4 Tips for Stroller Running in the Heat

Now that it’s summer and all sense of a regular schedule has gone out the window, I have had to rethink some of my workout times and methods. I want to spend time with Emma Kate without neglecting my health, so it just makes sense for us to do some working out together. Thankfully she will still sit in the stroller while I run for three miles or less, so we are trying to do more of that lately. However, it. is. hot. Not only do I have to worry about being safe for myself, but also for my daughter, so here are my best tips for stroller running:

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1.) Sunscreen for everyone: I know it may be tempting to think that because they are in a shaded stroller or covered by a canopy that your child is safe from the sun, but they most definitely still need sunscreen! Also if you are a heavy sweater don’t forget to reapply. I use kids spray sunscreen on her body, and sensitive skin just for face on Emma Kate’s face. I use whatever is in the closet for myself. ha.

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2.) Dress appropriately: Cool, light sweat wicking clothing is best for everyone. I got Emma Kate some super cheap athletic gear at our local consignment shop. We obviously don’t need blankets in the summer! Don’t drape your stroller with a blanket because it traps heat inside and you need air to circulate as much as possible.

3.) Hydrate: Fill up a bottle of water for yourself, and for your wee one. A lot of strollers have a handy basket underneath where you can bring sunscreen, water, a towel, etc. along with you. I also purchased an accessory for my stroller that has two cupholders up top, and a flip down cup holder and tray for Emma Kate in front of her. It’s great for keeping her entertained with snacks, too.

4.) Time your run and route wisely: Try to run early in the morning or late in the evening when you aren’t in the worst of the sun, which is between 10-2. Not only will it be cooler, but there will also be more shade and everyone will be happier. I personally prefer running in the morning and getting it out of the way. Emma Kate is awake at 6:00 most days so it gives us something to do before the world is awake.

5.) Pick a good jogging stroller: I am currently loving the BOB Rambler! It is cheaper than other models, but still packs a powerful punch. It has 12 inch high impact tires for those bumpy roads, a swivel locking front wheel, and a 75 pound weight capacity. I also love the one hand recline adjustment, two step fold, and foot activated parking break. If some of the other BOB strollers are too expensive for your taste, know that the Rambler has the best features at a lower price point. 

You can check out the Rambler’s other features here and also find out where to purchase your own. You can also check this page out for safety tips for running with your Bob! Happy running!

RELATED: 10 tips for running in the heat

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of BOB, however all opinions are my own.

5 Things Friday XXX

Greetings! It’s been awhile since I did one of these posts (like, October!) so I thought it was high time to do a little catching up for those who don’t regularly follow my Instagram stories.

1.) Great but quick trip to NYC: I wrote a post about the naming ceremony and my time on the Carnival Horizon, but I haven’t talked a lot about my evening in the city and the next morning before getting on the boat.  Carnival put us up at the Sheraton Times Square, so we were right in the middle of the action. Amanda and I walked down 5th Avenue, past the Plaza hotel, and all through Central Park (even to the fountain from FRIENDS, see below). I have been to NYC one other time but not to the park and was super pumped to check it off my bucket list. The weather was rainy and chilly, but that didn’t stop us.

2.) Moving on up: The way Emma Kate’s daycare is structured, they go ahead and move children up at the start of summer instead of fall. Even though she turns 4 in September, she misses the cut off of September 1, so she moved from the young 3’s to the older 3’s this week, and I cannot believe how much she has changed in a year! Below is her last day of 2’s vs. last day of young 3’s and she had changed so much. I’m happy for her but sad for me at the same time. My little toddler is no longer so little.

3.) Timehop Sweetness: Some days I really dislike Timehop and things it reminds me of, but some days I love it! I was reminded yesterday that it has been TEN YEARS since we brought Bella home to be a part of our family. How adorable was she as a puppy?!? Dying over here. She was so tiny that she had a hard time jumping over the threshold to get in and out the back door.

4.) Disney Day: I have a gold Florida resident pass which means I am only blocked out for Christmas and spring break, but Bobby and EK are blocked out all summer as well after this weekend, so we are going to brave the crowds and go to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday with my parents. I just want to soak it all in one last time as a family before fall….along with every other family in central Florida I’m sure! Be sure to follow along on my Instagram stories and on Twitter.

5.) Make money blogging: I have gotten a lot of questions over the years about how to work with and pitch brands and how to make money blogging and via social media. Well I finally got my rear in gear and created a quick guide you can purchase. Check it out here and let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help! 

Star Wars Days LEGOLAND Florida

Disclosure: I was provided with free tickets to LEGOLAND Florida, however all opinions are my own.

May is a very special time at LEGOLAND Florida, because there is the amazing added bonus of Star Wars days! This year, Star Wars days are happening the first three weekends of May, and all the fun is included with the price of admission. If you or your kids are Star Wars fans, then these weekends are a must! We had the privilege of attending the first day, May 5th, and Emma Kate had an amazing time.

There are lots of cool things to experience on these weekends such as character meet and greets, costume contests, the Lego Miniland display, fun Star Wars themed food and music throughout the park.

 

As we entered, we were surprised at the amount of meet and greets, with little to no lines! Emma Kate got a ton of photos, so many that I can’t even post them all! The characters were all super great with her, too.

 

We headed over to Miniland, and really loved the life sized characters built out of Legos as well as the amazing scenes from some of Bobby’s favorite Star Wars movies.

 

Some of the displays had moving parts which Emma Kate thought was awesome. I can’t imagine the amount of hours it took to do all of this!

 

On top of all the Star Wars fun, we also enjoyed the regular attractions at LEGOLAND, and even spent a little bit of time at the water park. The highlight I will say was as we were headed out, Emma Kate wanted to ride the carousel. As she was getting on, so were some of the Star Wars characters! She got to ride next to a Storm Trooper and you couldn’t pay her to wipe the huge grin off her face!

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Star Wars days at LEGOLAND Florida will only be around for two more weekends, May 12-13, and 19-20, 2018 so be sure to get over there soon. Remember, all the fun is included in your price of admission! There is plenty to do, we ended up spending the entire day there, even despite a few rain showers. Here is a quick recap of the special Star Wars offerings:

  • Join us as we unveil the newest addition to MINILAND with the LEGO® Star WarsThe Force Awakens MINILAND Model Display! This giant new display, made out of thousands of LEGO bricks, features memorable moments from Episode VII of the popular Star Wars saga enhanced with lights, sound effects and animation.
  • Meet LEGO® Darth Vader and a new LEGO® Star Wars character – announcement coming soon!
  • Dress up as your favorite Star Wars character for a chance to win LEGO prizes
  • Hands-on building activities and much more!

Also be sure to follow LEGOLAND Florida on Twitter and Instagram.

Emma Kate: Three Years Old

As I sat down to write this post, I just stared at the screen for a little while, because I honestly had no idea where to start. Trying to sum up six months into one post is difficult, especially since a lot has happened in those six months, but I will do my best.

(ppsssttt, you can find Emma Kate’s other recaps here.)

Here are her official stats: 39 inches tall (86%) and she weighs 35 pounds (83%)She’s really tall and really heavy (either that or I am getting weaker by the day!) I will say that she is in size 4T and 5T clothes, but can still wear 3T in some dresses and some shorts. She is in between an 8 and a 9 shoe.

First haircut April 2017

The biggest news I would say in the past few months is that Emma Kate is officially potty trained! *Insert spastic happy dance here.* I was so dreading this part, but once she got it, it happened fast. Where we stalled was with the pull ups. We started using them and she would tell me *after* she pottied that she had just gone. This led to LOTS of frustration. Finally one day after the prompting of a friend, we just sent her to school in big girl underwear (with lots of changes of clothes). She had 3 accidents, but we kept at it, and by the end of the week she was only needing a diaper for nap and only had an occasional accident (maybe once or twice a week after that first week). I was pumped! She still refused to poop on the potty so we bribed her with cookies, and that did the trick! She hasn’t had an accident since the very beginning of July, and doesn’t even wear diapers for nap anymore, just bedtime (and 3-4 times a week those are dry, too!) As a parent this was a huge hurdle and sigh of relief. For awhile there I was convinced she was going to go to Kindergarten in diapers.

First kids race WDW April 2017

Emma Kate talks non stop, and she mispronounces several words, but I would never correct her because it’s so adorable. A few of my favorites:

White = “wipe”

Panties = “candies”

Backpack = “pack pack”

Cheers = “deers”

She cracks me up especially when she repeats phrases that I say all the time, it makes you realize how often you say certain things! If I say “stupid” she tells me that’s bad and I need to go to time out. Quite the tattle tail.

She is super independent and wants to do everything herself. She can put on her socks and shoes by herself, get in her car seat, open the door and garage door, walk the dog, feed the dog, and the list goes on. It’s great, but sometimes annoying because let’s say I turn the light on and SHE wanted to do it, she will turn it off then back on again. The only time I can get her to hold my hand is to cross the street, and she likes her bows to match her clothes (I wonder where she gets that from? haha).

Emma Kate moved up to the 3 year old room a couple months ago because she was getting bored in the 2 year old room. She had a little bit of an issue transitioning (not wanting to nap, not listening) but is doing much better. Speaking of nap, she is still not great at them, and only naps for an hour, and some days not at all. We have to REALLY wear her out on the weekend to get her to nap so we go to the pool or playground in the mornings. We still put her to bed at 7:45 at night, but she usually doesn’t fall asleep until 8 or 8:15, and wakes up anywhere from 6:15-7:00, depending. She still tells us “I took a good nap/I had good dreams!” when she wakes up in the morning.

She is still obsessed with the iPad and YouTube kids, but has recently taken a real liking to drawing/coloring so we have been doing a lot of that lately. We still watch a lot of movies (current favorites are Moana, Monsters Inc., and the Toy Story movies.

One of my least favorite words is now “snack”. She will eat only a few bites of dinner then immediately ask for a snack. We have started making her eat more before she gets them, but it amazes me how much she can eat! She is pretty picky and likes the standard chicken nuggets, turkey, mac and cheese, etc. But also really loves fruit like grapes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and peaches. Lately she has also been all about popsicles and since we went to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party, she now always wants candy (which we rarely give her). She still drinks a ton of water, but we have started limiting it in the evenings and at night due to potty training and not wanting her to wake up a ton at night needing to go to the bathroom.

She still loves Disney World and going to “the castle” and meeting characters. she isn’t shy around them at all which I love. She is really into Paw Patrol and Moana toys as well. She likes to ride her tricycle in the evenings when we go on walks, and we got her a scooter for her birthday so we will see how that goes.

Emma Kate is very strong willed and can throw a tantrum with the best of them. She easily gets frustrated when she can’t do something or we tell her no, and obviously doesn’t like time out (who does?) She is sassy which I think will serve her well later in life but it is currently taking years off my life. She says “I do it” to everything, and tries to tell me no and tells me not to talk, etc. which I’m of course not a fan of. Bobby handles her fits better than I do if I’m being honest, as he has much more patience than me.

She tells us to come “sit by me!” on the couch and still likes to be held. She gives good hugs and kisses, and loves to read in the rocking chair and say prayers before bed. Her favorite songs to sing are Let it Go, Jesus Loves me, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Wheels on the Bus. She loves all things pink, and has to have a bow before we leave the house. She has the BEST memory, which is a blessing and a curse. She loves her mommy and daddy and “her dog” Bella.

There is so much more I could say, but I will stop there for your benefit. We love our sweet Emma Kate, and can’t wait to see how her spunky personality develops more into a little girl.

 

Tea Parties and Disney Junior

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This post is sponsored by Disney Junior, however all opinions are my own.

I’ll admit it – I am obsessed with Disney princesses. When I found out I was having a daughter, I couldn’t wait until she was old enough to enjoy all things girly and princess with me. Now that she is almost three, we are having a blast watching princess shows like Elena of Avalor and Sofia the First. I love sharing these experiences with my daughter, and love that she loves the same things I did as a little girl.

One thing we enjoy doing together is watching her favorite Disney Junior shows. One day recently when we were watching, a lightbulb went off and I thought of something really fun that we could do together. I decided she was now old enough for us to have a proper princess tea party, so we did just that the other day, and had a blast! She loved dressing up in her princess dress and serving me tea.

We talked about her favorite princesses, sang songs, and discussed her favorite shows. She is a big Sofia fan, so no surprise that one made the top five list! Her daddy even showed up and asked for a cup of tea as well.

Did you know that Disney Junior has all new episodes of shows like Elena of Avalor every FriYaY morning on the Disney channel? In the morning (usually 6-10am), Disney Junior shows will air on the Disney Channel first. Check out the schedule for the rest of the summer:

FRiYAY, 8/11 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey and the Roadster Racers  and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 8/18 – All-new Sofia The First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor

 

I think on Friday we will have to watch her favorite shows together, while enjoying a nice hot cup of “tea”. I’ll even do the dishes afterwards.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.

 

Back to School with Kohl’s


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothes as compensation.

Believe it or not, back to school time is upon us. This means new school supplies, new teachers, new memories, and new clothes. Emma Kate is currently growing like a weed, so the clothes she wore last year are getting too small (and are also getting very worn out, she plays hard!) so it was time for some back to school shopping.

Kohl’s has an amazing Carter’s collection at great prices. I couldn’t believe the amount of things I was able to get for Emma Kate for under $200,  two pair of shoes included! Not to mention, between 8/4-8/20, there is a 40-50% off sale on Carter’s playwear.

As Emma Kate has gotten older, she has also gotten more opinionated. Gone are the days of me dressing her in whatever I want, she wants some say in her outfits! With my help, we chose some fun things for back to school. I think you will see a trend here of graphic tees, tunics, and pink. I love the current styles and that I have a trendy kid. I asked her to pick out her three favorite outfits for a photoshoot to showcase the line of back to school clothes at Kohl’s, and this is what we got.

Since it’s warm most of the year in Florida, I did a lot of short sleeve tops, with just a few pants. I love how light and airy this palm tree top is, and the stretchy pink shorts are perfect for mobility in play.

Next we went with something a little more dressed up which would be an adorable first day of school outfit. I love these long tunics in more neutral colors. You can pair any color or pattern of pants or leggings with them to make even more outfits.

When it gets cool we can even put a long sleeve shirt underneath and still wear the tunic. I love versatile clothes!

This little girl loves a fun skirt or dress, so I was excited to find these pants with an attached skirt and an adorable “Daddy’s Girl” shirt that went with it. I chose these grey shoes because again, she can pair them with any color outfit!

In addition to these three outfits, I was able to get so much more. I couldn’t believe I was able to get an entire wardrobe and shoes for so little!

Don’t forget, you can shop Carter’s at Kohl’s August 4th-20th and get 40-50% off their playwear selection. Also, you can get $10 off $50 spent  – Sales Dates are: 8/4 – 8/20 (Promo code: BTS10) Happy shopping!

QOTD: Do you love or loathe back to school shopping?

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Affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

Lion King Memories on Disney Junior

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Disney Junior, however all opinions are my own.

I grew up as a Disney kid. I loved Mickey and Minnie, and owned all the motion pictures on VHS (I’m really aging myself here!). There are certain Disney movies that bring me right back to my childhood, and all the happy memories I had engrossing myself in the worlds of the characters, playing make believe with my friends, and singing along to cassette tape sound tracks. A year or so ago when the new show The Lion Guard came out on Disney Junior, I was super excited to watch it with Emma Kate. The Lion King was in fact one of my favorite movies (and I may or may not have had a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the voice of young Simba, too!)

It was so nostalgic for me watching the Lion Guard as grown up Simba now has his own son who is running around Pride Rock—causing trouble of course! I love that I can share in that world with my daughter, and I love that Disney is generational, and truly never goes out of style!

In fact, a few days ago my mom was cleaning out a drawer and found a bunch of cards that were mine from many years ago. I had not thought about them in a very long time, but as soon as I saw them I was brought back to my childhood, and remember playing with them (and collecting them) often. I decided to give them to my daughter to play with, and she has had a BLAST showing me each card and telling me what character is on it. It makes my nerdy Disney loving heart so happy to hear her, at two years old, identifying the characters that I grew up with.

We have played games with the cards, made choo choo trains, guess the card, and all kinds of other fun simple things that have kept us both entertained for hours, just from some little old cards found stuffed in a drawer and forgotten about for twenty years.

This is one of the reasons we are super excited about the new episodes of some of our favorite Disney Junior shows, including the Lion Guard, coming on TV Fridays this summer. All-new episodes of Disney Junior’s hit series’ are coming to Disney Channel FRiYAY mornings throughout the summer! A new episode will be out on Friday the 14th, and I can’t wait to see what kind of a predicament the Lion Guard gets into this time!

Want to know how you can watch these new episodes with your family? There are two places to look! First of all, The Disney Channel:  During the morning block (usually 6-10am), Disney Junior shows will air first on Disney Channel.  Usually new episodes will air here FIRST so tune in to catch the premiere! Check out the schedule for the rest of the summer below:

FRiYAY, 7/14– All-new Lion Guard starting @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey & The Roadster Racers and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY,  7/21 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Sofia The First and Elena of Avalor

FRiYAY, 7/28- All-new Mickey & The Roadster Racers @8:30am followed by an all-new Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY,  8/4 – All-new Sofia the First @ 9am
FRiYAY, 8/11 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey and the Roadster Racers  and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 8/18 – All-new  Sofia The First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor

I hope you can catch some of the episodes with your little ones and reminisce about the times you were a child watching your favorite shows. Thanks Disney Junior for reminding me of so much fun!

QOTD: What was your favorite Disney show or movie growing up?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.

5 Things Friday XXVIII

Happy Friday! It’s very happy for me indeed because I am in Orlando at Hilton Bonnet Creek at BlogHer! (well I guess that is actually #1 on my 5 things Friday list!) I am having a blast here with SO MANY BLOGGERS. It’s a little overwhelming but also fun. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HeathersLG for updates and Instagram stories.

2.) This Thursday I will be at the Port of Tampa for a press event with Carnival Cruise Lines as they have a special bon voyage celebration to mark a special occasion: the Carnival Paradise will be sailing to Havana, Cuba! They will also be creating the largest Cuban sandwich at sea. Here is a flashback to when I was on the Carnival Liberty with the largest cheeseburger at sea!

3.) The following day, the 30th, I will be a part of the blogger caravan for social media day Tampa! I’m so excited! We will be driving around town in VW beetles before the main event that night. More on this in a post next week so stay tuned!

4.) My mom and dad finally moved down here and are in their rental house while their new home is being built. It’s so weird having them “local” (well, 45 minutes away), but it’s great having their help so I am able to do some of these events/more often. We have never had my parents local (I haven’t lived near them since high school!) so this has been nice so far!

5.) We are in the middle of potty training with Emma Kate, and she is doing great! We aren’t “there” yet as we have to remind her a lot, but it’s nice to make progress. We want to be able to take her on a Disney cruise but you can’t go in the pool with swim diapers so it has spurred me on to get things moving. If you have any great tips (especially for getting her to do #2) let me hear em!

That’s it for this week! be sure to tune in to all the BlogHer17 fun buy following along with the #BlogHer17 hashtag.

QOTD: Have you sailed with Carnival before? What is your favorite ship? Any potty training tips? 

KidsPark: Easy, Fun Childcare

When we moved to Tampa at the end of last year, I knew one of the things we were going to miss most was being close to family. Not only did we enjoy hanging out with them on a regular basis, but we really loved the option for babysitters, and never had to have a stranger watch our two year old!

Not only does Tampa offer a wide range of fun activities I wanted to attend, but as a blogger I get invited to special events and dinner etc., too. Not knowing anyone made it difficult to find a baby sitter, so when I saw an ad in a local paper for KidsPark, I knew I needed to investigate.

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The website is very informative, and I found out that KidsPark is actually a pay by the hour daycare franchise with many locations throughout the country. I was super excited as my babysitting problem was solved! Not only that, but Emma Kate would get to play in a new environment and have fun interacting with other kids all at a very low hourly rate, while mom and dad go to have fun of our own. Lucky for us, the nearest location is less than ten minutes from our house. The best part is there are NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! You simply show up, check your child in, and leave. Some people drop their kids off for an hour or two so they can go get groceries or go to the doctor, and some leave them for a full day of fun. It’s up to you!

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When you arrive, you register and pay a small registration fee, and then are charged by the hour for your child’s time at KidsPark. At the end of the day the price per hour is WAY less than I would have to pay an in home sitter, plus my child is getting to be in a new fun place with new friends, which I prefer.

There are cubbies at the front for your child’s belongings and shoes. Children are required to take their shoes off, but must wear socks, so don’t forget them!

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Another thing that I love is there are meals and snacks at KidsPark. Meals at our location are $4.00, or you can bring your own meal from home (we have done both, it just depends on the menu and home much time I have as to what we do). Snacks are at no additional charge. Wondering about ages and activities? Kids can start going to KidsPark at age two through age eleven at our location. The “big kids” also have a special play area so they aren’t constantly on top of the little kids, so no worries there!

They even help assist with potty training. Emma Kate wears a special color sticker on her name tag so they know to remind her about the potty. Awesome! Sometimes Emma Kate comes home with a craft or picture that she drew, so it’s nice to know they are doing different activities with the kids. They also have different themed days and weeks depending on time of year, holidays, etc.

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As you can see from this happy face, Emma Kate has never been upset when we leave her! There is so much to do, and so many new friends to make! Another favorite thing about KidsPark is that it is open on a lot of holidays when regular schools are closed. There have been times when EK’s daycare was closed that we brought her to KidsPark because I needed to get work done. They are also open late into the night for those date nights for mom and dad (midnight on Friday and Saturday!)

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Another option we have not taken advantage of is that KidsPark operates as a preschool during the day. It’s a traditional preschool with a modern twist, so think music, drama, art, math and science for your little ones. You can even start a young child at one day a week and move up to five days.

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Emma Kate LOVES the little house and kitchen area!

KidsPark is even open for private parties on Sunday mornings and evenings when the center is closed to the public. You get a hostess to help with your party so you can enjoy instead of clean up, lead games, etc.

Don’t forget KidsPark is licensed and all the teachers have early childhood backgrounds and pass background checks. They are great at making your child feel comfortable and they always remember Emma Kate’s name, even after she had only attended a couple of times (they know her as the girl with the big bows, of course!) KidsPark’s mission is simple: Happy kids, happy parents, and in our family, they have succeeded!

Click here to see if there is a KidsPark location near you!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tampa Tuesdays: Busch Gardens Tampa

On Saturday, Bobby and I took Emma Kate to Busch Gardens Tampa. It was our first experience in the park aside from seeing a small portion when we went for a media event a few weeks ago. I did a little bit of research to at least know what we did and didn’t want to do, and we arrived at the park when it opened at 10:00 (which I thought was late!)

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Getting on the tram at the parking lot was a little hectic as there was no one there to keep people in order, and there were no true “lines”. We had a family try and push us out of the way to get on the tram (I was holding EK in my arms!) and I had to yell at a guy to let Bobby get on the tram with us b/c he had the stroller and people were pushing in front of him. However, I tried to shake it off and not let it ruin the day. The park can’t control what other people do, and it wasn’t their fault. We made it to the front, and bag check was smooth and quick.

I wanted Bobby to get to ride at least one roller coaster, so he jumped in line for Cheetah Hunt because it said there was only a ten minute wait. I took Emma Kate to go visit some animals while we waited.

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After about 30 minutes I texted Bobby and he was still in line. I was not thrilled because Emma Kate was getting bored and wanted to go ride the train. We visited the giraffes which there was SO many of, very cool, and then waited some more.

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All in all he was gone a total of 45 minutes for a ten minute wait, so I’m not sure what happened there. Maybe it temporarily broke down and we didn’t realize. Either way, nothing we could do to change it so we moved along and got in line for the train.

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It was fun seeing the animals along the route. A very nice touch. We decided to get off at the next stop and go see the monkeys and the tigers. This guy was just sitting up at the glass staring at all the kids. Emma Kate kept saying she wanted to hold him, of course.

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We also saw a couple of sleepy tigers. I loved all the lush landscaping in their habitats with multiple vantage points to view them from.

By this time it was after noon, and we were getting  hungry. We tried to get Emma Kate to nap in her stroller as we walked down towards the Food and Wine festival area.

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I love how the booths are mainly contained to two areas so you don’t have to walk all that far to get from one to another. Also, there were no long lines to wait in which was a plus.

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We each had an 8 pack sampler card courtesy of Busch Gardens, and were ready to enjoy the festival. (These can be purchased at the booths, and also you can find festival guides at each booth with a map and list of all the food and drink offerings.)

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First up, Bobby got the lamb chops and a mango margarita, which got two thumbs up.

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We then headed over towards the two Coke booths, which are next door to an inside air conditioned area with tables. We were happy to find this spot, as it was getting HOT outside. Bobby got a couple more things to eat and I got a pulled pork slider. After a brief rest, we headed over towards the concert area where there were a lot of other booths.

Bobby tried some ribs, and I got my favorite: the bacon mac and cheese, which was just as delicious as I remembered it. Emma Kate loved it, too and kept stealing my bacon.

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We both also had watermelon margaritas, which would become our favorite drink of the festival. (I may have had three.) I may have also had a regular margarita on the rocks at the margarita bar while we were in this area.

Emma Kate had been dying to “see Elmo” in the kids area, so we went there next. This area was great. TONS to do for kids all confined to one very large space. She was so overwhelmed we weren’t sure what to do first. She rode several rides, and even did a small “water ride” by herself!

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We put her in the bounce house because she LOVES those things, but there were a lot of big kids in there and she got upset and wanted to get out. We also did the carousel, and she climbed up in a large tree house area with Bobby.

Seriously we could have stayed in this area all day and Emma Kate would have been jjuussttt fine. There was also a huge really cool looking splash pad area, but we decided to skip that one for the day because it was already getting late in the day and we were all tired. We did however have one more stop to make, the show with Elmo and the gang! EK clapped and waved, and even got to touch Grover which I think made her whole day. This area was covered and had fans which was a very nice touch on such a sunny afternoon. There were also plenty of benches and other seating around the whole kids area for moms and dads to take a rest as the kids played.

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We still had a couple of punches left on our food and wine cards, so Bobby got some steak and said it was his favorite dish of the day.

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We met up with Megan and Gabe for a few minutes and chatted at a table and people watched before calling it a day. Check out the cool topiary in the background!

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The park is really big, and there was no way we could have done everything in a day, which just means we will have to go back!

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Not five minutes after leaving the park, this one fell asleep in the car. I think that’s a sign of a good day!

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A huge thanks to Busch Gardens for inviting us back to experience the park and the food and wine festival. Don’t forget, you can experience it for yourself every weekend through the end of this month, and there is a free concert every night of the festival with your park admission! Check out BuschGardens.com for the lineup and information.

Disclosure: I was provided free park admission for two as well as lanyards to try out the food at the festival. However, I was not asked to write a blog post about it, but we had a great time and I wanted too! Also, all opinions are my own.

**I would love it if you would take a quick second to fill out a 6 question survey about how you plan Disney vacations. Thanks in advance!**