10 of Our Favorite Family Experiences at Universal Orlando

We had the pleasure of spending a day at Universal Orlando Resort. This is a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own!

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

There’s having a happy place, and then there’s having a Happy Place!

You all know how much we love Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. We go every year, and this was year six and counting. We can count it by Des’ age because that first family vacation to Florida happened when he was one. He was barely walking at that point, but went from being unstable on his feet to totally cruising through the parks with my aunt. It’s one of my finest memories. The kids grow so fast and our experiences are different every year. You can really mark the passing of a year when you line up for a roller coaster and are let on, when only the previous year, you weren’t yet tall enough. I have grown braver with rides because of my kids, and because of Universal Orlando Resort as a whole.

I want to talk about THIS year, though. This year was something special.

A huge thank you to the sponsors of this post – Universal Orlando Resort – for their generosity and awesomeness. This was our best year yet, and we have a LOT of good years. It was our longest day at the park – from morning until closing – and it was also the year both kids were most excited for. Over the years, the kids have discovered the things WE love that are at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I’m talking Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Back to the Future, MARVEL superheroes, E.T., and more. This was the first year in which all four of us had fallen in love with both Harry Potter and with Jurassic Park. Oh, the excitement! We woke up, put on Harry Potter robes, and got there early!

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

I’ll go into more detail and more fun recaps in my top ten list below, but I can’t stress enough how much of a family place this is – definitely for my family – and for most that I know. There was an online conversation yesterday in a local mom’s group about Universal Orlando Resort and if the three parks – Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay – are good for families of all ages and sizes. It was unanimous that there was something age-appropriate for everyone. I agree. Des was one when we first went and he loved the parades, the small child play area, the water play, and some of the rides – on my lap! And we got to do some of the best people watching and ride watching!

10 of Our Favorite Family Experiences at Universal Orlando:

1 – Lunch at Three Broomsticks. This really goes under The Wizarding World of Harry Potter category as a whole, but since it’s lunch, I absolutely had to keep it separate. You can get Butterbeer in several places throughout Universal’s Islands of Adventures, and here we can sit down with a cup of it – along with a much-needed lunch. We always get kid-friendly food, like macaroni and cheese, but Cassidy and I love to split a 1/2 roasted chicken, potatoes, and corn on the cob. All you have to do is order – and they’ll find you seating and bus your table. Plus, they’re always friendly and it’s scenic in there!

2 – The E.T. Ride. Can I just say, that this ride – located in Universal Studios Florida – is actually my favorite ride, on earth. Not just at Universal Orlando Resort. Favorite EVERYWHERE. This ride makes me feel like I’m flying and it makes me feel all the feels and it’s excitement and nostalgia all in one. You’ll be put on a mission and will even fly across the moon! Plus, it’s family friendly. When we go as a family of four, we can sit all four in a row on our bicycles. You can drape camera bags, diaper bags, and purses on the black handlebars. When we have an extra kid with us, like last time, we just take up two or three rows and maybe share with kind strangers. The. Best. One of the most memorable rides for both of my kids.

Meeting Blue is a highlight!

3 – The Magic of Jurassic Park. Now, I’ve always been a fan. I get nostalgic when I hear the theme music because I think back to our 1st year when Scarlet and Cassidy went on Pteranodon Flyers™ and I played with Des in Camp Jurassic™. This year, Des and I rode the flyers ride together and it was a rush! We also met Blue! This was one of the more incredible adventures:



Between meeting Blue, the rides, the music, and the fun, this is not to be missed by my family. I think this is the year in which we were the most excited about this part of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Des was, and I really was too!

Looking to travel to Universal Studios Florida? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are10 favorite #family experiences #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

4 – Riding the Hogwarts Express Between Parks. This is AWESOME. It’s one of the perks of having the 2 or 3-Park Ticket options. This is the REAL Hogwarts Express and it’s such fun! When you’re in Diagon Alley, you can even cross platform 9 3/4. There’s an interactive part of riding the train and there’s a different one for going to Hogsmeade, and then coming back to Diagon Alley in London. It’s so lifelike and the best part is that it’s also a real form of relaxing transportation.

Another big perk!

5 – Meeting Superheroes. We finally visited Marvel Super Hero Island in Universal’s Islands of Adventures last year and it was really worth it. We met Spiderman and Captain America and love watching the the Incredible Hulk Coaster go around and around. (it’s NOT family friendly but super fun to watch) What I love is that the heroes walk through the streets and put on a show, and you can meet them! They are super into it and who’s to say they’re not the real deal??

Looking to travel to Universal Studios Florida? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are10 favorite #family experiences #ad #ReadyForUniversal

6 – Getting Lard Lad Donuts, and Other Treats. We make it a point in Simpsons Land, to always always get a nice big pink donut for a treat at Lard Lad Donuts. We also love Chocolate Emporium, Butterbeer, Chocolate Frogs, and much more.

7 – The Parades and Characters That Pop Up. Oh, is this fun. Parades are always a joy but these parades make you sing and dance! Also at Universal Studios Florida, you can meet Beetlejuice and Doc from Back to the Future and can see The Blues Brothers Live! While I was waiting for my family to get out of the awesome Minions Ride, Marilyn Monroe drove by on the top of a car and waved to me, and then The Blues Brother did too, and one of them raised his eyebrows at me. Loved it!

Can’t Miss Alert!

8 – Staying For the Light Show. The The Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts™ Castle was a must-do for us. We were surprised at how easy it was to see. We got off the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster at dusk and lined up to see them.

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

9 – Childhood Nostalgia in GREAT Technology. This place is like a warm hug for those of us adults who grew up loving TV shows and films, and watching them with stars in our eyes. Sharing that with the next generation is priceless.

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

10 – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Get ready for a lot of photos for this one, which is why I saved it for last. That said, that doesn’t mean it’s my favorite part of Universal Orlando Resort. I think all parts of the resort add a lot to the family experience. It’s just that Cassidy and I both fell in love with Harry Potter while we were split up for two years. It’s been magic for us, and Scarlet has read all seven books, plus “The Cursed Child” and has seen it on Broadway! We love the fire breathing dragon, the walk through of the castle ride (while Cassidy and Scarlet went on it five times) and the fact that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has the third roller coaster I ever went on! Ahh.. And in the front row at dusk!

Flight of the Hippogriff rocks.

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Studios Florida? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

Pro Tip!

Arrive early and head straight to Ollivander’s Wand Shop. They do a performance and only let 25 people in at once. There, they select someone from the crowd to get their wand! Scarlet was selected our first year visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it was super memorable! We usually like to then ride the Hogwarts Express and do Jurassic Park during the early part of the day because it can get crowded. There is just so much to see and do! And have little ones? Seuss Landing and Toon Town are AWESOME for kids and adults of all ages.

Lastly, for some fun background info, Universal Orlando Resort is comprised of three fabulous parks – Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay. There’s also an entertainment complex – Universal CityWalk – and it gets bigger every year! We love to walk around there. And, there are six on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort – Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and Hard Rock Hotel. This is literally our perfect family vacation!

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

So, have you been to Universal Orlando Resort? What are your favorite family adventures?

Looking to travel to Universal Orlando Resort? There is SO MUCH to do, see, taste and enjoy. Here are 10 favorite #family experiences: #ad #ReadyForUniversal

8 Ways to Grow Closer and Healthier as a Family This Summer

This post is a partnership with One A Day® with Nature’s Medley™. I received product/compensation from OAD to write this post. All opinions, photos and tips are 100% mine.

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The new One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

Every now and then I get super excited for a line of products.

This one is getting me! There are so many reasons to love the New! One A Day® with Nature’s Medley™ line of multivitamins. For one, I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m all about the gummy multivitamins. Always have been, at least since they’ve existed and I’ve been old enough for them, and probably always will be. What I love about this line of multivitamins is that there’s a special formula for all four members of my family! So this becomes another fun and tasty, and important, task for us to do together. It’s the same way I worked hard to get the two dogs on the same heartworm/tick medicine schedule. It’s because there’s power in numbers! And we all have different bodies and different needs.

That’s why it’s so wonderful to each have our own formula.

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The new One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

We all know that summer seems to pass us by in an instant. It’s an odd time for my family because Cassidy still works full-time, I work full-time, and the kids have camp – which is longer than their school days by two whole hours. Summer passes us by if we’re not careful, and I worry if we’ve gotten enough time together. Have we had time to bond? Did we create healthy habits together? We only get 18 summers together each, before they’re both adults. Will we make the best of it?

8 Ways to Grow Closer and Healthier as a Family This Summer:

1 – Find adventure together. Go a different way home, try a new restaurant, explore a new town, or even cross state lines. We’re an adventurous family, always looking for a new BBQ place, a new place to hike, or a new meal to cook together.

2 – Fulfill at least one family member’s dream this summer. I’ve always loved moose, so Scarlet had the dream a few years ago to see moose for the first time. So we did it. In the winter, we went to a hotel in Orlando that Des had been dreaming about for years. Our dreams range from small to large, but focusing on one dream per family, or even one dream per family member, is a goal we try to achieve every summer. You never know what it might lead to.

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The new One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

3 – Have no-screens for an hour, half a day, day, etc. Or maybe a whole weekend! Spend that time playing outside together, gardening together, or finding adventures/fulfilling dreams. Make sure at least one meal a day together has zero screens.

4 – Meal prep together! We love to talk about where food comes from and what it does to your body.

5 – Create rituals and traditions together. Maybe it’s movie night or game night, or ice cream on Mondays since Mondays can be gloomier. Pizza Fridays, gardening Wednesdays! We have seasonal rituals and traditions that mean the WORLD.

6 – Support each other. We all have unique talents and hobbies. Scarlet runs 5Ks and Des is doing theater camp. Both are doing mad science camp. I make sure to support them in everything they do, and I also love the time we spend doing so.

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The New! One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

7 – The family that winds down together. At the end of the day, use the wind down time to snuggle, read, talk, and be together.

8 – The family that takes vitamins together! You knew this was coming, right? New! One A Day® with Nature’s Medley™ are also the only complete multivitamins with plant-based antioxidants from one total USDA serving of fruits & vegetables.

And there are three great tasting gummy varieties: Men’s, Women’s and Kids:

The vitamins are uniquely formulated for men, women and kids, and are free of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Their colors are from natural sources. Also, according to my kids, they are extremely delicious! Raspberry was the favorite:

Cassidy and I strive to eat healthy, and we strive to get more fruits and vegetables into the kids’ diet. Life gets in the way and we have one picky eater and one not picky eater who turns into a picky eater when his sister does! It can be difficult for kids, and adults, to get all the nutrients they need from food alone. New! One A Day with Nature’s Medley, with its plant-based antioxidants from one total USDA serving size of fruits and vegetables, is a great way to help this family get nutritional support.

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The New! One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

Remember – New! One A Day with Nature’s Medley is the only complete multivitamins with plant-based antioxidants from one total USDA serving size of fruits & vegetables, among leading brands. They are uniquely formulated for men, women and kids ages 4 and up.

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The New! One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

Here are some interesting statistics about nutrients:
Up to 90% of Americans fall short in getting the key nutrients they may need from food alone.
Up to 90% of Americans aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables and may be falling short of the important nutrients they contain.
94% of kids don’t meet vegetable recommendations.
66% of kids don’t meet fruit recommendations.
86% of adults don’t meet vegetable recommendations.
81% of adults don’t meet fruit recommendations.

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The New! One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

Make sure to pick yours up at Walmart and enjoy your summer together!

Summer is almost here, and we're looking for ways to grow closer and healthier as a family. The New! One A Day with Nature’s Medley makes it easy and delicious to take vitamins together. How are you getting your multivitamins? What do you do as a family to get healthier together in the summer? #ad #OneADay

What’s one way you plan to get closer and healthier as a family this summer?