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Scottsdale Sedona vacation with kids... a couple of concerns...

Scottsdale Sedona vacation with kids... a couple of concerns...

Old Mar 18th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Scottsdale Sedona vacation with kids... a couple of concerns...

we are heading to Arizona during school vacation week in April with our 5 year old and our 17 month old.

We fly into Phoenix (arrival at 11:30 am Arizona time) and drive straight away to Sedona where we will stay for two nights. I have booked a suite at Amara Creekside Resort. This will be our base for a day trip to the Grand Canyon.

Then we head south again to stay at the Westin Villas in Scottsdale for four nights for swimming / relaxation with the kids.

I have two concerns which are mainly based around our 17 month old (who is a very active and curious boy - lots of fun, but very busy and doesn't love being strapped in the car seat, stroller, highchair, etc... for extended periods of time.)

I am wondering if the long drive from the airport to Sedona and then again to the Grand Canyon is extremely taxing. If it is really 1.5 - 2 hours I think we can handle that, but if it is much longer due to traffic etc.. it might be difficult for us.

My other concern is with regard to staying at Amara. I booked us into their largest room (which is a suite with a seperate living area - a priority for us as the baby goes to bed earlier than the rest of us and we don't like to sit in the dark twiddling our thumbs after he is done for the night).

We recently returned from a trip to Orlando where we rented a private house. This worked out incredibly well for us. Having the extra space and being able to eat at home was a life saver and made it a really fun vacation for all of us.

Although the room at Amara is a bit more spacious than your average hotel room, I am concerned about meal times. I looked into vrbo.com but in Sedona it appears that almost all of the places wanted a one week minimum stay - there were a couple that had a three night stay. We are only staying two nights.

I was thinking that the right bed and breakfast might be a possibility. I really like the looks of Adobe Grand Villas. The rooms are enormous with space enough for all of us and appear to be very luxurious (not a big priority but always nice, right!). They are also a child friendly inn. I am thinking that the extra common space, grounds, having a fridge for milk, and other food will make this leg of our trip more enjoyable.

Perhaps I am worrying too much. We probably won't be in the room for long periods of time if we are going to the Grand Canyon, but I like to put a lot of time and thought into our vacation planning with the hopeful result being a good time for everyone.

My husband and I have never been to Sedona or the Grand Canyon. I feel like this part of the trip is mainly about our wish to see these two areas -- we'd hate to miss this. The Scottsdale part will be great for the kids (and us).

does anyone with little kids have any advice for us? (or those without kids too!). or could you give me a little bit more of an idea of what to expect with traffic / travel times / or offer any ideas for lodging that might give us a little more space than Amara (our rate there is $298 per night + tax. -- the Adobe Grand VIllas is $399 + tax - significantly more but I'd go for it if I thought it would be worth it for us).

THANKS!!!
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 09:28 AM
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I meant to post a link to Adobe Grand Villas. I thought the Red Cinder or Sedona Breeze rooms would work well for us. We are in Sedona on a Monday and Tuesday so at least get the advantage of weekday rates (although this is still a pricey option).

http://www.adobegrandvillas.com/index.html (these rooms have kitchenettes with microwave and fridge, this would be a big advantage).


here is the amara room we reserved:
http://www.amararesort.com/guestrooms/luxury-suite/ (no fridge, just a minibar, a bit of a concern)
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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We flew into Pheonix same time last April and headed directly to Sedona as well. The car rental at the airport went well and there was little traffic mid-day. Driving to the Grand Canyon was also easy, except for the long wait at the entrance gate (45 min). You may want to invest in a National Park Pass before you go so you can use the express lane. It was also VERY cold at the south rim the first week of April so make sure you all have cold weather gear. (We needed hats, mits and warm coats.) We have always travelled with our kids (8 and 10) and we love it. Have a great time!!
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 01:12 AM
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Sometimes the traffic in Phoenix is heavy around the airport during the day but once you are out of town - it gets lighter. If you are going to Sedona on the weekend the traffic is much heavier but the only place you will notice it is on the two lane road after you get off of 17 ( most of the trip is on 17) which really is not that far. We took our grandson when he was 24 mo and he made the trip just fine. Phoenix airport is very user friendly - all of the car rentals are in the same building so after you gather your luggage you go out and take the car rental bus - don't have to look for your company - all the buses are going to the same place. Go to the company counter and they will have you on yor way in no time flat. By the time you are out of the airport - you probably won't be in Sedona til late afternoon 3 ish and you will have to do a lunch stop in there too. If you are going to GC the next day - you won't be in the room hardly at all - figure at least 2 hours each way and time at the park - good idea about pre buying the pass especially with school breaks.

Good suggestion about the weather too. It will be quite cool at GC and very hot in Phoenix - our daughter went back yesterday - it was 40 here in Chicago and 99 in Phoenix so be prepared for extremes. While in Phoenix you are not far from the zoo which is not huge but for kids 5 and 17 mo a good size and user friendly. We also have taken our grandson to the little amusement park in central Phoenix which has all kinds of rides for the little ones - they might like that - not too fancy but they have an all day pass and the kids can ride all of the rides as much as they want - boats carousel cars little roller coaster helicopters spinners and several other - http://enchantedisland.com. I also believe that there is now a children's museum in Phoenix which opened at the beginning of March - not sure what that would be like.

As far as places to stay the ones you have chosen are very nice. We usually stay in condos - have gotten spoiled and prefer having our own kitchen and room to spread out - we do time sharing. Good luck and enjoy - you will have a great time- remember sunscreen- that Arizona sun is hot!



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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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thanks so much for the info. buying the park pass is such a great tip. I found the pass online and have purchased it (unfortunately the price has gone up to $80 - there is apparently a new system in place now of affiliated parks... hopefully we will be able to use it at other destinations to make it pay for itself although if we can save ourselves 45 minutes in line, it is worth it for me).

if you think of any other helpful insider tips please pass them along. thanks again (and especially for the encouragement that we can do this and have fun!!!).
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Sounds like you're right on track for your trip. Only other suggestion you might try (although may be booked) is both the Radisson and the Hyatt have vacation clubs in Sedona which may have condo's available for those two nights if they aren't booked for the week.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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mama - are you taking the USAir flight out of Boston - 8am or 830am? If so be prepared for a longish ride (15-20 minutes) to the central car rental facility. The USAir terminal seems to be the furtherest away. And I had a long long wait at Hertz (over 45 minutes) and the other major agencies seemed to have just as long a wait. Was wishing I had kept up my Gold membership at Hertz. If you have a preferred membership at any of the rental agencies, it will really come in handy in PHX. Altogether it took over an hour to get my car.

have a great time - Arizona is beautiful - so different from NE.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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hi bennnie,
yes it is the 8:30 usair flight... is there a rental agency that is more convenient than another?

we will have to use that time to give our little one some time to stretch his legs before strapping him in again.

the travelling and getting there part gives me pause, but i am sure it will all seem worth it once we are there. seeing the grand canyon has been a long time dream of mine and my husbands (Sedona too for that matter).
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 05:51 PM
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The one thing to worry about in Sedona with little ones is the balconies, cliffs and creeks. I am not familiar with any of the places you referenced, but many places are built precariously into the canyons and dont give little ones enough safe places to burn off some energy. You may want to call the resorts and ask how close they are to the creek, and if they have places for little ones to run. The enchantment Resort and Radisson Poco Diablo are neat places too.

Traffic shouldnt be bad at that time of day. I take that flight from Boston at least 4 times a year and its almost always on time. The halfway point to Sedona/flagstaff is a rest stop called sunset point. There are bathrooms and vending machines, and room to run. Its on a plateau at the top of a winding climb...a good place to stretch your legs. Traffic goes fast along the 17 - the speed limit is 75 most of the way.

In Sedona, make sure to go to Tlaquepaque....great little shops and local artists. Also, for a neat, short hike with the kids, hit "call of the Canyon" on 89A as you are leaving Sedona. Also, along that road further up the canyon towards Flagstaff is a reststop that usually has a Native American contingent selling thier art, jewelry etc. Definitely the best place to buy - pricies are much better than any place in Sedona or Scottsdale.

Are you staying at the Kierland villas? Nice place with lots of kid activities. If you are only there for 4 days - I would plan on hanging there the whole time. No reason to venture out at all!

Hope this helps!

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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 06:19 AM
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hi azhiker,
thanks for the info. it is very helpful. i have reason to worry about balconies etc with my little one because as mentioned he is very busy and on top of that is a little dare devil. when we go to the grand canyon, he will be in a backpack (for some reason he enjoys this as opposed to the other strapping in devices). we will also use the backpack for short hikes, etc. -- my daughter (who is 5) greatly enjoys nature walks and has a lot of stamina (and fortunately for us is a very good girl who listens to us and won't go running off).

we are staying at the kierland villas. I think this will work out well with the kids. i like that it is close by to the kierland commons. we can have a little diversion and go eat, etc.

I have been thinking a lot about our accomodations in Sedona. I think the Adobe Grand Villas would work wonderfully for us, I just think it is too expensive for the limited time we will be in the room. As for Amara, it looks lovely, but the lack of a fridge is not good for us. We have decided on Sky Ranch Lodge. Fridges in the room, and given our time change coming from Boston, my husband and I can still enjoy a sunset view while the kids are asleep - I booked a rim view room. Also, this way we can get up early and hit the road for the grand canyon without lamenting about missing the fabulous breakfast at the Adobe Grand Villas. We are saving a TON of money and that is always a good thing.

thanks again.
karen

if you think of any other tips please pass them along. it is incredibly helpful.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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mama - the rental agencies are all in the same building on the outskirts of the airport and you take the same shuttle bus to get there regardless of which agency you use. Not sure if one agency's lines move faster than another's. It just went very slowly. Plenty of time and room (there's a huge lobby with a snack bar) to let your son run around and get his ya-yas out before getting in the car for the drive.

Have a fabulous trip - its so pretty and about as different from New England as you can get.

Book your seats early for the flight - it tends to get sold out.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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We've had some success with car seat "dashboards" which have toys attached a base that attaches to the car seat or stroller. Another toy that works well for travel, this time in the room, is a "play table", about 18" square with a bunch of different open/close, light up toys built in.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 07:38 AM
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will have to look into the suggestion of the dashboard toys for the car seat. excellent suggestion -- thanks.

another one i had read somewhere here on fodors was to pack up all of those little Happy meal toys and bring those - if they get lost of left behind, not a big deal. i liked that one too.

I just reserved our car through Payless. I signed up for the Payless Perks program which i think lets me go to the priority line. Simply signing up also saved me 5%... our car is $195 plus tax for the week ($288 total) for a minivan which i think is an excellent rate.

the trip is definitely coming together.

i have our flights booked. we are using frequent flyer miles that were going to expire... should be an excellent trip for us and not too expensive. thanks to you all for all of the suggestions.
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