The lure of the candy called to us we ascended the stairs. Each step was better than the next because it brought us that much closer to the unknown prize that surely lay ahead of us at the top.

PARENTGUIDE News was recently invited to attend the Pretty Great Family Debate at Dylan's Candy Bar in Manhattan. It happened to be Daniel's 2nd birthday that day and was a dream come true for the two of us. Daniel got to spend his birthday inside one of the most amazing candy stores in the world. I got to be in a room surrounded by like-minded individuals on a quest to make easy family travel the norm. 

Hosted by Brooke Burke-Charvet and sponsored by Embassy Suites Hotels, the debate among media members and their children discussed topics such as vacation breakfasts, kids and cellphone use, and -- most important to me --planning your family vacations together.

Everyone presented varying viewpoints, but the common consensus was the appreciation and necessity for planning a sensational trip for the whole family. The family-friendly Embassy Suites Hotels support this idea and provide amenities to aid in the experience. Some panelists believed that family vacations were meant to revolve solely around their children while others believed that trips should be a family-centered activity with something for the adults, too. I agree with the latter. 

I am all for a vacation anywhere in the world, kids in tow, believing that with a little planning, something can be found for everyone. And hopefully an appreciation for different kinds of activities can be developed. 

Daniel had little interest in the debate and more concern with the views of the street below as he sat atop a red-and-white, peppermint swirl bar stool. His insistence on calling out every single "truck" and "bus" that passed below interfered somewhat with the video recording being taken of the debate. We fettered in and out of the room as we explored the candy explosion décor at Dylan's. My own fascination with the sweet wallpaper and candy-filled steps matched Daniel's. 

We were in our own Willy Wonka reality, at least for a time.

Following the discussion, lunch was served, and the children were invited to take part in stations set up for their amusement. Daniel created a mason jar with cereal, layered in a colorful rainbow, above a table of shiny gum balls . The cereal represented Embassy Suites' appreciation for a healthy start to each travel day, and much of it was eaten up before it made its way into our jar. 

At the "cocktail" station, Daniel had his first Shirley Temple. He later blew bubbles into it for the camera -- funny for someone whose refusal to smile for pictures is deeply ingrained in his present developmental phase. Daniel thought the activity was great and excitedly posed for the man behind the tripod documenting the debate. 

We silently exited the sweet wonderland, full of sugar and with a deeper appreciation for exploration and travel as a family after listening to the positive views and experiences of other parents. 

Now, onto planning our next adventure, the world awaits!