Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Westin Pasadena

Thank you The Westin Pasadena for hosting us. I love writing about our favorite hotels in California.


Old Town Pasadena stole my heart. I already want to go back and explore the city. There was so much to explore and cuisine to try. It was a beautiful and clean city. It was a short 15 minute drive to Universal Studios Hollywood. We didn't get any traffic and it was lovely. We brought a jogging stroller and took an hour walk exploring Old Town Pasadena with our boys during the evening.


The Westin Pasadena was the perfect location with our room having a view of Pasadena City Hall. It was so beautiful and the sunset there was gorgeous. The Westin Pasadena is a 4 star hotel that smells absolutely lovely when you walk in to the main lobby entrance. I love their signature scent. I love their flowers, Green Wall, and ceiling fixtures. My oldest toddler said wow it's so beautiful when he walked in and we agreed with him.



Our room was a king size Banquette room with a view of City Hall. They have cribs accessible for the guests and they brought one to our room for our baby. We were right by the Pasadena Hotel Pool and we had the best time swimming with out boys and lounging on their comfortable pool recliner chairs.







We explored the fitness studio and wow they had the best equipment I have ever seen in a hotel. Plus that view of the hills while working out. They even had Peloton bikes!


We absolutely love Marriott Bonvoy beds! They are the most comfortable beds to sleep on and we always get an amazing night sleep with them.

-Dining: They have a restaurant at the hotel called The Ventanas Restaurant & Bar. We had breakfast there before checking out on Sunday. We ordered bagels with cream cheese and a fruit salad for the kids on the kids menu.




We loved how clean, beautiful and how friendly everyone was at The Westin Pasadena. Amazing hotel!



That view from the hotel!



Express Checkout is our favorite to use!



We will be back Pasadena! Such a beautiful city to explore and The Westin Pasadena was gorgeous.

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The Snows

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Universal Studios Hollywood with small children

Thank you Universal Studios Hollywood for providing these tickets for our family and hosting us.

We love Universal Studios Hollywood! My husband Jacob and I have been here five times without children over the past eight years. Last year we came with our toddler and family that was visiting out of state for Christmas break. This last time was our first time with both of our toddlers. Our kids ages are four years old and 14 months.
The first part of my post will be the best attractions for small children and the second part will be our favorite of all time rides. After eights years of coming we don't even need a map. It has been fun to see the changes that Universal Studios Hollywood has made consistently since the first time we came 8 years ago.

Number 1 Tip:
The biggest game changer this visit was our Universal Studios Express Passes. These passes with small children or even no children is absolutely amazing. It means you get one-time express to each ride, attraction and seated shows. The longest wait was the new Jurassic World Ride. I waited 15 minutes with my Express Pass. Every other ride we just walked on and we felt like celebrities. The wait in the regular lines were 30+ minutes usually in the hot sun.
Number 2 Tip:
Utilize the Child Switch at the park. Let the team member at the beginning of the ride know that you want to use the child switch. We didn't use it because of our Express passes, but during Christmas time with our family that was visiting, it was wonderful to be able to use it!


Favorite attractions/shows for small children:
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (40 inches tall to be able to ride in the moving seats)
  • Silly Swirly Fun Ride (no height requirement to ride with adult) my baby rode it with me
  • Super Silly Fun Land Wet Zone ( make sure to pack water shoes/towels/bathing suit) it includes 80 different water play features
  • DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda (no height requirements) my husband sat in a non motion seat with our baby right next to us
  • DinoPlay kids area with ropes, slides, dinosaur bones for the kids to play and get their energy out
  • The World Famous Studio Tour (No height requirement) We love this tour so much! Save it for the middle of the day and it's the perfect break. No height requirement and it's so entertaining. You sit in a tram on a guided tour of the back lots and get some behind the scene information on some of the movie industry secrets. We brought snacks and lollipops for our boys and they were so well behaved on it. It includes two rides during the tour. (King Kong and Fast & Furious Supercharged)
  • King Kong 360-3D: Our four year old's favorite ride! We told him it was like a big movie and it might be a little scary. He wasn't scared at all and loved it.
  • Fast & Furious Supercharged 
  • Universal's Animal Actors : My toddler and I went by ourselves since our baby fell asleep and no stroller are allowed inside. We absolutely loved it!! We sat on the front middle row and the show was so funny! The animals were adorable!
***Warning with this one*** Flight of the Hippogriff: (39 inches tall to ride) Our toddler previously loved the ride the last time we took him for Christmas break. It was our last ride of the day and by the time we rode it was even dark outside. We rode it during the day this time and he silently cried the whole time. He turned four and he is now afraid of heights which we didn't know until he rode this one. We might wait a few years for him to enjoy this ride again. It broke my mommy heart riding this one next to him.






-Character Sightings :We got to meet Poppy, Gru and his Minions, Po from Kung Fu Panda, Woody Wood Pecker, and Curios George!! The lines go very quickly which is so nice!  






The only adult ride we had time to ride that day was the new JURASSIC WORLD- RIDE!
-Jurassic World -Ride: It has only been opened since the end of July. The classic 85 foot drop is still there at the end, they added Jurassic World actors Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard from the movie into the ride. They have a new introduction, aquarium, new dinosaurs, and the same ending with the T Rex appearing from the ceiling. The ride is dark when you fall into the 85 foot drop. I am scared of heights and I did it! I was so afraid to have to ride it by myself since my husband was with the boys. I made my husband ride it first to tell me if he thought I could do it, and he loved it. My toddler gave me the courage to ride by saying I was the bravest mommy in the world.

Our favorite rides/attractions for adults:
These are our top favorite rides from the previous visits. (not including all the ones for kids, because we like those ones too.)
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 
  • Transformers The Ride-3D
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Special Effects Show
  • Jurassic World-The Ride
  • Revenge of the Mummy - The Ride
-Dining/food: We always eat lunch at Universal Studios and save dinner for the food court at Universal City Walk. Our favorite place for the price and size of plate is: Cletus' Chicken Shack across from The Simpsons ride. We love to eat in the Simpsons themed Springfield U.S.A. My husband can't resist going to Krusty Burger. They also have Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck, Luigi's Pizza and Pasta, Sud's McDuff's Hot Dog House, and Phineas Q. Butterfat's Ice Cream Parlor. We have eaten at ever location in Springfield U.S.A and have never been disappointed. If you enjoy the Simpon's TV show you will be amazed when visiting this area of the park. I would recommend doing a show or The World Famous Studio Tour after lunch or you might get motion sickness on your next ride. Also don't forget to stop in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter and get yourself a Butterbeer. It's non alcoholic and so delicious. We love the frozen one during the summer and the soda during the winter. We haven't tried the hot butterbeer yet.




The Snow family absolutely loves Universal Studios Hollywood and had the best day with our little ones there! Follow us for more travel & posts!

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Love,
The Snows



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