Refreshed and Reconnected

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We spent several days last week in Meeker, Colorado in a big cabin on a bunch of beautiful property up in the mountains. It turned out to be one of those family trips that we needed, but we weren’t even sure just how much we needed it until we returned home. It felt so, so good.

Though I had my phone with me (pictures!), I hardly ever checked my phone. If I left it in a different room I wasn’t worried about it. We were breathing fresh (non smoky- thanks utah) air and really bonding with our family in a way that we just can’t do when we’re home. It was so rejuvenating to play outside or in the cabin with the boys and let them explore, get dirty and be adventurous. It was just what the doctor ordered.

After those great days spent in the mountains I am feeling so recharged, relaxed and motivated. Things I didn’t even realize I needed so badly in my life right now. So thanks, Colorado. I can’t wait for next year.

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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.

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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Tweets from Montana

We just recently returned home from a weeklong camping vacation to a little place called Fortine in Montana. Its where my father-in-law grew up and is one of their families favorite places to travel. This was my second time going (the last time we went was a few months after we were married) and it was just as enjoyable as the first time. It was a lot different though. Last time I went I was a newlywed with not much responsibility at the camp. This time I had a 20 month old and a 4 month old puppy, plus I’m 25 weeks pregnant. Its a much different trip when you add in those factors. It was more tiring and my back hurts in all kinds of ways, but it was a lot of fun.

I’m not ashamed to say that I missed having cell service every day. I like social media and checking it daily, I’m not afraid to say that. One night while I was laying on our air mattress with H trying to get him to take an afternoon nap I decided to jot down a few things in my notes that I would have tweeted during the week had I been able to have service and live tweet my experience throughout the week.

So here they are. My tweets from Montana.

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“Pregnant + camping + hip/back aches = an emotional camper”

“My niece informed me I look more happy when I wear makeup. See if I go makeup-less anymore when I camp”

“Touched 30+ fish today – pulling hooks out of their mouths (and eyes – barf) and everything. I’ve come a long way. Applaud me.”

“All I want to do is sleep in but come 8am the tent gets hotter than the freaking sun. There is no sleeping in here.”

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“When I get really hot I turn red as a tomato. I’ve apparently passed this awesome trait on to my son.”

Follow up Tweet “Its real hard to tell if you’re getting sunburnt or if you’re just hot when you’re this way.”

Follow up Tweet “We BETTER not be getting sunburned because I make us reapply sunscreen every 2 hours #masteresthetician”

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“Bathing in a lake only makes you feel semi clean because you’re still bathing in a lake.”

“My mother in law is a dear and lets me shower in the trailer. I never feel more refreshed than I do after washing camping off of me.”

“My husband brought his iPad camping with us. Its been a lifesaver come nap and bedtime.”

“We are here 5 days and I brought 5 different swimming suits. If that doesn’t describe who I am then I don’t know what does.”

“Can our next trip be to Disneyland please?”

“My nieces and nephews keep the occasional fish they’ve caught in a large can and way too many times I’ve almost knocked it over.”

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“I hate all bugs and I cannot lie.”

“Nature has many weird smells.”

“If you’re pregnant and camping I demand you buy the Theracane and take it with you. It will get you through the aches and pains.”

“My 1 year-old has an amazing talent at being covered in dirt in less than 30 seconds.”

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Thanksgiving in California

For Thanksgiving we went to California to visit Wild Man’s brother and wife in the San Francisco area and some of my mother in laws family in Modesto. We spent the week in California and it was such a fun week. I already miss the 24/7 family time (but nothing beats sleeping in your own bed amirite?)

San Francisco was amazing! The Golden Gate Bridge was my favorite. The size of that was incredible and seeing how high up off the water it was, was pretty overwhelming.

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We also explored Pacific Wharf for a while and a few of the other iconic tourist attractions. I don’t know what I was thinking but I hardly pulled my camera out so I don’t have as many pictures as I wish I did.

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When we were in Modesto for Thanksgiving we took H to a park at one point for a change of scenery and it was a big hit. The slide and swings were his favorite and nothing could beat the huge smile on his face!

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Spending all that time with family was incredible. I have so missed Wild Man’s brother and his wife so we were thrilled to spend time with them. We played games, watched funny shows/movies, caught up and the laughs were endless.

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I love this picture of his uncle giving him a little shoulder massage.

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Out shopping on Black Friday..

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Magical Monday: Your Baby/Toddler Can go to Disneyland

I talk to a lot of people about their upcoming Disney vacations. I’m very open minded (usually) to letting people do Disney how they want to, but one thing that always makes me a little sad is when people tell me they’re leaving their baby or toddler back home while they go to the happiest place on earth with their other kids. I know everyone has their reasons – sometimes its just not in the cards for your little one to come and thats fine, but the phrase I hate hearing is when they just write Disney off completely for babies/toddlers all together and say, “there is nothing for them to do in Disneyland.” YES THERE IS! Haven’t you heard? Disney is for kids of ALL ages, people! ALL ages – which means one week old to 150 years old!

To prove this point that I am very passionate about, I have decided to dissect both Disneyland and California Adventure for you and tell you what rides your baby and toddler can do in both parks. I hope this will be helpful for you and if you’re deciding whether or not to take you little one to Disneyland, hopefully this can be the push to help you decide to take them!

WHAT YOUR BABY/TODDLER CAN DO IN DISNEYLAND RESORT

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MAIN STREET USA:

  • Disneyland Railroad: (ok, this is closed right now while Star Wars Land is being built but when its open – this is pretty much a must for your little bud) This train takes you around the whole park with plenty to look at and see. Its a great place to sit and relax and eat a snack. If you’re a nursing mama, its also a great place to nurse.
  • Main Street Vehicles: These are the cars or horse-drawn streetcars and carriages you see going up and down Main Street. Its another fun way to get off your feet and really be able to look at all the exciting things on Main Street. Little ones love this and riding behind a horse is always a big hit.

TOMORROWLAND:

  • Astro Orbiter: This is basically Dumbo, but in a rocket. Its exhilarating and exciting to little ones! My son loved this/Dumbo even when he was a few months old.
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters: Its a fun ride with bright, glowing colors. Whether your LO can shoot the gun or not, its an exciting one.
  • Monorail: There are stops for the Monorail a couple places but we’ll cover that here. Its cool and out of the sun, another great place to nurse, eat a snack, get off your feet and let your LO look out the window at the magical park.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: This is a long, unique ride. You board a submarine, take your seat then take 15-20ish minutes looking our your own personal little window and watching Nemo and friends as they have an adventure under the water. Its so fun and there is so much to look at. Your baby/toddler would love this ride.

FANTASYLAND:

  • Alice in Wonderland: A bright, exciting ride that takes you through Alice’s story. Its both indoors and outdoors and you ride in a caterpillar.
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train: An outdoor ride with sights and sounds galore. All the cars are different and provide a slightly different riding experience.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant: Everyone knows this one, right? You ride in Dumbo and fly around in circles. Its a must-hit classic. Your LO will adore it.
  • Small World: If I could only recommend one ride to you and your LO this would be it. Its a fairly long ride, its bright, there is a happy song and there is so much to look at, point at and get excited about.

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  • King Arthur’s Carousel: I think this was H’s favorite ride last time we went. As with all these rides, lots to look at, fun music, etc.
  • Mad Tea Party: The teacups always spin but if you don’t manually spin them you won’t go nearly as fast as you think you will. Which can make for a fun ride for you LO. And have you seen all the colors around the Teacups? Perfect.
  • Mr. Toads Wild Ride: A short little indoor ride in a cute little car with a steering wheel and lots to look at.
  • Peter Pan’s Flight: Another classic. You ride in a Pirate Ship suspended in the air, looking down on London and Neverland. This is a must do. Your LO will thank you.
  • Pinnochio’s Daring Journey: Very comparable to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventure: Very comparable to Mr Toad’s and Pinnochio.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats: You ride a boat while a Cast Member gives you a little guided tour around Storybook Land where you’ll see princesses castles, Monstro the Whale and much more.

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TOONTOWN:

  • Gadget’s Go-Coaster: A roller coaster (thats actually really fun) for small children – however there is still a height requirement, its just much shorter than your average roller coaster.
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin: A ride through Roger Rabbit’s story – and your car spins!
  • You can also meet Mickey and some of his friends at their houses in Toontown and visit the Fab 5’s houses.

FRONTIERLAND:

  • Mark Twain Riverboat: You know that huge white boat out on the Rivers of America you always see? Thats the Mark Twain and you can actually ride it! (however it is closed currently while Star Wars Land is being built) Its different, there is sight seeing and its a great time to eat a little, nurse and all that good stuff.

CRITTER COUNTRY:

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: What LO doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends? You board a beehive and ride through the Hundred Acre Wood’s and go on an adventure with Pooh and his pals.

NEW ORLEANS SQUARE:

  • Haunted Mansion: This gets a wrap for being a scary ride. Smaller babies don’t seem to care that its ‘scary’ and its possible your LO will be a little frightened, but I know from experience that you can talk your LO through it and help them realize its only pretend scary. Try and give it a shot if your little buddy will let you.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: There are two smallish drops on this ride, but considering a teeny tiny baby could still ride this, that tells you its not too dramatic. This is another that may seem a little scary, but is likely more exciting and has lots to look at.

ADVENTURELAND:

  • Enchanted Tiki Room: This is a show where you get to sit and listen to the birdies sing, chant and thoroughly entertain you. Its bright, loud and lots of fun.
  • Jungle Cruise: A cruise through the jungle with a  hilarious Skipper and lots of animals (and the backside of water!) to look at. Super exciting for a little one!

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE 

  • King Triton’s Carousel: Another carousel! Read my description for King Arthur’s carousel – same thing.

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  • Toy Story Midway Mania: Ok, admittedly this rides a little rough for some little ones. Last time we went H hated how rough and fast it was. But my niece was a couple months old last she went on this and didn’t mind at all. Depends on the baby, I guess. Lots to look at – and its indoors.
  • Mickey’s Fun Wheel: A big, fun ferris wheel! You have the option of a swinging gondola or a non-swinging one. It gives a great view of California Adventure and for me, its an excellent time to breast feed (and sometimes not have to fully cover up!)
  • Little Mermaid’s Undersea Adventure: One of my personal favorites. You ride in a big sea shell and basically go through the movie, Little Mermaid. It is bright with so much to look at and there are songs throughout the whole ride.
  • Red Car Trolley: This is the Trolley that rides on tracks around Buena Vista Street. Its a fun way to sit and let your LO look around.
  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage: Ok, its not a ride but I had to mention this one. Its a bunch of the Disney Junior shows on stage! If you have little ones (especially ones who love Disney Junior) then this is an absolute must.
  • Monsters Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue: A fun ride through Monstroplois. Its short, air-conditioned and bright. The outside of this ride is an awesome photo op too, by the way.
  • Flik’s Flyers: The rest of the rides are in Bugs Land which is a mandatory area to visit if you are visiting with little bugs. In Flik’s, its a lot like Dumbo. You board a food container (because you’re shrunk down the the size of a bug) and go around in circles.
  • Francis’ Lady Bug Boogie: Very comparable to the Mad Tea Party in Disneyland – maybe a little rougher, though.

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  • Heimlich’s Chew-Chew Train: We always joke that this is Wild Man’s favorite ride. You board the caterpillar, Heimlich and he takes you through a path and you eat your way through watermelon, animal cookies, candy, etc. There are lots of sights and smells. Its a fun little ride.

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So there you have it. The rides in Disneyland and California Adventure that even newborns can ride on! (there are some that little shorties can ride on but not teeny tiny babies that i excluded because i was talking strictly rides everyone could go on) There are so many rides they can ride on, plus so much more! There are shows, parades, characters to meet, shops, places to eat and much more. Maybe it’ll be a little extra work to bring your LO’s, but it would be worth it! If you’re anything like me, the second your child hugs a character or gets excited in a ride you’ll start bawling and the entire trip will have been 10000000% worth every single penny.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

 

Magical Monday: So Many Disneyland Pictures and Stories

On October 19-22 we were in Disneyland and it was so magical and perfect and if we’re being honest I may be shedding a nostalgic tear or two because I miss it so much and there was no better feeling than seeing my son take in the entire vacation and just love it. Oh, Disneyland – thank you for truly being the happiest place on earth. I love you forever and always.

I was debating how I wanted to go about blogging about this trip. I’m going to do some how-to posts and some posts offering Disney advice and expertise, but for the first post I just wanted to sort of journal our experience. We took so many great pictures and we have so many happy stories that I just wanted to share. If this isn’t your jam I won’t be offended if you don’t read. Or if you just want to look at the pictures I get it. But if you care to get a little taste of the most magical week of my year (because this was by far my favorite Disneyland trip thus far) then keep on reading.

On our first day we had Mickey’s Halloween Party (i wrote a small post about what the party is here) and it was so much fun. I think I’ve kind of become the Scrooge of Halloween at home because I’m constantly comparing Halloween at home to Halloween at Disneyland – and it can’t be beat. It just can’t, guys. We went to Disneyland with my family and there were seven of us total, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White. We all had our own character (wild man – grumpy, H – dopey, me – happy, my mom – bashful, my dad – doc, my sisters – sleepy and sneezy) and if I do say so myself, we looked awesome (thanks to my mom and sister for making the costumes) We had a lot of compliments on our costumes, we had complete strangers ask to take our pictures and whenever anyone saw The Captain dressed as Dopey they’d all melt and I sure can’t blame them. CUTEST Dopey ever ever ever.

Disneyland does not mess around with treats when you Trick-or-Treat. Each stop dumps handfuls of candy into your bag and there are tons of stops. Its a sugar-lovers paradise. During the Halloween Party there is a special parade and special firework show and also a special Cadaver Dans (Dapper Dans) show among other special things you can only see during the party. My favorite was the parade. We didn’t go to the Halloween party last year (i was giant pregnant) but the year before I wasn’t super impressed with the parade. It was really short and just underwhelming which really pains me to say, but its true. However this year was incredible! Disney went above and beyond. It was spooky, it was entertaining, it was exciting and it was perfect. I’ve watched it on YouTube approximately 1,000 times since returning home and I don’t regret a second of it.

H was awesome on this whole trip. He stuck to his sleep schedule really well and still napped good in the park. Some of my favorite pictures from the four days in Disneyland were the ones of him sleeping on someone in the family. I can only assume that he was having really magical dreams. He was so good and well-tempered. He was happy, he went with the flow, he pointed and squealed at everything and he genuinely enjoyed himself. I am so grateful for my sweet Disney-lovin’ baby boy! He’s a good boy and has set the bar pretty high for our future kids.

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On our second day my bangs were bad – so please disregard them.

Wild Man was really excited to take The Captain on Pirates of the Caribbean. Towards the beginning of the ride there are two drops in the dark. He did not like them! His little arms would spread out wide as he’d startle and he’d make this little whimper and then hold onto Wild Man’s arms tightly. It was sad he was scared but also totally sweet.

H also found a new found love for Carousels. We went on King Arthur’s Carousel in Disneyland and King Triton’s Carousel of the Sea and he was crazy for them. He loved holding onto the pole, patting the horse/sea creature he rode and you couldn’t wipe the big smile or look of complete curiosity and amusement off his face.

On this day we ate at Carnation Cafe (a restaurant on Main Street in DL) and my day was completely made because we were seated under the gazebo! It was so magical. On top of that the food was phenomenal – I highly recommend the chicken-fried chicken, fun fact it was Walt Disney’s favorite – and the Soundsational Parade went by while we ate our dessert and it was a great view. When H saw his BFF Mickey Mouse on top of a float he was so excited and stared at him for as long as he could. I bawled. It was a really perfect experience.

We found out H hates Toy Story Mania and also 3D glasses. However Wild Man and I killed it on that ride and both got our high scores!

Something else noteworthy was that my youngest sister rode Jingles on King Arthur’s Carousel. It was Walt’s wives favorite horse. To learn more, please go watch Saving Mr. Banks.

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We started our third morning off with breakfast with Minnie Mouse and some of her friends at Plaza Inn. Here we saw Minnie, Chip and Dale, Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh and Captain Hook. This was H’s first real encounter with characters and he did not disappoint. Oh my gosh! He was so in love with them because I’m pretty sure he viewed them as giant stuffed animals that moved (and gave him lots of kisses). He was flirting with Minnie, snuggling with Pooh and Eeyore and laughing with Chip and Dale and sleeping while Captain Hook stopped by our table. It was so much fun and there was so. much. magic!

Captain Hook tried to steal my wedding ring and seemed very disappointed that I was married. Sorry, Hook, shoulda found me sooner. Jk, I’d never marry Captain Hook because he actually secretly terrifies me.

I took a picture with Wild Man in front of Matterhorn this day because I had to give him a special shoutout. He was not particularly a Disney fan before he met me. I am so lucky to have married a guy who found out me and my family were insane Disney crazed humans and decided to embrace the lifestyle and take it head on. I can say with 100% certainty now that he too, is a crazy Disney guy.

We ate at Cove Bar in California Adventure and the food was delicious. I had the Cotton Candy Lemonade to drink and our table shared the lobster nachos and the steak nachos. So good and I so recommend this place.

Oh and you’ll see that giant Mickey Pumpkin a few pictures down. THAT IS CAKE! Its in the lobby of the Grand Californian and is a site to behold. Its so perfect – also where do I sign up to eat it all?

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Our last day was my favorite day I think. Wild Man, H and I wore our Haunted Mansion shirts and were looking pretty cute (if i do say so myself) and it was a really perfect day.

We rode Tower of Terror for the last time ever because unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be to Disneyland again before January 2nd when it closes to transform to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. That ride is so good. I’m still completely heartbroken that its closing down, so lets not talk about that. After dark Tower of Terror changes a bit and the entire ride is pitch dark…thats all I’m going to say because I’m not going to give away anything, but it was incredible! So clever. There was also a cute photo spot outside of Tower of Terror that we took advantage of, hence all the pictures of us outside of ToT.

Wild Man’s brother and his wife celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Disneyland and they were there the same time as us! They live in San Francisco and we miss them dearly so we knew we had to meet up with them. We all had lunch together at Cafe Orleans (POMMES FRITES!) and it was so fun! Too bad H was tired and really ready for a nap and pretty fussy during the whole meal. It was such good company and fun to get off our feet and socialize for a while all together.

We went to Pooh Corner to meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore and it was the best. We were there with my family and Wild Man’s brother and wife and there was just something about the experience that was perfect and so magical. My sister-in-law is a crazy Winnie the Pooh fan and H is recently a huge Pooh fan, too, so that probably had something to do with it. We got some really fun, happy pictures from it.

Wild Man and I rode Big Thunder Mountain with his brother and wife and we got stuck on the train for 20-ish minutes and were escorted off. Our train apparently didn’t hit its mark and stopped the whole ride so they shut it down. It was fun to sit and then be able to walk the track for a little while and we’d basically finished the ride by the time it shut down so we didn’t miss anything.

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Its always a bummer to be done with a Disneyland Vacation, but the memories we made will hopefully be enough to hold me over until next time!!

Congratulations to making it to the end of this post — if you did! haha

xoxo

ceeceesparkles