With the start of a new year I like to look back on what we did in 2021 and think about what we want our 2022 to look like. Looking back helps me be grateful for the moments we experienced, and we had a lot of fun in 2021 despite the ups and downs.
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Every year that I sit down to write this I am always surprised at the amount of things we accomplished through the year. 2021 was even more surprising because of all the uncertainty of travel in general. (Check out 2019 and 2020 recaps)
This year we stayed a little closer to home for the first half of the year, then headed down south to our favorite destinations in Orlando. We didn’t visit any new states to add to our 50 states challenge, but we did spend time at our familiar favorites to dip our toes back into traveling again.
Our Best 2021 Moments
First NYC Visit (February 2021)
In February 2021 we planned a last minute trip to New York City. I really didn’t know what to expect and to be honest a lot of places were closed but we ended up having a blast walking around and exploring the city.
We walked by every stage door on Broadway and enjoyed the small crowds. It was a quick weekend visit but our 2 Days in New York City was a great start to our year.
Read More: New York in 2 Days: Tips for First Time Visiting NYC with Kids
NY to Florida Road Trip (May 2021)
Our next trip was going to be a 2 week drive down to Universal Orlando resort. We planned it all out, the kids were doing hybrid school so they wouldn’t miss much, and we couldn’t wait to get back to Universal.
Then the school announced the kids would be returning full time back to school and we didn’t know what to do. We really didn’t want to cancel the trip but we also didn’t want to miss 2 weeks of school.
Ultimately we decided the family time was more important this year than the school time and we decided to go through with the trip. We celebrated two birthdays at the parks and met up with friends during our visit too.
It felt really good to feel back to normal. It was a really great trip and we learned that we didn’t mind the long drive from New York to Florida as much as we thought we would.
We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel for the first time as well as Universal’s Dockside Resort (which we loved!). We visited Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, and Disney Springs.
It was a really great trip and perfect for getting back into travel again.
NY State Weekend Getaways (July/September 2021)
As summer started up we stayed close to home for most weekends until our week long vacation in August. Often I find myself finding some of the best places when we stick a little closer to home.
In early July we visited the Jamestown area with a visit to the National Comedy Center. I knew nothing about this area before our visit, but it turned out to be a really fun weekend getaway.
Then in early September we visited the Adirondacks for an end of summer trip to visit The Wild Center. I have wanted to visit The Wild Center for years and was very excited we visited.
Big Family Disney Trip (August 2021)
In mid-August we had a vacation to Walt Disney World planned. With the number of Covid cases high in the Orlando area we thought about canceling many times.
We ended up taking the trip and I am so happy we did. We upgraded our masks for the kids and adults and made the decision to skip a few things that we were uncomfortable with like indoor shows.
It was ridiculously hot weather but we had so much fun back at Disney World. We really love the parks and it felt great to be back. If you want to learn what it is like during Covid check out this post: Disney Vacation During Covid-19. Things change rapidly but this will give you an idea of what to expect.
Read More: Epcot with Kids: Tips for Planning a Day at Epcot for Families
Universal Orlando for the Holidays (November 2021)
Our final trip of the year was a last minute visit to Universal Orlando for the holidays. We are annual passholders and wanted to squeeze one last trip in before the year was over.
I absolutely love Universal during the holidays. We stayed at Cabana Bay Beach Resort and it is so festive for the holidays. If you have an opportunity to visit Universal during the holidays, take it! They do a great job with all of the décor and entertainment.
What’s Next for 2022
So what is next for our family. It is tough to answer.
I have so many places I want to visit as a family and I feel like time is moving faster than I can actually process. The kids are getting older and busier.
We have to change the way we do things and plan trips but I still have a lot of ideas. I have a few things planned but not booked.
We have an early visit to NYC planned where we will see our first Broadway show!
I would like to add a few more states to our challenge. I love our familiar favorite places but experiencing something new as a family is really awesome.
We also have plans to visit Disneyland and spend more than our One Day at Disneyland and California Adventure trip. We want to do a big theme park trip and are in the early stages of planning that.
What I do know is that I am sure there will be unexpected surprises along the way. We had some pretty cool travel moments this year that I didn’t know would happen, and I am excited for the potential of 2022.
So cheers to 2021 and welcome 2022!