Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘family event’

13 Surprising Things About Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)

In case you didn’t know there is a magical place tucked in the little town of Tama – located within Tokyo, Japan.  It’s where a special lady lives with all of her best friends!  Her name?  Hello Kitty!  And yes she is a lady and not a cat.  Make sure you tell your friends that,  I get the feeling she doesn’t like being referred to as a cat.  😉  She lives in a castle called “Sanrio Puroland” although many people refer to it as “Hello Kitty Land”.

You might be familiar with Sanrio, they have locations all over the world and you can’t miss them – they are small, but colorful and bright stores. They sell lots of stationary, school supplies, and accessories as well as stuffed animals and apparel. We took our kids here during Thanksgiving week to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and I was pretty excited to go as well since I loved going to the Sanrio store when I was a kid.  So here are a few things I learned about our adventure!

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  • Take the train.  It’s a fairly easy train ride and the park is only a 5 minute walk from the Tama train station.  You even get to walk down Hello Kitty Street. 🙂

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  • Buy your tickets beforehand.  I got our tickets on GoVoyagin – it’s like the Groupon of Japan.  We ended up paying $19.50 for each adult and my daughter. Kids under 3 were free. You don’t even have to print anything, you can just show the barcodes right on your phone. If you plan to go frequently or want to purchase a Puropass (like a FastPass), then you may want to get your tickets from the park’s website.  Keep in mind, the price increases for weekend and holiday visits.

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  • It’s indoors.   One thing that might really surprise you is that the entire theme park is indoors!  I think this is pretty awesome since the weather conditions aren’t always great here in Japan.  You don’t have to worry about your kids being too hot or too cold and you can leave the ponchos at home. 🙂

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  • It’s kind of small.  Since the entire park is inside, you can imagine that this place isn’t all that big.  It’s four stories high but doesn’t really have a huge circumference and there’s an escalator and elevator.  But the steps are kind of built into the enchantment of the place so my kids loved going up and down the stairs.  They do have a large stroller parking area and locker rentals so you don’t have to lug around your bags and coats.
  • The details are amazing!  No Hello Kitty detail was left behind here.  You will see prints of Hello Kitty and her friends all over this place – down to the wallpaper and the vending machines!
  • Even the food is themed!  There are a few cafes/restaurants located throughout the park.  They serve all types of Japanese cuisine as well as French fries, pastries, and ice cream.  But you will see that Hello Kitty has made her mark on the food (and snacks), too!
  • There are rides.  Even though everything is indoors, there are a couple of rides within the park.  One is a boat ride that takes you through a land of mechanical characters and the other is a little car ride where you take photos in different themed rooms.  We had to wait about 25 minutes for each of these, but the PuroPass will get you in faster in case you’re in a time crunch.
  • There’s an arcade.  If you need a break from the rides or want to play some games, there’s a spot for that.  The park has an arcade area with a small carousel and little 100 yen arcade style rides.

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  • There are plenty of opportunities for character meet-and-greets.  If your little ones aren’t afraid of giant and crazy costumes, then they will love the characters at Hello Kitty Land!

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  • Catch the parade.  There are a few shows that happen throughout the day.  You’ll want to pick up a show guide at the front, but make sure to watch the parade!  They will start roping off areas (just like they do at Disney) long before the start of the parade, so make sure you grab your seat early.  They also sell light up wands for 1500 yen and your kids WILL want one so they can interact with the performance.  Since we were there the day after Thanksgiving, the show was Christmas themed and it was a mix of Japanese and English songs.
  • She’s worth the wait.  You will have the opportunity to meet Hello Kitty herself!  She has her own wing of the castle and it’s extra magical!  We waited about 30 minutes, but I did see the wait times increase at times.  You can also skip the line with the PuroPass.  Once it’s your turn, you are ushered into her special house.  There are lots of photo props and interactive areas – and it’s beautiful!  Then you wait in another short line to actually meet her.  You have the option to purchase a rose for 500 yen to give her during your meeting.  In exchange she will give you a gift as well.  We didn’t purchase this option so I’m not sure exactly what the gift was although it appeared to be a small notebook of some sort.  Also, this was the only spot where personal photography was not allowed.  We bought our Hello Kitty photo with the frame for 1600 yen.
  • There’s SWAG!  If you are celebrating a special occasion, head to the Information Desk when you first enter the park.  They will give you a card that you wear around your neck with your name and celebration date.  Then when you walk around, everyone will give you a sticker for your card and in our case, wish my daughter a Happy Birthday.  It really made her day extra special!  They even gave one to my son so he wouldn’t feel left out.  Instead of ‘Happy Birthday’, his occasion was ‘First Visit’.

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  • Everyone is super friendly!  Okay, maybe this isn’t surprising since it is Japan and all.  But everyone was very friendly – not just the employees, but the people in the park too.  It’s a pretty crowded and busy place, but anytime my son had a meltdown or fell (he falls a lot) – someone would stop and check on him.  Also, everyone that worked there spoke enough English to communicate basic instructions which made things a lot easier.

Overall, we really enjoyed our day at Hello Kitty Land!  If you plan to go, check the park schedule because it does close fairly early so you’ll want to give yourself enough time to explore everything.  And if you don’t have kids, don’t let that stop you from visiting this little gem.  We saw a lot of couples there without children and they looked even more excited than the kids we encountered.  🙂

Have you been to Sanrio Puroland?  What did you think?  Would you go if you had the chance?

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I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

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PAW Patrol is on a Roll!

If you have tiny humans that LOVE Paw Patrol then you’ll want to load them up and head to the nearest Roll Patrol Road Tour!  This is different than the PAW Patrol Live! Tour and bonus: It’s free!  So if it’s not in your budget to attend the PAW Patrol Live! Tour then I definitely recommend checking out the Road Tour.  Here’s a little preview of what awaits you and your little PAW Patrollers at the Roll Patrol Road Tour!

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If you want to guarantee an entry into Adventure Bay and save yourself a little time, then preregister your family online.  If not, you may have to wait in a longer line and register on a tablet at the actual event.

You will then be given a wristband and the fun will be begin!

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The kids will love spending oodles of time in this life size and interactive PAW Patroller!  They can spend time in the command center, look out upon Adventure Bay, pose for photo ops, take a spin on the slide, and much more!

They can also pick their favorite PAW Patrol car and pedal along a kid-sized track!

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Then head over to the play table area to try out the newest PAW Patrol toys!

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And have a blast at the kinetic sand table!  I really loved this stuff!

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And keep a lookout for an opportunity to meet your fave PAW Patrol characters!

Every location is a bit different, but at our event: Chase was on the case, Skye took to the sky, and Marshall was all fired up!  You will also receive a free printed photo at your meet and greet to commemorate your day!

So was there any SWAG?!

Well the event was free so it’s kind of swag in itself.  BUT we did get photos and some sweet headwear!

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A couple of things to know:

  • Plenty of staff were on hand to keep things safe and organized.
  • The event is outside so prep for the elements.  It was really hot the day we attended.
  • The event is free – but preregister to guarantee entry!  Also, many of the Roll Patrol events are held within another event.  For example, this event was an attraction within the county fair.  So fair admission prices were still in place.
  • It can get crowded so be prepared!
  • There’s a lot of interaction on the tour, but nothing to actually purchase (i.e. toys).
  • Every location could be a little different, so what you see here may be slightly different than what would be at your event.  Check the event page for more details!

Ready to hit the road?  Check here for the 2017 dates and locations!

And checkout #RollPatrolTour on Instagram to see more pics of last year’s event!

Overall, I really enjoyed the event and my daughter had a blast!  So I would say…mission accomplished!!

Have you experienced the PAW Patrol Roll Patrol Tour?  What did you think?!

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

 

 

Joggin’ for Frogmen

Last weekend I participated in the Joggin’ for Frogmen 5k here in San Diego.  It’s a great event because it’s available in multiple cities around the country and it benefits the Navy SEAL Foundation!  They also offer a Tadpole Trot where the little ones can earn their very own tshirt and mini medal!

Price: The registration price runs between $25-40 depending on when you register, but there was a Groupon available for this run for $25.  I actually won a race registration, but I’ll elaborate more on that later.  The Tadpole Trot runs $10-$15 also depending on your registration date.

Expo: Packet pick-up was the day before at Road Runner Sports or you could pick-up the morning of the race.  I attended the packet pick-up at Road Runner and it was a pretty simple process.  I picked up my bib, tshirt, and coupon without waiting in a line and off I went!  And I got to stand in Meb’s footsteps! 😉

Parking: Like many other 5k’s in San Diego, this one was also held at NTC Park in Point Loma.  The course isn’t the greatest (more on that later), but there is plenty of free parking…which is amazeballs because seeing the words “plenty” and “free parking” associated with anything in San Diego is like seeing a unicorn playing a violin.

Course: The race started at 9am which is a bit late in the day, but luckily it didn’t get too brutally hot until a little later.  I ran with my single BOB so I started towards the back.  The course scenery is nice as it’s situated near the bay, downtown and the airport; however, the course is a bit narrow with some uneven terrain which can be difficult when pushing a stroller through busy crowds.  If you want to attempt to get a decent time, I recommend starting at the very front. It’s also mostly flat with only a slight hill going over a bridge.  There were also plenty of friendly volunteers, signs and water stations throughout the race.

And since the course is near a Naval Training Center, there are lots of flags, statues and a patriotic vibe throughout the whole park.

We were met at the finish line with medals – they even gave one to my mini in the stroller! – water, and hand towels.

Post Race: There was a big table of bagels, granola bars and other snacks near the finish line.  There was also a beer garden where the participants were offered a complimentary adult beverage.  And there were a ton of sponsors and vendors giving out swag!  There was also a raffle opportunity and a DJ playing some pretty energetic tunes.

Tadpole Trot: I didn’t get a chance to collect as much swag as I wanted because I had to get my little one ready for the tadpole trot.  This was my only peeve about the whole event.  The tadpole trot didn’t start until 10:30 which I thought was quite late.  Also the distance was a bit shorter than I had imagined.  It was probably only about a 50 yard dash whereas many races do a 1 mile or 1k run for the kids.  But the little ones still had fun and my daughter even placed in the top three of her age group!

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Another cool element of the race were the skydivers!  3 jumpers dove out of an airplane while “Proud to be an American” played over the speakers.  Vice Admiral Robert Harward held the American Flag while flying through the sky which was a touching effect.  Then he posed for pics with all of the little tadpoles!  Andy Stumpf (retired Navy Seal/Kill Cliff ambassador) was also another awesome jumper!

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Now, how did I run this race for free?!  I answered a question on Instagram from an awesome patriotic organization called The Freedom Rev.  Check out their page and social media channels!  Social media is a great way to win free race entries, so follow your favorite race ambassadors and search for event hashtags!  You may win a free entry of your own!

Shortly after the race I got an email with my official race results and a link to preview and purchase my race photos.  Overall, this was a very organized and well run event that benefits a great organization!  Checkout Jogginforfrogmen.com to find an event near you.  It’s a great event for the whole family and I enjoyed running with not just my mini, but also some fellow Stroller Warriors! My only suggestion would be start the race an hour earlier and organize the tadpole trot a little better.


So what was the SWAG?!

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~A super dope medal! It’s a lanyard, magnet, bottle opener and medal all-in-one!

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~Again, I missed out on some swag opportunities since several of the vendors were tearing down by the time the tadpole trot ended, but I did manage to snag a few items!  And the technical tshirts are super soft and comfortable!

This really is a great event!  If you are unable to run in the race, consider volunteering your time so you can still snag some swag! 😉

See you at the next event!

P.S. Please vote for me over at Top Mommy Blogs by clicking the badge on the side! Thanks! 😉

~SM

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