Battlebots Filming – What to Expect (2019 version)

This spring we went to the Battlebots filming for the second year in a row. If you’re a fan of the show, you might notice that this year is a little different than last year. The big difference is that it’s 2 hours instead of 1. That means more battles. And that was a pleasant surprise for us, as we saw the line-up for our taping. There were a lot more battles! This was our Battlebots filming experience last year.

Battlebots set. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Continue reading “Battlebots Filming – What to Expect (2019 version)”

Is the MaxPass at Disneyland worth it?

The MaxPass was introduced at Disneyland/California Adventure since we last went. It’s currently $15 per person per day. We are FastPass experts, and the FastPass is free, so we debated whether to spring for the extra cost. We are so glad we did. Here’s why.

The Incredicoaster takes FastPass tickets. We also did the single rider line and got in in 5 minutes – several of us in the same car. The next time we tried, though, it took too long and we ended up bailing. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Benefits of the MaxPass

Continue reading “Is the MaxPass at Disneyland worth it?”

What’s new at Disneyland and California Adventure?

We used to make an annual spring break trek to Disneyland and California Adventure. We did so again this year, but it’s been a few years since we did both.

2019: went to both

2018: went to neither

2017: Disneyland and Universal Studios

2016: Disneyland and California Adventure

Galaxy’s Edge in the background. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Continue reading “What’s new at Disneyland and California Adventure?”

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with Kids – What you Need to Know

I’ve wanted to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child since it opened in London. My brother-in-law and his family got lucky with their timing, not only having already planned a trip when it was opening, but getting a great lottery number. They came back with rave reviews (though wouldn’t tell us anything because… #keepthesecrets). While I was excited for the New York premiere, my family had no interest. Yes, we all read the books – the whole series. We saw a few of the movies. And I even read the Cursed Child play when it came out (I was high on the library list, though it was so long ago I forgot the plot details).

Continue reading “Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with Kids – What you Need to Know”

Ink Broadway Review: Is Ink Appropriate for Kids?

It seemed appropriate that when going into New York City for a journalism conference that the Broadway show my fellow journalists and I chose to see was Ink on Broadway. This show, brought over from London’s East End, tells the story of how Rupert Murdoch built the Sun from a failing paper, to a well-read staple. Is Ink appropriate for kids? I’ll fill you in later.

Continue reading “Ink Broadway Review: Is Ink Appropriate for Kids?”

How to Plan Your Weekend in NYC – Sponsored

Spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to get away for a weekend. You can’t go wrong spending time in New York City while the weather is warm! If you’re not familiar with the city or you haven’t visited many times, it can feel a little overwhelming planning a trip. There’s so much to see and do, so it’s important to pack in the best things during your weekend getaway! Check out these tips for planning your weekend in NYC.

Continue reading “How to Plan Your Weekend in NYC – Sponsored”

The Official Disney Cake: Disney Haunted Mansion Cake

For the first time in many years, we visited Disneyland when it wasn’t Passover, and we could actually eat whatever we wanted. The plan was to get churros, as we always talk about that but aren’t able to eat them during the holiday. This year when my sister said “let’s get a churro” late afternoon, I told her to wait until after dinner. I had another plan. An official Disney cake.

Our trip to Disneyland was right in between my daughter and my sister’s birthday, though this was not top of mind when we made reservations for the Blue Bayou, where we always wanted to eat, but didn’t bother, given holiday restrictions.


The Blue Bayou restaurant in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

I decided to surprise them with an official Disney cake. You can’t order or find official Disneyland cakes online. They said it’s because of quality assurance, but I think they don’t want anyone to steal their designs. You have to call to order it – I called and waited 20 minutes online for someone to answer.

Continue reading “The Official Disney Cake: Disney Haunted Mansion Cake”

Review: Paintball in New Jersey

This is Mark Kaplan, Debbie’s husband, guest blogger for this post. When Debbie daytripped to Philadelphia for a sorority reunion, it was left unsaid that there was no way the kids or I would be tagging along….for everyone’s sake. “So guys, what do you want to do this Saturday?” I inquired.

“Paintball!” said the boy.

Paintball: guys’ weekend. Copyright Daniel M. Hendricks, creative commons, Flickr.

It was one of those parenting moments – I’m sure you’ve had them too – when your child blows you away with a completely unexpected answer. Fortunately – unlike New Year’s Day 2015 when I was in California with the kids, Debbie was in Asia, I was hung over, and I asked the kids what they wanted for breakfast (bacon!) – this was a pleasant, unexpected answer. Yes, paintball! Why indeed not? None of us had ever done it before, and we were all interested in trying.

Continue reading “Review: Paintball in New Jersey”

5 Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer – Sponsored

The weather is warming up, and it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the heat! Spring and summer in New Jersey means spending lots of time with friends and family on the beach and in the sun. When you’ve got kids to look after, it’s a great idea to be aware of some helpful safety tips. It can be difficult enough just to keep track of your kids when you’re at the ocean or a large pool. Keep these 5 tips in mind this spring and summer to help them stay safe.

1. Keep Kids Cool

Continue reading “5 Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer – Sponsored”

Review: Is the Prom Appropriate for Kids?

It seems every weekend, more people I know are posting that they just went to The Prom. This fun musical has some moral messages to share, and it does so with pizzazz. Is the Prom appropriate for kids? Read on.

The plot

Four Broadway actors are getting a little stale and outdated, and decided they need a cause to put themselves back in the limelight. They choose as their cause celebre a prom in Indiana (hello Mike Pence!) that is cancelled instead of allowing a high school girl to bring her girlfriend. The Broadway actors drop everything and conveniently hop on a traveling Broadway show bus to that very town, to convince everyone there that they should have an inclusive prom. Hilarity ensues.

Continue reading “Review: Is the Prom Appropriate for Kids?”