Disclosure: In exchange for an honest review, our family was given entrance to the LEGO KidsFest. All opinions are 100% my own.
Today my family and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to LEGO KidsFest at the San Jose Convention Center and I have to say without hesitation I have never seen as many LEGO bricks under one roof in my life. It truly was a wonderland of building, from the incredible artwork done by Master Builder to the freestyle artwork of children. As you can imagine the kids were in sensory overload resulting in the first hour being spent stopping and going between areas. With three kids under six, we definitely had our hands full, but divided and allowed the interests of both sets to be fullfiled.
The girls were super excited about the LEGO Friends section. For those of you who aren't aware LEGO has been offering for the Friends section since 2012 as a girl themed line. The line includes unique "mini" dolls and the girls loved them. I think "Santa" will be including some for them to enjoy, this Christmas. I'd say we spent nearly an hour playing in the make believe LEGO brick constructed soda shop and mansion, building dolls and chatting about the nice decor. They even had little tiny lipsticks and pets, LEGO Friends is definitely a detail oriented line and I was really happy that it was highlighted, so that Lily and Ariana got the opportunity to check it out.
For Luke at two years old thankfully they had Duplo area that also had a similar brick pile only as many of you know with much bigger sized bricks. When in the other areas we really had to watch him because he like some of the other young ones there wanted to "taste" the colorful bricks at each station. Along with the pile there were several areas of fun build with Duplo activities. And well they had super cute hats and we had to get one for him so he could look so cute too. He wouldn't wear it long enough to snap a nice candid shot but I couldn't resist forcing him into the hat for a bit.
The thing that really drew my husband and I, in were the amazing sculptures done entirely in LEGO bricks. The Master Builders are amazing and we took a little bit of video to give you a glimpse into the experience, but if you get a chance you have to see them in person.
One of the master builders let me know how they get so detailed and perfect, as you can expect lots of time and planning. LEGO has a 3D building software available free for those who are interested to do small 3D LEGO brick designs calledLEGO Digital Designer. I am going to see if I can sculpt something, in the near future so stay tuned for updates.
LEGO KidsFest's next stop is in Portland, Oregon October 11-13th, if you get the opportunity to go it, I highly recommend it. If your not a West Coast native here is a direct link so you can find out when the nearest one is coming your way: LEGO KidsFest.
Last night, Lily and I were lucky enough to get to go to the opening night performance of Disney on Ice's Dare To Dream at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. I have to say it was incredible. I haven't been to a Disney on Ice performance before so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but I was impressed. The night started out with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy setting a scene and introducing the Princess and the Frog. From the first scene I could tell that this was going to be magical. The brightly colored costumes drew your eyes on the skaters as they glided across the ice, all while dancing to choreography and lip-syncing. Each scene was one that was pivotal to the story and compact enough that my three year old didn't get distracted, but you didn't lose any of the story. The skaters that were Prince Naveen and Tiana were so perfect you'd think that they were drawn themselves. One of my favorite scenes of that story was when Ray, the firefly was talking about his love Evangeline, they spotlighted a star into the middle of the ice and it was the starting point to show the romance between Tiana and her prince.
Once they wrapped up Tiana's happily ever after, in less than 30 seconds Mickey and friends were back out there to introduce to the next story. They use the audience to help in the introduction which Lily really enjoyed as it gave her a chance to yell out an answer. For the next story they went with a classic disney love story, Cinderella. This section was my favorite, so much so I found myself singing along while Lily and I swayed to the music. Disney definitely knows what it's doing when it comes to story telling, because they hit on all the key components that I love about Cinderella:
And they did it in a way that was so visually appealing, the bippity boppity boop section was for lack of better words dazzling, I love the costumes and the entire scene stood out in my mind. The picture below does not do it justice, it was like looking at a diamond in the sunlight, as it moved across the ice, sparkling.
There was a nice intermission in the middle of this story, which was perfect with all the little kids immediately scrambling up the stairs to the restrooms. Disney really took the audience into account, by making sure that the show was timed well with breaks.
The final story, was that of Rapunzel from the story Tangled. Lily was entranced by the air-skating? flying? air-dancing? I'm not even sure how to characterize it, but many of the adventure scenes were in the air and they were definitely a feast for the eyes. From this story, I have to say my favorite characters are that of the ruffians singing about their dreams, and they included it in the performance. I am pretty sure this story was Lily's favorite, she sang along, danced, and wouldn't stop talking about Maximus. Maximus the horse is a key character in the story and he was played without a hitch, jumping and dancing around. I have to say that must be quite a feat as I am pretty sure there are 2 people who are needed to bring Maximus to life. Each scene played out the key pieces until we got to the floating lanterns section. At that point the room went very dark and all you could see was these amazing lanterns rising up into the sky. The illusion was actually pretty spectacular.
Here is a little video of some of the skating:
As the show started to near to an end, Mickey and friends came out dressed to the nines and invited all the other princesses out, the entire audience cheered as each of their favorite princesses skated in with their prince. While every one was on the final Castle there was a surprise, but I'm not going to give it away. It was however Awesome.
I thought originally that I would spend most of the night wrangling Lily into paying attention and watching her enjoy the show, but to my pleasant surprise I was as into it as her. The colors and artistry not to mention the pretty amazing skating kept my attention the whole time. I distinctly remember feeling that disappointment upon it ending that I did when I was a kid. It's rare to get to experience moments of childhood again and this really does do it. My only regret from the evening was not dressing Lily up as her favorite princess, this is a truly appropriate opportunity to dress up and be a princess for an evening.
If you haven't had a chance to go see Disney on Ice Dare to Dream, do everything you can to catch this one! It's in Sacramento, now until the 18th. Tickets are available both at the box office and online..
Disclaimer: I received promotional tickets in order to facilitate my review, all opinions are 100% my own.
Disclosure: I received tickets for free to conduct my review, it however did not effect my opinion of the show. All opinions are 100% my own. Professional pictures provided by Disney On Ice & Feld Entertainment.
We were fortunate enough to have been staycation-ing tonight with Mickey Mouse. Yes, I did say Mickey Mouse. At Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure the entire Sleep Train Arena was swept away on a vacation for one evening. From the plains of Africa with Simba to Neverland with Peter Pan we were transported through the colorful costumes and wonderful narrative.
From the moment the lights went down, the ice lit up both with excitement from a crowd that couldn't take their eyes off of it and from the truly talented althetes on it. The skill of the skaters in a Disney On Ice productions is truly a sight to be seen. From the jumps to the characters they play they integrate acting, singing and skating into a real life version of Disney classic movies. The four films that were recreated in this Disney On Ice show were Lilo & Stitch, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King.
(I had to include a shot of Ursela she was amazing)
Lily and Luke weren't as aware of the songs and storylines as I had hoped, but I was extremely versed so I sang along and lead them through the highs and lows with my excitement. From Hakuna Mata on I couldn't stop singing along, the music was perfectly timed and even if you didn't know the songs it immediately got into your head and you will know it tomorrow. For me it was watching Sebastian singing Under the Sea, that transported me through time to the first time I experienced The Little Mermaid and stirred my inner child. That little girl inside me was back in my waterbed singing at the top of my lungs ah..ah..ah...ahhh ahhh.. you know the part. I am so happy I got to spend that time with my family, there was no better way to spend an evening.
Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure runs until Oct 13th at Sleep Train Arena, if you have the opportunity to check it out, or were on the fence about I definitely recommend you go. I mean look at Luke's face he is literally in awe and Lily couldn't take her eyes of the show. Insert that special child in your life or yourself into that seat and instant happiness. How often in life do we really get to be kids again? With a Disney On Ice show we are fortunate to have the opportunity to be a kid right there with our kids and it really is magical.
Here is a snippet of the show as provided by Disney On Ice:
I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did it really is amazing.
Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to Gilroy Gardens to facilitate the review, no other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% honest and my own.
From waterfalls to thrills Gilroy Gardens was a delight to our entire family. Having kids two,four and six rarely do we feel we really get much from visiting family fun centers or theme parks, other than exhaustion and disappointed kids. Even with most having a kids section they rarely have more than a few rides that Luke, our two year old can ride if any at all and Lily, being a bit on the shorter side is right there with him disappointed and watching Ariana have fun on rides designed for 42" or taller. Gilroy Gardens on the other hand completely caters to the “vertically” challenged little ones by allowing them to ride all but 3 or 4 rides, in the whole park. Plus, most of the rides also allowed for a chaperone so even the small kids that are too small to go alone can still ride with their chaperone. And as a chaperone that means the whole family is on a ride together sharing the experience.
One of my favorite things about the park is the way the designers avoided creating a concrete jungle with seemingly endless lines in direct sunlight like other parks. Long lines gates are few and far between at Gilroy Gardens. At Gilroy Gardens you find shaded lines with natural cover ranging from bamboo two stories high to beautiful canopies of flowers. As well as scenic walkways that allow for you to take in the scenery and pace yourself as to avoid line pile ups. Also if you ever get too warm you can always take a refreshing walk under the beautiful waterfalls or run around with the kiddos in the water feature area.
While visiting we enjoyed a family pizza meal deal for lunch and I have to say in our experience as avid amusement park visitors we appreciated the price and quality. At about 35.00 (with tax) for a family sized pizza and beverages it was about 5-10$ cheaper for the same amount of food at another park and the service was great. We didn't feel like we were in an assembly line nor did we have to wait more than five minutes for a hot, fresh and tasty pizza. When we ate our fill, the staff was nice enough to give us foil to take the remaining pizza with us. Food quality and service wasn't a side note to pushing masses through, but rather had the feeling of being at the forefront. I appreciated this greatly, as typically eatting with excited kids can be a bit of a struggle.
Our family really enjoyed our visit to Gilroy Gardens and I know that it would be a hard place to be disappointed. If you get the chance to head through the bay make sure to stop by and enjoy the park, there really is something for everyone. Although, Gilroy Gardens does offer some thrilling rides for adults, for me the biggest thrill was the sheer joy on my childrens faces. It isn't every day you get to go to a park that really considers your time there to be family time and doesn't leave anyone disappointed.