren Moisant

Have you ever been?  There is a full list of special offers for our readers that may be found by clicking here.

Last week I was able to experience a very special behind the scenes tour of Medieval Times.  Redha, the horse trainer, took us around the stables and let us meet the horses.  Medieval Times has around 30 horses that preform in the show.  Redha explained their daily grooming and training routines. Most of their horses are born and raised on a ranch in Texas, and once they are mature enough, they move to their new home to perform in the tournaments.  You can tell the horses are well loved.

IMG_2367We were also able to meet Jesse, the head knight. He showed us the arena where the tournament is played. Jesse explained the weapons that are used in the show.  They are REAL!  The knights train 5 hours daily before the live tournament.  Safety is the number one priority, and since the weapons are real, they practice, practice, practice! Although, most of is choreographed, the weapons used during fighting are real weapons.   The knights train for months before they are able to to preform in the live tournaments.


As soon as you enter the castle the entire ambiance changes.  The decor and costumes are so real it’s as if you stepped back in time.  The staff does an amazing job at making you feel welcome and making it such a magical experience for the whole family. As you walk in, you are given a team color, ours was blue.  The color you are seated in is also the color of the Knight you are cheering for to win.  Before entering the arena, you have a chance to order drinks, take your seat, and watch as people are Knighted.  If it is your birthday, or it is a special occasion, let them know (before you arrive) because you will get called and the king will “Knight” you.  As the doors open up to the arena, I was surprised to see that every seat in the house has a terrific view.  We took our seats and were excited for the tournament to begin!  Who will win?


As it beings, we are introduced to the Knights of the Realm who will be fighting in the name of Honor and Chivalry. Thrilling theatrics, heart pounding battles with real swords, and elctrifying jousting  all for the sake of being honored by the King and Queen.  During the games, dinner is served.  A feast fit for a king! Delicious roasted chicken, garlic bread, yummy tomato bisque, spare rib, and a roasted potato, and for dessert, the castles pastry.  Vegetarian options available. Did I mention you don’t get utensils to use.


During the tournament, cheering on your Knight is the best part.  Kids are really enthusiastic cheering their team waving the colored flags, catching the roses thrown in the crowd, and booing the opposing teams.  Each Knight chooses a “queen” of his color and passes her a sash.  Then, the winning Knight chooses a Queen of Love & Beauty. She will be crowned and referred to as “your majesty” What a thrilling moment for one lucky girl!!


After the show is over, the cast are very gracious and come out to take photos with everyone.  You get a chance to mingle with them and see their costumes up close.

Overall this was a truly amazing experience.  We loved every moment of it.  Everyone was entertained and enchanted.

If you join the Knights Court on their website you can go for free on your BIRTHDAY!

For the most up to date specials and discounts offered visit the website here to check it out and buy tickets.  When you visit please let us know your experience and we will share!

Giveaway to BooMont Park Fall Festival at Belmont Park

By Nicole Hughes

SoCal Savvy Mom is hosting a giveaway for a family 4-pack to BooMont Park Fall Festival & Haunt! Leave a comment on this post to be entered into the giveaway. Fall is just around the corner and we can not wait!  Fall is such a fun time of year with the weather changing and of course Halloween.  Back for the second year Belmont Park will host BooMont Park Fall Festival & Haunt every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout October.  The BooMont Manor Haunted House is a must see!  The famous roller coaster turns into the spooky coaster.  There will be a zombie laser tag, superhero zip line, rockwall, pumpkin patch, costume contests and I saved the best for last TRICK or TREATING!

All of the fun starts every Friday, after 5 p.m and all day on Saturday and Sunday.   The free trick or treating times vary – Fridays from 6:30-7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

BP_Header_BoomontParkFree Trick-or-Treating
Fridays | 6:30-7:30pm
Saturdays & Sundays | 1:30-2:30pm & 6:30-7:30pm

Boomont Manor Haunted House
From the makers of the Scream Zone and The Haunted Hotel,
this scary maze is sure to bring out the chills and thrills of the season!
$6 per person | Recommended for ages 7-12 years

Zombie Laser Tag
A Halloween spin on your favorite game!
Zombie creatures join you on this adventure-packed three flour maze.
$8 per person | $20 unlimited

The Spooky Coaster
The Giant Dipper roller coaster transforms into a ride of chilling dips and turns!
$6 per person | Must be 52″ to ride

Pumpkin Patch & Painting
Pick out your perfect pumpkin to style your way
Pumpkin pricing varies by size; painting is free

Superhero Zip Line & Rock Wall
Dressed to save the day? Receive half off Zip Line & Rock wall play!
Superheros must be between 50-250lbs to participate

Costume Contests
Every Saturday at 5pm. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners score Belmont prize packages!



#SaveX3 at Staples! Free iTunes gift cards!

By Nicole Hughes

This summer my family has been busy, we have traveled both in and outside the US.  In mid-summer my husband, my son and I all traveled to San Jose del Cabo in Mexico.  We try to visit every year for my son’s birthday (he has no idea how spoiled this makes him.)

This month we had a family reunion in Denver and in Vail.  My parents flew out a few days before the rest of us and I was in charge of everyone’s boarding passes because apparently I’m the responsible one.  My job was pretty simple to print boarding passes for my younger brother, my older brother, his daughter and his wife, my son and myself.  The day before our flight I checked us all in and attempt to print our boarding passes, only to find that I am out of toner.  Why?  We are 24 hours before our flight with no boarding passes because I didn’t check my ink. Has this happened to you as well?  Running out of ink has to be one of the most annoying things ever!  Do yourself a favor and stock up with this amazing offer from Staples! Simply go to Staples anytime between now and September 27 to not only stock up on the low price toner but to also receive $15 iTunes gift cards for free!

DownloadedFileYes, I said FREE iTunes gift card for buying something you already need!  The breakdown: Staples is offering a $15 iTunes gift card with a $75 purchase in HP ink.  Bonus if you are a Staples Rewards Member you will also receive 5% in rewards!

My brothers with my son on our flight to Denver – we made it!

Ryan Orion Josh

This is a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pumpkin Station Deal is back!

By Nicole Hughes

Pumpkin Station

Pumpkin Station is the fall activity the whole family will enjoy!  Choosing a pumpkin is one of my child’s favorite things to do around Halloween time (besides all the candy of course!)  Pumpkin Station has five locations throughout San Diego with locations in Del Mar, Mission Valley, El Cajon, National City and Chula Vista.

With fun rides, slides, play centers, petting zoos and much more the kids will have a ball!  Pumpkin Station has a variety of pumpkins, gourds, corn, corn stalks, and pumpkin carving kits.  All locations open on September 26th this year with the exception of Mission Valley which opens on October 3rd.

Please note the Circle Buzz deal is not valid at the Rancho Bernardo or Bonita farm locations.  But all locations mentioned above will accept the voucher.

On to the deal… for only $16 you will receive a $32 ride package at Pumpkin Station.  This is an amazing deal, hurry and purchase one now, it has sold out in the past few years.  For more information or to purchase this deal click here.

Pumpkin Station


Disney Cruise Line… Disney Dream

By Nicole Hughes

The Disney Cruise Line and our trip on the Disney Dream.  This is NOT a paid post this was our vacation (one of many vacations) this vacation was a cruise my amazing mother in law took my son and I on.  We are not selling anything, just sharing our experience.

 It is exactly as it sounds, it truly is a dream aboard the Disney Dream Cruise ship.  SoCal Savvy Mom set sail in March of 2014 for a 4-night Bahamian cruise.  As soon as you enter the terminal you know this is not an ordinary cruise.  Everything is Disney, and I do mean everything, I have never seen Mickey ears in so many different ways than on the Disney Dream.

disney mash upphoto-2

Upon entering the ship, you are greeted by your family name and all the crew members clap and welcome you aboard.  As if that wasn’t surprise enough, the whole gang there to greet us.  Mickey, yep he was there, Minnie, yes her too, Goofy, him as well, Donald was there too and you encouraged to have your pictures taken with them.  My child is a little weary of characters he always has been, and rather than force him to take a picture my mother-in-law and I decided we wanted our picture with Goofy!


Disney sends you all the information you need to plan your trip months before hand.  One of the things they mentioned was your state-room may not be ready when you board the ship, however you are welcome to start enjoying the pools.  We wore our bathing suits onboard so we could go straight to the pool while our state-room was being prepared for us.  The Aquaduck is an amazing enclosed slide and also our reason for choosing the Disney Dream.  Disney has different ships with different highlights, the Dream cost a little more but was very worth it.


The AquaDuck water coaster boasts a thrilling 4-deck drop and safely carries guests over the side of the ship and back.

AquaDuck is the first water coaster on a Disney Cruise Line ship—or, for that matter, any cruise ship—setting the standard for height, length and excitement.  It was our favorite thing to do together while on the Disney Dream because it was so exciting!  For a full length video of the AquaDuck in action click here.  Make sure your child is tall enough before you board, children must be at least 42 inches tall to ride with an adult or 53 inches to ride by themselves.


When choosing a state-room there are many options on the Disney Dream.  The options range from a standard inside room to Royal family suite with concierge.  Because my child was 7 at the time we set sail my husband did not feel comfortable with us having a room with a verandah.  We decided upon the Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom, and we were very overjoyed when we saw our stateroom.  The room was larger than we thought it would be, we had more than enough room for everything and everyone.  Disney thought of things you will need that you have never thought of before!


The split bath allows for multiple people to use the facilities at the same time. The full bathroom includes a vanity, sink and full tub/shower, while the half bath has a vanity, sink and toilet. Both luxurious and practical, most of the staterooms have round tubs with a built-in seat, a rain-style shower and a hand-held showerhead—perfect for bathing children.

disney 1

This is part one of our series on the Disney Cruise Line, the items touched upon in this article are reasons for choosing the Disney Dream and your state-room.  Next we will discuss the food options not just for children but the delicious meals for adults.  We will also go into detail the adults only areas on the ship including the spa which we were lucky enough to have a few treatments in.  The last and most important in our series will be about the on-board entertainment and the kids club that my child never wanted to leave.

Fall into delicious fall scents with Febreze

By Nicole Hughes

Fall is the best time of year, the air becomes cooler, night comes a little sooner, and the beautiful fall leaves that everyone loves begin to fall.  The smell of fall is different to everyone to some it is a pumpkin spiced latte’ to others it is a spiced apple cider.  Whatever scent reminds you of fall Febreze has a delicious scent for your home or your car.

Fall scents are the beginning of fall to a lot of us, this fall Febreze has new scents the whole family will enjoy. My favorite is the toasted almond limited edition air freshener for your car.  If your car is anything like mine it probably has empty juice boxes and stale french fries on the floor.  With the car air freshener it eliminates all odors and you will enjoy the lovely scent of toasted almonds for weeks to come.

Febreze fall

New this fall Febreze has interchangeable scents, choose from vanilla and sugar or sandalwood and chai.  We don’t have to choose just one!  Febreze alternates between the two scents for lasting freshness all fall long.  In my son’s bathroom I just put in the vanilla and sugar, my husband just walked by and said “what smells so good, are you baking?”  There you have it!  It has only been plugged in for ten minutes and already the house smells amazing.  Please don’t just take my word for it, try out your favorite fall scent and let me know what your thoughts are!

Febreze Fall Cans_09042014112253

SoCal Savvy Mom is hosting a GIVEAWAY for a $15 Walmart gift card.  Just leave a comment on this blog post about which is your favorite fall scent.  Febreze has a full line of fall products and all may be found at Walmart, SheSpeaks is hosting a $50 Walmart giveaway to be entered click here.

This is a sponsored post by SheSpeaks and Febreze, products were supplied for review, all opinions are my own.

Kids free in October at the San Diego Zoo

By Nicole Hughes

This October as every October for the past few years the San Diego Zoo as well as the San Diego Safari Park will be free for children!  Plan a visit with your children and enjoy a fun-filled day at the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Safari Park this October.  More information about Kids Free in October may be found here.


FINE PRINT:  Each year, from October 1–31, in honor of our Zoo’s founding, children ages 3–11 are admitted free to the Zoo and Safari Park when accompanied by an adult. The Zoo’s Guided Bus Tour and the Skyfari Aerial Tram are not included with Kids’ Free entrance and must be purchased separately at the Zoo. The Safari Park’s Africa Tram Safari and the Conservation Carousel are not included with Kids Free entrance and must be purchased separately at the Park.  Adults may purchase their admission ticket(s) online, by phone, or day of at the Zoo or Safari Park. Qualifying children entering free will not need a ticket.


Watch the Lego Movie on the beach this weekend!

By Nicole Hughes

Summer Movies in the ParkSummer Movies in the Park is a perfect chance to relax and enjoy a safe and special night under the stars with your family.    Arrive early to pick out a good seat!  Bring blankets or low back chairs to sit on while you enjoy the movies.  Bring a picnic dinner for your family to share as well.  Movies are all rated G or PG, which makes this a very family friendly event.  Each movie is at a local park all over both the city of San Diego and San Diego County.   All movies start at dusk (approx. 15 minutes after sunset). Movies are subject to change.  For more information visit the event website here.

This weekend you can watch the LEGO movie at the Amphitheatre next to the Oceanside Pier!  How fun is that!  Planes is showing at Hilton Head Park in San Diego, Monsters University is playing in Rancho Bernardo, and you can watch Frozen at three different locations on Friday night.  The full list for this weekend is below:

Ocean Beach 08/29 Frozen
Ocean Beach Elementary
Click Here PG
Lemon Grove 08/29 Frozen
Lemon Grove Park
Click Here PG
Otay Mesa 08/29 Frozen
Silver Wing Neighborhood Park
Click Here PG
Rancho Bernardo 08/29 Monsters University
Rancho Bernardo Community Park
Click Here G
Rancho San Diego 08/29 Planes
Hilton Head Park
Click Here PG
Lakeside 08/30 Frozen
Sycamore Goodan Ranch
Click Here PG
Oceanside 08/30 The Lego Movie
Junior Seau Pier Amphitheatre
Click Here PG
La Jolla 08/30 The Little Rascals Save the Day
La Jolla Community Park
Click Here PG


1 2 3 92