Home BAM Travels Family Forward Fun at Universal Studios Orlando

Family Forward Fun at Universal Studios Orlando

by Nellie


There were so many awesome moments that my family and I enjoyed at the Family Forward Conference held at Universal Orlando Florida, and I am so excited to share them with you!

What is Family Forward?

Family Forward is an amazing conference put together by the amazing folks at Mom It Forward to promote family building and bonding through various hands on activities. They were able to offer bloggers and their families an amazingly discounted trip thanks to sponsors including Barilla, Doh Vinci, Animal Jam, Southwest Airlines and of course our host sponsor Universal Orlando. The experience was a million times better than I ever imagined and I was impressed with how smoothly everything ran.

We all stayed at the Loews Portofino Bay resort at Universal Studios. We got an incredibly discounted package rage that included the room, tickets, most meals and lots of fun activities. The hotel was stunning, I actually believe it deserves it’s own post, so I will save more info for later.


Family Fun

The night we arrived we participated in several ice breaking activities. Since it was 50+ bloggers and their families it was super fun to meet and see old friends like Aliah! My boys loved her so much they asked for her every time she wasn’t in our immediate view. Anyone who knows Lia won’t be surprised because she is easy to love!


We had a lot of amazing conference sponsors that made this trip possible. Here are some of family activities we participated in:

Doh Vinci:


We had the awesome opportunity to flex our creativity muscles with a new fun toy called Doh Vinci. Doh Vinci takes playing with play Doh to a new level. This is an actual tool that you can put play Doh in and squeeze out different shapes and you can draw whatever you want on pretty much anything including frames, vases and more. So crafty!

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Southwest Airlines:

I really loved the presentation from SouthWest, we had a seasoned pilot come and explain how airplanes fly. I was actually really excited about this because I had no idea how planes got up in the air. The pilot broke it down for all of us in a simple way including using a blowdryer to propel a beach ball in the air to simulate what happens when a plane is flying. Pretty cool stuff! I was totally The kids were really into it.

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The wonderful folks from Barilla came and gave us a cooking lesson right there on the spot! They brought out super easy ingredients such as roasted red peppers, cooked pasta, lemon juice, basil and more to make the perfect easy summer pasta. I really loved it because we followed all of the directions live and made a delicious dish for lunch!

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Animal Jam

We were lucky enough to get a celebrity appearance from Dr. Brady Bard who brought live animals for the kids to see. He actually brought a taped up crocodile and the kids were so excited that 90% of the room ran to the front to get a closer look…not if you know me, I stayed put right in my seat in the back. Doctor Bard laid the crocodile on its back on a table  on the stage and proceeded to tell us that when a crocodile is placed on his back he doesn’t move…because he doesn’t know which way is up. Pretty cool right?


Except that crocodile decided that he was going prove him wrong.

After about 30 seconds of having no hands on him the croc JUMPED and FLIPPED right off the table. Which of course sent the entire room (remember the 90% of people who were in the front for a closer view) running and screaming for their lives. It was so hysterical I was crying TEARS. Obviously no one was in danger because the croc’s mouth was securely taped shut and they got control of him once he got on the floor. But the looks on those kids (and some adults) faces was priceless.


Later on that night there was free tickets to the Blue Man Group but we didn’t take advantage because the kids were a bit wiped and I wasn’t sure they could handle that sort of noise at 8pm (which is normally their bedtime) so we went to CityWalk on our own and had dinner at one of my favorite places in the world…Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville!


Stay Tuned for more, I may be recapping this trip forever and ever because it was just that awesome!

Have you been to Universal Orlando? Did you stay on property? Have you ever been to a family focused conference before? Would you have run for your life when that croc jumped?

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Allie September 15, 2014 - 6:28 am

So much fun!!!! What a great opportunity for you and your family. I can’t wait to hear more about it. My boys will absolutely LOVE that Doh Vinci – very cool. And I would have loved the chat from the pilot. In fact, I probably would have cornered him and made him tell me over and over again how safe flying is!! Lastly, that part about the alligator? Priceless! I can just picture that scene.

Janine Huldie September 15, 2014 - 7:04 am

Never been, but totally looked like so much fun and a conference worth looking into that it includes the whole family as I am not one who has attended as I hate being away from my girls for too long to be honest. Omg, but that crocodile totally would have frightened me let alone my girls would have been terrified, because simple bugs get them crying!

kita September 15, 2014 - 8:36 am

Now this is what I call fun times and a great way to end the summer. Those nachos though….I had to scroll back up.

Yum Yucky September 15, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Uh oh. Suddenly I want some spaghetties. Damn you, Barilla, damn youuuuu!!!

Kim September 15, 2014 - 2:15 pm

I’ve never been to Orlando Studios but loved seeing it through your pictures!! Your boys are so cute!!! Hope you have more to share from your vacation – sounds like it was incredible.

Tamara September 15, 2014 - 4:11 pm

Eek, croc!
I’ve been to Universal Orlando a lot because my Aunt worked for them for nearly 20 years. So it was unlimited for us but we never stayed on property. I wish we had!
I may go in January. Yay!!

Jackie September 15, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Great photos. I think you are sitting at the table behind mine during the kick off event ice breaker and your kids came up to me to get my signature. They are very cute 🙂

LaShawn September 15, 2014 - 9:53 pm

This looks like a cool conference! I love that it was family centered! And those nachos…..

Kristina Walters September 16, 2014 - 12:39 pm

That looked so cool! I have never been to a family focused conference before. Kids are too old for that. I may have jumped on a chair but if I knew it’s mouth was taped shut it wouldn’t have freaked me out too much. I’ll bet it was hilarious to see!

Quiana September 16, 2014 - 1:28 pm

What a great idea to go to a family-centric conference! I can’t wait to take the kids to Orlando when they’re older! Glad you guys had a wonderful time =)

Faith September 16, 2014 - 6:37 pm

You seriously do the most fun things through your blog! I need to get with the program, haha.

And your boys, so, so adorable!

And yeah … I want to jump through the screen and eat all the food you posted here!

Leslie September 16, 2014 - 9:15 pm

I LOVE the idea of a family friendly conference (missed my girls so much during WGSPhilly). You really had me with the crafts (the girls would be in heaven) and the food (the Hubs and I would be in heaven)…but that story about the crocodile is hilarious! If only you had it on video….

Sherelle September 18, 2014 - 8:20 am

Now this looks like the kind of family trip I’d like to take when we have children! I love pasta, so the Barilla setup would’ve been the icing on the cake for me! The nacho plate at your FAVE restaurant looks delicious…now if only I could taste it through this computer screen, lol!

pegster September 20, 2014 - 1:30 am

Gosh, this is so much fun. I would love to do Universal with the kiddos one day. Can’t wait for the review of the hotel

Britt September 22, 2014 - 3:21 pm

Oh my gosh! The croc story is hilarious! I had no idea they couldn’t tell what way was up. This whole event looks amazing. I can see that your family had a great time! I love the looks of that pasta dish!

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