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Rolling Reviews from the Backseat: Rip Ride Rock-It Rollercoaster

By The Back Seat Reviewer — Road Trip Mom’s Daughter!

On my recent trip to Universal studios, one of the most thrilling and original rides in the park was the Hollywood Rip Ride Rock-It. This bright red roller coaster covered in dazzling florescent lights could be seen from anywhere in the park. The fun starts the moment you get to the front of the line. Immediately after you sit down and pull your seat belt across your lap, you have 30 seconds to choose a song from a variety of music. Choices range from music by Fergie, to songs like I Will Survive; so everyone can get a song they know. If you don’t pick your song before the ride starts, on is picked for you. The song you picked will play out of speakers by your ears throughout your ride.

Unlike most roller coasters that have a steady incline that brings you to the top of the first hill, the Rock-It saves space with a vertical climb to the top of the park, followed by an equally frightening near-vertical drop. After that comes a series of stomach churning loop de loops and cork screw turns that rip through the park. The whole time your face is being recorded by a camera on the back of the seat in front of you so that when the ride is over, you have an opportunity to view and purchase your own music video. The only problem is that because this is one of the most popular rides in the park, the line gets extremely long and there is no express line, so getting there early is a must. All and all this an amazing ride that anyone who love roller coasters and music should be sure to ride.

Keep reading for lots of tips on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Studios theme parks.

NOTE FROM ROAD TRIP MOM: This is a review by one of my road trip daughters! She and her sister are becoming regulars on my website with their product reviews and backseat opinions.

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January 30, 2012   1 Comment

Universal Orlando – Give Us Your Tips!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter reviewHave you visited the Universal theme parks in Orlando recently?  Did you especially enjoy the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter?!

I’m working on an article to share tips from my readers for this magical place!  If you have traveled there recently and would like to share anything about your experience that made your trip more  fun or enjoyable,  please post your tips in the comments below, or contact me by email!

Laurel @ momsminivan.com

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October 22, 2010   3 Comments

Paying it Forward

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Lunchables. All opinions are 100% mine.

Fun trips for kids is what I’m all about, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity to share this tip with my readers.  Lunchables is sponsoring an initiative called Project Potential with a contest called Field Trips For All where they will be giving away 50 class field trips to classrooms of deserving kids around the country.   Their aim is to help children grow toward their full potential and have experiences that they might not otherwise get to have.  Anyone who is at least 6 years old can enter and nominate a class.

Field trips can really enhance children’s learning experiences outside the classroom.  But with money being so tight lately, field trips are almost always one of the first things trimmed from school budgets. So here’s a chance to give back!

My own children have seen some commercials on TV for this contest recently and were excited to see me writing about it.  Naturally they wanted me to nominate their classes!  And, I have to admit, that was my first thought as well.

However, after a little bit of consideration, I realized that my children are very fortunate to have access to many school field trips during the year. Their schools have very involved parents for the most part, and the financial means to make them happen.  I’ve certainly chaperoned my fair share of class field trips.

So, I have decided to nominate a classroom that has a lot of special meaning for me.  Many of my readers already know that I am a former teacher.  For several years, I taught science at a public school in Memphis, TN.  It is a school that struggles hard, and full of students who don’t have the financial means to afford luxuries like class trips.  Still, I really enjoyed my time there and loved giving of myself to my classes.  My students were so full of potential, and they had to really struggle if they were going to reach it.

So — I’m going to nominate my former classroom!  I want the current science teacher at Sheffield Junior/Sr High School in Memphis, TN to win a field trip!   I have never met the teacher who has my old job, but I know the students there, and no one deserves a class field trip more than they do.

Now, I don’t know if my former students will be as wide-eyed as the 5th graders on this field trip in the following video, but I know they would still relish the opportunity to get some field experiences.

Click Here

Do you  know a classroom who would deserve this opportunity?  Please help me spread the word about this opportunity, and maybe even leave a comment below about who you would like to nominate.  Do good!

Visit my sponsor: Field Trips For All

April 30, 2010   Comments Off

Holden Beach, NC

One of our favorite places.

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April 2, 2010   1 Comment

Truckload of Turkeys

Here’s a truckload of turkeys going down the highway in South Carolina, April 2009. I took this picture with my cell phone while on a road trip a few months ago.

Roadside oddities abound, and occasionally they are on the road instead of along side it. Read more about where you can find strange and wonderful roadside attractions to help make your road trip smooth sailing in my new article Roadside Oddities.

Speaking of turkey — Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers. I am so thankful to have had so many loyal readers over the years who helped not only make my website a huge success, but also a wonderful resource for traveling parents everywhere. I could not have done it without you.

November 24, 2009   Comments Off

Printable Bingo Cards – Reuse them!


A MomsMinivan reader, Barbie, posted a picture (above) on her blog Mamaology showing how to re-use the printable bingo cards from the printable car games page on Momsminivan.com.

She wrote, “I made some games from a website called… momsminivan.com. The Bingo game above is from there. You can print it out for free, place it in a ziplock bag and use dry erase markers to check off the items you find, then erase it and use it again. I plan to give lollipops to the winner of the games.

These bingo cards are the perfect size to fit into a quart sized freezer bag. The dry erase markers work perfectly on them. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing, Barbie. I hope you had a great trip with all of your adorable girls.

August 24, 2009   Comments Off

Multimedia message – Bonnaroo Bound!

Moms’ weekend getaway with friends. In the car line for Bonnaroo! 40 license plates so far!

June 11, 2009   Comments Off

Turkey Defense

Here’s my dad in 1981 with “Meaty”, our aptly named pet turkey. Meaty was quite the barnyard showpiece. We’d raised him from a chick. And, well, kids do dumb things, and I was no exception. I teased him a lot when his voice began changing from a cheep to a gobble. I gobbled loudly at him constantly to make him gobbly-cheep back. It was hilarious at the time. As a result, he grew to dislike me intensely.

I have no idea what was going on inside his bird brain, but as a fully grown turkey, he would sneak up on me at every opportunity to attack. It was only me that he disliked. Everyone else could pet him on his bumpy red head and play with his weird warm waddle affectionately. Not me. He would pick me out of a crowd of people, flapping his wings like baseball bats against my thigh and driving his 2-inch talons into my calves. One day in my self defense, I waved a horse’s lead rope and halter in his direction to fend him off, and accidentally knocked him on the head with the metal buckle. He flopped to the ground completely unconscious. I thought I’d killed him.

I panicked and tried to think of what I would tell my mother about the beloved family pet. I stroked his knobby head and told him how sorry I was. I said a prayer to please undo this mistake. My prayer was answered. About 60 seconds later he opened his eyes and hopped up, seemingly good as new. What great relief. Meaty and I pretty much avoided each other after that, managing to co-exist somewhat peacefully in the barnyard. … until he met his untimely demise a couple of years later at the jaws of a hungry coyote.

It seems I am not the only one who has ever fought with a turkey. Recently, a friend sent me a hilarious turkey-wrestling video ad for a JennieO Oven Ready Turkey. I could totally relate. The moment the woman in the video sent her unruly turkey soaring out of her kitchen window and into the back of her husband’s head, I knew I needed one of these birds. Given my special affinity for turkey wrestling, I was hooked. So, this past Sunday night I cooked the “Oven Ready Boneless Turkey Breast” from their product line, or as my family called it, “turkey boob in a bag”.

I literally took it out of the freezer and put into my oven already in its cooking bag. No thawing, no seasoning, no preparing, nothing. I didn’t have to do a thing or even touch the raw turkey. It seemed too good to be true. I kept re-reading the instructions for the catch. I even started to dig around in the kitchen drawers looking for my meat thermometer, until I realized it already had one of those nifty pop up things. This was one of the easiest dinners I have ever made.

All three kids gave it a thumbs up, and ditto for the gravy that came with it. Delicious. And no one was hit in the head by a giant flopping bird. …Or stabbed in the leg by a spit-angry flapping one. If only I could have gotten along as well with ol’ Meaty.

November 12, 2008   5 Comments

Fifteen Pounds of Coleslaw, Anyone?

My daughter brought home a tiny cabbage seedling from school last year with three little leaves on it. I tend to have a bad effect on plants, especially ones in pots. And due to my natural black-thumb, I never expected it to live, which is why I allowed her to plant it in the front yard. Amazingly it lived and the rabbits didn’t eat it. It grew to 15 pounds. At some point, I think we were supposed to enter it into some kind of 3rd grade contest, but it didn’t start getting really large until just recently, and now summer has gone by and 4th grade has started. So we are eating it instead.

After doing some research, I found that these cabbages can get up to 40 pounds or more. Still, 15 pounds for a cabbage is pretty impressive by ordinary standards.

This giant vegetable reminded me of the titanic pumpkins that grow in Half Moon Bay, CA where they hold a pumpkin festival every year. Those are definitely something special and a really fun event for kids.

Meanwhile, as you contemplate all of these monster vegetables, we’ll be busy eating an extraordinary amount of coleslaw. Cheers!

August 28, 2008   Comments Off

Where to Find Road Side Attractions

My blogging pals are on Day-3 of their cross country road trip to the Blogher conference in San Francisco. They are heading across Nebraska today on their way to Denver, and it’s a long dry stretch.I have been checking out roadside attractions for them to squeeze in between all their tv interviews.

Road Side America is a great web site resource to help you find something amusing along the road to make your trip more interesting. Just enter the state you’ll be traveling through, and you’ll get a map with all the local attractions marked on it. Yesterday I told them to watch for the giant smiley face water tower at exit 76 in Iowa. Today, the Nebraska map produced lots of options, and I managed to find an eccentric little place for them to have lunch – Ole’s Steakhouse and Big Game Lounge. I am looking forward to a report. … and a photo of my pals in front of a giant polar bear or elephant.

If you don’t have internet access along your drive like they do (they are such techie goddesses), it’s no problem because there is a wonderful book: New Roadside America: The Modern Traveler’s Guide to the Wild and Wonderful World of America’s Tourist.

I just got back from a 1200 mile road trip myself, but looking at all the fun stuff to do in other states makes me crave the road again. No worries though, I am heading out again shortly for another pirate adventure … stay tuned…

UPDATE: They made it to the steakhouse and game lounge. Read all about it.

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July 14, 2008   Comments Off