5 travel ideas: Disney Paris, foodie spot, summer travel & more

Get inspired to for your next trip: Highlights from news, new offerings, and eye-opening destinations and experiences

I might’ve grown up in Virginia, but I’ve realized there is still so much I have to learn about my home state and the surrounding region. Especially heading into summer season, we are getting so many travel ideas. Plus, as our family of Disney fans plots our next Disney excursion, there’s some House of Mouse news that really got our attention…

Explore Disney Adventure World: Disneyland Paris’ Brand-New Creative Vision for Second Park

They had me, of course, at “expansive update.” They further had me at anything related to Frozen, the movie that turned me into full-on Disney fanboy (which Moana and Elsa’s ”Show Yourself” song in Frozen 2 reinforced):

“Walt Disney Studios Park will be renamed Disney Adventure World when World of Frozen, a new immersive area dedicated to the magical world of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen, comes to life, bordering a majestic bay. This is the third Disney Park iteration of the beloved film and follows the opening of World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and upcoming debut of Frozen Kingdom as part of the new Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea.”

As our kids get older, they are more and more interested not only in creative expression or enjoying different entertainment. They also love that proverbial peek behind the curtain to see how things happen. We’ve dabbled in activities like drawing lessons and such during other Disney trips. Today’s new generation of immersive behind-the-scenes programs inspires our travel ideas: It sounds really intriguing and just the sort of thing we want to include on future Disney trips:

“Today, we are changing the story of Walt Disney Studios Park, evolving from ‘how it’s done’ soundstages to celebratory theaters and adventures that come to life in immersive worlds,” said Tom Fitzgerald, Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Storytelling Executive and Senior Creative Executive for Disneyland Paris. “These fully realized adventure worlds will become the focus of the park’s new identity and appear as realms that guests discover as they navigate deeper within the park and are invited to participate in adventures inspired by our most beloved stories.”

“Perfect Destination for Foodies:” Arlington, Virginia

Roanoke, VA, is my hometown. Despite the overall Washington D.C. area being about three hours away by car, I’ve only visited a couple of times. Maybe that’s why Deaf Californian-based travel blogger and content creator Lily Yu really got my attention with some delicious travel ideas. She broke down all the ways that the Arlington area is crafting delicious food and drink experiences:

“From meticulously crafted coffee to exquisite fine-dining experiences, elegant afternoon teas to soul-warming Southern comfort food, decadent desserts to casual eats, and a world of international flavors, Arlington offers something to tantalize every taste bud.”

Here’s more from Lily’s Ultimate Guide to Arlington, Virginia for First-Time Visitors

Lily also has extensive details on visiting Arlington, especially for first-time visitors:

“Situated on the Potomac River, Arlington is part of the DMV area and connected directly to Washington, D.C., by five bridges. Whether you’re planning a trip soon or simply dreaming of visiting, this guide will provide you with inside tips on what to see, do, and explore in Arlington.”

Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands Nominated for Best Summer Travel Destination Award

When you’re in need of summer travel ideas, a good list of under-the-radar destinations comes in handy. Just north of Virginia, Pennsylvania is one of the region’s largest states and a common throughway between the Northeast and the Southeast. Yet I’ve spent barely any time there.

Thoughts of Pennsylvania’s iconic cities, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, can crowd out other travel ideas. However, much of Pennsylvania is green, rural, beautiful countryside. The more I’ve learned about tucked-away yet easy to reach areas such as Laurel Highlands, the more I’m not surprised that these communities are getting recognition as destinations.

The Youghiogheny and Stonycreek rivers make the Laurel Highlands easy to hone in on for outdoor recreation and water play. The area encompasses two state forests (Forbes and Gallitzin) and eight state parks (Keystone, Kooser, Laurel Hill, Laurel Mountain, Laurel Ridge, Laurel Summit, Linn Run and Ohiopyle).

In May 2024, a panel of travel experts and editors selected the Laurel Highlands as a Readers’ Choice Award nominee in USA Today’s Best Summer Travel Destination category.

Laurel Highlands came in at number 5.

If you’re familiar with iconic 20th Century architect Frank Lloyd Wright, it turns out the Laurel Highlands deserves a spot on your list. The area is home to three of the properties he designed: Mantyla, Duncan House, and one of his most famous accomplishments, Fallingwater (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site).

On a sadder note, the tragic yet heroic history of Sept. 11, 2011 also lives on here, at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Meow Wolf: Brilliant land of imagination, and Fast Company Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies 2024

Our first visit to the different universe of Meow Wolf was in 2022, at their Convergence Station location in central Denver, Colorado. Tales from one of Jodie’s cousins about the Las Vegas Omega Mart location had clued us in on the mind-bending brilliance and full-sensory immersion of Meow Wolf. We spent a glorious few hours romping in a world of imagination at Convergence Station. Ever since, we’ve been looking to figure out our next Meow Wolf visit.

In fact, one of our family’s bigger disappointments in spring 2024 stemmed from an out-of-our-control change in travel plans. The Real Unreal location in Grapevine, Texas, will have to wait for another convergence of time, space, and the Learners and Makers.

Meow Wolf continues to innovate and delight. Fast Company has also listed Meow Wolf on its prestigious list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2024

Among the achievements? Meow Wolf planted its universe into the virtual reality gaming space via Mighty Coconut’s Walkabout Mini Golf. A new Multiversal Multitool app also is set to enhance the immersive experience within and outside of Meow Wolf’s growing number of exhibitions. For such an immersive space, I also consider it no small achievement that Meow Wolf has worked to welcome a range of visitors with accessibility initiatives, including achieving Certified Autism Center status at all locations, alongside a collaboration with Aira to assist visitors with low hearing or deafness.

Speaking of locations, Meow Wolf has also announced a new Los Angeles installation, currently expected to open in the year Q47B.

Maybe we can head there after we stop at Grapevine… and swing by House Of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, and Omega Mart in Las Vegas. while we’re on the way.

Have you heard of the world’s third-largest cruise line (and know that it’s family friendly?)

As we’ve mentioned before, cruising has been more and more on our minds (that and my YouTube Watch Later queue is about 50% Gary Bembridge Tips for Travellers cruising tips videos).

Cruising has become more and more of an interest for us lately. We’ve heard of MSC, and it’s pretty intriguing to get both a sense of MSC as a family friendly cruise line, and the experience writer Monica Fish had on a cruise with her kids club-eligible daughter.

Many Americans Don’t Know The World’s Third-Largest Cruise Line – We Sailed MSC to The Caribbean to See What It’s Like

“Relatively new to the American vacationer, this family-owned line started offering U.S. cruises in 1998 but has become more popular in North America in the past couple of years.”

”If you’re looking for a family vacation with kids, are budget-conscious, and seek higher-end experiences, then take a serious look at MSC Cruises.”

About the author
Anthony St. Clair
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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