Universal’s Islands of Adventures – The Other Orlando Theme Park

Islands of AdventureIf your kids love Harry Potter and super heroes more than princesses and cartoon characters, Universal’s Islands of Adventure could be the place for you. People often overlook this Orlando attraction, but it actually delivers on some things where Disney falls short. However, it does fail in some rather important areas, namely rides suitable for the little ones and a lack of food allergy awareness, which is a problem for our family.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is a theme park that is easy to manage in a day. There are seven “islands”:

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Around the World in A Day: 5 Things We Learned at Epcot

EpcotIf you have never visited Epcot, you don’t know what you’re missing. Think of traveling around the world, but never leaving the confines of the United States. Well, central Florida for that matter. Think “It’s A Small World” on steroids. The park is made up of two distinct sections: Future World and World Showcase. Future World is not so futuristic, it actually consists of an aquarium, soaring experience, and some hands on technology exhibits that now seem incredibly dated. If you have read any of my previous posts, you know why World Showcase appeals to our family. Eleven pavilions, each representing a different country, ring a central lagoon and within each one you can experience a bit of culture through shows, rides, shopping, and our favorite, food. This time we showed up just in time for the Disney Princess Half Marathon (bad idea) so the park was crazy busy. NOTE: These people actually run a half marathon and then tour the park the rest of the day. Who does that? Be sure to check the Disney calendar and make sure there are not any major events on the days you are planning your visit.

We entered the park and headed directly for the FastPass+ kiosk (see previous post about navigating Fast Pass +), got our coffee on at Starbucks, and set off to explore. Continue reading

Fast Pass+ and Animal Kingdom – A Survival Guide to Disney’s Outback

Animal Kingdom WDW

A Visit to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and How to Navigate FastPass+

The night before we leave, everyone can’t sleep. They are crazy excited to see the mouse. Well not really, they’re more excited to see their grandparents and escape from Chicago’s horrible weather. Sadly, our children have reached that age where the allure of Disney characters is no longer their cup of tea, and now their focus is entirely upon the rides.

We set our alarm for 3:30 a.m. and everyone is super chatty and excited as we make our way to the airport and onto the plane. We always try to make them rest, but for some reason (adrenaline maybe?), it never works. Thankfully we aren’t the only parents who have dragged their children out of bed for the early morning cheapo fare to Orlando. These flight attendants must see all sorts.

After an uneventful flight, we hit the ground running. Rental car, check. Toll roads, check. Arrive at Animal Kingdom less than an hour after arrival…impressive, and I am now patting myself on the back.

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Dublin with Kids – 5 Favorite Places to Visit

The front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin photo credit: Zach Dischner via photopin cc


Spring is one of the most beautiful times to visit Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. We found it to be an easy place to visit with kids for many reasons. The people are friendly, the city is easy to get around, and they speak English (with a wee bit of an accent). A dear friend is planning a trip to Ireland this summer, so I thought I would put together a list of our five favorite sights to see with kids in Dublin.

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Books That Bring the Magic of Ireland Alive

This post may contain affiliate links, however, all recommendations are my own.

Maybe it’s a deep seeded connection to my Irish ancestors or a simple love of Ireland. Whatever the case may be, I love to read books about the land of the leprechauns and share them with my children.  In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some of our favorite reads:

Killarney, Ireland

A beautiful day in Killarney

For the Younger Ones Continue reading