Karen Heffren, Desert TravelingMom

Karen Heffren, Desert TravelingMom

Karen Heffen is a Tucson native who can't imagine moving but loves traveling outside the desert whenever she can. Naturally with two little boys, Disneyland is a frequent destination for her family. Most often they head to California or explore Arizona but love when they can travel outside their comfort zone! Karen shares her family adventures including DIY costumes, fun cupcakes and social good and at Desert Chica


Holiday Inn Express in Flagstaff, Arizona: A Family-Friendly Hotel

Are you looking for a great family hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona? The Holiday Inn Express Flagstaff worked well for us recently providing all the amenities we needed at a great price. Holiday Inn Express Flagstaff Location We traveled to Flagstaff with our 3- and 6-year-old little boys to visit Santa at The North Pole Experience. The Holiday Inn Express is only a few minutes away from where you board the trolley to Santa’s Workshop and is also a partner hotel of The North Pole Experience, which meant we received a special discounted rate. It’s location within the heart of Flagstaff...

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The North Pole Experience in Flagstaff, Arizona

A visit to Santa’s workshop is a dream come true for many kids, including my own. A visit to the North Pole is too far for most families, but luckily there’s a portal to Santa’s workshop in Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s call the North Pole Experience. The North Pole Experience begins at the Little America Hotel, where the launch station for Santa’s magical trolleys is located. Naturally, an elf drives the trolley through the magic portal to Santa’s workshop. The ride itself only takes about 10 minutes and is kept festive with stories from the elves on board. I was...

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Top 3 Reasons to Stay at the LEGOLAND California Hotel

Disney isn’t the only company that can super theme resort hotels. Head a little south of Anaheim to Carlsbad, California and you will find the ultimate LEGO experience for your super fan. The LEGOLAND California Hotel is full of fun LEGO surprises and plenty of conveniences that all families can appreciate. Need a super fun hotel for your super LEGO fan? The LEGOLAND Hotel isn’t just a hotel at the LEGOLAND Resort but a super LEGO themed hotel full of fun and surprises. The LEGOLAND hotel at the LEGOLAND resort in Carlsbad, California is full of fun surprises and it’s...

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Disneyland’s Pirates League and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Make Halloween Travel Easy

Traveling to Disneyland for Halloween Time is always fun — especially if you make plans to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party. Mickey’s Halloween Party is a separate ticket event where everyone (including adults) is encouraged to dress up and trick or treat throughout Disneyland. If packing costumes, masks, makeup and accessories seems too complicated, Disneyland has a solution! The Pirates League and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique make traveling to Disneyland during Halloween Time easy. For a limited time, the Pirates League is offering pirate makeovers at Big Thunder Ranch in Disneyland starting at $30. This includes makeup and accessories. Don’t want to pack a...

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SeaWorld Trip Tips

Are you planning a trip to San Diego? Fall break is just around the corner and San Diego is a popular West Coast destination for many families in October with the Kids Free San Diego promotion! One of the more popular attractions in San Diego is SeaWorld. I have a few tips to make planning your SeaWorld adventure easier.  ...

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3 Ways for Kids to Explore Aviation and Travel Locally

Has the latest Disney animated film “Planes” sparked your child’s interest in aviation or travel? In the movie, Dusty, a crop duster, dreams of entering an-around-the-world race. Naturally, he’s qualifies for the flying tournament, which features a variety of planes and race segments around the world. It was a heart-warming story that my son really enjoyed. Besides a fun night of entertainment, the movie has encouraged my son’s interest in airplanes and travel. With back to school hitting high gear, most families including my own can’t jet off to exotic locations but there are a few ways to foster...

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RideSafer Travel Vest, a Car Seat Alternative

Traveling with little kids is complicated; there are lots of things you need to bring to keep them safe and comfortable. When flying I try to pack light and avoid bringing car seats if possible. Unfortunately, it can’t always be avoided, like on a recent family trip that involved renting a car and driving to an Indiana lake resort. I considered renting car seats, but the logistics just didn’t work. Turns out, it was a great chance to try out the  RideSafer Travel Vest I was sent to review. The RideSafer Travel Vest is a car seat alternative that...

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Holiday Inn Express Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona: A Great Family Value

Having had great luck with Holiday Inn Express locations lately, most recently in Flagstaff, that brand was my first choice when I needed to book a quick overnight stay in Scottsdale, Arizona. I knew I could expect a comfortable room with a free breakfast but was pleased to find even more at this location. Spacious Features at the Holiday Inn Express The best feature is that it’s an all-suite location, giving families plenty of room to spread out. The living room featured a sofa sleeper, large desk, television, mini fridge and microwave. I love having a separate living area...

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Bearzona: The Drive-Through Zoo in Arizona

How often does a black bear walk past your car? Probably never, unless you’ve been to the drive-through zoo at Bearizona Wildlife Park. This unique zoo has the standard zoo experience most kids love. They can run around (while killing off some energy) and see animals in typical zoo enclosures. But my family’s favorite part of Bearizona was the drive-through part where we saw arctic wolves, white bison and black bears just outside our car. Other reasons we love it: ·       You can drive through the 3-mile loop multiple times, all day long if you want. ·       We pulled over to watch different...

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Where to Surf in Arizona

Who says you can’t surf in the desert? The Kierland FlowRider opened last year at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s the first of its kind in Arizona and one of the main reasons why I think the Westin Kierland rocks for kids and anyone else that loves to have fun. The Kierland FlowRider The Kierland FlowRider has two jets that push out almost 30,000 gallons of water per minute to simulate a wave. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about falling because the bottom of the FlowRider is similar to a trampoline...

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