Haunted Mansion Holiday

“‘Twas a long time ago – longer now than it seems,
In a place that, perhaps, you have seen in your dreams.
For the story that you are about to be told
Began in the holiday worlds of old.
I know you’re curious to see what’s inside.
It’s what happens when two holidays collide!

Welcome, my friends, to our Christmas delight!
Come witness a ghoulishly glorious sight.
It’s time for our holiday tale to begin.
There’s no turning back now—please, come all the way in.”

Halloween is fast approaching (YESSS!!!!) and as such, the celebrations are beginning at Disney Parks! On September 20th, Mickeys Halloween Party in Disneyland starts and I’ve blogged about this before, but this is something you have to have on your Bucket List. My very favorite time to go to Disneyland is when all their Fall/Halloween decorations and overlays are up and then when you add the Halloween Party (which is a separate ticket event in the evenings) and its the cherry on top of an already very magical, not-so-scary time. I can’t wait for our trip down there soon!

One of my very favorite things Disneyland does during this time is transform Haunted Mansion to Haunted Mansion Holiday – which opens today! Jack Skellington (from Nightmare Before Christmas) takes over the Mansion and creates the most spooktacular Christmas setup you’ll ever see! Its still very much the original Haunted Mansion, but with lots of new Christmas/Tim Burton twists. The music and audio are incredible. There is a gingerbread house thats real (so its different every year) that smells up the Ballroom with that delicious scent. There are new, unfamiliar surprises around every corner. Its incredible.

Coming from someone who calls Haunted Mansion their favorite Disney attraction and does’t love change – this should speak volumes for what a fun little change this is. I highly suggest you check it out someday. Just so you know, it runs through December then will go back to the amazing, original Haunted Mansion we all know and love.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles

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The Captains Top Disney Reads

It will likely come as no shock to you that we have a lot of Disney books in our home (but of course we never have enough and our collection is always growing). H and I read several books throughout our day and at night H loves when his dad sits and reads to him before bed. Today as I was trying to brainstorm what I could blog about, H approached me with our newest favorite Disney book to read and thats when the idea hit me. Today I’l show you H’s favorite Disney books (for the time being).

The Captain’s Top 7 Favorite Disney Reads

Disney in Details: This is basically a bunch of hidden gems around Disney World. Our family already knew about the majority of these, but its still a fun book to have around the house and H loves the pictures!
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My First Words: Its a whole bunch of images and some are Disney characters! Whats not to love?
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Small Disney Board Books: A few Christmases ago my aunt H this pack of small Disney board books. There are tons of them and I don’t know that H necessarily has a favorite, but he loves them. There are so many different characters and short little stories and books that talk about characters, shapes, etc. These are a big hit.
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Who’s Who: This one is probably our very favorite right now. Or mine at least. This book is the perfect tool for teaching your little one all the Disney characters – even some of the more obscure, less thought of characters. Its so much fun, there are little bios on each character and colored pictures. This book wasn’t released very long ago and H and I have already spent hours in these pages. I highly, highly recommend this book to all of you.IMG_7660

My First Colors: Ok, this one is probably H’s favorite. Its his newest Disney Baby book and its a fun one. The pages fold out which is definitely his favorite feature. Its been really nice right now too as we are working on identifying colors.IMG_7661

Hello, World!: All the It’s a Small World books are very loved in our home but this is the one we read the most. If you want to challenge yourself as a parent and try and figure out how to say ‘hello’ in a whole bunch of different languages – this ones for you!! Its a short read, but H is never disappointed by it – even though his mom surely slaughters the different languages featured inside.IMG_7662

Disney/Pixar Look and Find – Toy Story: He got book in a set of four. I don’t know if this one is his very favorite of the four but its the one we’ve looked at about 100 times already today. Look and Find is a little too advanced for him right now but he’s picking up on it more and more each time we read it and even if he isn’t in the mood to find the certain characters/things, he enjoys looking at the pages nonetheless. IMG_7663

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Magical Monday: Visiting Disneyland While Pregnant

When people hear how many times I’ve been to Disneyland while being pregnant I typically get the same reactions, “is it even fun?” “can you even do anything there?” and so on. If you’ve asked me such questions, then you know I have a very strong answer to this – similar to when people ask me if its worth taking infants or small children to Disneyland. YES IT IS STILL FUN. YES IT IS STILL WORTH IT. YES THERE IS STILL LOTS TO DO AND ENJOY. YES YOU WILL STILL HAVE A MAGICAL TIME. I don’t think when Walt Disney created the park he said that he wanted everyone of all ages to enjoy Disneyland except the expectant mothers. That just doesn’t seem like something the most magical man ever would say.

Yes, your vacation to Disneyland while pregnant will likely be quite different from the trips you’ve taken before sans bun-in-the-oven. I can almost guarantee you that you’ll feel hotter quicker and feel a little sleepier faster and then of course there is the discomfort your body feels. BUT don’t let that stop you. Be openminded and remember that yes, you’re pregnant, but you can still have a magical time. Remember that a positive attitude can do you wonders!

Its probably a good idea to alert your OB/GYN that you’re planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. If they’re like mine they’ll likely tell you to have a great time and to make sure not to ride any of the fast/jerky/rough rides and to listen to your body and put that first and send you on your way. Obviously every pregnancy is different, but this is how its gone for me so far.

So lets talk about what you can do so I can hopefully convince you that Disneyland while pregnant is still a magical experience, deal?

  • All the slower, non-thrill, crazy rides! You may hear this and roll your eyes and think to yourself ‘how boring’ – but I promise they’re not!! Some of the best rides in many peoples opinions aren’t the thrill rides if you can believe it. Remember, you have to have a different mindset on this trip so make sure that mindset is open to the less crazy rides and I promise you’ll have a lot of fun on them. Another way to look at it is its time off your feet!! I’m a big foot-sweller so I’m extra thankful for some time being seated.
  • You can also take this opportunity to really enjoy the shopping Disneyland has to offer. I know a lot of non-pregnant people know about the great shops, but you’d be surprised how many people bypass the shopping altogether so they can get more rides in. I totally get that. But one of my favorite things has been wandering through the different stores as my family goes on one of the rides I am not currently able to ride. Its fun to window shop – or actually shop and add to your Disney souvenir collection!
  • Whats most pregnant women’s favorite thing to do? (well, mine at least) EAT! Some of the food at Disneyland and California Adventure have the power to change your lives, people. I’d personally recommend (in disneyland) Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans, Corn Dogs from Stage Door Cafe, Chicken Fried Chicken from Carnation Cafe, any treat from Jolly Holiday, a Dole Whip outside of Tiki room and (from california adventure) a Chili Cone Queso from Cozy Cone, cotton candy – you can find this all over the park and ice cream – again you can find this all over.
  • Watch the shows such as parades, actual productions, fireworks, World of Color, Fantasmic, etc. These are more aspects of the park I feel like people quickly will pass up in order to get on Space Mountain when the line isn’t too long but now that Space Mountain isn’t even an option for you, why not give them a whirl? You’ll love what you see.
  • Slow down and smell the roses. In other words, be ok with the fact that you’re going to need to take some breaks. People watching in Disneyland is fun! Its ok to pop in another store or restaurant because you need some air conditioning in your life. Don’t be afraid to work your way through the park at a much slower pace than you’re used to. You’ll be able to observe more and see more of Disney’s clever, hidden magic.

There is so much more I could expound on and add to this post. I just wanted to graze the surface here and show you all how possible it is to still enjoy your time at Disneyland even when you’re waddling and take up more space than you once did. Disneyland is for everyone! – even you, pregnant lady!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Magical Monday: Top 10 Walt Disney Quotes

I wish I was close and personal friends with Walt Disney. I feel like he’d be one of those guys who would always leave you feeling inspired, motivated and uplifted, don’t you? Since I don’t get to know him (but you better believe I’m going to find him in heaven and ask him 100,000,000 questions) I just pretend I do by reading his quotes, his stories, his biography and visiting his Parks every chance I get. For todays Magical Monday I’m going to share some of the quotes from my BFF, Walt that are my most favorite – in no particular order.

10. “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

9. “I only hope we never lose sight of one thing. That it was all started by a mouse.”

8. “We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

7. “Its kind of fun to do the impossible.”

6. “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else which makes you unique.”

5. “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

4. “Thats the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.”

3. “Why worry? If you’ve done the best you can then worrying won’t make it any better.”

2. “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”

1. “To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and the promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

Ugh. What a guy.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

 

Magical Monday: How to Disney-Brainwash Your Baby

I’m not gonna lie, I get teased a lot about how much Disney I do. But what people don’t understand is that it doesn’t bother me at all – if anything, I take it as a compliment. I love Disney and when people can recognize just how much we love it/obsess over it, its a good thing to me. As H has got a little older people have begun to realize that he, too, is a true Disney fan. How did I get my 20 month old to be such a Disney fan, you may be asking? Continue reading to find out how I brainwashed my child just as my own mom brainwashed me.

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  • Accept that there will be criticism. Everyones a critic. People are going to give you a bad time for only giving your kid Disney toys or only watching Disney shows. But guess what? You’re the momma – you make the rules for your kids. The sooner you accept that some people just don’t understand the magic of Disney like you do, the better.
  • Start with the basics. AKA Mickey Mouse. From their first days on earth make sure your baby sees Mickey regularly, however that may be. As they get a little older and you start incorporating toys into their routine, make sure they have plenty of Mickey toys. Call him Mickey. Get excited to see Mickey anywhere and everywhere. Next thing you know they’ll still be pretty tiny and light up when they see their familiar friend.
  • YouTube can be valuable. When H started getting a little older I would turn on YouTube videos of various different Disney Park shows. He immediately took to Mickey and the Magical Map from Disneyland (and he’d totally get excited when he saw the different characters – especially Mickey) and really loves watching the parades. As characters go by I’d name them and slowly begin to familiarize him with who is who.
  • Watch a whole-lot-a Disney movies/tv. H has only seen 2 or 3 non-Disney movies and he only watches Disney Junior on tv. This is just another way to familiarize him with Disney’s great characters. It helps in the brainwashing of your child to be able to recognize lots of characters before they can recognize colors/shapes too.
  • If there is music – make it Disney. We don’t really listen to the radio. My son is only 20 months and I don’t need to fill his head with too much garbage, yet. So if we listen to music it is Disney music 95% of the time (and church music the other 5%). He already recognizes lots of the songs and is extra fond of specific ones. As he gets older we’ll discuss what movie they’re from and associate the song with the characters in the movie and so on.
  • Dawn your Disney apparel. Contrary to popular belief, not all Disney clothes are cheesy. Lots are, yes. But if you look hard enough (or know where to look) you’ll find a lot of cute Disney items for your wardrobe. H loves wearing his Mickey Mouse shirts and love when I wear my Disney shirts. It helps fuel the Disney-lovin’ fire and it adds magic to your day!
  • Do the obvious. I know this isn’t something everyone can do or do frequently, but as often as you can – visit the Disney Parks! Nothing introduces your child to the magic of Disney like being there and don’t think your little one is ever too young to go. Haven’t you heard? Disney is for kids of ALL ages. I can testify that even the tiniest of guests at the Disney Park can enjoy their surroundings – the sounds, the lights, the characters… its magical, even to them.

These are only a few ways but I believe they are some of the basics to get yourself started on the path to brainwashing your future Disney fanatic. Haters gonna hate. Just ignore them and you do you. Disney is the way to go.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Magical Monday: My Favorite Places to Eat

You have no idea how many times I’ve started a Disney Dining post then ended up deleting it. Disney Dining is a HUGE category that could really turn into a novel (for me at least). I still plan on covering all of Disneyland and California Adventure’s Dining options in a later post, but for today I’m going to be going over my favorite places to grab a bite to eat in Disneyland and California Adventure. These range from table service options to quick serve options and fast snacks to grab on the go. But these are what I love and what I hate to miss when I go on my magical getaways to The Happiest Place on Earth.

My Favorite Places to Dine in Disneyland

  • We’ll start on Main Street. Hands down my favorite place to eat on beautiful Main Street is Carnation Cafe. I can’t say enough good about this place. Its adorable and its delicious. This is a table service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I recommend making a reservation. My favorite thing to get here is the Chicken-fried Chicken. It is life changing.Carnation1-20120618-BW
  • Another favorite is Blue Bayou. Located in New Orleans Square, this is another table service restaurant that I recommend getting a reservation for ahead of time. They serve lunch and dinner. This is the restaurant located right beside Pirates of the Caribbean – the restaurant you see at the beginning of the attraction, which means while you dine you can watch other guests ride by in their boats on their voyage. The ambiance is unbeatable. My favorite thing to eat here is their iconic Monte Cristo.  The-Blue-Bayou-toursdepartingdaily.com_
  • If you’re looking for similar food to Blue Bayou but want to save a few bucks I highly recommend Cafe Orleans. (also in New Orleans Square) They also sell the delicious Monte Cristo! They are a table service restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. My favorite thing there are their Pommes Frites. This is a MUST. You’ll never eat anything like it. Please try these next time you go if you haven’t yet. You can thank me later. thumb_600
  • Stage Door Cafe is a classic for me and my family. Here in Frontierland, you can buy an iconic Disneyland corndog. Who doesn’t want that kind of goodness in their life? This is a quick serve option that is open for lunch and dinner and obviously my favorite thing to get there (and possibly the thing I crave most from Disney) is the corndog.
  • In Critter Country you can find Hungry Bear which is a delicious quick serve option with nice, shaded seating, beautiful scenery and yummy food. It is open for lunch and dinner and I am a big fan of their classic cheeseburger or chicken sandwich.
  • So I guess this isn’t a meal but it’d be a tragedy not to include this iconic, amazing snack. At the Tiki Juice Bar you can get yourself my favorite thing – a Dole Whip. There is never a bad time for this delicious snack and you probably need a few throughout your trip… Just sayin’.
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My Favorite Places to Dine in California Adventure

  • I’m starting with my favorite which is located in Cars Land. The Cozy Cone Motel is my #1 place to eat in DCA. They are a quick serve option that serve various snacks and quick bites to eat but my very favorite thing to get there is the Chili Cone Queso. Its a California Adventure staple in my family and it never disappoints.
  • Staying in Cars Land there is also Flo’s V8 Cafe. Flo serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and the ambiance is so cute. Its a colorful, exciting diner with great food options. My personal favorite thing to get is Brioche French Toast for breakfast! I would also suggest their outdoor seating where you get either a great view of Cars Land or if you move to the side of the restaurant you can watch the cars zoom by on Radiator Springs Racers.
  • On Paradise Pier you can find Cove Bar. This is a table service restaurant (that you have to wait in line for to get a table – just a warning). You get an amazing view of Paradise Pier and tasty food. My favorite is the Cotton Candy Lemonade. They also have amazing Lobster Nachos.

*these pictures are not my own

Where are your can’t-miss places to eat in the Disney Parks??

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Magical Monday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DISNEYLAND!

Full disclosure: I’m emotional as I’m writing this post.

Sixty-two years ago The Happiest Place on Earth opened to the public and in my opinion, the world has never been the same since. Disney brought a magic to the world that it lacked before and it continues to sprinkle magic through its parks, its characters, its apparel, its music, its movies and so much more. I am seriously so grateful that Walt Disney had a dream and that he stuck with it and didn’t let opposition get in his way – because a world without Disney sounds… depressing.

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I am sure I sound like a broken record by now because I’ve been saying this my whole life but I am so glad that I was born and raised in a Disney crazed family and I’m glad that my husband decided to fully embrace this lifestyle so we can raise our family the same way. Disney is the way to go. Its happy, its magical, it encourages curiosity, bravery, individuality and so much more. Theres a reason I fill my home with Disney quotes, pictures, toys, books, music and all the other paraphernalia I can get my hands on – because its truly the best and no matter how hard other companies try, there is nothing else like it.

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Happy Birthday, Disneyland! Thanks for all the magic.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles