The family travel sweepstakes dream

Duns. OMG.

What family wouldn’t want to stay in a medieval Scottish castle for a week? The history! The secrets! The creative play for your kids (and the grown-ups)! The excuses to go out in public wearing plaid knee-length kilts!

This is what makes a recent promotion from HomeAway so incredibly awesome The offering, held in conjunction with the Family Travel Association to celebrate the upcoming Disney live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” will land one lucky family the keys to the 12-bedroom, 9-bathroom Duns Castle in Scotland, about one hour south of Edinburgh.

The promo started earlier this month and ends March 31. No purchase is necessary to participate, though it’s only open to residents of the United States, UK, France, and Germany.

Obviously, the stay at Duns is the grand prize. With five nights in the castle, transportation from your home to the Scottish countryside and back, and all meals as part of the deal, the value of the package is somewhere around $25,000. (The place normally rents for about $3,200 per night.)

Oh, and because the place is so big, HomeAway is letting the winner bring 20 family members or friends.

Five other prize-winners can win up to seven nights with four guests at another HomeAway property of their choice, with transportation included. Depending on where you stay, this prize could be pretty valuable, too.

In order to enter the drawing, click here and answer a few simple questions about yourself and your ideal vacation. Participants also must answer a question about how many lodging options travelers can find on HomeAway. I’ll save you the Google search and tell you here: It just surpassed more than 2 million.

Disney fans, take note: The landing page for the promotion also has links to all of the official “Beauty and the Beast” trailers, so you can enter and geek out at the same time.

Good luck! And if you win, take us!

The best vacation rental on Earth

I want to stay here. (Forever.)

I want to stay here. (Forever.)

We Villanos have stayed at some pretty amazing vacation rentals over the years we’ve been traveling as a family. Never, however, have we stayed at a place like The Sweet Escape.

The house, available for rent on HomeAway.com, has 10 bedrooms, a five-acre backyard, and a pool in the shape of an ice cream cone. It has a candy-themed miniature golf course, playgrounds, tetherball court, full movie theater, and 1,400-square-foot karaoke club.

It’s also located just outside Orlando, a short drive from the Walt Disney World Resort.

A good buddy of mine—Spencer Spellman—recently spotlighted the house in a blog post for HomeAway.com. His piece does a great job of capturing the youthful exuberance of the home. It also includes a picture of arguably the coolest bedroom on the planet—a room with two bunk beds and ball-pit balls covering the floor.

The theme of that bedroom is lollipops. Other bedrooms have other themes, including a PEPSI bedroom with its own pinball machine, and a carnival games bedroom with its own carnival game booth.

The house is owned and operated by a man named Andrew Greenstein, who owns other notable homes such as the Ever After Estate, which was featured on HGTV’s “Most Outrageous Homes in America”; and the Great Escape Lakeside, another themed property that recently made Guinness World Records for having the world’s largest word search. As Greenstein told Spence: “I always dreamed of playing non-stop, so I wanted to create homes that reflect what I dreamed to be the ultimate place to live, laugh, and love.”

As for The Sweet Escape, the place sleeps up to 52, so it’s perfect for a REALLY BIG family. What are you waiting for?

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