Monday, October 24, 2011

Mr. Rant Thinks I'm Insane

So Mr. Rant and I were discussing possible vacation options for next year. We're thinking something that is fun for the whole family. Here is what each one of us came up with.

Mr Rant: Disney World
Me: Italy

He thinks I'm insane. I think he lacks imagination.

He thinks hanging out in Italy with a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old is asking for trouble. I think that we can go to Disney World anytime... Italy too for that matter but I'm dying to go see something new.

Mr. Rant then dared me to ask you guys what you think.  Like he had to dare me. I'm not even going to use my super duper skills of persuasion to get you on my side.  Am I crazy or is Italy a good idea?


  1. Hum... If you go for a nice resort, summer time, on the cost, somewhere in southern Italy, I think it could be super. Maybe rent a car and go for a circuit trough small towns, spend a couple of nights in different places, settling down in a familly friendly resort... and I say a family friendly resort, so you look for something that has activities for children, this way you'll have a break and they will be entertained. But a city break with to young boys could be exhausting.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more. Sorry, Mr.

  3. I think the kids will appreciate Italy more when they're a little older, but will talk about the Disney World trip for months afterward. I hate to say it, but my vote is with Mr. Rant's idea this time!

    Think about it. You know how when you ask people, "oh, have you ever been to another country?" and they say things like, "oh, well I went to Italy with my family when I was 4, but that doesn't count." Why pay thousands of dollars for a vacation that "won't count"?!?!

  4. The Greek Islands are fun - and the boys might like all the boat rides. The local cheeses are an adventure.

  5. Trust me - you will spend less in Greece or Italy than you will at Disney World.

  6. This blog just wrote a series of posts about their time in Europe with a young daughter. I thought she had some good dicas such as renting an apartment vs hotel life as it allows you to cook a bit, have space to play and relax as adults with sleeping kids. She had daily vlogs with a review of their daily gelato flavors. In Italy imagine all the flavors! Brazilians love Disney (I had students in Barra who go at least once a year) but it can be a meltdown destination when a younger sibling is not tall enough or old enough to go on the same rides as the eldest. I have also heard of people who House Swap which could be very affordable when you have an apartment in Rio to offer. Planning is half the fun!

  7. I think your youngest is too young to really appreciate anywhere well. He is just really young that I think if you go to disney now, your going to have to go back again. He is not going to remember. Same goes for anywhere you take him including Italy. He is probably going to be some images and memories but nothing more. I would pick something kid friendly. but something your going to enjoy too.

  8. How about a compromise? Amsterdam!

    Weed, hookers, Anne Frank museum, what more could a couple of 3-5 year old adventure-seeking guys want?

    Seriously though, Italy sounds much better to me but I don't have kids...

  9. Another blog from a friend who went to Italy (and Iceland!) with her man & almost-3-year old. Note, only one child...

    Italy, or ooh like Jim said, the Greek islands. If somehow Mr. Rant can be wooed into promising not to drag his feet and whine the whole time. Disneyland sounds like the bigger hassle to me. I don't see the point of bringing a kid there until he's at least 5.

    But there's probably another option everybody's going to like....

    Rachel F.

  10. I have to agree with Danielle and some others on this. The kids are so young that they really aren't going to remember much of any place you go so if you spend a lo of money on a trip now, it's going to be more of you and him than for them.
    Disney is expensive and not worth it until at least the age of five. Before that it's more of just buying a REALLY expensive baby sitter. I know a lof of people who take their kids to Disney because it's "what you're supposed to do." My kids are 10 and 12 and have never been because they always said they didn't care to go and personally I hate those places with a passion. I had been several times as a child and it just didn't change my life like some people think it wiil.
    I also didn't want to spend all of that money and my children not even remember a thing of it. I still ask them if they want to go and actually kind of what to do it now but we will see...they still say they don't care but I may take them anyway. At least I think they would remember it more now.

    I've never been to Italy so I don't know what there is to do for kids there.

    If it were me, I would save the really expensive out of country type trips when they older unless you just have money to burn and cost is no factor. If you think they cost a lot now to take on vacation, wait until they can't eat off the child's menu anymore and everything you go to, they are charged as adults and not children's admission. This is when you will need that extra money.

    So in conclusion, I don't agree with either of you. LOL

    I would pick somewhere else completely. What about traveling to a different country in South America or Central America? Or is that still too much of an old view?

  11. Love your posts. Italy!!!!

  12. Why don't you send your kids to your mother's in the US for vacation and you Mr. Rant go to Italy! Or Mr. Rant can take the kids to Disney Land and I'LL go to Italy with you ;) Just read an article about some caves in southern italy turned into hotels. your kids would totally love to stay in a cave!

  13. I went to Italy and France when I was 7. Here are my take aways. Cool park that had tramolines. Really yummy giant bowl of spaghetti in a restaurant, and entire town being closed due to some saints holiday and yucky fish dish. And a marble column that was pretty in the hotel that had fluffy pillows... artwork, architecture, beautiful scenery.. I don't remember. I do remember the dirt on the ground at the restaurant, and the red checkered tablecloth at the spaghetti lunch place. But I'm still happy I can say I did it.

  14. Italia, Italia, Italia (but I am biassed).
    Jim is right, Italy has become pretty expensive, Greece is very cheap these days but more than one person reported they have been robbed while on holiday there last summer (my cousin has literally come back in his underwear, he had to borrow clothes cause evrything else got stolen from his rented accom.) So, beautiful but maybe not the best way to take a break from Rio?
    Tuscany is very family friendly, even if on the expensive side, the Adriatic coast has got very good infrastructure for family fun, but honestly it lacks the natural beauty you'd find elsewhere.
    Personal advice (tested by us) for a great family mini-break in Verona: sightseeing in the city of Romeo and Juliet, take the kids to Gardaland (it's our more humble version of Disneyworld...much more humble...) and give yourself a day of relax at the natural hotsprings (check Grotte di Cola' or The caves (grotte) are open until 3 am, so if you ever found a babysitting service it could even be an idea for a romantic night!! These three things are all within the same area, so very doable in 3 days. If you decide to go for Italy and need some advice...shout!

  15. Mallory, You may be on to something ;).

    I'm digging all this input. Honestly, I don't want to go to Italy for the kids, it's for me. I do think that they'd enjoy it though (even if it's just the amazing spaghetti ;).

    I used to say I'd never take my kids on a trip like this, before I had kids though. Now I see the other side to it. Of course Disney would be their dream, I think it would be better to go when my youngest is a tad older and can actually enjoy the rides with his older brother.

    As for Greece, all the boats would be a nightmare with motion sickness Chatterbox.

  16. Hey Rachel,

    I am kinda on the fence with both the choices. I went to Europe for the first time when I was 13 and really appreciated it, however my sister who is 4 years younger than me was not super thrilled the whole time--and it is hotter than HELL in Italy which really makes it hard to even be outside for that long--and there is no such thing as air conditioning so forget temporary relief. If you have ever been to Disney in the Summer, its almost as bad--at least they do have air conditioning. But don't let that fool you--it's DAMN HOT there too. AND HUMID as a MOFO'.

    BUT I do think I have the perfect alternative!

    Iberostar Bahia! I have been to Iberostars before in Mexico and they are the most wonderful relaxing and relatively economical vacations due to the fact that they are all inclusive--even alcohol is included. They have kids clubs, lots and lots of "Star Freinds" That animate the place and play games and sports with both the kids and adults.

    Check it out! Iberostar Bahia and Iberostar Praia do Forte about 2 hours north of Salvador.

    Good Luck!

  17. Disney abounds with personality clashes these days, not the best place to be. Mickey for example is getting divorced from Minnie and hired Donald, a pretentious duck now that he graduated law school, to be his lawyer. Anyway Donald told Mickey that he can't divorce Minnie on grounds of insanity since the Disney psychologist claims she isn't crazy, so this line of argumentation won't hold up in court. The thing is Mickey wants a divorce from her, not because she is crazy, but because she is fucking Goofy and has been for a while. Anyway the ramifications of all this has made the vibe over at Disneyworld really bad: Mickey called Donald an idiot after the crazy/goofy fiasco; Goofy and Mickey haven't been on speaking terms for months, Daisy Duck now blames Mickey for all of this saying he has always been an unattentive lover towards Minie, and so on.
    My advice is discard Italy and Florida and do California instead. I think that state has the best of everything and, assuming you have a base there, would be easier and less expensive for the whole family. Avoid Disneyland though.

  18. Traveling anywhere with young kids is a pain in the ass. I vote you pick somewhere you would want to go if you didn't have kids, and then find ways to make it work for them too. ITALY!

  19. I would say holidays with kid are not easy bt there is a brazilian blogger that just did a sommer Eurotrip with husband and a 4years boy and 3 years old girl all together and she managed very well, amazing.
    Hier is the link of her:

    Ana Flavia

  20. I'd say Italy (that was my first instinct) but then I remembered taking my niece to Disney/Universal/Sea World when she was barely 2. She loved it! She even dreamed later, saying, "Aunt Mere [me], Unk E [my husband], Shamu" in her sleep. She LOVED Sea World the most (as I knew she would). But she also LOVED Disney and would have liked Universal if she hadn't been exhausted and started to get sick.

    Anyway, I know Disney is overrated and it is expensive, but kids LOVE it.

  21. @ Alex: no airco in Italy? Where were you staying, in a hostel or extreme low budget hotel? I never had a hotel without airco wherever I was in the last 10 years, from Latin America to Africa, Asia & of course... Europe. But I don't like low budget travels anyhow. Besides, guess Rachel's family can take some sun...

    Back on topic, I 100% agree with Colleen. Chose the place YOU want to go without kids, and find a way it works for the whole family. This means a nice hotel with pool near some amazing Italian villages without having to drive to far (places in Tuscany or Sardinia for example will do fine).

    Italians love children, so you'll be fine wherever you go.

    PS The South of France can be an amazing alternative to! Search around Eze, which places you right between Monaco & Cannes, and thus near the Italian border.

    Whatever you decide, enjoy it !

  22. Italy! First because Disney is artificial, and second because Italy is pizza, ice cream, coffee, wine and history. I was in Italy in July with my 15-month old and husband. It was great. Kids would love train travel and Italians, like Brazilians, love kids. Tip: book trains ahead online. GO ITALY!

  23. @Gio

    I was exaggerating a little bit about no air conditioning. In Rome we were @ the Westin Excelsior on Via Veneto which was very nice. In Florence the Westin Excelsior also and very nice too. In Venice we were at the Westin Europa and Regina which was my least favorite of the group. They all had air conditioning, but the coldest the rooms would go would be like 75. And it was 105 out every day....hence it felt like no air conditioning.

    What I really meant was to say that most restaurants, stores, and most public buildings including the churches and museums do not have air at all. I remember being soaked in other people's sweat (I WANTED TO DIE) because of the uncomfortably close crowds in the Vatican Museum. They didn't even open the windows! I am not exaggerating when I say it was over 100 degrees in the building and HUMID. I still have nightmares of the 110 year old grandma and her sweaty juggs bouncing on my back.

    Otherwise, Italy is a great vacation spot, and I loved it. You just have to realize if you really want to actually see anything you will be running nonstop for at least 12 hours a day. So not a relaxing vacation but a cultural vacation for sure.

    Oh, and in Italy I met more Brazilian tourists than Americans or any other nationality. And they were spending money like CRAZY in the designer stores. Wowza!

    Sorry for my obnoxiously long post!

  24. I think it also depends on what you want to do in Italy. Do you just want to *be* there and do whatever can be arranged for a family with two small children? Or do you wish you can get to know the place(s) you visit and go sightseeing, etc? The latter might be a little harder to accommodate with such young children. Or, at least, you'd probably have to go at a really slow pace. And chose the time of the year wisely.

  25. Rach, we're all insane, but this is way cheaper...



  26. Italy wins, 100%. Even with kids, and in some ways, I think the kids will make it even more memorable and enjoyable. I loved Rome (sort of reminds me a bit of Rio) and the last time I was there was too long ago. Kids can surprise you, seriously! I think you guys will always be going to the U.S. at least once every year or two, right? So why not plan a trip to Italy? Do Italy NOW before your kid's school schedules get so cemented that the only times you will be able to go will be December-Feb (too cold!) or July, too crowded. There are sites that have great vacation rentals, weekly/monthly. In Rome, my favorite neighborhood was Campo di Fiori, in walking distance of everything! But I also loved Florence, Venice, Milan, oh, the history, the art, the sights, the food, and the amazing differences between the cities. There is so much to experience. = )

  27. I'm loving all the Italy support! Of course we have also discussed Dp's suggestion of Club Med in Brazil. Fun but boring at the same time. We could do that whenever.

    On another note, I think that I will go to my blog to make all my important decisions. You guys rock! THanks for the input.

  28. Hello! I am new here, an 8 year gringo resident of Rio. You have a great blog, and a following of great contributors. I have learned things about Rio I never knew while reading as many of your older posts as time has allowed, and I thought I had been to and experienced most things Rio. This City has an endless list of thngs to see and do, every day is an adventure.

    When my two children were 3 and 6 my then wife and I bought an 18 meter sailboat and toured the Caribbean for a year and a half living aboard with our children. Portsmouth, Rhode Island to Cartegena to Puerto Vallarta. An incredible experience, but I found myself wishing I had waited just a few more years as the children only barely grasped the purpose of the trip, which was to introduce them to other languages, cultures and places from the safety of an ocean going motorhome while being home schooled. Both children are in college now, the youngest hardly remembers any of the sailing adventure.

    The point about the children being too young to enjoy some of the Disney attractions is a good one in my view. Where one child is of the required age/size and the other isn't, conflict may arise. Best to visit Disney in a couple years, when everyone can participate in the fun.

    On the other hand, Italy offers a lot but not necessarily for someone carrying an exhausted child. If you travel with a nanny, I would say go for it. Without the nanny, honestly, perhaps best to experience what Brasil has to offer before venturing to another continent. You know your children best, some travel well while others are, shall we say, best left at home.

    The Club Med with kids facilities is the best of both worlds from my perspective. I would not rule it out even if it could be done whenever. I have been to Club Med Trancoso, I give it a "B" among the other Club Med's I have visited in the Caribbean, but I do not recall the special facilities for young children. Any place you go can be boring, it is what you make of it. The CM staff includes babysitters, and the international mix they have as "kind hosts" and the diversity of the other guests leaves you wondering whether you are in Europe or still here in Brasil. Entertainment, food, beautiful setting, all for one price, again, I would not rule it out.

    Whatever you ultimately choose, have a great time!

  29. Thanks PTRio :)

    And now I'm swaying. Maybe neither is the fit just yet and we should head to a club med per Mr. Rant's first request that was immediately vetoed for some reason.

    And @drian@ you would be the first I'd go to for Italy tips :)

  30. My vote is with Italy - but that is because I really would like to go there - the kiddos DO love Disney, but it is so crazy expensive and not even a real organic "place" but fake - when I go there with my friend and godchildren we spend all our time buying silly crap from place to place and end up eating at some theme restaurant of course by the end of the day. The last time I was there the two female godchildren even schooled my on the hierachy of Princesses! Now when we go there, I like to focus on Sea World where I can spend all my time feeding and petting as many animals as I can even though by the time I am done I stink like day old shrimp and look like I was in a wet t-shirt contest. I also like to go to the African safari section of Disney where I can feed goats, and the giraffes, and nectar drinking birds (that crapped on my head).

  31. EuroDisney and everybody will be happy.

  32. EuroDisney?! I can't based on American Principal ;)

  33. I vote for Tierra del Fuego!! Just kidding

  34. italy!!

    why not take the kids to fernando de noronha or bonito ? I heard those places are beautiful

  35. I think your youngest is too young to really appreciate anywhere well. He is just really young that I think if you go to disney now, your going to have to go back again