5 Tips to Thrive at Lego Land Florida

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Spring Break was such a fun time for us as a family.  Sun, blue skies, ice cream, and tacos.  And our first trip to a theme park altogether as a family of four!

I grew up in Central Florida going to Cypress Gardens, dreaming of being a Cypress Garden Girl, wondering if I would ever learn to water ski (and I can barely do it now), and enjoying all the gardens that were beautiful.  I thought Cypress Gardens would always be there.  And in a way, it still is.

The grounds at Lego Land Florida are on the shores of the same lake that Cypress Gardens was and you can still watch the ski shows.  You can walk through the grounds of lego central and see spots of beautiful flowers and shady trees.

But, the focus of the park is now little plastic building blocks and themed superhero movies and a really fun water park.

My family was graciously given a two day park pass including the water park for the main event of our 7 day Florida vacation.  Since it was our first time going I asked around for some good tips.  And now, having gone, I thought I would share our 6 top tips for all you parents out there who want to have a fabulous day with your family at Lego Land!

  1.  Bathroom Status.  I would probably advise not to go if your kids are still in diapers, or even potty training.  Even though the restrooms are equipped with changing tables and there are plenty of clean bathrooms throughout the park, it just wouldn’t be as fun.  And, make sure your kids go to the potty before leaving for the park.  My husband had to take one of ours to the potty in the parking line (and all the other patrons who saw were laughing and joking with him…they got it).  And he took the other one to the Lego Hotel before we went through security.  Having kids who are well potty-trained just makes the day easier.

  1. Pay for the Preferred Parking.  Your kids will thank you at the end of the day. Florida in the spring and summer is just warm.  We had perfect weather with not a cloud in sight.  So, our car was rather warm.  But, the second day we chose the preferred parking.  We got to park closer and under the shade of solar panels.  We got into a perfectly cool car at the end of the day.  Our campers were much happier, and so were we.

  1. Budget for food, snacks, and drink.  We chose not to carry anything with us while we were there except our phones and a key and our debit cards.  Our hands were free to ride rides and hold little hands.  We were so glad we did this.  Yes, we could have brought in snacks and water in a small cooler – but then you either have to pay for a locker or carry it or push it in a stroller.  And we could have left it in the car in a cooler, but who wants to go all the way back out to the car when you are in the middle of having so much fun.  So, when you are doing your budget, plan for a 15$ reusable souvenir cup and food.  Your day will be much easier.  My favorite ice cream was the caramel vanilla swirl cone near the Pirate Playground.  Definitely the best food I ate there.
  2. The water park is worth it.  Our kids loved it.  The park provides flotation devices for those who don’t know how to swim, but our two little not-yet-swimming boys thrived well at the park slides for like 90 minutes.  They would have stayed there all day.  We joined them some and we also kicked back in shaded beach chairs.  We loved watching their excited faces!
  3. Don’t buy a fast pass.  I wouldn’t have thought of this one until I was a parent, and experienced some things, so hear me out.  One of the things we constantly try to teach our children is that we should put the needs and interests of others ahead of our own.  And I think the fast pass does exactly the opposite.  When you’ve been standing in line for 45 minutes and you are about to get on, and a family comes and delays your ride because they have a fast pass, your kids (and you) and certainly disappointed.  But, it also teaches them that the person holding the fast pass is better than everyone else.  It teaches them that you can buy first and you don’t have to practice patience.  It also seems to be a status symbol.  Like often times it is those with more money who have a fast pass.  We decided that we wouldn’t buy a fast pass for our family because we want to teach them more important things than just getting to the front of the line.

What are your survival tips for theme parks?

Guest Post: Preparing for Vacation (Kendra Thornton)

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Here we are smack in the middle of summer – and you may have a vacation coming up.  Hear these words of advice in planning so you can have an easier time getting away!
Proper Preparation for this Year’s Family Vacation

If you are on the verge of traveling with your children this summer, don’t let the excitement derail you from properly planning for your trip! Sometimes, we forget the small things and don’t realize we have little ones with us who have special needs while on the road. Although the summer is almost coming to a close, it’s never too late to go on a vacation to spend some great quality time with your family. Careful planning can erase easily avoidable problems while away from home. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when traveling with your loved ones.

1. Baby Food

Don’t throw away the baby food yet! Just because you are traveling on an airplane doesn’t mean you can’t bring baby food with you. TSA allows parents to bring baby food on the plane so long as the food is still within its original containers. Also, the last thing you want to is to potentially expose your baby to food allergies. They can take anywhere between three to four days to appear. Sticking with what you have been feeding your baby is recommended.

2. Make a Packing List

In the weeks leading up to your vacation, make an extensive list of all of the items you need to bring with you. Procrastination is the worst thing to do right before a vacation, as it will lead to forgotten items and incomplete agendas. The last thing you want to do is have to go out of your way and spend extra money on clothes or other accessories simply because you forgot it at home. If a list is likely to get lost in your purse or underneath a car seat, try downloading an app like Packing Pro, where you can have a list on your mobile device.

3. Find A Family-Oriented Hotel

When you’re traveling with your family this summer, you’ll want to make sure you find a hotel that is family oriented and has amenities that cater to children of all ages. Consulting the hotel management is a good start, but be sure to read reviews from fellow travelers about the true treatment the hotel provides. I used Gogobot to research through a great list of Orlando hotels, and found an affordable, family friendly destination. Some hotels come equipped with cribs, highchairs and other baby necessities. However, some hotels might charge an extra fee for this. Checking beforehand can help you avoid having to spend extra dollars that could have been saved or spent elsewhere.

4. Document your experience

For the parents and older children, make sure you bring your cameras/smartphones and plenty of chargers and extra batteries! These memories should be able to last you a lifetime, so document them. For the younger children, provide them with their own disposable cameras. When you return home, you can have further bonding with your children by scrapbooking the photos you all took.

5. Make Boarding Easy!

Don’t wait until you get to the airport to print your boarding passes. Have them already printed out and ready to hand over to TSA. Prepare your children for security ahead of time by making them wear sandals or slip on shoes. This will make getting through security much quicker and hassle free.

Make sure you do a little extra planning and stay away from easily avoidable problems. And remember, plan on having lots of fun and good times with your family!

Written by: Kendra Thornton at www.thorntonpr.com


Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!

Reference 1: If a list is likely to get lost in your purse or underneath a car seat, try downloading an app like Packing Pro, where you can have a list on your mobile device.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id312266675?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Reference 2: I used Gogobot to research through a great list of Orlando hotels, and found an affordable, family friendly destination.

Link: http://www.gogobot.com/orlando-walt-disney-world-florida–hotels

Reference 3: For the younger children, provide them with their own disposable cameras.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Disposable-Kodak-Camera-3Pack/dp/B000OFW65I/ref=pd_sim_sbs_p_8







Much & Link Love: November 21 edition

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Vacation over: Thanksgiving ahead.
1. Vacation was great: hiking, eating, sleeping, photoging, seeing friends. Beautiful weather.
2. Parents come in town tomorrow.
3. I’ve decided not to do the half on Thursday. That would take out 9 hours of what my parents and I could do together (drive, run, drive), so we will find stuff to do in Raleigh without going to Charlotte.
4. Friends are crucial to my wellbeing, but I also love downtown when I don’t see another soul. I’ll have to find a time to do that after my parents leave. Hmmmm. Maybe New Years.
5. It just wasn’t a pretty football weekend, except for the GATORS. I was in Boone (home of ASU) and loved saying GO GATORS. One of the signs I saw read “Gator: It is what’s for dinner. Go App.” – Well, that didn’t happen.
6. Short week in the office, busy week of editing and reading.
7. To shed some weight this holiday season (instead of put it on): one meal a day has to be either oatmeal, egg white omelette, or veggies. That will definitely help cut some calories during the day.
8. Got some new things in the works for after New Years. Thinking and excited.

Link Love:
1. Girls Gone Wise blog hits up entitlements and rights of women.
2. I think I would like to host one of these. Anyone in RDU interested – good way to start the new year.
3. These will definitely be making their way to a holiday party near you.
4. These will also be making it to a Christmas party near you (if you live in RDU or Lakeland).
5. Love this article that Justin posted on his blog. Often as Christians we ignore culture. But, here are some wise ways to engage and redeem. Hopefully a post will be coming on that by a friend of mine.
6. I would like to try this Chicago-style pizze at home one night, maybe while the parents are here.
7. Ed Stetzer to the rescue – especially if you are flying this holiday season.
8. I thought of these videos a lot this wknd while scaling 23 feet up a ladder on a side of a mountain.