Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando

This time of year is absolutely amazing in Central Florida! The weather is typically just right with very few rain showers, the crowds are not horribly bad and there is one other reason that makes February through April a great time to visit Central Florida. I know you may be thinking Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, and while you are close, we need to drive a little farther towards Orlando to find the reason that I am speaking about, Universal Studios Orlando’s Mardi Gras Celebration.  That’s right, Universal Studios pulls out all the stops for this celebration every year. I have to admit that Mardi Gras is most likely the number one reason why we keep our annual passes to Universal Studios.

If you have never been to Universal Studios Orlando’s Mardi Gras let me sum it up for you: 

Amazing food + Fantastic parade + Entertaining concerts = Great time had by all!

Let’s start off with the food! The French Quarter Courtyard is jam packed with Mardi Gras favorites like Jambalaya, Creole Gumbo, Andouille Sausage, Red Beans and Rice, and of course Beignets.  Last year I tried the Andouille Sausage and it was fantastic, just the right amount of flavor and kick.  Each year we will grab some beignets (be prepared for a line) and sit down in our spot and wait for the parade.

This is not just any parade either. The Mardi Gras Parade starts at 7:45 pm and is filled with the most spectacular parade floats and stilted street performers that you will be temporarily brought into their world. The performers in the parade have a way of making you feel special and they are sure to try everything to get you cheering and screaming! I almost forgot…when watching the parade be sure to keep your head up and eyes peeled because riders on the floats throw beads to the crowd and some of them come in pretty fast. Catching the beads is my son’s absolute favorite thing to do during Mardi Gras and from looking around during the parade, I don’t think he is the only one. Passholders have the opportunity to sign up to ride on the floats and throw beads. We have tried each year and have yet to be selected. Still time this year!

After the parade makes its way past, you will want to head over to the Music Plaza Stage (directly in front of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster) because at 8:30pm the Mardi Gras concert will begin (select nights).  We have seen some of our favorites during the Mardi Gras concerts including Daughtry, Jessie J, KellyClarkson and Barenaked Ladies to name a few.  If you are able to go for more than one night of Mardi Gras I suggest seeing the parade on a night that you are not really interested in the concert. If you are really interested in the concert it is a good idea to set up camp early and just watch the parade go by from a distance.  This year we are very excited to once again see Jessie J and Adam Lambert as well as seeing Fall Out Boy for the first time.

Well there you have it, why we love Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando and why we spend many of the weekends during February, March and April at this park.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Everything is Awesome

   The lyric from The LEGO Movie’s signature song perfectly sums up the new 4-D movie, The LEGO Movie 4-D: A New Adventure. This awesome theatrical attraction can be seen exclusively at LEGOLAND theme parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers. The LEGO Movie 4-D: A New Adventure brings Emmet and his friends back together. It’s a sequel to the blockbuster The LEGO Movie, where Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure is mistakenly identified as the key to saving the world.

The LEGO Movie 4-D: A New Adventure is set after the events of the movie. This 12 ½-minute story finds the gang entangled in an Evil Secret Plot involving a mysterious theme park inspired by their adventures in The LEGO Movie, one that requires them to call on the Master Builder skills of a surprise ally to save the day.

Returning to voice their iconic characters are actors Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle), Nick Offerman (MetalBeard), Charlie Day (Benny) and Alison Brie (Unikitty).

Added to the cast is Risky Business. Who is Risky Business? He is a unique mix of arrogance and frustration, and is voiced by Patton Oswalt. But you will have to see the movie to find out all about his evil plans.

Almost 200 artists and technicians at Los Angeles-based Pure Imagination Studios supplied their expertise in crafting cutting-edge 3D computer animation. It has a mix of humor, action, and adventure wrapped into 4-D fun. Even the red carpet entrances are interactive. It is a great addition to LEGOLAND.

I think this new multisensory experience is a must see for LEGOLAND guests. We love it. 
For more information, visit and

When you go to LEGOLAND check out the LEGOLAND Hotels.  More than two million LEGO bricks make up over 2,000 Lego models all over the hotels! Choose the room theme you like the best.Talk about an awesome sleepover!
 LEGO Friends Rooms are now available to book!
 Your fans can be some of the first to stay and play in their very own piece of Heartlake City! Complete with the CafĂ©, Stables and guests' very own LEGO tree house. The themed rooms are available for stays beginning March 10, 2016. Limited availability but a lot of awesomeness!
Lori Fries, Official Legoland Blogger

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Day 9- When in Rome

   Woke up to crazy swollen feet today. I've been drinking a ton of water but I guess not enough! Breakfast was a dry cake and water. Our first stop today was the Coliseum. There were people outside that were illegally selling souvenirs. I could tell by the way they wanted me to hide when I was handing them my money. Roman guards were watching things going on outside the gates. If you wanted a photo with them, it was 10€!  It was so neat to see these ancient ruins but there was a lot of scaffolding surrounding it for cleaning and maintenance. After looking around and taking photos of the inside of the Coliseum, we explored the surrounding grounds.

   Next on our exploration today was the Vatican. After a quick food truck lunch of a pizza panini, Pringles and water, we headed that way. The line to get into the Vatican was long, as we waited on our guide. The walk consisted of a ton of steps and several hills. 
   Once inside the museum part of the Vatican, we were told we couldn't use flash photography. There were so many interesting artifacts in the museum! Upon entering the Sistine Chapel we were not allowed to talk or take any type of photos. There were even guards inside to usher you out if you did. Once we got into St. Paul's Cathedral, we could resume taking any kind of pictures. The marble and heavy wood used in here was gorgeous, as were the outside grounds of the Vatican! 
   After we completed the guided tour we had a bit of time to shop. I purchased an authentic rosary and had it blessed at the Vatican. We were to meet up with the rest of the group at the bottom of the Spanish  Steps before heading off to dinner. 
   Supper was authentic pizza at Restorante degli Amici. It was delicious! For dessert, we once again had gelato. 
  After the meal we were taken on a night tour of Rome. Most of this was via bus but there was still some walking. We saw the Pantheon as well as the Trevi fountain. The Trevi was closed for repairs and cleaning but we could still view it. I also found a cannoli! After a long day of touring, we headed back to the hotel to rest up before Pompeii.