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

Posts tagged ‘mom blogger’

5 Reasons Why I Love Mondays

Mondays get a bad rap. ūüė¶  I feel like most people are always dreading them or just surviving them.  So that’s why I felt I needed to stick up for my beloved Mondays!  Here are five reasons why I think Mondays are the best days! ūüôā

Setting Goals

  • I look forward to Mondays so I can sit down and plan out my schedule and write down my goals for the week. I also like to fill in my gratitude list and check off any accomplishments from the previous week.  It’s also my day to assess the mess the kids have made over the weekend and get everything organized and back in its place.

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Spiritual Time

  • Monday mornings are not only a time for reflection, but also an opportunity to get caught up on Bible Study homework, devotionals, and prayer. (with coffee of course) ūüėČ

Solo Fitness Time

  • If you’ve ever been through a workout program, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Never Miss A Monday”.  It’s always nice to start off the week feeling strong and accomplished by a good workout!  I often have to workout with my kids, so Monday is the one day of the week that I know I get time to workout or run solo!

Social Time

  • On occasional Mondays, I get to meet up with some other moms for coffee or breakfast.  It’s a nice little weekday morning outing and it’s so fun you forget it’s Monday!

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SWAG!

  • Okay, this should come as no surprise – but the #1 reason why I love Mondays? It’s mail day!  Which means all the swag and other goodies will be delivered! Yes, I get mail other days of the week too – but since I get no mail on Sundays it’s nice to wake up to packages on Monday! And Hello – It’s also a day to show off the Swag! aka – #MedalMonday

Obviously I think Mondays rock!  What about you?  Do you love or hate Mondays?!

~SM

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7 Things You Will Love About Mount Takao

I really enjoy living near Tokyo because there is always something interesting to see or do, but sometimes it can be a bit chaotic and overwhelming with the constant hustle and bustle.  As much I love spending the day in the city, my soul really belongs in nature.  I recently took a trip to Mount Takao and it was an amazing place that I think everyone should visit!

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Mount Takao is conveniently located about an hour outside of Tokyo (in the Hachioji region) and can be accessed by train or car.¬† Depending on where you are coming from, both could be viable options.¬† I carpooled with a few friends and we split the toll/parking fees as well as found parking pretty easily.¬† There are a¬†several parking lots¬†surrounding the park and fees vary, but start at 1000 yen.¬† Get there early and shoot for a weekday as this is a very popular hiking destination and can get crowded quickly!¬† So here are a few highlights from my trip that I think you will like – even if you don’t like nature. ūüėČ

  • You can shop and eat!¬† Once you arrive at the park and before you set off on your hike, check out the little shops along the main path.¬† You can stock up on snacks for your hike or you can have a meal at a restaurant.¬† And even if you aren’t hungry, it’s still fun to look at all of the unique foods and trinkets.
  • There are cable car/chair lift options!¬† Don’t feel like making the 2 hour trek up the mountain?¬† No problem.¬† Mount Takao offers a cable car and a chair lift option for your viewing convenience! Both will take you halfway up the mountain and both cost about 980 yen for round trip.¬† We took the chair lift (the line is much shorter for the chair lift) and it was an awesome ride!¬† You get to be closer to nature and enjoy the quiet sounds of the nature as you sit back on your ride.¬† One thing I will mention is that there are no safety bars on the chair lift, so hold on tight to your kids, dog, backpack, etc.¬† Also remember to smile – there will be a photographer sitting amongst the trees who will take a souvenir photo for you!¬† You can purchase your photo for about 800 yen.¬† But hold on to it!¬† You will have your photo taken again on the way down and you can trade in your photo if you decide you like the other one better!

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  • Different paths!¬† There are a¬†few different paths you can take up to the summit so take a look at the map and determine your route before your adventure.¬† But the other cool part is that you can also take a completely different path down to the bottom too!¬† Which means double the scenery!¬† Yay!¬† There is also a monkey park that is pretty popular, however we didn’t have time to check it out so it will be on my list for the next visit!

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  • Temple (Architecture)!¬† Along with the nature views, you can also check out¬†the Yakuoin Temple and admire the architecture during your trip.¬† Temples and shrines all have their own unique designs and details so even if you’ve seen 20 temples you will always find something new to appreciate at the next one. Mount Takao is very sacred to the locals so you may see some religious and cultural practices taking place throughout your hike, but especially around the temple area.
  • View from atop (with beer)!¬† Once you disembark from the cable car/chair lift it takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit of Mount Takao.¬† Some paths are a little harder than others but I saw plenty of children, elderly, and people with dogs out on the trails.¬† One of the paths is paved (but with some steps along the way), so even someone with a wheelchair or stroller could enjoy part of the hike. At the top you will find lots of places to sit and enjoy the view!¬† On a clear day you can even see Mount Fuji!¬† And bonus: there’s beer!¬† Yes, that’s right – there is also a caf√© and convenient store at the top that sells food, ice cream, mochi,¬†coffee, and beer!
  • Dango!¬† You will see many treat options around Mount Takao, but the most popular choice is Dango.¬† It’s a dumpling on a stick¬†that has a sweet/salty or soy flavor.¬†It will only cost you a few hundred yen and it’s basically the Mt. Takao thing to do. ūüôā

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So what did I love most about my Mount Takao experience??

  • The amazing views!¬† My hike took place around early November so I really enjoyed viewing the fall foliage and crisp air.¬† Whether I was waiting in line or taking a break along the hike, there was always something beautiful and interesting to look at.¬† The people we encountered along the way were also¬†very friendly and polite and it was great to see so many people out enjoying nature.

Visiting Mount Takao was an amazing spiritual experience and I can’t wait to go back!¬† Each season offers a unique perspective of scenery so no two hikes are the same.¬† I also¬†love that this park is great for people of all ages and abilities!¬†It was fun to do with a group, but it would also be fulfilling to do it solo¬†as well.¬†I guarantee that you will leave here refreshed, restored, and your soul will be filled with joy and gratitude!¬†Please visit if you get the chance!¬† You won’t regret it! ūüôā

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.” ~John Muir

~SM

Why You Should Start Zwifting!

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift running pod to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Happy New Year!¬† Maybe you set some ambitious goals for 2019 or maybe your main goal is just to¬†survive the year.¬† Whatever your plans are, I hope you make some time for running! ūüėȬ† And now that the holidays are over, it might be time to slide into a new fitness routine.¬† With the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter, this may seem like a daunting task but that’s where Zwift¬†comes in!

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What exactly is Zwift?¬†Zwift has been available to indoor cyclists for¬†a while, but now it’s open to runners!¬†¬†Zwift is a platform that allows you to run in virtual locations, run virtually with others, and even complete running goals!¬† You just attach the runpod to your shoe, download the Zwift app (and Zwift companion app to join in virtual events around the world), hop on a treadmill and off you go!

Not sure where to begin?  Here are a few tips to get started!

  • Like I mentioned before, you’ll want to download both the Zwift app and the companion app.¬† The Zwift app is where you set up your account, avatar, settings, etc. and also where you do all of the actual running and goal-getting.¬† The companion app is where you will go to browse and sign-up for group runs and other events.
  • You can use your phone, but it’s better to use a tablet so you can see the info on the screen¬†clearly as you run.
  • Calibrate your pod so that your pace is accurately recorded.
  • Make sure your pod is securely attached to your shoe before running.¬† And put your pod away when not in use as the battery drains pretty quickly from any movement.

What I LOVED about the Zwift platform:

  1. The calendar. When you select an event to join, it will automatically be added to your device’s¬†calendar.¬† (I’m a planner and like to be organized so I got pretty excited about this feature.)
  2. You can run with friends from around the world.  Since I live in a different country than most of my running friends as well as my Bibrave crew, I miss out on meetups and group runs.  But Zwift allows me to feel connected to my running friends from around the world.
  3. Unlocking achievements!  The more you run and surpass goals, the more achievements you can earn.  These come in the form of virtual badges or gaining new apparel and accessories for your avatar.  Running on the treadmill can get boring, so any incentive is nice!
  4. New scenery.¬† The main virtual location on the platform is “Watopia”, but the beach view, volcanic activity, and Santa sightings make this a pretty dope place to run.¬† When you join in on other virtual runs (through the Companion app) you can run in various real-world locations.
  5. Competition. If you’ve ever participated in a race then you know the increased adrenaline you feel on race day.¬† Running virtually gave me a similar experience and made me want to push harder so I could receive my “prize” (i.e. a new achievement, passing others in the race, or just knowing that my stats were on display¬†wanting to do my best.)¬† I’m sure there’s some type of psychology behind all this – which also got me excited because I was a Psych major. ūüėČ

With that said, there were also a few things that I didn’t like:

  1. The battery on the pod drained pretty quickly so you can’t really just leave it on your shoe, you have to take it off each time and put it away.¬† It would be better if there was some type of on/off switch for the pod OR if you could just bypass the pod altogether and sync your watch with the platform.
  2. You have to download two apps.  I would prefer if the platform was streamlined a bit so that everything was in one place rather than having to open two separate apps.
  3. I had to calibrate my pod a few times.¬† It takes a couple of minutes to go through the calibration process so it’s a bit frustrating when you just want to start running.
  4. It’s not for walkers.¬†¬† My avatar would only recognize motion if I was running at least a 10:45 min/mile.¬† Those who are new to running would most likely not benefit from this app.

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Since the running aspect of the platform is fairly new, I do think these are kinks that can be worked out in the near future as the app develops.  Overall, I really like the concept of Zwift and plan to use it when I need some motivation on the treadmill!

Ready to try it out?!¬† You can download the app for free on your IOS or Android device.¬† You can also use code “BibRave15” to save 15% on your RunPod (regular price – $29.99)¬†at Zwift.com. (Hurry, this code is only good for 1000 pods!)

Lastly, join me on #BibChat on Twitter on January 8th at 6pm PST where you can ask any Zwift questions and connect with other runners! You will also have the chance to win a RunPod!

Already a Zwifter?  Find me on the app under Amanda TheSwagMama!

I’m off to review another product!¬† Let’s crush some goals in 2019! ūüôā

~SM

8 Things to Know Before Visiting the teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum

Right now all the hype in Japan is this museum called the MORI Building Digital Art Museum by EPSON teamLab Borderless. Everyone kept saying how amazing it was, so I decided to check it out to see what the fuss was all about.  Is it hypeworthy?  Read on to find out!

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  • Getting there. First, let’s talk logistics (i.e. tickets, parking, etc.) The museum location is in Odaiba and an easy walk from the train station — although they have an attached parking lot as well. You’ll want to purchase tickets beforehand because they can sell out on the day of – especially on weekends and Japanese holidays.¬† You can¬†buy tickets online or at 7-11 (because 7-11’s in Japan rock).¬† I purchased our tickets online and paid about 7400 yen for two adults and one kid (small kids are free).¬† One thing to know is that these tickets are non-refundable and can only be used on the specific day you choose so make sure you are ready to commit! We opted for the train and went on Saturday after 4pm because the website said it would be less crowded then.
  • Lines.¬† Even if you have prepaid tickets, you may still have to wait in a few lines once you enter the museum to see different exhibits – so be prepared!¬† You’ll also spend about 2-3 hours in the museum so make sure you eat beforehand.

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  • There’s no map.¬† If you are wanting a layout of the museum to follow, you won’t find one.¬† Just like in the title, the museum is literally borderless.¬† It’s a giant building that’s kind of set-up like a dark maze with walls that you can walk through.¬† <—- Yes, pay attention, because some of the walls lift up and take you to another room.

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  • It’s dark.¬† Again, I just want to emphasize that the museum is pretty much dark and only lit up with the moving digital photography.¬† I’m mentioning this for those of you with small children because this might cause some anxiety.¬† If you have children that like to escape, you may want to invest in one of those leash things because this would be¬†a stressful place to lose a child.¬† The museum also has a policy that there has to be one adult for every two children – and this is for good reason.

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  • Make time for the Athletic Forest.¬† The Athletic Forest is a cool spot for kids to let out some energy.¬† There are designated areas for climbing, sliding, and trampoline jumping (although you only get one minute of jump time). My three-year-old spent most of the time in this one spot so I recommend to save some of your time for this area.¬† Another thing to note: the floors here are slanted but you are not allowed to slide or jump on them.¬† It’s a little misleading for kids, but there will be staff there to immediately stop you.
  • It’s still a museum.¬† As fun and interactive this museum looks, remember that it’s still an art¬†museum so there are rules.¬† In addition to the no floor-jumping/sliding, the LED lights are fun to look at but you can’t touch them (and by you, I mean your children).¬† Also, the giant balloon/balls are not for playing with, but they make a great Instagram photo backdrop. ūüôā
  • Your art can come to life!¬† One cool thing about this museum is that you can choose a pre-made drawing to color and then watch it come to life!¬† A staff member will upload your picture and the drawing will then move across the floor and walls.¬† My five-year-old loved this and it’s a cool way to be a part of the whole art experience!
  • Appreciate your surroundings.¬† There is so much to see in this museum so try not to get overwhelmed by it all.¬† Take your time to enjoy the beauty and creativity of the whole experience!¬† And of course, check out the lantern room (but be prepared for a bit of a wait).

Have fun. Enjoy the day.¬† Hang on to your kids. ūüėČ

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What do you think?  Would you like to visit a unique museum like this?

I’m off to a new adventure!

~SM

Bright Future, Brighter Shades

Disclaimer: I received two pairs of Knockaround Premium Polarized Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Winter is finally fading away, Spring is ramping up, and Summer is right around the corner.¬† What does that mean?? It means the SUN is coming out and shining brighter than ever (for real, the sun shines bright at 5:30 am here in Japan). So it’s perfect timing to test out some new shades! I chose the Rubber Mint/Aqua Preumium Polarized¬†Knockaround¬†sunglasses to try, but I also received a bonus pair!¬† Yay for SWAG! ūüôā

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I’m all about wearing sunglasses and I feel like you can never have too many pairs!¬† Another fun fact about Japan – people here don’t wear sunglasses! That’s right, even on a bright day you’ll see most people wearing hats or holding umbrellas to block the sun.¬† If you catch anyone in shades, chances are they are a tourist, an expat,¬†or Yakuza (Japanese mafia).¬† It’s also Wisteria season here and these flowers create very whimsical scenery!

When I first saw the black frames, I kind of thought they had a masculine appearance…but I actually liked how they looked with the green lenses! I always like to have a black pair of shades in my stash because black goes with almost anything!

After “knocking around” in my black frames, I took the¬†Rubber Mint/Aqua shades for a spin! I took them around Japan and despite the light-colored lenses, these did a really great job of blocking out the sun! And¬†even though¬†the word “rubber” is¬†in the description, they are really smooth and don’t pull your hair or anything.

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Then I had to put them to the true test РHow would they do on a RUN? 

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These sunglasses are super lightweight, so I was surprised that they didn’t budge during my run – and they even held up in the wind! I also didn’t have any issues with the lenses fogging up which is something that can be super annoying.

And the best part about Knockaround sunglasses?¬† They are SUPER affordable!¬†The¬† Polarized Premiums are¬†only $20! ¬†I’ve lost expensive sunglasses in the past plus I have small children who have complete disregard for my accessories, so I don’t have to stress too much if I lose these guys (although I would still be sad).

Here are some other things I love about these Polarized Premium Knockarounds:

  • Bigger frames – I like larger lenses so it blocks out more of the sun!
  • Reflective lenses – My kids really enjoy making faces at themselves. ūüėČ
  • Polarized lenses and UV400 protection
  • Fun Colors – They come in lots of fun and bright color combos!
  • Includes pouch – This was a really nice touch – most sunglasses at this price point don’t come with any type of extras
  • Born in San Diego – The company is headquartered in San Diego and this beautiful city will always have a special place in my heart!
  • Snoop Dogg – Even¬†celebrities¬†are rockin’ the Knockarounds!

Overall, I really like these sunglasses and plan to wear them frequently!¬† The only negative I found was that the lenses weren’t the easiest to clean, but¬†I may try a different cloth and see if that works.

And just to make things sweeter, you can save 20% on your own pair with code “BIBRAVEKNOCKS”!¬† Plus free shipping on orders over $50!

And join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on 5/8/18 at 6PM PST for your chance to win a pair! ūüôā

So are you ready to “knock around” in a new pair of shades?? This guy is…

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~SM

Building Bricks in Tokyo

There seems to be plenty of options for kid-friendly entertainment throughout Japan – including museums, huge playgrounds, and themed restaurants. If you are looking for something fun to do with the kiddos while visiting Tokyo, then I suggest making a visit to the https://tokyo.legolanddiscoverycenter.jp/en/!

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Just to be clear, this is a LEGOLAND Discovery Center and not an actual outdoor¬†LEGOLAND Theme park.¬† They do have one of those a few hours south of Tokyo, but a Discovery Center is a little different.¬† It’s more like a snapshot of what a LEGOLAND theme park is all about – it’s completely indoors, much smaller, and a great way to spend the day with the family!¬† This one is inside of the Odaiba Mall so you could spend part of the day at the Discovery Center and the rest of the day exploring and shopping.

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So what should you expect from a visit to a LEGOLAND Discovery Center?

Well, when you first arrive you can a pay little extra and receive a lanyard with scavenger hunt stamp cards.  You look for stamp stations throughout the center and stamp your card at each station.  They are easy to find and the kids will enjoy stamping their little cards.

We spent the first part of our visit learning about different weights and the kids seemed to be really intrigued by this station.

After that, we moved on to the Kingdom Quest ride.  It was a laser car ride where you had to shoot your laser gun at projection screens and everyone in the car racks up points each time they hit targets.  Then we checked out the 4D show.  Even though it was in Japanese, because it was a 4D Show (i.e. you wear 3D glasses and get sprayed with water and such), my kids were still entertained.

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Next, we hit up another ride called, “Merlin’s Apprentice”.¬† You get in a car shaped liked a magician’s hat and then go around in a circle and up/down simultaneously.¬† You could probably get the same effect by spinning around in a computer chair, but my kids really liked this ride and wanted to ride it multiple times.¬† There was also a third ride at the park, but it was closed for renovations.

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After all that, we decided to stop at the caf√© for a snack and a drink.¬† There really weren’t a lot of options, just a few basic snacks, juice, water, coffee, popcorn, and vending machines. They also had some Lego Brick lunchboxes you could purchase, but my kids weren’t interested.¬† Fun fact about Japan: Fountain sodas aren’t really a thing so vending machines are typically a cheaper option for beverages.

We opted for the popcorn so could keep the bucket (SWAG) and get discounted refills.

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My favorite thing about the caf√© was the location.¬† It’s situated between the Lego Ninjago play¬†castle and the Duplo play area (which is for kids under 5).¬† There were lots of tables/chairs and it was a nice place to take a break.¬† This is a great spot for kids to run around and burn off all that energy.¬† There were a couple of employees walking around the¬†climbing area to make sure everyone is safe, but it’s required to sit inside and supervise¬†if you have littles.¬† My kids spent a TON of time at this station, so plan accordingly if you have some active children in your party.

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The employees were pretty friendly and even helped my son put his shoes back on! ūüôā

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The other cool thing about this particular area was the bathrooms!¬† Once you have kids you become more appreciative of bathroom layouts and cleanliness.¬† I love that most bathrooms in Japan have an area that’s kid-sized.¬† There are also directions on how to use the toilet. ūüėČ

And just like any LEGOLAND theme park location, there is a MiniLand! This is my favorite part of any LEGOLAND.¬† I think it’s fascinating that people have patience to build entire cities out of Legos with such detail and precision.

Afterwards we checked out the Lego Friends area, but it really wasn’t anything special.¬† Just some benches and a microphone for the kids to talk and sing.¬† I imagine they use this area for performances or shows, but there weren’t any going on that day so we didn’t spend much time there.¬† Then we moved on to the Racing & Building Station.¬† You could build a little car out of Legos and then race it on a couple of courses.¬† I think older kids¬†would really enjoy this area – my kids kept getting¬†frustrating that their cars kept crashing.¬† There was also a nice employee that helped my daughter build her car which was very much appreciated.

Then we headed over to the Creative¬†Workshop area.¬† You will need to check the schedule as there are projects all throughout the day.¬† The teacher seemed concerned that we didn’t speak Japanese, but there are plenty of instructional photos and thankfully “Lego-Building” is a universal language.¬† My daughter was able to build her pirate ship with no problem.¬† And you don’t actually get to keep your creation, but there is a spot in the classroom where you put it¬†in action.¬† In our case, the pirate ship set sail in some Lego water.

It was getting close to closing time so we made our way to the exit and discovered another fun area – Train World! This included a couple of giant tables where you could build your trains and planes and then test it out on the tracks.¬† I think my kids would have spent a lot more time here, but we ran out of time.¬† It’s also located right near the exit, so once you leave there’s no turning back since they don’t allow re-entry.

After all of the interactive fun, we showed the stamp cards to the gift shop cashier so we could collect our prizes!

And besides that sweet SWAG, you also get this amazing view of Tokyo when you leave the Discovery Center!

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Overall, my kids had an AWESOME ūüėČ time and we plan to take them back in the future.¬†*Also when we¬†went earlier this year the Dino Explorer Exhibit¬†wasn’t opened yet, so we definitely plan to go back for that! ¬†Here are some tips to make the most of your experience:

  • Book your tickets online. Price tickets range between 1950-3200 yen, but purchase your tickets at least 24 hours before your visit to save some dough.¬† They also have a Parent/Toddler, Toddler Time, and Combo option.¬† The Combo option saves you money on admission to both the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum which is also located on the same floor of the Odaiba Mall.¬† We had already visited Madame Tussauds in Hollywood so we decided to skip this experience.¬† And Bonus!¬† If you don’t have kids but still want to check out all the fun, they offer an¬†Adult Night¬†a couple evenings a month.
  • Drive or Train?¬† This is really up to you.¬† Most people prefer taking the train and the Discovery Center is close to a train station.¬† We opted to drive and parked in the Odaiba Mall parking garage.¬† We also had our parking ticket validated at LEGOLAND which saved a lot of money.¬† However, I’m not sure if you could have your parking ticket validated if you purchase your park tickets online.
  • Pay attention to the hours.¬† The park stays open until 8:00 PM during the week, but the rides and shows will close down earlier.¬† There is also a spot where you can purchase your photos.¬† This will also close early and cannot be re-opened.¬†¬†And they¬†will not email your photos to you either (we learned this the hard way).
  • Try to go during the week.¬† We visited the park on a weekday afternoon in January and there really weren’t much people there.¬† No lines, no crowds – it was like having the place to ourselves!¬† I would imagine they would be much busier during the weekends or summer break so keep that in mind when planning your trip!
  • Not a lot of food options.¬† Like I mentioned earlier, there wasn’t a large food selection in the caf√©.¬† The good news is that the Odaiba Mall is pretty large and has multiple restaurants and a food court!
  • English.¬† Most of the employees we interacted with spoke enough English to have a conversation so don’t be afraid to ask questions!¬† Again, everyone who works there is really nice, energetic, and eager to help!
  • Have fun!¬† Most importantly, have fun!¬† There are lots of opportunities for kids to express their creativity and engage in STEM activities – you should join them and build your own creation! Because at LEGOLAND everything is…AWESOME! ūüôā

And if you’re at the Tokyo location, head outside to enjoy the view!

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Have you visited a LEGOLAND Discovery Center?  What did you think?

~SM

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.¬† ūüėȬ† 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. ūüôā

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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. ūüôā

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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.¬† ūüôā

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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