We wrapped up summer with a total BAM — a visit to Universal Orlando Theme Parks! I receive tons of email everyday, but on this particular day, Stud was sitting next to me and just so happened to be reading over my shoulder. Universal Orlando!?! The Whole Family?!! Let’s do it! And a few minutes later, our spot was reserved! We had no idea the whirlwind that would take place between making the reservation and our fun Family Forward retreat! [List House, Sell House, Buy House, Pack Boxes, Move Boxes, Unpack Boxes]. The timing for our trip last week was perfect! We needed to leave behind the to do lists and soak in the sweetness of our family!
Check out the picture below! I love this little guy! After spending the summer reading Harry Potter, topped off by watching the first Harry Potter movie — Baby B is pretty sure he is Harry Potter! He climbed to watch as Stud checked us in at Loews Royal Pacific Resort — the guy checking us in gave Baby B his own hotel key with the picture of Harry Potter one front — made his day!
It was such a pretty resort…here’s a view from our hotel room! My kids loved the amazing pool, snow cones, kid’s activities, and we loved the amazing workout facility (TVs on every treadmill totally rocks).
Staying on-site had total perks! There was a pretty walkway that took us right into the parks and when we didn’t feel like walking there were water taxis that we could ride into the parks! We loved having a few days with NO traffic! On designated days, the parks opened early for on-site guests which was a total blast! AND the best part about staying on-site…we were given express passes to get on the most popular attractions WAY faster! We were slapping fives as we breezed through the linest …. five minute waits for rides like Despicable Me and Transformers seemed way to good to be true!!! We ended up riding everything we’d planned and still had time to go back to the hotel and enjoy the pool! Being part of the Family Forward group we had very fun VIP events to attend! The path through Universal Orlando was clearly marked by the sweet staff at Universal Orlando!
The first night our treat was getting to have The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade reserved for us!
There are three amazing rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which is inside Hogwarts castle. With tennis shoes on, Baby B was tall enough to ride the Forbidden Journey…which was the highlight of our night! We saved the Dragon Challenge for our next visit when they’ve all grown a couple more inches. We enjoyed both The Spirit Rally — featuring performances by the Beauxbatons and Durmstang Students and the Frog Choir!
The BUTTERBEER was fabulous (frozen was our favorite)! We could grab a glass all evening long and there was as an awesome complimentary dessert buffet with delicious tarts and scones for us, too!
Baby B checking out the world of Harry Potter before going into Ollivander’s Wand Shop! Where each presentation one child was ‘the chosen one’ and received a complimentary wand! Shamelessly we tried three times. The smile on my sweeties faces when we went back to the hotel around midnight and found a huge bag of toys and treats from Universal Orlando, including the most perfect wand EVER!
We were treated like royalty the entire stay at Universal Orlando!
And it was all family focused! We teamed up with the family from Classy Chaos and had a total blast in a morning competition called Beat the Best!
We all were so incredibly shocked to see Despicable Me Minions join us for a fun dance off as the competition wrapped up! My three sweet B’s got as close as possible — can you tell they’re somewhat obsessed with the minions, especially the baby!
We were also given VIP seats to enjoy the Superstar Parade!
Have you been to Universal Orlando!? I love how every backdrop is fabulous .. check out Macy’s behind the parade .. a little visit to NYC while in Orlando!
One afternoon we came out from a delicious breakfast to find a red carpet lining the streets and a private Character Party just for us!
Marge Simpson and I coordinated our necklaces for the event!
Seeing all these sweet friends, Woody Woodpecker (who happened to make best friends with my boys for the toot he did during the picture), Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat, Scooby Doo and Shaggy, and Bart and Lisa Simpson was Baby B’s favorite part of our stay at Universal Orlando! And again, their Besties, the Minions!
Back in college, Stud dressed up as Shaggy for Halloween so we had to get a family pic with the real Shaggy and Scooby Doo!!!
Back at Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort we also took part in some family bonding exercises! We were gifted with a National Geographics book to explore Animal Super Powers and see which animals our family could most relate with! — So FUN!
And since Little B has been talking she’s wanted to be a part of making a world record that got into Guinness Book of World Records! The editor of National Geographic Kids shared the most amazing challenge, the Great Nature Project! They are collecting 100,000 photos of animals to set a record. So get your friends, family—even your entire school—to send us animal pictures! We are definitely participating!
After a great presentation we were treated to a fabulous lunch buffet from our hotel! The truffles served for dessert still have my mouth watering!
Together Duct Tape and Cricut hosted a very FUN family activity! We were able to create a craft together as a family and all the supplies were provided. Some families made capes, others headbands, there were tons of creative projects! Our family made a SUPER cool iPad cover!
We went on so many AWESOME rides and saw tons of amazing shows! Here are some of our favorites, Seuss Cat in the Hat >>> Seuss Trolley Train >>> Jurassic Park River Adventure >>> Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges >>> Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls >>> Shrek 4-D >>> Despicable Me Minion Mayhem >>> Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster >>> Amazing Adventures of Spiderman >>> Transformer’s 3-D Ride >>> Men In Black – Alien Invasion >>> ET Adventures!!!
And the highlight of our entire visit was the amazing show put on by The Blueman Group. It was full of hilarious comedy, creative musical instruments, totally phenomenal live band, major interaction with the audience, total party atmosphere!!! We were on the edge of our seats the entire show and can’t wait to see them again! That much laughter is therapeutic!
The goal of Family Forward is to help “strengthen individuals, help parents raise kids with character, and encourage families to better the communities around them. We hope to change the world one parent at a time through online and offline community events, how-to parenting tips on our blog, compensated opportunities for bloggers, and an annual family friendly retreat.” Jill and Troy hosted an amazing event that we hope to join again next year!
We are totally amazed that we got to be a part of this awesome family blogging event and hope more of our favorite family bloggers join us next year — Universal Orlando totally ROCKS!