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From the Catalog: Amusement Parks

March 28, 2018
Spring break may or may not be upon you and your donors, depending on your local school’s schedules. Either way, coming up with activities and plans to keep kids occupied during that week can be tough. It a reason that so many of the nation’s amusement parks get busy around the middle of March; what better time for a family to travel than during a week off from school for the children?

Mitch-Stuart has non-profit fundraising auction travel packages that can take your donors around the world, but when that final bell rings on the Friday before a spring break week, the idea of heading to a place with pre-programmed fun sounds appealing. If you’ve got donors with kids, they might appreciate some of the trips in our catalog that include rollercoasters, face-painting and those weird huge turkey legs.

Some of our favorites:

Disneyland: That Southern California sunshine combined with a Hollywood-influenced list of attractions (including several zones dedicated to one of Disney’s most recent acquisitions, Star Wars) makes Disneyland a favorite for families from around the country. And with the gorgeous beaches of Orange County just a short drive away, Anaheim can provide family experiences of several types.

Disney World: Going to the east coast hub for all things Mickey Mouse-adjacent will give your donors chances to not only explore Epcot Center and scream through the descent on Splash Mountain, but also to ride the attractions of Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Islands of Adventure. Orlando is to amusement parks as Hollywood is to movies – a one-stop shop loaded with different experiences and opportunities.

Water Parks: If splashpads are more the speed of your family donors, we’ve got a choose-your-own adventure package that can attract huge bids. We’ve got three-day packages to destinations like Niagara Falls, Branson, Washington D.C., Orlando, and so many more, each of which come with passes to get soaked at a local water park. If a family’s looking for a brief jaunt, and especially one that keeps them close to home (22 different states are represented on the list of potential destinations), this is a great option.

Legoland: In a region flush with family-friendly attractions (Disneyland and Universal Studios to the north, San Diego Zoo to the south), Legoland is unique in the number of interactive exhibits available. Kids are able to go from roller coasters to driving oversized LEGO cars in just steps, and the signature blocks are everywhere. Legoland also features the Imagination Zone, where children can build LEGO robots and play in the WB Games Family Gamespace.



Winter’s Last Hurrah

March 21, 2018
Welcome to spring! For many, today is the day when the countdown starts to sunny skies, warm temperatures and putting those bulky coats into storage. However, for some it is the beginning of the end for their favorite season, one that features snow, cuddle-worthy temperatures and apres-ski fun.

Yes, some of your donors might be of the type who truly love winter and mourn its passing every March. If that’s so, however, we can help them extend the season for a small time with one of our non-profit fundraising auction travel packages. While most of the country is moving toward warmth, your supporters can be enjoying one more ski run, one more trip around the outdoor rink, and even one more trek across an unblemished field of snow. Want to send a donor on one last winter fling? Here are a few suggestions on where to send them.

Colorado weather is unpredictable in the spring, but at 8,750 feet above sea level, Telluride usually maintains snow pack until April or May – especially up at the ski resort. The average lows still get below freezing, so the powder doesn’t get as much of a chance to melt, and at the local ski resort, there’s enough of the white stuff to stay open well into April, usually. And for those not looking for skiing opportunities, there’s plenty of snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice skating to be done.

If your donors are going to take a chance on seeing winter weather in the spring, they may as well do it from the base of the Alps. Montreux, Switzerland is both lakeside and mountainside, with the Lake Geneva shoreline essentially forming a border on one side. There are plenty of skiing opportunities within a short distance, and after heading down the mountain, your supporters can wander the town, checking out some of its cultural history (thanks to the Montreux Jazz Festival, it’s been a popular haven for musicians like David Bowie and Deep Purple).

Of course, with a name like Iceland, one would expect that winter weather can linger into the spring. Reykjavik may be in the southern half of the state, but the northern ski resorts are only a morning’s drive away, and they feature some only-in-Iceland incentives, like skiing alongside an ocean. The slopes’ peak season last all the way through May. And the gorgeous Northern Lights, while most likely to appear in the winter, can still be regularly seen in the early spring – and even from the life chairs of some of those ski slopes!


How to Cruise

March 14, 2018
Trips aboard cruise ships are some of our most popular non-profit fundraising travel packages. The carefree time aboard, with meals, drinks, and a pool deck just steps away from the stateroom, can give the impression that anything goes out on the open seas. But being aboard a ship with thousands of others, sometimes in small quarters and long lines, creates a certain type of etiquette in order to make the experience a fun one for everybody.

Here are some rules for your donors to follow after they win a cruise at your fundraising auction or raffle:

Pack Your Patience: There can be lines to board the ship, lines to debark for off-ship activities, and lines at the buffet. The pool chairs could have a waiting list. Even on the open seas, patience is a virtue. Your donors should know this in advance and be ready to face delays with a smile – it will help everyone around them.

Adults Only Means Adults Only: Whether it’s a “quiet” pool, a cocktail hour or something else, many ships will have a select number of “adults only” options over the course of the trip. For some parents, this might be their big chance to be away with the kids for one evening during the journey, so your supporters shouldn’t try to force your own children into the space. Instead, they should check in advance of the vacation as to whether the ship will have on-board babysitters, and make sure to book them as soon as they know they’ll be taking advantage of a grown-ups only outing.

Respect Differences: Unlike many other modes of travel, a cruise ship brings people together from many different cultures. It’s likely that your donors will run into fellow cruisers from around the globe, so a healthy respect for their customs and traditions can guarantee that everyone on board is comfortable.

Dress for the Room:
No one wants to wear a proper coat and tails or a long, flowing dress every day aboard a ship. But wearing cargo shorts to a nice meal or show, while everyone else went through the effort of packing the additional nicer clothes required, can really hamper the atmosphere. Donors should check before packing for the trip to see the general dress code – and the specific one for some of the restaurants they’d like to try – and allocate suitcase room accordingly.

Watch Your Space: Whether it’s swinging luggage down a tight hallway, attempting to monopolize a deck chair for a whole day (though you’ll only be there for a part of the time) or “saving” seats at a show, travelers should understand the space restrictions that come with a ship. Doing one’s level-headed best to not inconvenience other passengers goes a long way, and basic spatial awareness is one of the easiest ways of doing that.


Country Vacationing

March 07, 2018
The cliché “I need a vacation from my vacation” can ring true for some travelers. Destinations like New York, London and Los Angeles are filled with sights to see and activities to do, but the frenzied pace of city life can wear someone down, especially if said tourist fights traffic and deals with public transit delays everyday while at home. There’s a reason, in a constantly-connected world, that some would rather get away from the urban jungle and find relief under a starry (smog-free!) sky.

Mitch-Stuart has non-profit fundraising auction travel packages for every type of wanderlust, but some of our favorites are ones that can take your donor far away from city life. Let your supporters bid on the gift of distance and destressing with one of these trips to isolated resorts.

Jackson Hole: The Wyoming small town has become a vacation staple for cowboys- and cowgirls-to-be, with its open spaces and easy access to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Outdoor activities are the biggest attractions here, with hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing on the agendas of many travelers. And when your donors are in the mountains, or horseback riding across a Wyoming range, they’ll be almost as far away from it all as one can get.

Alberta isn’t the least-populated of the Canadian provinces (it’s the fifth most-densely populated, out of ten), but when your donors get to Banff National Park, they simply won’t care. Your supporters will have a wonderful time exploring the “Castle in the Rockies,” the Fairmont Banff. But when they want to get away, they’ve got the expansive beauty of a UNESCO World Heritage site at their doorstep. Beautiful sights like the Lower Consolation Lake and the Peyto Glacier yield the types of pictures that your donors will want to print out and share with their friends.

Not every country getaway is a winter wonderland, though. There are fewer than 25,000 people in the Italian city of Cortona, and even with that, your supporter won’t see many of them from their private pool in the back of their villa. In fact, they’ll do as much hosting people as bumping into strangers; several of our trips there include a private cooking class from the comfort of the villa’s kitchen. Even grabbing a sip or two of the local vino will be a bit more private, thanks to the package’s access to two exclusive wineries. It’s a great way to get away from the stresses of the day-to-day, without feeling overly isolated.