The Great Disney Stroller Debate

A lot of the time when people are asking me about advice on their upcoming Disney trip, they ask me what kind of stroller they should bring. Do you bring your big one you use at home that is significantly bigger? Or do you bring an umbrella stroller thats much smaller?

My vote?

The big stroller.

And heres my top five reasons why:

  • You really won’t move through crowds that much faster if you have a small stroller such as an umbrella stroller. I hate to break it to you, but if you have a stroller (of any size), you’re just not going to be zipping through the park as quickly as you would sans stroller. IMG_5508
  • The storage is beautiful. Our stroller has a big pouch in the bottom and we utilize that space so dang much on our Disney vacations. We stick our sweatshirts down there, souvenirs, bags, blankets, leftover food, water bottles, etc. You don’t get that luxury with a teeny stroller. IMG_1274.jpg
  • Your little one is more comfortable in a big stroller. I love that when my boys fall asleep, I can recline them a bit, or know they have a little more wiggle room so their sleep is a little deeper (and heavens knows that little ones need those naps while in Disneyland!). IMG_8596.jpg
  • The cupholder/top storage. Ok, this is just assuming your big stroller has a cupholder and a little extra space to store things up top. I’d lose my mind without that. Thats where we keep drinks (obvs), Fast Passes (when you still needed the paper ticket), easy-to-reach snacks, pins, cel phones, sunglasses, etc. Half the time what I wear to the parks don’t have pockets, so this is something especially important to me. IMG_5162.jpg
  • A bigger stroller often times can also become a double + stroller. Its so nice to have it all just in one spot. When everyones loaded, its great to have everything we need (mainly our children) right there in one stroller – one spot. I especially love our stroller because we have a little connector piece that we bought that a third child can stand on called a glider board! (H loves to switch from his seat to the glider).

I don’t know guys. If you ask me, you just can’t go wrong with a big ol’ stroller. You know what the say – go big or go home!

Also, if you’re interested in the stroller we have, you can find it here. I LOVE it. Yes, its a pretty penny, but its absolutely worth it.

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63 Years of Disneyland

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Sixty-three years ago today, Disneyland opened its magical gates for the first time. If you ask me, that day changed the world. Can you even imagine a world without Disney magic? I’m so glad that Walt Disney stuck to his dream and didn’t let the naysayers convince him that he should give up on this big, magical idea.

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I’ve been a Disney-addict since birth (thanks, mom). I really, truly cannot imagine my life without the influence of Disney.

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A lot of times I get asked which I like more, Disneyland or Disney World and 95% of the time I respond with Disneyland. “Why? Disney World is bigger!” Yes, but Disneyland is Walt’s baby. Disneyland is what Walt Disney envisioned as he sat on a park bench and watched his daughters on a carousel. Disneyland is what Walt Disney saw when others only saw an orange grove. Disneyland is Walt Disney’s creation and though it is ever changing, there are still so, so many pieces of him in that magical park.

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I love Disneyland because it really is a getaway unlike any other. When you enter its gates, you leave the world behind as you enter a new, magical world of fantasy. Its a place to temporarily forget about the worldly things and let yourself have fun and immerse in the magic. Its  place to get closer to family and an incredible place to make memories you’ll remember throughout your whole life.

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Seeing the magic through my own kids eyes has been a new way for me to experience Disney recently and its better than I could have ever imagined it to be. Walt Disney is right, its a place for children of all ages! Barely born to 110 years old, its for everyone. There is something there for everyone.

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Happy Birthday, Disneyland. Thank you for the endless magic. Thank you for being my happy place and my safe haven. Thank you for being my lifestyle. Thank you for the countless memories and for the memories I haven’t yet made within your walls. Thanks to my friend (yes, i do consider us friends, thank you very much), Walt Disney for dreaming this land up and for making it a reality and a place for the world to enjoy.

Gosh, I just really love Disneyland.

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“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 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.” -Walt Disney

Another Trip to Disneyland!

Last week I took my boys and together with my mom, the four of us went to Disneyland. It was exhausting, magical, exciting and tiring all at the same time – and it was very special and different. Leaving behind my family and Wild Man was weird, and they were all very missed, but we still had an amazing time. We decided to go at H’s speed. We did what he wanted, when he wanted to. We were pretty slow moving and sort of all over the place, but it was perfect for H. E was just happy to tag along and take in all the sights and sounds – seriously he was an angel baby, an absolute dream.

This trip was saying goodbye to A Bugs Land and hello to Pixar Fest. Bugs Land closes sometime in late summer and we aren’t 100% sure we’ll be back by then, so just in case I made sure we spent some quality time with our bug friends so if that was our last time I can rest assured that we gave it a good farewell. My mom had already seen Pixar Fest, but I hadn’t yet and I was especially excited about seeing all the Pixar themed goodness in both Disneyland and California Adventure and lets not forget all the special food! It was incredible. I’m actually planning on doing a couple posts with a little more detail about Pixar Fest in the future, so if you care, keep an eye out for those.

Some of my highlights from this magical getaway were:

  • Fantasmic, as usual. I will never tire of that show. Seeing it through H’s eyes has made it even more incredible and adds a whole new layer of magic.
  • The Pixar Play Parade in Disneyland was great. I loved the added floats. Its a water parade now and shoots water kind of unexpectedly throughout the parade. Unfortunately the first float to go by drenched my mom and E and he was heartbroken about it – but thankfully he’s a happy kid and perked back up fairly quickly and went back to enjoying the show.
  • H in the Disney Junior Show was the best. He is turning out to be a very shy little guy, but you can tell he so, so wants to be brave. In this show there is a lot of dancing and moving encouraged by little ones. I really didn’t think H would participate and would just hide in my lap but he totally got involved and danced his little heart out, pulling moves out I’ve never seen before! #magic We also got to sit in VIP seating!
  • We had a lot of awesome Cast Member interactions this trip. When a Cast Member makes my children feel special, there is nothing else like it.
  • H was map obsessed. He memorized where most his favorite rides were and he learned so many new words from the map that he’ll actually use frequently now! I should have known that Disneyland Resort would be a great form of speech therapy!
  • My boys were great. There were so many opportunities for them to be difficult, but they were phenomenal and I’m so proud of them. They make my heart happy.

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Halloween at Disneyland Info!

I get asked a lot of questions about Disneyland and I’m trying to figure out the most efficient way to answer people’s questions. So I’ve decided that on topics that I will likely get asked frequently about, I’ll write up quick blog posts to relay some information!

There is no secret my very favorite time to visit Disneyland Resort is during Halloween time. The decorations, the overlays, the characters in costumes, the food, the attractions that get fun changes for the season – it’s just my favorite and adds extra magic. If there was only one time in the year you could visit Disneyland, I would highly recommend going during Halloween time.

Disneyland just released this information about this wonderful time at the parks!

Halloween time will begin at DLR September 7th – October 31st!

Tickets for Mickeys Halloween Party go on sale June 5th for Annual Pass Holders and June 12th for those without passes. If you are wanting to go to this amazing party, I recommend buying your tickets soon as possible! These events tend to sell out quickly.

Now I’m switching gears, mostly to try and convince you all of how badly you need to go to Mickeys Halloween Party.

Yes. It is a separate ticket event, meaning you have to purchase tickets separate from your general admission tickets to go to this party but it’s so worth every single penny, I promise. Here’s why..

  • You get to dress up (all ages are permitted and there are only a few costume restrictions) and trick or treat around Disneyland and they don’t skimp on candy!
  • There is a special parade and firework show only available to those who are going to the event.
  • There are added photo spots that are so fun and turn into some of the best Disneyland pictures you’ll have in your collection.
  • Have you ever ridden a ride in Disneyland while in a Halloween costume? There is something really neat about it – I’ve thought this since I was a little girl.
  • The Dapper Dans become the Cadaver Dans and sing on a raft in the Rivers of America. It is entertaining and something so unique and special to Mickeys Halloween Party. You won’t want to miss it!

I hope that convinced you. If you need more convincing send me a message. I will be more than happy to continue the bullet points.

Now for some last little facts to add in hopes of answering more questions I may receive.

  • Mickeys Halloween Party is not every night during September 7 and October 31. It is only select nights (I believe there are 15 days?) that you can view when purchasing your ticket.
  • There are Halloween decorations and overlays in both Disneyland and California Adventure.
  • Like last year, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT will become Monsters After Dark again! Space Mountain will become Ghost Galaxy and of course, Haunted Mansion will transform into Haunted Mansion Holiday.
  • Cars Land will once again become Haul-o-Ween!
  • There is incredible Halloween merchandise sold during this time that you most definitely need to check out.
  • Oogie Boogie is taking over California Adventure this year as well!
  • The Headless Horseman will start the parade riding through the route on his horse (this is so cool).
  • Extra villains will be seen throughout the park to celebrate the holiday.

I can’t say enough just how magical Disneyland is during this spooky season. I’m getting so excited for it now just thinking about it and it’s only May! I hope I was able to answer some of your questions – if you have any more let me know! You know I’m happy to chat Disney with you all day long.

Have a magical day!

Magical Monday: Ode to the Disneyland Baby Care Center

*these pictures are not mine – i found them on google

No joke, if I could choose anywhere to work in the Disneyland Resort, I would choose to work in the Baby Care Center. I’m weirdly obsessed with it. You can find the Baby Center at the end of Main Street. If you’re walking up Main Street towards Sleeping Beauty Castle, just turn right at the end of Main Street and its right around the corner.

Its a quiet little building that is a great little baby/toddler/parent sanctuary. If you forgot a binky, diapers, wipes, baby food, etc. you can pick up what you need inside. Its quiet and calm and lovely.

As you enter, there is a small room that seems to be where people like to sit and bottle feed their little ones. Then you come into the large main room (second picture) where there is a small play area, a tv, highchairs and some seating. Beside the main room is a large, blocked off and private breast feeding area. At the end of the large room is another smaller room where you can purchase forgotten items, use a microwave, etc. Then in the back right corner there is a room with 4 changing tables (with large papers to lay down to keep it sanitary), and two small potties (that are also private).

I look forward to any chance to go in there. Is that weird? Well its the truth. We don’t do every single diaper change or nursing break in there, but its a nice option to have – especially when you are decently close to it. If you are in Disneyland and you have a little one who needs to eat, get a diaper change or just needs a moment away from the noise, commotion and stimulation, I couldn’t recommend the Baby Care Center more!

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Magical Monday: Your First Trip to Disneyland Resort

We are gearing up for E’s first trip to Disneyland and I am so excited. He’ll be three months old and obviously will have not even the smallest memory of this vacation. But guess who will remember his first trip to Disneyland Resort? Me.

This got me thinking. Maybe some of you have never been to Disneyland. If you’re one of those people… This post is for you. If the day ever comes and you find yourself in the happiest place on earth this is what I, a seasoned Disney visitor, suggest you make sure you do on your first trip there. The list is short because you want plenty of time to explore Disneyland without feeling like you have to stick to some kind of guide. But these are the things I think everyone needs to experience on their first trip to DLR!

  • Go to City Hall (to your left right as you’re entering Main Street) and get yourself a First Visit button. Then wear it with pride. Cast Members pay close attention to your buttons – who knows, they may just provide you with a little extra magic knowing its your first time there!
  • Make at least one dining reservation. There are so many great places to eat in Disneyland. You can even bring your own food in if you’d like, but eating at a sit down place at least is really nice. There are character dining options – my favorite is Breakfast with Minnie at Plaza Inn (end of Main Street) and options without characters – my favorite is Cafe Orleans (in New Orleans Square).
  • Get yourself a pair of ears! Wearing a Minnie Mouse headband or a good pair of Mickey ears almost instantly ups the magic factor in your vacation. It adds a little more of that Disney sparkle in your pictures and it helps immerse you in the Disney scene.
  • Eat a treat at Jolly Holiday. Just do it. You won’t regret it. Might I suggest the Raspberry Rose Mickey Macaron?
  • Also eat a Dole Whip. You get them at the Tiki Bar right outside of Tiki Room in Adventureland. If you want extra magic, buy your Dole Whip and eat it while watching Tiki Room.
  • Watch the parades/shows/fireworks. They are some of the first things I think about when I think of Disneyland. They bring so much magic – and if you have kids, they especially love the parades!

Thats it! My quick suggestions of the things you absolutely have to do on your first trip to Disneyland! If you are planning a first trip and you need some pointers or tips – lets chat! You know I’m all about talking Disney with you!

Disneyland – October 2017

*WARNING: Also no surprise, this is a picture overload post. It was impossible for me to choose only a couple pictures I wanted on this post.

I really, really hoped that we could squeeze in a Disneyland trip before baby was born. Initially I was thinking September would be ideal but as it turned out, October was the only thing we could really make work. I knew it would be a little risky because in October I hit 8 months pregnant, but its gonna take a lot more than that to keep me and my family away from a Disney Park. We spent five days there and I can safely say that all five days were pure magic and happiness. They were also full of exhaustion and very swollen feet, ankles and legs – but thats besides the point.

We had Mickey’s Halloween Party the first day and it was great. Although can I say something slightly negative? I don’t feel like Disneyland’s candy was as good this year as it usually is.. If you ask Wild Man about this he will be very vocal about the lack of Butterfingers in our trick-or-treat bags. Besides that, no complaints. Disney knows how to do a Halloween Party. One of H’s current favorite movies is Monsters Inc and Monsters University so we decided that would be our costume theme this year. Wild Man was Sulley, H was Mike and I was Boo – which also meant I got to wear pajamas to Disneyland! What more could a giant pregnant lady ask for? Usually we make our Halloween costumes. I love handmade costumes because they are so personal and they are one of a kind. But this year we were just a little too busy and a little too sick so we reluctantly purchased these costumes (mine was pieces I found from Amazon). I was bummed about it at first, but they really didn’t turn out too bad. Wild Man’s costume cracks me up and H felt like the star of the show in his – so it was a success.

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My cute sisters dressed up too. One was Jane Goodall and the other was Mia Thermopolis (Princess Diaries) and HOW CUTE ARE THEY?

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There were four huge highlights of this trip for me.

  1. H’s love of Carousels. King Arthurs Carousel was an instant hit. He loved riding his “howa,” (horse) and you could not wipe the giant smile off his sweet little face. He would laugh and laugh and squeal with excitement and his reaction was contagious, as he made everyone else around him laugh and smile. It was so happy. Pure. Magic. There was nothing more exciting to him and it was so special to me. I love my happy, Disney boy.
  2. The second highlight was watching the Disney Junior Live show in California Adventure. Just Wild Man and I took him to this. Its a show where you sit on the floor and watch as Disney characters dance on stage and put on a little show. Things fall from the ceiling, there are fun songs and lots of dancing. H was in heaven. It was so special. Then when Mickey and Minnie came out on stage at the end, H squealed, jumped and covered his mouth with pure excitement and I couldn’t help myself from the flood of tears that came over me. There is nothing like seeing Disney magic through your little ones eyes.
  3. Third, our last day in Disneyland Wild Man and I were doing some shopping and a girl that was probably in her early twenties approached us with a Mickey Mouse balloon that lit up and asked if H wanted it. She had apparently bought it but then decided she didn’t want it. Another very magical moment. Every time we passed the Cast Members who would hold the large bunch of balloons H would excitedly point at them and reach for them. Maybe I am a lame mom but I never wanted to get him one because they are pretty pricy and I’d rather spend money on something that won’t deflate after a while, you know? So this was kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity for H haha. The way his little face lit up when she handed the balloon to him was so special. He hugged the balloon and was so proud of his new souvenir.
  4. The last highlight is the biggest highlight and the most magical, special thing that happened and I have a hard time believing that anything could top this. I am tearing up just preparing to type this. Ok. One of our days in California Adventure we were in Cars Land and our group went on Radiator Springs Racers. H and I couldn’t join in on that ride so we decided to just wander the streets of Cars Land. We went into a small shop to look around before being in the store for a full 30 seconds, a tiny, frail, little old man approached me and asked, “could I buy a gift for your son?” Before I could answer him he kept on speaking and told me that he was never blessed with grandchildren but he loves kids. He comes to Disneyland once a week and every time he does he adopts an honorary grandchild and buys them a gift to remember their vacation to Disneyland and also him – Grandpa Perry. He told me that he and his wife used to live about an hour away and would visit the park as often as they could. She died 14 years ago and when that happened he moved to Anaheim so he could be in Disneyland, his happy place, more often and its been that long that he’s come once a week and made these magical moments for his honorary grandchildren. How could you not hear this sweet old mans story and not sob? It was impossible for me and I don’t think it was just pregnancy hormones, either. Together, he and H chose a pair of Cars Mickey Mouse ears and a Cars pinwheel with candy inside of it. I thanked him a million times. He gave me his email address so I could email him pictures of H in the ears, then he kissed H’s head and went on his way. I will never forget Grandpa Perry and I am so grateful that H gets to be one of his many honorary grandchildren.

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I ate an absurd amount of treats on this trip. But thats what you’re supposed to do in Disneyland so I have absolutely no shame.

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Because I was 35 weeks pregnant while on this trip, we decided to stay on the side of safety and have me use a wheelchair. It was kind of embarrassing, but it also saved me. My cute sisters were my chauffeurs most of the time and they are troopers!

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Meeting characters was different this trip. In our past several trips to Disneyland H is all over the characters and very excited by them. This time he was much more timid and shy. He was still totally excited, but also needed to have a good grip on me the whole time while meeting them and wasn’t too keen on giving the usual big hugs that he has given them in the past. I thought it was so cute.

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The picture below is one of my very favorites. H has this new thing where he roars at everything. A ton of our pictures from this trip include H roaring. My dad took the picture below and was standing under a monster decoration in Cars Land and H could not stop roaring at it and my dad. It cracked me up and the picture turn out so good!

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It was such a fun, magical trip. I know this post is a little spacey and all over. But I have some plans of doing more specific Disney posts in the future (maybe the far future because hopefully baby comes soon!!) but for now, here is my picture dump. Right now we are focused on finishing the last couple things up before little brother makes his arrival, but after those first few weeks of newborn heaven you better believe I’ll be chomping at the bit to get back to our happy place with our new family of four!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles