Showing posts sorted by date for query Cat. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query Cat. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query Cat. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query Cat. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Gift Ideas for Pet Parents

Looking for Gifts for Pet Owners?


Do you have an adult child who considers their pets their kids? Are you said child? Maybe you or someone you know is retired and your pet is your whole world. What gifts are good for pet lovers? Well... if you are a one-day-to-be-crazy-cat-lady like me, (I'm not there yet because I have young children and a significant other) you've likely been on the receiving end of countless kitty knickknacks. Those kitty sculptures and bobble-heads can pile up pretty quickly. Before you know it, you're not just a crazy cat lady- now your'e a crazy hoarder too. You've got to stop that before it snowballs into cat hoarding. No one wants that. Instead, check out these gift ideas for pet parents. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.*


Gift Ideas for Pet Parents


Gift Ideas for Girls: Cute Cat Prints

Cat Prints are Purrfect for Kitty Loving Girls


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of jxstarkid for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you have a little girl who loves cats? I know I do. We're always looking for cool cat print pants or dresses. When we saw this adorable cat print coat, we had to have it! Why not go all out and get a wardrobe of cat print clothing? Here's a great gift guide from jxstarkid on Amazon. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.*


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This adorable kitty coat for girls (2=11 yrs), is perfect your cat loving baby girl.



50 Simple Group Time Games for Preschoolers

50 Easy Circle Time Games for Three, Four, and Five Year Olds

Group Time for preschoolers often happens several times a day, you need fresh activities to interact with the children and keep them engaged. These 50 simple group time games for preschoolers are perfect for three, four, and five year olds and they can be adapted for use with kindergarten or early elementary. Enjoy!


Cat Toys DIY Ideas for Homemade Fun

DIY Homemade Cat Toy Ideas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyPetMyStar #CollectiveBias

Cats! No matter their age, cats like to play. Even lazy, fat cats and old cats like to play. You just need to find their comfort level. We've been making our own homemade cat toys for awhile. We particularly like to use objects found in nature or the home environment. These cat toys are DIY and so easy to make at home. When your Kitties play with them, they'll know how much you love them. Enjoy!




Cat Toys DIY Ideas for homemade fun
Make diy, fun cat toys from natural objects.

We currently have three furry cat friends living in the house. Our cats range in age from about three-years-old to about sixteen-years-old. Each one has their own set of limitations. So, we adapt the way we interact with each one. For the cats, everyday is star treatment day. After all, they are cats. Cats are divas. If you treat them like anything less, they'll demand more from you.

Be sure to avoid cat stank face at all costs. Tidy Cats®  now features guaranteed TidyLock™ Protection that locks away the odors that can lead to Stank Face. What is stank face? Take a look at Tigger! How can he enjoy playing with his new homemade cat toys when the litter box smells?


Tigger's Stank Face Cat
Tigger's Stank Face.

Tidy Cats® litter solutions offers the antidote to poor Tigger's Stank Face. Tidy Cats’ wide range of products means never having to see another cat's Stank Face again. When the odor is gone everyone is happier!

Our youngest cat, Buddi, has Epilepsy and now has some hind leg paralysis. This doesn't stop her from loving to play! She likes any kind of cat toys, but cat toys that look like tiny creatures are her favorite to pounce. For a week, we gave her the star treatment by carrying her to the food dish and even to the litter box which is filled with Tidy Cats® Lightweight Cat Litter.

This is the best cat litter for a tiny princess kitty because it protects her from Stank Face. That's right, stank face isn't just a human affliction. Poor little Buddi shares the litter box with two male cats. You should see her stank face! And, Tidy Cats® Lightweight offers the same strength Tidy Cats® strength customers love, without all the hassle of hauling around a heavy container of litter up a flight of stairs.


Buddi is happy because the litter doesn't smell anymore.



RePete, our oldest cat, recently lost his twin brother (Pete). He's been lying around feeling depressed lately, but this doesn't stop him from playing when prompted! He especially likes the homemade cat toys made from natural items found outdoors. As an outdoor cat, he didn't use to get much indoor time, but since his brother passed, we've let him share the spotlight indoors. He can't smell so stank face isn't a problem for him. Good thing, because he is the stankiest of all!


RePete playing with homemade diy cat toys.
RePete playing with homemade, diy cat toys.


Tigger, our middle cat, is like Garfield. He plays differently. So, we adapted the cat toy diy to his lazy ways. He loves to play as long as we are willing to do most of the work. Head diva always demands the most star treatment. Talk about stank face. Oh my. If the food is a day old, if the water is an hour old, if RePete has forgotten to bury his poo, Tigger makes certain we see his best stank face! #StopStankFace


Tigger "playing" with our homemade cat toys... okay, looking at our homemade cat toys.

Twig and Feathers Homemade Cat Toy DIY


Nothing could be easier than these twig and feather homemade cat toys, well, assuming you have access to twigs and feathers! We do. As much as we love cats, we love birds more. That's right, birds and cats! Everyone lives peacefully together. We have lots of spare feathers!


DIY Twig and Feather Cat Toy Tutorial.
DIY Twig and Feather Cat Toy Tutorial.


You will need:
1 long, skinny, twig approximately 12" in length.
Bird Feathers
Paperclips or Safety Pins
Bottle Cork

Step One: Attach one end of the paperclip to the bottle cork and the other end to the stick.

Step Two: Attach the feathers to the bottle cork with hot glue.

Step Three: Enjoy!


Homemade Pinecone Mice Cat Toy


We've got a variety of Pinecones from a large yard full of trees. For this homemade cat toy, you will need: tiny Pinecones, a leaf, and tiny bird feathers (the softer, the better).




Step One: Cover the Pinecone with glue, (hot glue works best).

Step Two: Cover the glue with feathers.

Step Three: Attach a long feather to the widest end of the Pinecone to form a tail.

Step Four: Cut out two tiny ears from the leaf and glue to the Pinecone's skinniest end.

Step Five: Let dry and then toss the homemade mouse cat toy across the floor!






Catnip Leaf Pouches DIY Cat Toy


Cats love Catnip. We have our very own patch of fresh Catnip growing amid our herb garden. If you don't grow your own Catnip (you should) you can purchase dried Catnip or even Catnip plants in most grocery stores. We picked up some dried Catnip when we were shopping for Tidy Cats® Lightweight at our local Kroger store.




You will need:
Catnip (fresh or dry)
A Large Leaf or Two
Kite String or Yarn
Hot Glue

Step One: Pour or place Catnip in the center of the leaf.

Step Two: If using one leaf, fold it up like an envelope and glue the ends down. If using two leaves, place one over the top and glue at edges.

Step Three: Tie the string to the stem of the leaf pouch.

Step Four: Sit the leaf in the middle of a wide open space and wait patiently.






Look at that stank face! We had to make a run for Tidy Cats® litter.

TidyLock™ is the latest innovation in litter featured in all Tidy Cats® litter varieties. TidyLock ™ is the new and improved formula that now better locks away odors that can lead to Stank Face. Don't let it happen to you. Stop the Stank.

For more fun, follow TidyCats on Facebook, Twitter: @TidyCats, and YouTube.


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ADS DISCLOSURE: We've partnered with some wonderful advertisers who may sponsor blog posts or send us samples to test. Some companies pay us to review their products. *We also use affiliate links, if you make a purchase we get a tiny commission. Kids Creative Chaos participates in the Amazon LLC Associates Program*, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a mean for blogs to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon properties, including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com. We also offer Tapinfluence, Google Adsense, SoFab, and Izea ads here. Thanks so much for helping us keep the lights on! :)


How to Enter Indiana State Fair: County 4 H Fair

What to Know for 4 H Club 


How do I enter the Indiana State Fair? Want to know, we've got answers and all details of what to expect during your first year of 4 H. Enjoy!









Lora's Law #12: People Don't Mean What They Say Quote

Just Because You Say What You Mean...

As I age, life gets easier. I've begun to understand that no two people are alike. I'd always assumed that when people say something mean or cruel about you, they believe it. Why would they say it otherwise? It has taken me decades to realize that other people don't mean what they say.


I do. If it comes out of my mouth, I believe it to be true. That's why you'll never hear me say, You're ugly! Never. I'd have to believe it to say it. If I believed it, I couldn't say it. You can QUOTE me. I mean, the truth hurts, right? Lots of people say terrible things that they don't mean. They'll say anything to get out of a situation, to hurt your feelings, or to get you to be quiet. Never mind it how it makes you feel, they'll apologize later. Lora's Law #12 is all about how people don't say what they mean. Enjoy!


Limit Smartphone Use App: Are You Addicted?


Put Down Your Phone! It Can Save Your Child’s Self- Esteem



Do your kids have mobile phones? We recently purchased a smartphone to use as a house phone. Though, my kids have tablets and free access to computers, I worry about the cell phone, the texting, the access to the world in the palm of your hand. Smartphones have become addictive. I wondered, is their an app for that? Of course, there's an app for everything! Should we limit smartphone use? In this post, Hilary Smith, shares some insight on the overuse of technology combined with our kids, but it might not be the child who has the problem. That's right, Mom (or Dad), you might need an app to limit smartphone use. Enjoy!


Cat Food Reviews: Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend

The Cat Food You Pick is Important

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PawsToSavor #CollectiveBias

We claim that we have four cats. We have one original, one adopted stray, two inherited brothers, several neighbor cats, and a feral cat on the property. That's a lot of mouths to feed. So, when it comes to recognizing a hangry cat, we know the signs! A hangry cat will eat most anything, but a hungry cat has time for a more refined palette. If you are looking for cat food reviews, you've come to the right place. Today, we share how much our cats love Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend and how much we love our cats. Enjoy!



Cat Food Reviews: Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend


Our cats, all four of them, stick to us like glue. Wherever we go, they follow. When we walk laps around the pond, two of the cats walk with us no matter how many laps we  do. Our youngest kitty runs around the pond stopping for us to catch up with her.


cat food reviews
Our Pete, the Cat.

When we play in the yard, they interrupt. When we try to do work, they try to stop us. When we sit in a chair, they sit on our laps. These cats are more like dogs. When we pull into the driveway, the run to greet us at the car. They show their love for us in so many ways. Our job is to protect them.


Pete and RePete at play.

How do you make sure your kitties don't fight over the food? First, you make sure no kitty is hangry. You know, he's so hungry that he is angry. A hangry cat will spit, slap, and attack anyone anyTHING that tries to take his food. Our two, inherited older brother cats, Pete, and his brother, RePete, (insert LOL) often find themselves locked up inside a barn, garage, or even our RV.

They are sneaky and determined. One winter, Pete was missing for 3 weeks! We later found him in our barn. Hopefully, he had lots of mice to eat. RePete was missing for a fews weeks the next winter. We found him in the RV. Boy oh boy, was he hangry (and happy to be found). When they are hangry they fight the feral cat, the raccoon family, and the opossums.

Lots of growling ensues.

If they come into the house, they fight the innocent indoor cats who are just guarding their food bowl from would be thieves.

This is RePete, he was at the food bowl enjoying Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend, when Tigger decided to come over and have a bite to eat. RePete says, "You may be bigger, but I'm older and that makes me the boss!" Tigger obliged, RePete was clearly hangry.

When your cats are hungry, they love you more than ever. They rub against your legs, purr, and request that you feed them. It is a special moment to cherish, but when cat's fight over the food it can be stressful.


Timid Tigger, testing out the Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend.
RePete hogging both sides of the Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend.
So, what can you do? Well, first, make sure you never have a hangry cat. Feed them well and often. Hungry cats will growl to protect their food. Hangry cats slap and hiss! If everyone is hungry at the same time, what can you do?

Every morning, we have hungry cats crying in the kitchen and hungrier cats crying at the front door. We've been testing cat foods to find a food that everyone likes. That's right, you know cats can be snooty and too good for the cheap stuff.

One of our cats is too good for people food. Which is good, because we don't advocate feeding your cat people food. It's just funny. If something drops on the floor he races the other cats to get to it. Then, he proceeds to bat it around as if it were a cat toy. It isn't fun to find rotten food under the stove or the couch. That's Tigger.

Another one of our cat has seizures. If we feed her cheap food with lots of gluten, her seizures get worse. It took a long time to realize that cat food played a role. We have to be extra careful with food and flea products. That's Buddi.




This is Pete. Listen to our happy, hungry kitty eating Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend.


How to Keep Cats from Fighting Over Food

Step One: Give everyone their own bowl.

This is the best solution. You can pour food in the bowl and let the cats fight it out, first come first serve. That's what most of us do, right? Your cats will have a better chance of getting their fair share if you give everyone their own bowl or at least their own side of the dish. Just don't invite RePete to the party!


Cat Food Reviews: Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend
Those darn cats won't sit still for a picture with the bag of cat food.

Step Two: Feed an awesome food.
Head to PetSmart and purchase some Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® Shredded Blend. If you hurry, for every $15 you spend, you'll get $15 off your next purchase. SPEND $15 on any Purina® Pro Plan® product between 5/31/16–7/5/16 and SAVE $15 on your next purchase of 10.5-lbs. or larger Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Cat or Dog Food or Litter by 7/31/16. They'll enjoy their dish of food so much that they'll forget everyone else has a dish of delicious food too.

Our indoor cats are good about sticking to their own side of the dish, as long as everyone has the same thing.

Step Three: Distract.
Who is the least hungry or the most intimidated by the others? Remove that kitty from the food. Entertain them with a toy or some scratching behind the ears. Kitty bonding time! For us, this is Tigger. He is the biggest, but not the baddest!

Step Four: Evict.
If someone doesn't want to play nicely, evict them. Grumpy Gus can eat last. So, this step is usually handled by the other cats. In fact, we tried to get a picture of all the cats happily eating out of their own dish, but someone always got evicted for being greedy. They even got evicted for just being near the food.

Step Five: Feed them separately.

They are cats not dogs. Cats do what they want. How do you make sure your cats don't fight over the food? You realize you don't have control. Move their food bowl to another place. In the end, we had to feed everyone separately. A little growl here, a hiss, a dirty look, and the younger cats walked away. I could almost hear them say, "I'm not that hangry!"


This is Buddi. She likes to play outside, she doesn't like to cooperate for pictures.

Aww... poor kitty, come get some love while you wait, let's savor this moment in time.   

Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend has its own aisle at PetSmart.
Pete helping with homework.
Pete helping play with toys. You can see, Pete is our resident dog. He loves to go for walks.


This is a great choice for cats of all ages and body types. Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® has the advanced nutrition cats need to help live a healthy, active life, along with a sensory experience that will have them loving every minute of it. Shredded blend adult dry formulas has a combination of crunchy kibble and tender shredded pieces for a taste and texture that cats love.

No ingredients are unnecessary. For sensitive cats, be assured that real poultry or fish is the #1 ingredient in all of the dry formulas. There are over 20 different flavorful wet entrees that are protein-rich, with accents like pasta, rice, cheese or vegetables. All formulas provide omega fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat. Prebiotic fiber helps promote digestive health. 


Now is a great time to try it, spend $15 or more and get a coupon for $15 off of your next purchase. In the meantime, let us know how you keep your cats from fighting over their food. What do your cats do when they are hangry?



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ADS DISCLOSURE: We've partnered with some wonderful advertisers who may sponsor blog posts or send us samples to test. Some companies pay us to review their products. *We also use affiliate links, if you make a purchase we get a tiny commission. Kids Creative Chaos participates in the Amazon LLC Associates Program*, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a mean for blogs to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon properties, including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com. We also offer Tapinfluence, Google Adsense, SoFab, and Izea ads here. Thanks so much for helping us keep the lights on! :)


Lora's Law #3: Mommy Visits the Potty

Facebook Quotes for Sharing: Hell Breaks Loose


By now, you've seen Lora's Laws floating around the web. We're sharing a new law each week, so you can share them on Facebook or wherever you choose. These quotes are true, how about you? Do they happen to you? What happens when you need to go to the potty? Enjoy!


Facebook Quotes: Hell Breaks Loose Mommy Potty Lora's Law
Lora's Law #3: When Mommy visits the potty.

Lora's Law Number Three:


"The house is peaceful until mommy visits the potty... Then, all Hell breaks loose!"


Ack! Everytime, I decide it is safe to take a bath or use the facilities, someone decides to run amuck. 

Think, kid fight or cat fight!! 

They know I'm stuck there for at least a minute. 

A lot can happen in one minute.


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ADS DISCLOSURE: We've partnered with some wonderful advertisers who may sponsor blog posts or send us samples to test. Some companies pay us to review their products. *We also use affiliate links, if you make a purchase we get a tiny commission. Kids Creative Chaos participates in the Amazon LLC Associates Program*, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a mean for blogs to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon properties, including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com. We also offer Tapinfluence, Google Adsense, SoFab, and Izea ads here. Thanks so much for helping us keep the lights on! :)


Lora's Law #2: Cat Throw Up Quote

Cat Quotes to Share on Facebook: Lora's Law #2


Cats vomit. A lot. It is a thing. Why is it a thing? Anyway, if you have cats, you have throw up on the carpets, on the couch, on the tables. Throw up is everywhere. Lora's Law #2 is all about that. Beware when you clean the carpet. In the meantime, share this quote with your Facebook friends. Enjoy your cats!


Lora's Law: Cat Throw Up Quote #2 for Facebook
Cat quotes for Facebook: Lora's Laws.

Lora's Law Number Two

"The minute you clean the carpet, a cat will throw up on it... to keep things fur real."


Do you have pets? Dogs like to vomit too, just not as much as cats. Am I right? As soon as I clean up any cat mess, they make a new one. Hmm... kids are like that too.


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ADS DISCLOSURE: We've partnered with some wonderful advertisers who may sponsor blog posts or send us samples to test. Some companies pay us to review their products. *We also use affiliate links, if you make a purchase we get a tiny commission. Kids Creative Chaos participates in the Amazon LLC Associates Program*, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a mean for blogs to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon properties, including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com. We also offer Tapinfluence, Google Adsense, SoFab, and Izea ads here. Thanks so much for helping us keep the lights on! :)


Universal vs. Disney Orlando

Orlando, Florida Vacation Tips

Are you planning a trip to Orlando, Florida? Wondering which park to attend on limited funds? It can be quite a condundrum knowing that this could be your only family vacation to Orlando. Can you do both during the same vacation? Yes! In this Universal Studios Orlando Florida Review vs. Disney Orlando Florida Review, we share tips on the best rides, rides with the shortest lines, and which attractions to save for fast passes. Enjoy!


This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.*

Georgia rest park, just before entering Florida, Spring 2016.

First of all, everything in Orlando is better. The roads are better, the weather is better, the McDonalds is better! Only one thing isn't better, the traffic on the freeway.

Orlando Largest Best McDonalds
Orlando Largest Best McDonalds.
If you can't afford an amusement park, but you drive through Orlando, visit the largest McDonalds. The Play Place is pretty cool, and the food isn't just burgers and nuggets. The menu will suprise you.

Orlando Hotels

Should you stay in an Orlando theme park hotel or a theme park friendly hotel? Yes. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

While we were visiting Universal Studios, we chose to stay at a nearby Kissimme hotel. Kissimme, FL is similar to Pigeon Forge, TN --- Orlando's little sister. There's lots to do here. Many of the hotels offer buses or trolleys to the theme parks for FREE.

While FREE always sounds good, it might not be what you expect. You'll have to stick to their schedules and battle other tourists for seats. If you miss the bus home, your stuck. That means, you will have to shell out money for a taxi. Nope, you can't walk back.


We were planning to take the bus, but when morning came, we chose to sleep in a little later than the bus schedule allowed. We ended up driving. Regular Parking at Universal is about $20. Those extra hours for refueling were priceless. I call it worth it!

We stayed at the Seralago. It is bright and cheerful with a fun atmosphere. You will find many mixed reviews online. This is an older hotel. Even so, we thought it was just fine.

Room at the Seralago Hotel Orlando Kissimmee
Room at the Seralago Hotel Orlando Kissimmee.
The room included a fridge, coffee maker, and mini- microwave. We went out and purchased mac and cheese for our Disney stay, but the Pop Century hotel didn't offer a microwave. Aside from the age, there wasn't much difference in the two hotels. One was further away (Seralago) and one was somewhat smaller (Pop Century). Yes, the price is significantly different.

The Seralago offered a cafe that was open late, swimming pools, a hot tub, and a play space with video games and the like.

The negative would be reservations. They are VERY busy. They don't get back to you in a timely fashion or ever. I emailed and left many telephone messages before finally letting the operator know that I would wait to speak to a live person.

The same thing happens upon arrival.

Guests who have already checked in know the drill. Several of them cut the line for various reasons. Frustrating. Two even cut the line to ask for an extended stay.

Hey, I was going to do that!

Tip: Don't go during Spring Break, especially the last week of March which is typically the busiest time.

Next to the Seralago is an amuseument park, a mini golf-course, and a nifty shopping center called Old Town. Grab a flyer from the hotel lobby for discounts at Pirate's Cove mini golf, a nearby Chick-fil-a, and lots more local attractions.








Insider Tip: There are two Old Town Theme parks. Do not follow the ferris wheel lights to get home! One is in Kissimme and one in Orlando. Yep, don't.

Frugal Alert: The older amusement park is $99 per day. If you aren't going to one of the major theme parks, great. Have all the fun you want, get a pass out, and come back in the evening for more. If you are visiting a major theme park, you will want to skip this one.

Florida Theme Parks

There are so many theme parks in Florida from which to choose. On our last visit, we visited Tampa parks. The Lowry Park Zoo is a win! Don't miss it. We also visited Busch Gardens. It is okay, especially if you want to skip the major crowds. Clearwater Marine Museum - eh. It is nice, if you don't buy into the hype. It is also very crowded!

Universal Studios Orlando Florida Review Tip

Gringott's Bank in Diagon Alley area of Universal Studios: Harry Potter.

So, as a blogger, I got media passes. It was difficult. Okay, I didn't exactly get Media passes because it was Spring Break. I had tried on several occasions to get the passes, and it was always during their "busy season."

I never called, that's a no-no, but I did email a few different contacts many times. I wasn't getting a timely reponse from the online contact page, and I needed to know if I had scored tickets.

I did not, but rather than giving me another no, they offered fast passes and tickets to a Blue Man Group show. I took it! This saved us a considerable amount of money, however, I spent a considerable amount more.

Would I do this again? Probably not. At least, not if I didn't get regular passes. After going through a security check, we went to the reserved tickets kiosks. That took a minute, but it was faster than the ticket lines. Then, I had to go to guest services to get our fast passes. That took way longer than a minute.

Tip: Don't go to the first guest services you see upon entry. Find one less busy further into the park.

Then, I had to go to the Blue Man ticket office to pick up those tickets. That was a no. I saved it for the next day.

After all the waiting in line, I asked the kiddos what they wanted to do first. We hadn't eaten! What did they want to do? Of course, they wanted to visit Harry Potter Hogsmeade.


Universal Studios Florida Rides

This is the line for Gringott's Bank. It is long, but there is lots to see.



























We waited in line: tired, thristy, hungry, and eventually needing to go to the restroom. It was not pleasant. May I suggest finding a ride that is less popular for your first attraction so that you may have time to regroup after all of the rushing to get inside the park. I was too stressed to get pictures of this line.


Hogsmeade.

Gringott's Bank. Sorry, it was dark and everything moves. My camera didn't like it.

Still in line at Gringott's Bank.

Be prepared. The line didn't seem super awful. But, there are major issues with this one. Heed those claustrophoic warnings. Watch out for the lockers. Everyone is rushing to get a locker, others are rushing to retrieve their belongings in a very tiny cramped space. They ask you to send only one person to the lockers, the others are directed down the corridor. My others were my kids, 9 and 11.

I panicked. I rushed. I have allergies and claustrophobia. I smelled something. Maybe someone's perfume or deodorant? I was starting to react to the scent when I  saw a tiny corridor coming up. After the locker experience, I wasn't sure I could handle it. How would I escape? Then, I realized that I had followed their instructions and locked up everything in the locker.

Everything.

Everything for me was an Epi-pen, an inhaler, and liquid Benadryl in case of an ashthma attack or anaphalaxis. There was a lot of perfume, deodorant, and who knows what else. I have no idea if I was having a panic attack or an allergic reaction... One came on quickly after the locker escapade.

I didn't want to go back there until I had to.

I didn't want to leave my kids alone again. I tried taking many deep breaths. I was terrified and then we were outside in line again. The corridor was very short.

Okay.

The kids didn't like this turn of events. They both wanted to get out of line and do something else.

Are you kidding me. No way! And then, they announced that the ride was shut down but we were welcome to wait.

So, we waited.

Kids were not happy. I was not healthy, nevertheless, we waited.

Finally, as we got to the top of the platform, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was all slow going and then boom, get on this seat quickly, pull this bar down.

Hey, why is that strange man between me and my little girl? Hey, switch seats. What is happening. I think I want out of here. I feel like I can't breathe. I'm not scared, but I am terrified that I am having some sort of attack. Hey, can we lift this for a minute. I think it is too tight. Hey, If I could just get my hair out of my face. I- I-I think I need a med-

We went flying into the air. I couldn't catch my breath. I kept my eyes shut while counting and breathing. I didn't want to die on the ride with my kids locked in beside me. I thought happy thoughts. It seemed like eternity before I opened my eyes.

Then, I opened them and tried to concentrate on the scenery rather than the contraption I was locked into. Pretty cool. Worth seeing. Worth the panic? Not sure. Would I do it again, not sure. Not with just myself and two kids.

I needed another adult.

I was so glad it was over but the worst part wasn't. Now, I had to leave my kids in the gift shop while I retrieved our things from the lockers.

I wanted to hurry.

I didn't want to leave them alone. I had no choice. And now, people boarding the ride were in a frantic rush to find a locker. They wouldn't let me in. I finally explained to someone that if you let me use the screen first, I can get my things and then you can have my locker.

People weren't happy to see me "cutting in line."

People, this is how it has to work. Universal, you need a redo on the locker situation. There were lots of panicked parents.

Once you've ridden the ride and know what to expect, it isn't so bad.

My mother took my niece, she shared a similar story. She refused to leave my niece alone. The reason they do this is to keep the crowd out of the lockers, but it ISN'T WORKING!

What can you do to avoid the fright? Don't take anything that needs stored in a locker. Hide a fanny pack under your shirt. Don't leave your life saving devices in the locker!! Eat and pee first.

So, the kids felt like we were running out of time. They wanted to see the rest of Harry Potter and Hogwarts.

We must eat.

She passed on the Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks, but you shouldn't!
We had dining passes. We got in line at Three Broomsticks and waited for a good while and then decided that the restaurant wouldn't take our passes.

There wasn't anything else nearby. We went back and asked; they do take the dining plan. This was the one place that makes the dining plan worth purchasing. The food is expensive, but you get a lot. Our meal cost more than our dining plan, and we still had snacks left.

Turkey leg at Three Broomstick's in the Hogmeade area.

Jake got a turkey leg the size of his head.

Be sure to use the restroom next door to get the full Harry Potter experience.

After filling up on food, we got our drinks. Worth it. If you don't do a food plan, be sure to do a drink plan. Some places have long lines; some have none. Down point, you have to carry that cup. You have to put those cups in the lockers. If it is full it might spill all over your $50 wand bag. Dump it before you ride the next ride requiring a locker.

Boy, do I have another locker story. I'll save it for later. Best tip I can give - find a way to avoid the lockers and avoid the STRESS!

Best thing better about Disney - they don't make you use lockers!!!

So, the train was a 40 minute wait. I coaxed the kids into seeing a show. Sinbad! It was a nice way to relax, regain composure, and enjoy the park. It was a very hot day.

My kids wanted to go to Gringott's Bank and then leave.



Are you kidding me? No, way. This was hardwork to get here. I have things I want to see! Like, Shrek 4D, Minions, Simpsons, and MIB.

It was going to rain. The park closed at 9. We had to hurry to do everything.

I know what you are thinking- just use those express passes to save time. Guess what, you can't use them in any Harry Potter areas!

So, we tried out Jurassic Park. Great place to rest and eat. My kids weren't so impressed. My son is a huge fan, but we are TWEENS now. This was more for younger kids. Plus, we have the world's greatest children's museum in Indy. So, we felt like, been there, done that.

This is a giant puppet! You control the movements.

Once we did have the opportunity to use the passes, it was AMAZING. They are worth the extra cost. We used them on the SIMPSONS ride, which was my favorite part of the park. I think I felt about the Simpsons area the way the kids felt about the Harry Potter areas.

We ate there.

We ate chicken and waffles here. So good!

We photoed there.

Simpsons Universal
Jebediah Springfield statue at Universal.

We had fun there.








We didn't make it to MIB. Kids vetoed it!

We ran to Shrek 4D - which was okay. It was a nice place to cool off. There was a short line. The Minions line went on forever. We skipped that and went straight to the Transformers ride. With our express passes we felt like VIPS.




A lot of people left due to the rain. Anyone who had to catch a bus left early too. So, we saw more in the last two hours than we had the whole rest of the day. We buzzed through The Cat in the Hat and Spiderman.

I had to con the kids. Once they got their $50 wand and Butterbeer ice cream- they were done. We were soaked and their feet were covered in blisters.

I was not done.

This day, even with passes, had cost me nearly $1000. I don't have that kind of money to spare. We were going to ride as many rides as we could.

All the kids cared about was Harry Potter and Diagon Alley. Yes, it is extememly cool. The $50 wands (there are less expensive ones) interact with the store windows. The wand shop is like the real thing. You are there. It is awesome, but everything costs a lot!

We got chocolate frogs for the train ride. Get your frog, before you get on the train!

Eating Chocolate Frogs on the train. Magical.

Hey, can I just say that the train ride, despite the incredibly long wait and the creepy guy eyeing my kid, was the best part. On the way back there was no line. It was so very awesome.

Yes, creepy guy. I told him that I saw what he was doing. He wasn't the kind of guy I should have been interacting with, but he wouldn't stop. Be aware of your surroundings. Don't let your kids go to the restroom alone. He never said a word, never looked away, but looked guilty every time we made eye contact.

Never mind that, I didn't let the rain rain on my parade. No creep was going to ruin it for us.

Later that night, my son had to go to the restroom. He asked someone where the nearest restroom was and took off! Grr... I was waiting for an order and couldn't make chase. Luckily, he couldn't find it on his own, but found his way back. Yep, he got a talking to!

Don't give me a heart attack.

Don't miss the Hogwart's Express in Universal Studios.
Train ride back, awesome, even though walking to the gate was closer. No one cared, until we had to walk to the gate from the train. Their feet stopped working.

My son actually laid on the ground, "You just don't know how my feet hurt. Your feet have never hurt this way."

Yes they have! They do right now!

"No, they don't or you couldn't walk!"

Yes, they do. I have no choice. I have to walk, and so do you!

Oh my... how will we possibly visit the happiest place on Earth tomorrow?

We won't. We couldn't. We took a chill pill. We played golf, ate at Chick-fil-a, bought souvenirs, watched television, and then we went to the Blue Man Group.

I had to trick my son.

He didn't want to go back to Universal Studios...


After a relaxing day, he was okay with it. After the security check (where my daughter had to hand over her toothpicks), we rushed to the Blue Man ticket booth.

Hard Rock Cafe, Universal Studios, Florida.

Michael Jackson's jacket!

We were hungry, we had wanted to eat somewhere else on the main strip (which by the way you don't need a ticket to visit), but we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe next door to the studio.

We rushed back to our seats. It was air-conditioned. I had to pee again. The kids didn't want to go. I didn't want to leave them. I thought I'd wait until the show started. DON'T. JUST DON'T. LOL.

Luckily, I didn't.

Blue Man Group- Worth it! Totally awesome, best show ever! The kids loved it. There were ZERO complaints. They both THANKED me. Hear me? They both THANKED their mother!!!

Best night ever.

We thought we'd go to Disney the next day, but there weren't any hotel rooms available anywhere in Orlando or Kissimme under $400.

So, we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house. It was only an hour a way but we still hadn't regenerated. Going from winter to hot summer-like heat takes a lot out of you.























We recuperated at the beach.




I also had free media passes from Disney. I didn't think we were going to be able to do it. We were just so worn out after all of the rushing.

Universal Tip: Even though it might be possible to do everything you want to do in one day, don't do it. Especially, not on Spring Break, the lines are too long. Get two day passes. Take it slow. Stop and enjoy the Butterbeer! We missed a whole section of the park and many rides.

Will we go back? Probably some day. It was raining. We didn't get to use our $50 wands. They don't do anything special once you leave the park. Did I mention that our wands cost $50. I want you to know, because there aren't any prices anywhere. Once you pick out your wand- I mean, once your wand picks out you, you head to the cash register. It took my kids a good half hour to decide. They were looking for a particular wand!

ASK THE STAFF--- whisper if you have to, but ask! Time's a wastin'.

Jest aside, I was surprised how much visiting the wand shop in Diagon Alley meant to my son. It was really special to him. It was truly magical. He exclaimed that it was the best thing he's EVER done.

At eleven, he is at that stage where nothing is cool. Everything is dumb or boring. This was a special moment.

A memory that is truly priceless.

That is why, even though I hadn't budgeted for $50 wands, I charged them anyway! Being my son, he was concerned when he saw the price. He offered to get a $30 wand. It was plastic. It did nothing but cost $30. I said, no way, you only live once! Besides, where were you when I bought two, eleven dollar chocolate frogs?

"The frog cost that much?"

It sure did.

Yep, I had qualms at buying the frog. I was sure my money was going to run out, but how many times do you get to buy a magical, chocolate frog and eat it on the train to Hogwarts? This epitomizes the meaning of the word priceless.

Even if it takes me all year to pay off the credit cards.

Should you go. Yes. Should you go if you have to choose between Disney and Universal?

That depends.

How old are your kids? Are they Harry Potter fans? Harry Potter is a must see. I feel like, in general, Universal is better for older kids. If you have little kids, go to Disney first. Universal can wait.

Eventually, we felt like we could do it. We headed to Disney World. My parents told us to come back to their house to spend the night. It was only an hour drive, but it was an hour drive in the wrong direction. I wanted to keep moving forward and make the best use of my time.

There were still no hotels available. We even had an in at the Seralago, but no luck.

I downloaded the DISNEY APP ---- Best tip ever!

Don't go to Disney without the APP.

How was Disney vs. Universal Orlando? Find out here: Disney Trip Tips and Tricks.


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