Coco loves Legos! The first Lego set he ever built was a 3-in-1 Dinosaur set. He can build a T-Rex, a Triceratops, or a Pterodactyl. His collection has expanded in the past year–a Batman set, a Lego Overwatch Bastion, a helicopter, and a Unikitty.
At 6 years, it’s amazing how he can concentrate for hours just to build a complicated set meant for 8-12 years old kid. He asks for help for some aspects of the set that are too difficult for his small hands. But other than that, he has the patience to build it!
To Legoland, Florida
About a year ago–we promised Coco that we will visit Legoland. We designated a coin bank where he can put coins and bills to save up for it.
On Memorial Day holiday weekend, we drove down to Florida from Nashville, TN to have our first vacation as a family of four.
We bought a two-day package, which included access to the park and to the water park, plus one night stay at Hampton Inn Winter Haven. After the Lego Movie 2 came out, we found a discount code included in a McDonald’s Happy Meal order. That was handy.
Driving Down to Florida… with a 6-Month old
Because we had a 6-month old baby, we thought we could fly down to Florida. We checked the flights and… we couldn’t afford it. The only option was to drive down to Florida.
According to Google Maps, the trip would take about 10 hours and 47 minutes if we drove continuously.
But you know how GPS works… it’s never as fast or as smooth as projected. With a 6-year old and a 6-month old. We expected the trip to be interesting and probably interrupted by several expressions of “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
On the last day of Coco’s school (he was in Kindergarten), I picked him up at noon. By 3:30 in the afternoon, we packed our stuff at the back of Bruno, our Ford Escape, and start our long drive to Winter Haven, Florida.
I learned two lessons about long drives with young kids.
Break it up!
Don’t even attempt to drive for 11 hours straight. That is a recipe for headache and potential disaster. We broke up our drive into one and a half days. It was longer, sure, but it was safer, and not too exhausting.
I didn’t want to fall asleep while driving. And we needed to stop frequently because of our baby.
Secondly, podcasts help!
I am so thankful that Coco has learned to listen to podcasts. Whenever I drop him off at school in the morning, we would listen to a podcast or two. He just ingrained the habit.
For young kids, I would recommend two podcasts:
- Story Pirates: kids’ stories are transformed into comedy skits.
- Wow in the World: a podcast about Science, Technology, and medicine.
Both of these podcasts are funny and witty and very informational. He’s learning some new things and laughing a lot! And these podcasts helped maintain our sanity while driving for hours and hours.
Legoland and Themes Park for that Matter are Crazy Expensive!
Warning: rant ahead!
Theme parks are expensive! For parking alone, we spent $33 per day! But that’s because we chose the Covered Preferred Parking. Still, regular parking costs about $20 per day. Not just chunk of change!
I would not have minded paying for regular parking. But on the day we left, my left knee decided to start swelling! And as we moved closer to Florida, the bigger the swelling, and the more pain I felt!
Talk about bad timing. Really bad timing!
But we have spent the money and the energy to go to Legoland, so dealing with my pain would have to wait.
What’s up with the sulfur-smell in Florida’s tap water?
We brought a Brita pitcher water purifier to save some money on drinking water. I don’t really want buying a lot of bottled water. But on our first day in Florida, the tap water smelled like sulfur.
I think I would have been okay drinking it, but we have two small kids, so we didn’t want to take a risk. So bottled water it is!
Enjoying the Park!
As a general rule, my wife and I follow a laidback approach to theme parks and any vacation travel for that matter. There are too many rides and attractions we can enjoy but we know that we have limited time at the park.
We identify 3-4 main attractions that we really want to enjoy and then take our time at the park. We don’t go on a mad dash to everything!
At the end of our two-day visit at Legoland, my left knee was swollen and I could barely walk. But I made it. Our son was so happy he asked “can we go here again?”
I replied: “when your brother is big enough to enjoy it, which is about 5 years from now.”