The Dark Arts are Taking Over Hogwarts Castle #UniversalStudiosHollywood

The Dark Arts are Taking Over Hogwarts Castle #UniversalStudiosHollywood

What house do you belong to? Here’s a little known secret about me. I was officially sorted, by the Sorting Hat himself, into the house of Slytherin. Now, I would have liked to have disagreed, because I always felt more of a Gryffindor at heart. But, I must embrace what the hat says. So when Universal Studios Hollywood announced that the Dark Arts were taking over the lights at Hogwarts Castle, it kind of gave me the chills. I mean, the lights at Hogwarts ALWAYS gives me the chills. Whether it be the Nighttime lights, during the Summer or the beautiful Christmas version, it kind of takes my breath away every time. I can’t wait to see the Dark Arts take over!

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Celebrate National Donut Day @UniStudios!

Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk.jpg

With a whole day to celebrate everyone’s favorite pastry, doughnut-lovers need look no further than Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood to get their fill on National Doughnut Day, which takes place on Friday, June 1.

Between the open-air entertainment complex and theme park, guests have plenty to
celebrate with lots of sweet indulgence in all shapes and sizes at Voodoo Doughnut, Sparky’s Mini Donuts, and Springfield’s famous Lard Lad Donuts. Guests can also capture their love of donuts at the recently-opened retail shop, Nectar Bath Treats which features a delicious “Donut Love” photo op wall display and selection of donut-inspired soaps.

The ever-popular Voodoo Doughnut, created by Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres
Shannon, serves a range of 60 eclectic doughnuts, including vegan options and the Hollywood
Cream, created exclusively for Universal CityWalk. A variety of scrumptious flavored doughnuts
include Grape Ape, Mango Tango, the Voodoo Bubble and Bacon Maple Bar as well as their
signature Voodoo Doll. To commemorate National Doughnut Day, Voodoo Doughnut will also
offer an exclusive Strawberry Confetti doughnut throughout the weekend, from June 1-3.

Mmmmm donut! Who doesn’t love them, and at Universal Studios Hollywood, guests visiting Springfield, hometown of America’s favorite animated family, the Simpsons, can delight in the sweet circular treat – LARD LAD DONUTS, an amazing cooked cake confection made fresh daily. Selections include “The Big Pink” famous giant creamy pink-frosted sprinkled donut,
and the “Flavor of the Day” giant donuts, including Maple Bacon, Chocolate Glazed and
S’mores. Sparky’s Mini Donuts was created by food entrepreneur Trish Conklin and made famous at San Francisco’s Pier 39. At the Universal CityWalk location, guests can watch donuts made fresh to order right before their eyes where they are served plain or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. A party-size bucket of 36 mini donuts is also available.

For a unique and captivating experience, Nectar Bath Treats creates bakery-inspired
products that look good enough to eat. Their plant-based and cruelty-free handmade bath treats include donut-shaped soaps complete with a variety of scents and sprinkles, including Candy Kiss, featuring a sweet blend of pink sugar and cotton candy aromas; Coco Bliss, featuring the perfect blend of juicy pineapple an exotic coconut scent, and Razzle Dazzle, featuring a blend of blackberries and sweet vanilla fragrances. The highly Instagram-able store also showcases a “Donut Love” wall to capture a sweet moment with friends.

Hello Kitty Has a New Home at Universal Studios Hollywood

Hello Kitty Has a New Home at Universal Studios Hollywood

Every single time that I visit Universal Studios Hollywood, there is something new and awesome to see. Today was no different and was a pretty exciting day for me because I got to tour the brand new Animation Studio Store that just opened in Universal Studios. It is no secret that I am a HUGE Hello Kitty fan. I've loved Hello Kitty for as long as I can remember. This store takes Hello Kitty to a whole new level of cuteness, maybe even a level of cuteness that we didn't know existed until now.  Did I pique your interest? Check out some of the stuff you can look forward to. 

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Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

There is something magical in the air, just in time for the Holidays. This year, Universal Studios Hollywood has turned Hogwarts castle into an even more magical version of itself. Whether you are a fan of Harry Potter or not, the lights at Hogwarts are beautiful and breathtaking. "Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter" takes place nightly now through January 8. 

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New This Summer--The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle!

New This Summer--The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle!

Where are my Harry Potter fans?! If you haven't visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood then get ready because it just keeps getting better and better! We were invited by Universal Studios to get a preview of the all-new "The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle" and I have to say... I LOVED IT! #WizardingWorldHollywood

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Voodoo Doughnuts has a New Home Here in Los Angeles!

Voodoo Doughnuts has a New Home Here in Los Angeles!

It's here! VooDoo Doughnuts has made their way to Southern California and found the perfect home at the world famous Universal City Walk. We were invited to check out what all the fuss was about today, and I can finally say I get it. They are delicious donuts, not just pretty and cool and Instagram worthy, but a really delicious doughnut. 

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Celebrate Lunar New Year at Universal Studios Hollywood

Celebrate Lunar New Year at Universal Studios Hollywood

There is something extra awesome about cultural celebrations. I love living in a city, in a world where we can come together and learn about other cultures and take part in the traditions and celebrations together, as one. Universal Studios Hollywood has transformed their central plaza to help everyone celebrate this Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rooster. 

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More Who-liday Fun! Celebrate #Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

More Who-liday Fun! Celebrate #Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

Okay friends! Happy Who-lidays! I love visiting Universal Studios during Grinchmas. I mean, Universal Studios is always fun and there is pretty much always a new attraction to check out. But there is something even more amazing about the way that they bring Whoville to life. Each time I visit I am blown away by the beautiful 60 foot tall tree, but even more so by the citizens of Whoville.

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Voodoo Doughnut Sweetens Up Universal CityWalk - Opening Fall 2016

Earlier this week my family and I took a trip to Universal CityWalk to have dinner at our favorite family restaurant, Johnny Rockets and to check out an early screening of Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass. It was so much fun seeing my girl's faces as they saw all the fun and bright stuff that City Walk offers. If you follow me on Snapchat (Kindasillymommy) then you may have seen this Snap. 

Yes, world famous Voodoo Doughnut is expanding to its first-ever California location at Universal CityWalk™, located adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A.

“We are beyond thrilled to open Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk and share our menu of fabulous, unconventional doughnuts with the world at the top entertainment destination in Los Angeles,” said Voodoo Doughnut owner, Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson. “Our signature and one-of- a-kind doughnuts are the perfect complement to CityWalk’s over-the- top vibrancy.”

The new Voodoo Doughnut shop will find its sweet spot at the inimitable Universal CityWalk, located near the “5 Towers” outdoor concert stage and adjacent to the Universal Cinemas, currently under renovation and also slated to debut this fall.

VOODOO_design_pack

The Pogson-Shannon team raised the bar in doughnut creation in 2003 by experimenting with an array of unusual ingredient combinations to create a broad selection of exquisite doughnuts that range from Bacon Maple Bar doughnut to the Grape Ape doughnut and the Mango Tango.

I can't wait to try some of these amazing flavors that everyone keeps talking about and I'm so glad that I don't have to jump on a plane to try them.  Universal City Walk is the perfect home for Voodoo Doughnut, the bright vibrant colors and flavors will fit right in. 

More information about Universal CityWalk is available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com.
Regular updates also can be found on CityWalk’s Twitter @CityWalkLA, Facebook page Universal CityWalk Hollywood and Instagram @CityWalkLA.

A Grinchmas Who-liday Celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood

I've been telling you all about the Holiday celebrations around town, but the celebrations at Universal Studios Hollywood are like no other.  When you visit Universal Studios from now until January 3rd, during select dates you can join in on the Who-liday celebrations in Universal Plaza. 

There is no way you can miss the 60 ft tall Grinchmas tree or any of the wonderful Who-ville Who's, and once you enter you have to make sure to stop, meet and talk to each Who that you see. 

Universal Studios has some of the best rides, shows and attractions and they hit it out of the park with Grinchmas. The transformation into Who-ville is amazing and there are so many fun activities and shows. You can sit and listen to Cindy Lou Who while she reads the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas and see musical performances by The Who-liday Singers boy band and Marth May Who-vier and her Who Dolls. 

The 60 ft tall one-of-a-kind, curved Seuss-ian Grinchmas tree is beautiful all day long, but in the evening you have to see it light up. You can catch the tree lighting every 30 minutes which also ends in snowfall!   

Before you get in line to take a SUPER FUN photo with the Grinch or Max the Dog, here are some other activities the kids can enjoy.

  • Decorate and send a postcard at the Whoville post office. Which also serves to donate a book to your community as thanks from the Seuss family.
  • Design your own Grinch themed holiday ornament.
  • Decorate a cookie with frosting and other edible sweets. Purchase is required but worth it, it's a huge cookie. 

Meeting the Grinch is the definite highlight of all the Wholiday Wholibrations. He is just as you would expect him to be from the story, but better. He is great in person and full of fun and energy and really great at taking selfies. He asked my girls what their names were, read their post cards, and helped them put them in the mailbox before posing for our pictures. Such a great highlight for the holidays. 

We had so much fun celebrating the Who-lidays here and you and your family will too! Come out for the Grinchmas fun and stay for the rest. Don't miss the Minion Ride, Springfield, the 50th anniversary Studio Tour and the Fast and Furious Supercharged

Universal Studious Grinchmas is open select dates now through January 3, 2016! 

Oh and in case you haven't heard, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is set to open at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, 2016! 

Disclaimer: I was provided tickets for my family and I to attend Universal Studios to check out all of the Grinchmas fun so I can share with all of you. As always, all opinions are my own.

Universal Studios Hollywood 50th Anniversary- Nighttime Studio Tour!

You already know that Universal Studios Hollywood is one of my favorite places to take my family to in Southern California. There is so much to do and see and although the rides are intense, they aren't roller coasters, which means my little ones get to enjoy the attractions without being scared of getting on big rides. Read more about Sprinfield- Home of the SimpsonsThe Minion Ride and Fast & Furious- Supercharged.

Flashback to 20 years ago, I kicked major butt at school fundraisers and the big prize was a fieldtrip to Universal Studios. Back in the 90's my favorite ride was E.T. and I remember being so scared on the Studio Tour. King Kong, Earthquake, and JAWS were really scary when I was a kid. So, naturally, I couldn't wait to share that experience with my kids.

As an adult, the studio tour now celebrating it's 50th anniversary, was a lot cooler than I remember. It's really fun to see all of the behind the scenes info and movie sets. And I felt nostalgic when seeing the Bates Motel and JAWS. I could not wait to see my kids faces when JAWS comes up out of the water. see my Instagram video here, classic.

New at Universal Studios this year is the Nighttime Studio Tour. The English only tour transitions from the daytime tour at 6:30 PM and runs nightly through August 17, then weekend evenings through September 13. Visit UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more information.

Here is a short video that I took from the award-winning King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson – the world’s largest 3-D experience. If you listen closely, you can hear my daughter scream and then my evil laugh. The nighttime tour offers a different experience than the daytime tour as you get to watch Marilyn Monroe as she films her iconic scene on our Metropolitan set. Escape Frankenstein’s Monster as he roams the haunting streets of Little Europe and witness the horror of the Bates Motel in a frightening encounter with Norman Bates and his notorious mother.

So tell me when was the last time you visited Universal Studios Hollywood? Before last year, I hadn't visited in 20 years! 

Now at Universal Studios: Fast & Furious--Supercharged!

I have loved the Fast & Furious movies since I was in high school. I remember watching the first movie in the theater and just falling in love. Yes, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker were hot but I really loved the action and fast cars. Over the years I would get so excited every time a new movie was coming out and when I heard there was going to be a Fast & Furious ride at Universal Studios I could not wait to check it out! Fast & Furious -- Supercharged is the grand finale to the world famous Studio Tour. 

The 3D-HD ride is so fun! The whole story builds up during the Studio Tour and my kids were so concerned when our tour guide would mention a criminal on the loose. It's kinda like you are part of the cast riding along on a high-speed chase that literally feels like you are going faster than 100 miles per hour. It's so much fun, above is a video I took of the intro, I didn't want to spoil all the fun for you so I stop before all of the action. 

This is a video of the making of Fast & Furious-- Supercharged. I like learning about all of the behind the scenes info and this is pretty cool. Oh! and now through August 16th Fast & Furious--Supercharged is open 1 hour before the rest of the park opens.

Check out more info on

Universal Studios

site and connect with them on

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and

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Greetings from Springfield-- Now Open at Universal Studios Hollywood!

Disclaimer: I was provided tickets for my family and I to attend Universal Studios to check out all of their latest attractions. As always, all opinions are my own. 

If you live in or visit California this Summer, add Universal Studios Hollywood to your list of places to visit. Universal Studios is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year with a few new attractions that are definite must sees! Today I want to share a peek at “Springfield,” an-all new immersive experience surrounding the super fun “The Simpsons Ride.”

Are you a Simpson's fan? Then you are going to love walking into "Springfield," hometown of America’s favorite family, The Simpsons. Even if you are not as familiar with the show, like my girls who are a little too young to understand the humor, you will still enjoy entering a bright, silly town filled with fun characters. “Springfield” is designed to capture the spirit of the animated town and engage visitors and fans of the show in the intensely absorbing and colorful world made famous throughout the series’ record-setting 26 seasons. 

Guests visiting “Springfield” will have the pleasant sensation of being hurled through their television sets and into the accurately depicted town, complete with signature eateries such as BumbleBee Man's Taco Truck, Krusty Burger, Cletus’ Chicken Shack, Luigi’s Pizza and Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream Parlor, along with Homer’s favorite hangouts, Lard Lad Donuts, Moe’s Tavern and Duff Brewery.

If you are hungry, then Springfield has a lot of delicious options for you to choose from. I just had to try the Krusty Burger and it was delicious. It was actually just what I needed to satisfy my hunger from walking around all morning, a fresh and delicious charbroiled cheeseburger and fries definitely hit the spot.

Walking around "Springfield" you are welcomed by all of the characters that you have grown to know and love over the past 26 seasons that they've lived in your television. Say hello and take pictures with Springfield's finest, Chief Wiggum.

Make sure to pick up one of Homer's favorite treats from Lard Lad Donuts. This giant pink donut covered in sprinkles is delicious. The most fun part of Sprinfield is going on the Simpsons ride at Krustyland. The whole experience builds a lot of excitement and the ride is AMAZING! It was almost too intense for me, almost. It definitely made my palms sweaty and I promise, you will LOVE it! 

Taking pictures with the characters is half the fun for my kids. If you notice Homer was being particularly rambunctious on this day and was determined to look inside my daughters bag, which of course was holding our donut from Lard Lad Donuts. He even covered my daughters face during the picture, Lisa on the other hand was as sweet as could be. 

Of course, I needed a photo of my girls with Millhouse. Classic! Check out Universal Studios on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for updates and come back in a few days when I share more about our fun day at Universal Studios including the new “Fast! & Furious!—Supercharged” and the “Nighttime Studio Tour.”

Tell me: Have you ever been to Universal Studios? What is your favorite attraction?  

Grinchmas: A Wholiday Wholibration at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the media preview of the Grinchmas tree lighting at Universal Studios. 

It’s that magical time of year again for

Universal Studios Hollywood

to ring in the holiday season! The Entertainment Capital of L.A. will Cel-Who-brate with the 20 Days of “Grinchmas,” including family activities like Who-bilicious Cookie Dec-Who-rating and Story Time with Cindy Lou Who. Universal CityWalk will also deck the hall with free concerts, nightly snowfall and special appearances by Santa Claus!

Grinchmas

 runs weekends on December 6-7, and 13-14, then continues daily from December 19, 2014 through January 3, 2015. The 60 foot tall tree is a spectacle to be adored by all who visit, the perfectly imperfect colorful tree topped with a ginormous star is straight out of the classic book and movie. Universal Studios has done a wonderful job of recreating the magic from the timeless family favorite.

 The Whoville Whos are the most friendly people you will ever meet! Every time I turned around, a character was chatting up my daughters asking them their name and age, and reminding them to make sure to be good for Christmas.

Grinchmas

 offers a variety of fun activities designed to create long lasting memories for the whole family: 

  • Who-ville Post Office – Visitors will have a chance to partake in the “Grow Your Hearts 3 Sizes” campaign when they share their good deeds on a postcard and mail them to The Grinch. In return, Random House Children’s Books, the publishers of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, will pay it forward by donating a book to a child in need through First Book on behalf of the sender. 
  • Trim up the Tree Lot – Guests can design and personalize their own “Grinchmas” ornaments to help decorate the venue’s other “Grinchmas” trees or take them home as a keepsake.
  • Who-bilicious Cookie Dec-Who-rating – Freshly baked, ginger bread cookies will be available for purchase, and guests can create their very own amazing treats with an assortment of delectable frostings and tasty toppers.
  • Story Time with Cindy Lou Who – Cindy Lou Who and her Who friends will gather guests of all ages – tall and small—for an engaging storytelling show of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, featuring special effects and audience participation.

The holiday season is the perfect time to visit

Universal Studios Hollywood

not just for the fun rides like the new Minion Mayhem, but 

Grinchmas!

 is included in the price of admission to the park. Make sure to check out the world-famous behind-the-scenes Studio Tour, where fans of the blockbuster film, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” can enjoy a close-up view of the original Who-ville film sets and a one-of-a-kind performance by unforgettable Who-ville Whos re-enacting popular scenes and songs from the family favorite.

Family Fun day with #TheBoxTrolls

You will always remember the first movie that your baby sits through. For me, the first movie my daughter sat through at 2 years old was Coraline. At first, I thought "What is this creepy movie?" then I sat through it again, and LOVED it. From the creators of Coraline, we are very excited and can't wait to see their next creation, The BoxTrolls.  
A family event movie from the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” that introduces audiences to a new breed of family – The Boxtrolls, a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright) in the amazing cavernous home they have built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. When the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley), comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls, Eggs decides to venture above ground, “into the light,” where he meets and teams up with fabulously feisty Winnie (Elle Fanning). Together, they devise a daring plan to save Eggs’ family.
My family and I were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at about 20 minutes of footage of the film out on September 26, 2014 and now, we can't wait to see the whole thing. 
The next time you are at the theater, look for The BoxTroll mirror. We had so much fun watching the different characters mirror our movements.
Check out this interactive card. Exciting right? Ugh, these BoxTrolls are so fun.
Ah, we were so lucky to get to meet these guys at Universal Studios! Can't wait til September 26? Like The BoxTrolls on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram for fun updates and pictures of these silly guys. 

Our 1st Trip to Universal Studios #MinionRide

It had been about 20 years since I last went to Universal Studios with my elementary school, so I had no idea what to expect. All I remembered was Jaws, King Kong, and the ET ride, boy has it changed. For me, there were two things we

had

 to do on our visit, meet a Transformer and of course go on the new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride! My girls have been asking to go visit the Minions all Summer long and on this day, Lexie's 4th birthday, we did. 

As soon as we walked through the gates, we headed straight to the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. It was my girls first 3D experience and they loved  it! They were a little nervous as they waited because they could hear the screams from behind the door. But the characters from Despicable Me were making us laugh the whole time we waited in line, just think, fart gun. 

The Minion Ride was so fun, in fact, it ended with a dance party. As we exited the ride, we were greeted with Super Silly Fun Land, just like in the movie! My girls ran straight for the playground and we hung out there for a bit before heading to the Silly Swirly Fun Ride and then on to the water play area. 

My girls will always say yes to a water fun zone and the one in Super Silly Fun Land is lots of fun! 

The minions are the best! 

I am not a fan of roller coasters or rides, to be honest I was a little afraid of what the 3D rides were going to be like. But that's the awesome thing about

Universal Studios

there is so much more to do than just standing in line for a 10 second ride. Their 3D rides are like a movie and an experience. My girls are still a little too little to get on some of the rides, but we had so much fun tracking down our favorite characters, meeting them and taking pictures. As you can see, I found Bumble Bee! 

 Make sure to check them out on

Facebook

,

Twitter

, and

Instagram

 and if you buy your tickets

online

, you can save $5 per ticket. Oh and another tip, when you are at Universal Studios, go to the mobile site on your phone and you can get wait times and arrival times for your favorite characters as well as all the info you need on height requirements for the rides and a map. 

Have you been to Universal Studios lately? It's a super fun place to spend a day with the family in Southern California.