We all know that vacation is not always easy when you have kids. The truth is not only do the adults need a little relaxation but so do the kids.
After taking a few trips, I’ve come to realize that while on vacation it’s ok to be a little lenient so we can all enjoy our time together. No schedules, no nagging just pure old fun! Once I realized this, I have enjoyed my vacations so much more.
Each trip brings a new experience and takeaway that I try to apply to the next trip. We’ve recently attended Family Forward in Universal Orlando. We went last year and since we had such a blast (and it’s one of my kids’ favorite places to visit), we decided to visit again this summer.
There were a few things I did on this trip that made it by far one of our best ones yet.
1. Pool days are a must. After a few days of running around picking up last minute items, packing for everyone, and then traveling, it’s necessary to have a pool day or two in the beginning of the trip. Of course this would depend on where you go (weather permitting) but this has really helped my family unwind and get into “vacation” mode.
We stayed at Loews Royal Pacific and it was perfect. My boys are old enough where they can go off swimming while my husband and I relax poolside. This resort has a lagoon-style swimming pool with a sandy beach. We usually try to grab lounge chairs in the middle of the pool so we can keep our eyes on the boys. This was a great way to kick off our time in Universal Orlando.
The second day we walked over to the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which opened in July. It was a 3-minute walk from our resort and was a nice way to change up our scenery, not to mention it’s beautiful! The pool area made us feel like we were whisked away to a tropical island. It had cascading waterfalls, two sand areas, a child’s play area with pop-up jets, huge hot tub, and game area (ping pong table, pool table, and lawn games). It provided hours of fun for us!
2. Forget about eating healthy, it’s vacation after all. Ice-cream for breakfast, sure why not. Chocolate for lunch – heck yeah! Snacks at 10pm, well of course. Don’t get me wrong, we make sure the boys eat good meals but we loosen up a bit on vacation. The last thing I feel like doing is fighting with my youngest to eat his veggies. I do this at home, so there’s no way I’m going to do this on vacation. As long as they eat decent meals, we allow them to have some treats.
The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium had a soft launch while we were there, so one night after dinner we took a walk over to check it out. Let’s just say if you love chocolate and sweets, this is the place to be! It was no surprise my oldest thought this was the coolest place ever. It’s a full-service restaurant, bar and confectionery at Universal CityWalk. They infuse chocolate into recipes in the most creative ways.
People raved about their milkshakes so we had to give them a taste test. My boys’ mouths dropped open when the milkshakes came out. They are like a piece of art!
They have milkshakes with flavors such as Chocolate x5, Bacon Brittle and Red Velvet. My one piece of advice, a milkshake is good for two people. Be prepared for your taste buds to be wowed!
3. Check your adult hat at the door. As soon as you enter Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure, it’s like your golden ticket to be a kid again. I was never a huge Harry Potter fan until after I went on the Hogswart Express and walked around Hogsmeade. Everyone in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in character (clothes and accent) and you instantly feel like you are in the movie. It’s hard not to be a fan after spending two-days there.
Being a kid again allows you to experience the magic and create special memories with your kids. I loved seeing my boys get excited to cast spells and eat chocolate frogs from Honeydukes. We all squealed while chomping on the frogs. You would have thought they were real!
We took some time to play games and see who could get the most baskets.
4. Enjoy the night life. If you have little ones this might not work out. But my boys are now 7 and 10 so on vacation there’s no strict bed time. We basically fall into bed each night exhausted, happy, and excited for the next day’s adventures.
Night is the perfect time to walk around CityWalk. There’s so much going on with shops, restaurants, music, and lights that it will keep the kids entertained.
5. Let the kids pick their keepsake. Every trip we go on, we let the boys pick one item to buy as a keepsake so they will always remember that vacation. This year they did something totally different and decided they wanted caricatures done of themselves. They thought it was the coolest thing ever!
My biggest piece of advice when traveling with kids is to go with the flow. There’s going to be rough patches and times where someone has a melt down (see below). I just take a deep breath and work through it so that we get back on track.
If you are looking for more info about Universal Orlando make sure to check out:
My family attended Family Forward at Universal Orlando. With our conference pass we received discounted park admission, hotel, along with special experiences like a VIP Tour of Universal and park events. Some photos were provided by Melissa Jae Photography.