Michele Wilmonen

Michele Wilmonen

Michele Wilmonen

I am a writer and avid traveler. My travel goal in life is to see all 50 states and visit all the Disney parks around the world before I die.

I currently live in North Central Idaho with my husband and son, along with 4 cats and a dog. I am an Alumni of the University of Idaho where I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. I have also earned a number of writing certificates from Lewis Clark State College.

If you have an upcoming theme park vacation in your plans, take a look at my book "Surviving the Theme Park Vacation". There are is so much information and tips in there, that you will save more on your next trip than you will pay for the book.

"Surviving the Theme Park Vacation" is available at:

North America » United States » Washington » Seattle June 30th 2011

The Rain Forest Cafe in the Westfield South Center Mall was the first Rain Forest Cafe that I have been to outside the one we frequent in Anaheim when we are on vacation down there. As you can see from the photos the Cafe is located inside the mall and definately sticks out. It is only one story and is about half the size of the one in California. But, it does have the waterfall with Atlas holding his globe and the animals that come to life. So other than being smaller, you still get all the fun that comes with enjoying a meal there. If you have never been to a Rain Forest Cafe it is a unique dining experience. The decor surrounds you with vines, trees, flowers and all other manner of jungle plant ... read more
Rain Forest Cafe
Our Lunch Dining Companions

North America » United States » Washington » Seattle June 28th 2011

The Seattle Pacific Science Center, located at almost the foot of the Space Needle is a science filled adventure for everyone. As far as science centers or children's museums go, this is one of the largest ones I have been to. It has a number of permanent exhibits such as: animatronic dinosaurs, a small animal collection, water play, a tide pool, an insect exhibit with butterfly room and a human science exhibit. In addition to the permanent exhibits, they also offer visiting exhibits for people to enjoy. Just in the last year they hosted a Harry Potter exhibit and also a Star Wars exhibit. While we were there is was a Science of Fear exhibit. Their schedule and list of upcoming exhibits can be found on their website at http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/. Tip: You can get into the ... read more

North America » United States » Washington » Westport June 27th 2011

Our visit to Westport, Washington was my first trip to a Washington ocean beach. I have been to beaches all over the world, but never to one in Washington, which really is sad considering that I lived in Washington for 10 years. On top of that, the last time I got to walk along the ocean waters on a beach I was in Playa de Carmen, Mexico in 2008. For someone that has a seashell bathroom and a lighthouse front room, going 3 1/2 years without visiting the ocean signals too busy of a life..... The day we decided to go was supposed to be beautiful and sunny, but like most days on the west coast of Washington, ended up cloudy and wet. This didn't stop us though, we trekked on determined to spend time at ... read more

North America » United States » Washington » Olympia June 26th 2011

Because of my former fulltime job, my traveling was limited to the number of vacation hours that I had during the year. As most of you know from following my blog there is one destination that I would spend my precious vacation hours at, leaving no time to visit anywhere else. Now that I have switched careers and am writing, I can now visit and write about a larger range of destinations. At the end of June I was lucky enough to take my first road trip and headed to Western Washington. Today was spent driving to our destination and took us about 6 hours to get from Lewiston, Idaho to Olympia, Washington. Of course, there were stops along the way as I wanted to enjoy the sights and with a road trip getting there is ... read more
Tacoma Children's Museum
Tacoma Children's Museum

North America » United States » Idaho » Lewiston June 24th 2011

After a very long hiatus, I am back and ready to blog again about my travels. I haven't been able to keep up with my blog as my other writing and employment have monopolized most of my time. In the end, when I did have free time, I had to chose between spending time with my family or blogging...........you can see from the absent blogs that I still have my priorities straight. I am now writing as my full time career (a dream come true) and hope to have not just my blog available for you to read, but travel articles as well. Don't forget I also still have two eBooks available for purchase in my eBook store and hope to have at least one of them on the Kindle by the end of the summer. ... read more

North America » United States » Washington June 18th 2011

So the day after I quit my full time job I headed out to the Lower Granite Dam. Dams may not seem interesting to some of you, but have you ever visited one? While each dam of course is different, there is an abundance of interesting life around some of these dams. For Lower Granite, I was pleasantly surprise to find large numbers of pelicans. Yes, you read that correct, pelicans. We were cautious and kept our distance, but we did stop on the side of the road to watch them as I have never seen one outside of seeing them on TV. They were as skittish of us as we were with them. When we walked closer to the water they would swim further away from us even though there was already a good distance ... read more
Lower Granite Dam
View down river from the dam

The last parade that I took the time out to watch at Disneyland was the one that was created for the 50th anniversary. I loved that parade and the Celebration Parade that followed failed to catch my interest when I saw brief parts of it when I was in the vincinity of the parade route. When I heard about the new parade to be released this year the "Soundsational" parade, I still had no interest. But, Disney did an excellent job in keeping its fans informed about this new parade as it developed and with the release of the pictures of the floats, I was finally hooked. So when I heard that the parade was going to debut "unofficially" a couple of days before our May trip I was so excited I was almost bouncing in ... read more
Princess Tiana

After a disapointedly crowded Magic Morning (a special perk with some tickets that gets you into Disneyland an hour before gates open, but is limited to only certain sections of the park), we turned in our park hopper tickets for Annual Passes and headed from Disneyland to spend some time in California Adventure. As we walked to the back of the park to Paradise Pier, there was a long line of people at the recently finished Little Mermaid ride Ariel's Undersea Adventure that was not to officially open for another 4 days. What was going on? We just had to stop and ask. To our luck, they were having an Annual Passholder Sneak Preview for the ride. So before it officially opened, we got to join the very large crowd of annual passholders already in line ... read more
A partial view of the outside of the ride
Sea life tile art and seashells in the cement
A closer look at the top of the ride

My favorite ride at Disneyland is Pirates of the Caribbean and has been since I was a child. So when Disney started to make the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I was in heaven. I have seen all of them in the theaters multiple times and always within the first week of opening night. For the fourth installment "On Stranger Tides" I had to wait......and wait....and wait....to finally see it. Okay so this is a bit of an exaggeration, I got to see it within 2 weeks of it being released, but it felt like forever. Who was terrible person that made me wait? Sigh.....me. But, I am happy to report that the wait was worth it. I made myself and my family wait to go and see it because Disney did something different with this ... read more
The pirate greeter and her talking parrot
The Big Screen for the Preview

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » Anaheim October 4th 2010

Due to construction, Disney moved its Southern California Halloween party from California Adventure over to Disneyland this year. I had decided the last time that we went that I was no longer going to attend the Halloween party when it was over at California Adventure as it was getting too crowded and we weren't having very much fun for the amount that we were paying for the tickets. But, since Disney decided to move the party to Disneyland this year, I decided to give it a go to see how it would be in another park. I am very glad that I did as it was so much more fun in Disneyland. There is just something about adding scary Halloween elements to the Magic Kingdom that make the party that much better. The whole trip had ... read more
A Foggy New Orleans Square at the Party
Castle from Party Fireworks
One of the Many Empty Rides

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