We just returned from a week long trip to Williamsburg area, and I thought I'd post my two-cents. It was myself/hubby/dd 13/ds 10. Pay careful attention to the resturant recommendations -- I wish I had -- we had some bad, expensive meals. We did pick a good time to go - weather was nice, not crowded at all.
Here's what we did:
Sunday: Jamestown Settlement - good place, relatively inexpensive; we spent ~3 hours there, including lunch, and it was NOT enough time. We wished we had gone earlier -- we didn't get there until 1:30/2:00 and they close at 5.
Monday: Busch Gardens - the "boys" loved it, but if you do not like roller coasters, skip it. Go early.
Tuesday: Yorktown Settlement -- kid's favorite - people were very knowlegable and constantly interacting with us. Allow lots of time if you want to see all the museum and the outdoor events -- we caught the cannon demo (fun!), and the doctor's talk (scary but very fascinating). Make sure you try to carry the water on your shoulders at the farm!
Wedneday: Chrysler Art Muesuem in Norfolk -- absolutely wonderful, especially if you like glass at all. Lunch at the cafe was the best meal we had all week.
Thursday: MagicQuest at Grey Wolf Lodge (You do not have to stay there to play). My kids loved it. Adults -- bring a book if your kids are old enough to run around by themselves. You have a wand, and collect objects to build up to "runes", then you can have "adventures" such as "battle the dragon". $15 for the wand, $10 to play for several days.
Friday: Virginia Beach. Nice beach, very much "city beach" atmosphere. (We are spoiled by going to the Gulf.:-)
As you can see, we did not do Colonial Williamsburg. The kids were "done" with history after Jamestown & Yorktown, and we did not think it was worth $40 per person. NOTE: we were told that we could NOT walk down into the streets where the reinactments were held -- we would have to have a ticket, even if we did not want to go into the buildings. We did not try it to see.
All in all, good trip, but not one I would repeat. It was pretty expensive, and I don't know if it was worth the 12 hour drive from Huntsville. We've been to quite a bit of other "living history" festivals that were just as good or better, and much cheaper -- "Feast of the Hunters Moon" in Indiana and "Living History" days at Stone Mountain in GA and at Burritt Museum here in Huntsville -- all come to mind.
My advice -- know exactly what your family likes, and be willing to fork over money for food.