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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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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! :)


Happiness Quote: A Day at the Beach Meme

Happiness Meme: The Beach

Quotes, quotes, quotes. Memes, memes, memes. Why do we like to share them on Facebook and pin them to our Pinterest Boards? Well, for one, they make us laugh or dream. This Happiness Meme for a Day at the Beach makes me dream of a past vacation. The photo was taken in Tarpon Springs, Florida. If you haven't been there, you should go. After all, happiness is a day at the beach. Enjoy!


This post contains affiliate links.

Happiness Quote: A Day at the Beach Meme
Happiness Quote: A Day at the Beach Meme.


Happiness Quote: A Day at the Beach Meme
Happiness Quote: A Day at the Beach Meme.

If you look in our tabs menu, you will find a tab for 'sayings and quotes'. Click there for more fun quote memes to share on Facebook. If you share them on your website, please be sure to give us a shout out. We also have a tab for 'Free Images.' Same rules apply. Check back often for more free memes, quotes, and images.

This year, we will add a series of 'happiness is' and 'friendship quotes.'

What is happiness to you? Let us know in the comments. During the winter happiness is a day at the beach.

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Car Covers for Backseat: Bench Seat Cover with Split

Split Rearseat Cover for Car

Messy Kids? Ready for a big Chaotic Confession? We've got one super messy child dubbed, Mayhem. We needed car covers for the backseat for the past year. So, when Versa Via asked if we'd like to do a review, we jumped at the chance. The Versa Via split rearseat cover for car worked like magic, alas for our car, it was too late. Maybe, it isn't too late for your car? Keep scrolling for our car seat cover giveaway. Enjoy!

Car Covers for Backseat: Bench Seat Cover with Split
Easy to install rear seat cover for car.
So, the Car Covers for Backseat were a necessity for us. We've had the car for almost 2 years now, so it is practically a new car, right? Not so much. Here goes... You might want to avert your eyes.

Split Rearseat Cover for Car
We deperately needed a Split Rearseat Cover for our Car.
What is that stuff? Well, there's some purple putty, blue candy, maple syrup, ketchup, chocolate milk, Florida sand, and maybe even some duck or chicken poo remnants. Yes, that's a big confession.

One day, after some Nerds (the candy) entered into the backseat, the seatbelt clicker broke. We tried to vaccum them out, but it was too late. RIP seatbelt.

Messy backseats. This fabric is unforgiving.
Another confession, we did attempt to clean the seat before installing the VersaVia Car Cover. We spent $5 sweeping it out and sprayed lots of vinegar and peroxide on it, but it was to no avail.

A bit of good news, we found lots of change and a few Nintendo DS games! Bad news, we even clogged the industrial vac at the carwash.

Mommy refused to sit in the backseat, so did Jake. Daddy would sit on a towel or chair pad. Sigh.

Then, our Split Rearseat Cover for Car arrived. It sat in the front entry for a week. We knew prepping the car was going to take some time. We also worried that the rear seat cover would be difficult to install. Wrong!

This installs in under 5 minutes. Super easy. It adjusts to the size of your seat, and it stays in position even when Mayhem is climbing around back there. If only, we had one BEFORE the mess.

Since we've installed it, The Littlest Pet Shop tiny bits don't fall between the fold or get stuck in the seatbelt clicker...

Want one? More to the point, need one? Leave a comment, and you are entered in our giveaway. We'll choose a winner November 21, 2015.  Good Luck! *U.S. Residents only.


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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! :)

Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium Museum

Visit Winter Clearwater Fl

Are you planning a trip to Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium? One important thing to remember is that it began as Clearwater Marine Hospital. Before the famous Hope Dolphin and Winter Dolphin movies, it was just a place that cared for sick animals. Make sure you score some marine aquarium coupons or find a marine aquarium discount code, because for what you get- it is a little pricey. Be prepared to go through the gift shop a couple of times as you navigate the museum.

Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium
The carnival exhibit at Clearwater Marine Aquarium was a hit!
Like most Clearwater Beach vacationers, we were on a tight schedule and even tighter budget. As a blogger, I searched the internet for every possible deal or media pass available. Upon crossing the bridge into Clearwater, Florida I immediately second guessed my decision. It is a very busy, very commercial place. I remember visiting as a child. Nothing is the same.

Crowded.

As far as tourist attractions go, this one is clearly a hospital first. If you go with that in mind, you will have a better experience. If you are on a limited schedule or budget, I'd suggest skipping this attraction. The worst part was how much my kids disliked it. It wasn't what they'd hoped.

Clearwater Marine Hospital
Scenes from Clearwater Marine Museum and movie exhibit.

There was a long line of people (who'd paid a lot of money) waiting for their photo op with Hope and Winter. Since we didn't shell out the money for a photo, we really didn't get to see them. They were just sitting in the water. Though, they are the draw to the aquarium, they were the least exciting attraction. We preferred the otters.

We also saw a turtle show, er "talk". You know, the kind of show you might see at a zoo, but it wasn't much of a show. The presenters even said so... we just feed them. I mean what can a turtle really do? They fed them and talked about them... it was monotonous. Both kids tried to sneak off and eventually succeeded. If you have never been to an aquarium, by all means go-- enjoy it. If you have been to another aquarium, this one is just another aquarium.

Movie set display: Visit Winter Clearwater Fl.

There are a lot of volunteers, but none of them could answer our questions. Each time we asked, they had to find someone else to help. They weren't actively engaging with the guests.

On a more pleasant note, the best part of the experience was the FREE boat ride across the bay to the movie exhibit in downtown Clearwater.

They do offer a few paid boating excursions which sound like a lot of fun, but I noticed they had lukewarm reviews on TripAdvisor. Still, we were looking forward to our ride to the island, despite the reviews, but upon arrival we were told the last boat had left. I had scored passes for the boat too --- but I wasn't aware of the schedule. If you have your heart set on it, beware of boarding times and get there 30 minutes early!

Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium Museum.
Turtle exhibit at Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium Museum.
My father enjoyed the ride to the movie exhibit as much as the kids did. You can also take a trolley, but take the boat. It is a great deal and a fun, free way to enjoy the bay. Do you mind an uphill climb? "No", I said. "Of course not!" You might mind! It is about a quarter of a mile up a steep sidewalk... In that case, take the FREE trolley ride.

Once inside the movie exhibit, breathe a sigh of relief. It is air conditioned and awesome. The actor's and director's chairs greet you as you walk in (though no one else really does). You tour at your own pace. The kids still weren't thrilled. They were grumpy. They'd just walked a mile up a steep hill in Florida heat! After awhile, they began to relax, stop complaining, and enjoy the atmosphere.

Dolphin Tale movie exhibit at Clearwater Marine Museum.
Dolphin Tale movie exhibit at Clearwater Marine Museum.

The kids thought the best part of this exhibit was the carnival set, but it was all good. Excited to find a real concession stand after the long hike up the hill, Mayhem rushed to the exhibit. A real life mirage. Once she got past the fact that it was all fake, she began to enjoy the hands-on carnival games. The hurricane exhibit was also a big hit. You can see a fuzzy picture at the top of the collage above.

Visit Winter Clearwater Fl


You get back to your car in the parking lot the same way you arrived... You know, back down the steep "short walk" to the boat or hop on a trolley that is sitting right outside the door waiting for you. Yep, we took the trolley. No seat belts across the curvy bridge with a very confident trolley driver... another bonus! Ha, felt more like a roller coaster. Hang on tightly!

I remember when you could see the beach... now you have to drive through hotels and restaurants to find it. Some of the roads looked like dead end streets. Watch for signs that direct you to the beach. We scored a parking meter spot close to a beach access.

The kids loved the crowded beach. They wanted to stay after dark. I hear there are lots of things to do in Clearwater Beach at night, but the grandparents were over it. They wanted to head back to their quiet, little town and find an inexpensive place to eat. We would have enjoyed eating somewhere along the beach, but we had headed to Clearwater without eating lunch. We thought we'd grab a bite at a McDonalds (no luck) or maybe at the Marine Aquarium, but the aqaurium's concession stand was closed. Instead, we found a nice, little sandwich cafe across the street from the museum.

Don't get me started about the museum's cafe! We waited for the boat, but there is no place to sit, so we sat at the concession stand tables. A museum employee (or volunteer) came around and chained all the chairs to the tables. She didn't ask us to move, but the museum was at least an hour from close.

Hospitality.

I come from a event venue background. May I suggest letting your paying museum customers enjoy the seating (even though the concession stand is closed) until the whole museum actually closes... or keep the concession stand open until close.

I don't know. We felt kind of lost during the whole experience. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of volunteers around. We asked a lot of questions. Every answer seemed vague. Maybe it was just us. Maybe we were tired. Still... the kids didn't like it - they wanted to leave right after they caught a glimpse of Winter and Hope.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium needs a Visitor Experience Manager. They need to drive up, get directed to a parking spot, find their way to the ticket booth, squeeze through the gift shop to find your way to the exhibits, interact with volunteers, hope to see the dolphins up close, wait in line for the boats as suggested... yep, they should do all that while they are hungry.


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Mother's Day Activities for Kids with Sayings and Quotes for CARDS

Cards: Fun Ideas and Activities to Celebrate Mother's Day with Kids


Mother's Day. So many activities are cliche. Buy Mom a new vacuum cleaner, (Hey, I'd be okay with that) bring her breakfast in bed, give her a bouquet, a lovely card with a nice quote, some hand-print art...  What other things can you do with Mom for Mother's Day? Well, it depends on the Mom. Some Moms are offended by a gift of a household appliance; some are ecstatic. Scroll to the bottom for quotes for Mother's Day cards. Enjoy! 


Mother's Day Activities for Kids with Sayings and Quotes for CARDS


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Quotes and Sayings for Mother's Day. Cards: Fun Ideas and Activities to Celebrate Mother's Day with Kids
Quotes and Sayings for Mother's Day.


When is Mother's Day 2020? 


Mother's Day is the second Sunday in May or May 10, 2020.

If it were me, I would like to CELEBRATE MOTHER'S DAY this way:

Breakfast in bed? Aww.. that's sweet, but if they make breakfast in bed that means the kitchen is a nightmare. Wouldn't it be great if they'd clean the floor? I'd rather sleep in and go out to eat at a restaurant. It doesn't have to be my favorite restaurant, we'll save that for my birthday, because, after all, it is Mother's Day and they're my children. Without them, we wouldn't be celebrating. We can eat some place everyone likes.But, on my Birthday, were having seafood and cheesecake. 

Now, what do we do?

Let's do something fun and non-traditional. One year, my parents were in Florida for Easter. After the Easter Bunny visited, we had dinner at Chuck E. Cheese. It was Awesome. We had the entire place to ourselves for an hour and then another family came in, even so it was very cool! I got to play games and sing with Chuck E. -  Happy Mother's Day! Playing with the kids was a lot of fun.


How to Celebrate Mother's Day with Kids


Do things as a family! No, I don't mean a movie. Interact, engage:


  • Go Bowling.



  • Go to the park and play on the playground with your kids - don't just sit on a bench.



  • Garden. Instead of a bouquet, get Mom some flowers, gardening gloves, and seeds and then go outside and help her plant them while you talk about fun times together. "Hey, Mom, remember that time when we..."



  • Take a dinner cruise on a river boat.



  • Paint a picture together! Gather supplies, go outside, and paint a landscape together. It doesn't have to be perfect. Everyone pitches in and paints something. Take it outside so Mom doesn't have to clean up the mess.



  • Visit a theme park.



  • Finally, tell your MOTHER you have a great idea. You want to visit a retirement home. Gather construction paper and fabric scraps. Sit down as a family and make those cliche Mother's Day Crafts together- you're making memories. Design a variety of cards for "Mothers," buy some flowers at the grocery on the way to the home, and go out and deliver some smiles. Give each lovely Mother a carnation and a card. A lot of people are forgotten or separated by distance from loving family members. Making their day special will make your day memorable! Make a paper basket for Mom.  



Please follow our Wheelchair Games Board on Pinterest for more things to do with Senior Citizens.


Here are some Cute Mother's Day Card Crafts and Sayings.

This beautiful picture from, Artrageous Afternoon, is inspired by Pablo Picasso's, "Hands with Bouquet."  Hop over to see Picasso's version.


Hand on Bouquet card for Mother's Day
Give a bouquet to a Mother in a retirement home, like this one from
Artrageous Afternoon blog. Inspired by Pablo Picasso's, "Hands on Bouquet".



Or this one, have each family member draw some flowers on white paper, outline them in a darker color, and then cut them out and paste them to the front of a Mother's Day card. Family Collaboration at its finest. This was a class project from Artrageous Afternoon blog. We'll be making this one for sure!



Quotes for Mother's Day Cards


You'll need a nice sentiment for your Mother's Day Card. Here are some fun sayings for cards:

  • "Mothers hold their children's hands for awhile and their hearts forever."


  • "God could not be everywhere, therefore, he made Mothers.


  • "Wow! Mom!"


  • "I love how we don't have to say out loud that I am your favorite child."


  • "A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take."


  • "Just want to say... Happy Mother's Day!"


  • "The best moms get promoted to grandmas."


  • So, grab your construction paper, glue, and markers and get crafting! There are a lot of Moms who need an extra pick me up!

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Recommended Reading:

    The Night Before Mother's Day

    Cool Father's Day Crafts

    Chocolate, Flowers, or Teddy Bears