Saturday, 6 July 2019

Top Tips to do Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in One Day

We recently visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for one day only. We managed to go in both parks and pretty much did all the rides we wanted to. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of Universal Studios in one day.

1) Buy a Park to Park Ticket
Make sure you buy the park to park ticket which will allow you into both parks via the Hogwarts Express. You could go from Universal Studios to Islands of adventure or the other way around.

2) Get an Express Pass
There is no way we could have done everything we wanted to without the express pass. This enabled us to go into a separate 'quicker' queuing area and bypass those long lines. 

3) Eat Breakfast Before You Arrive
Don't waste precious time you have getting breakfast at the park. Eat before you get there and arrive just before opening.

4) Make Use of the Child Swap
If you have young children that can't ride bigger rides then be sure to make use of the child swap system. Most of the rides have an area where one parent can wait with the children whilst the other rides on the attraction. When the parent finishes the ride they simply swap and the waiting parent heads virtually straight onto the ride. 
The Harry Potter child swap areas were very good as they had tv screens showing Harry Potter films. 

5) Go Midweek
Both parks are always quieter during Monday - Friday. This is usually when kids are in school etc.

6) Go at the Right Time of Year
Where possible try and avoid any school holidays. Remember to check both American and UK holidays to ensure you find the best time.

7) Have a Plan but be Flexible 
Have a rough plan in mind of what you want to do before you arrive including which rides you want to go and what shows you want to see. However, it's important to remember to be flexible too and be prepared to change any plans. If a ride queue is very short when you walk past it, then ride it straight away. Do not wait to follow your plan.

8) Wear Comfortable Shoes
You're going to be on your feet most of the day so make sure you have comfortable shoes. I recommend some form of trainers but wear whatever is going to make sure your feet don't hurt throughout the day. 

9) Have a Quick Lunch
Don't book a sit down table service style meal for lunch (save that for a late dinner). Pop into one of the quick service style restaurants such as the Kwik-E-Mart in The Simpsons area.

10) Don't wait for the front or back seating of rides
We all love to ride the very front or the back of rollercoasters but often those lines are the busiest. If you have more than one day then yes go for it but for one day only I'd advise against it.

I hope these tips are helpful. One thing that is important to remember is that you probably won't have time to get on every single ride and do all of the shows, so go with that idea in your head. If you do manage it then, then that's a bonus but if you don't, then you won't be too disappointed if you've already preempted it. 

*Disclosure - Our one day family park to park tickets with Express Passes were gifted to us by Universal Studios.*


Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Our Kids Demand Our Attention... But We Mustn't Forget Our Parents!

Being a parent is a full-time job. For many of us, it’s a full-time job on top of a full-time job. It’s not just the time and effort that you put into feeding them, caring for them, creating a home that’s healthy, safe and happy or keeping a watchful eye on them where needed. It’s not even the way in which they’re constantly on our minds, even when they’re at nursery or school. It’s the way in which when we look into their smiling faces, it feels as though there’s scarcely enough love in our hearts (or the world) for them, let alone anyone or anything else. 

Parenthood changes us. Quite literally. It reorganises our minds so that even big things like our jobs or our careers can pale in comparison to our parental responsibilities. However, as much as we adore our kids and take our responsibilities as parents seriously, we mustn’t neglect our own parents. They gave us life and made us who we are. They imbued us with skills and knowledge which even know help us to navigate the rigours of adulthood life. 

No matter how up to our elbows we may be in parenting, we can never afford to forget that...

For better or for worse, they made us better parents

Our own parenting style is made up of a “greatest hits” of our Mum and Dad’s parenting style. You’ve taken everything you loved about being a child and ensured that your kids get the same. They may have had some shortcomings or got things wrong (none of us are perfect) but you’ve found ways to improve upon the upbringing they gave you to help your kids get the best of both worlds. For better or for worse, your parents have made you a better parent!

As they get older, it’s up to us to take care of their needs

We’ve relied on our parents throughout our lives, even when we’re all grown up. Even after they’ve given us all we need to start our adult lives, they’ve been there to give us help and advice. They’ve helped us with everything from changing nappies to getting a mortgage.

As they get older, however, they will start to need to rely on us a little more. This may be something as small as driving them to the supermarket or it can be something as big as choosing a nice care home like Porthaven for them when they’re no longer able to look after themselves. The better we stay in touch with them, the better able we are to take care of them when they need us. 

While they’d never admit it, empty nest syndrome is definitely a thing

When we’re all grown up we usually can’t wait  to flee the nest and start our new lives as grown ups. Whether this is moving away to university or getting a place of our own, it can leave an empty nest which may be more jarring and emotional for our parents than they’re prepared to admit. Keeping in touch with our parents as often as possible can be a great way to reduce the effects of empty nest syndrome.

So give Mum a call today or meet up for a coffee this week. Ask Dad if he fancies a trip to the pictures. After all, reminding someone that you love them is never a bad idea!

*This is a collaborative post*

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