Over The Top Mommy

Registration Still Available for the 2016 CHOC Walk at Disneyland Resort

If you have ever participated in CHOC Walk at Disneyland Resort, you already how amazing it is. An experience that’s all for the kids! We’ve had the opportunity to participate in this annual event for a few years now and it’s something you don’t want to miss out on.chocwalk_logo

This year, the walk will take place on Sunday, October 30. Beginning at 6:15 a.m. on October 30, an estimated 14,000 walkers from across the U.S. and around the world, including Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan will walk approximately 3 miles through the Disneyland Resort to celebrate the life-saving, compassionate care CHOC provides Southern California’s children. The event culminates in the resort’s Downtown Disney® District where sponsors, hospital support groups, shops and restaurants have special offers for participants at the CHOC Festival. It is CHOC Children’s largest fundraiser of the year. choc-walk-peter-panThe walk route is filled with Disney magic, including entertainment and the world-famous characters and gives you the opportunity to experience the magic of being in the Parks before they’re open to regular guests. theres-something-magicalAs the largest and most unique single fundraising pediatric walk event in the nation, last year’s walk raised more than $2.5 million dollars for the hospital’s KidsCare Fund bringing the quarter-century total to over $26 million. Now in its 26th year, the 2016 walk promises to be extra “spooktacular” as it occurs on Halloween weekend this year and will be packed with fun for the whole family! choc-walk-dca


This year’s CHOC Walk goal is to raise 2.7 million dollars. All monies raised provide funding to the programs and services in the greatest need both at the hospital and in the community, from mental health services to an expanded neonatal intensive care unit to care for children and families who cannot afford to pay. Every dollar counts for Southern California’s kids!choc-walk-halloween-timeWith your help, this goal can definitely by made and hopefully surpassed! There are a few different ways that YOU can help! First of all, you, yourself, can participate in the CHOC Walk. (Register here.) Also, grab your friends, your family, even grab some of your Instagram followers if possible, and join in! There are few things that can drag an adult out of bed this early on a weekend but I can guarantee that you’ll be beyond touched when you are surrounded by this crowd. I shed quite a few tears during the event. It’s beautiful to see all of the families participating, who have received amazing care over the years from CHOC Children’s Hospital. youll-be-touched choc-walk-ambassadors-luauCHOC Walk participants also have the opportunity to attend the 2nd annual CHOC Walk Ambassadors’ Luau, the afternoon before the walk, on Saturday, October 29 at at the Disneyland® Hotel’s Adventure Lawn. The luau is hosted by CHOC Walk Ambassadors, past and present, as a way to raise additional funds for the CHOC Walk in the Park and celebrate the courage and strength that they, and thousands of other CHOC patients and families, have shown during their medical journeys. dancers-at-the-2015-choc-walk-ambassadors-luauThis special Polynesian-themed event for the whole family will be the perfect way to celebrate the day before the CHOC Walk. The event will feature activities for attendees of all ages, including: special photographs with Disney® characters; tattoos by Kaman’s Art Shoppe; Ambassadors’ silent auction; delicious luau-inspired dinner; authentic Polynesian entertainment with special appearances by Tupua Productions, Loa Greyson, Jerome Grey, Halau Hula Lani Ola and “Auntie” and an exciting finale featuring world-famous Polynesian fire dancers! Guests will also enjoy a dash of Disney magic with a special visit from artist Jimmy Mulligan. This year’s master of ceremony will be KTLA’s Henry DiCarlo. To purchase tickets for the luau, visit hereluau-attendees-each-get-a-photo-with-a-disney-character

So, won’t you consider helping the kids of Southern California! Join in on the fun by registering for the 2016 CHOC Walk! For more information about the 2016 CHOC Walk and to register, visit http://www.chocwalk.org, Event information can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Join in on the conversation by following #chocwalk.

This is not a sponsored post. I am a huge supporter of CHOC Children’s and CHOC Walk and wanted to help spread the word to my readers. Some images and logo are property of CHOC Children’s. 



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No Tricks, Just Treats and Family Fun at Knott’s Spooky Farm!

The month of October is literally the start of my favorite time of year….Halloween Season! I can’t think of a better way to spend some family time than by visiting Knott’s Spooky Farm to check out their non-spooky, kid-friendly Halloween offerings. The weather couldn’t be more perfect and the decorations throughout the park, have me feeling all festive!knotts-spooky-farm-logo

knotts-spooky-farm-cauldronThis year, Knott’s Spooky Farm is a limited-time weekend event perfect for families and is open on weekend days during October, as well as Halloween day. All of the fun included in the price of a regular park ticket. (pumpkin and cookie decorating are available for a nominal fee.) Whether they choose to wear a costume or not, guests visiting the park are welcome to join in on all the fun Halloween activities. knotts-spooky-farm-photoHere are the fun experiences you won’t want to miss out on this year:

Ghost Town Treat Stops 
As kids enter the Park, they receive an orange bag for trick or treating. As you proceed down Main Street in Ghost Town, kids have the opportunity to stop at a variety of locations, mingle with the friendly ghosts, and trick or treat. It’s also fun to ring the doorbell of the whimsically themed doors at each location. Don’t forget to say “hi” the to witch also! Costumes for children are allowed but not required.knotts-camp-spooky-friendly-ghostknotts-camp-spooky-friendly-witchLinus’ Great Pumpkin Patch
Did you know that this year is the 50th anniversary of the animated classic Peanuts, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!? I remember watching this as a little girl.knotts-spooky-farm-50-years This year at Knott’s Spooky Farm, you’ll find Linus and Sally in Ghost Town with special Halloween themed activities inside Craft Barn.knotts-spooky-farm-coloring There are some fun activities to do inside like Peanuts coloring, games, decorating your very own pumpkin head,( for a nominal fee), and photo opportunities with Linus! You can also sit and watch the classic Peanuts special. It’s all very nostalgic. knotts-spooky-farm-paint-a-pumpkinknotts-spooky-farm-linus

Dia De Los Muertos 
This year, over to Fiesta Village, Knott’s has created some vibrant, non-scary fun with a Dia de los Muertos educational celebration of the season. Enjoy browsing through traditional shops with cultural creations for sale. For a nominal fee, you can also decorate a Sugar Skull cookie. Don’t miss this new for 2016 offering! knotts-spooky-farm-dia-de-los-muertosknotts-spooky-farm-calaverasPeanuts Dance Party and Pumpkin Patch Costume Contest
In the Camp Snoopy Theatre, there’s a ton of Halloween fun going on with the Peanuts Gang! The Peanuts gang host a spooktacular costume contest every day at 3:45 pm.  Families are invited to bring their festively costumed children for some Halloween fun! After the contest, you can also join the Peanuts characters for a Peanuts Dance Party!knotts-camp-spooky-theater-timesknotts-spooky-farm-theaterAlso, don’t forget to catch a performance of “Monsters Are Coming Charlie Brown!” in the Camp “Spooky” Theater, while you’re in Camp Snoopy. Guests of all ages can sing and dance in the aisles, along with the Peanuts characters to classic Halloween tunes.

Spooky Hallow Maze 
Even the littlest explorers in your family will enjoy the Spooky Hallow Maze in Camp Snoopy. Experience an enchanting adventure through a spooky forest with larger-than-life jack-o-lanternsknotts-spooky-farm-maze-photoWhile you’re at Knott’s for your day of fun, consider making the most of your visit by adding on the All-Day Dining plan. Guests with an All Day Dining plan receive a wrist band at any of the participating locations and enjoy one entrée and one side dish as often as every 90 minutes! knotts-camp-spooky-all-day-diningFor only $31.99 (plus tax) you can enjoy up to seven different dining locations throughout Knott’s Berry Farm. (Drinks are not included with the plan) To learn more about the All-Day Dining plan, go here. knotts-spooky-farm-pose-with-witchDon’t miss out on all the daytime family friendly fun at Knott’s Spooky Farm this year! You won’t find any tricks, just treats!

Connect with Knott’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can join in on the conversation by following #KnottsSpookyFarm.


My family and I were provided with media tickets to Knott’s in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own. Logo is property of Knott’s and Cedar Fair.





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Cute Alternatives to Edible Halloween “Treats” for Kids + Plus FREE Printable Tags

I was provided with products in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 


It’s Halloween season and I get really excited about all of the fun happenings this time of year. Parties, crafts, and trick-or-treating are just some of my favorites.its-halloween-timeI’m always on the lookout for alternatives to edible Halloween “treats” to give to my students. With all of the other Halloween activities going on, kids get plenty of sugar already. I know other moms appreciate it when their children receive non-sugary treats, especially with general concerns about sugar intake and food allergiesHalloween-treats-candyI found so many cute things to use on Oriental Trading Company’s site. Have you seen their Halloween section yet? From Halloween toys and games, thematic crafts, and party decorations to Halloween costumes, they have a great Halloween selection. They do have candy on their site as well, which I also order for other things.halloween-plushIt’s hard for anyone to resist stuffed animals, so I ordered a bunch of Plush Halloween Mini Characters for my students, which come in owl, cat, and mummy. I love that they’re Halloween-y but not scary. They’ll be perfect for kids to hug or hang onto. I know my own daughter used to have plush with her when she was afraid of the dark. I also think I’ll let my students read with their animals in the classroom if they choose to do so.halloween-plush-for-gifts I attached a “Happy Halloween” tag to each one using a printable I made, and used orange and black bakers twine to tie it on.happy-halloween-tagYou can download my FREE printable here. As always, I recommend printing it out on white cardstock.halloween-treat-alternatives-for-kidsI cannot wait to to give these to my students. They are going to be so excited! Do you have alternatives to sweets that you like to give to kids at Halloween time?



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I Got A Peek Inside The Cox Smart Home (It’s Amazing!)

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. 


A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Cox Smart Home in Canopy in Esencia, located the in the new, master-planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo. One of the model homes in the Canopy neighborhood was designed as a “Smart Home“. Warmington Residential and Cox Communications worked hand in hand to design this home to be inclusive of several “smart” features that are powered by Cox’s gigabit internet speed.cox-smart-home-in-canopyResidents of Rancho Mission Viejo are lucky to be the first in the area to have access to Cox’s G1GABLAST service, which is 100 times faster than the average U.S. Internet service!  Since Cox is the first broadband communications company to deliver gigabit-internet speed service to Orange County business and residential customers, residents in Rancho MIssion Viejo are basically living “The Gig Life”.

Watch this visual comparison of Internet speeds:

Let’s look at a digital snapshot of my life. There are 3 people who live in my home. Between the 3 of us, we have 3 laptops, 1 desktop computer, 1 wireless printer, 3 cell phones, 2 iPads, 1 mini iPad, and a gaming system. That’s a whole lot of devices! We aren’t always using all of them at once, but there are times when someone is telecommuting from home, while someone else is doing homework, and a 3rd person is on their phone or even blogging on their laptop. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to stop and ask others in your home to get off their device so you can have decent service!cox-smart-home-youll-never-have-to-say

I am so fortunate to live in the neighborhood of Esencia in Rancho Mission Viejo because we have G1GABLAST high speed internet and don’t have to worry about how many devices are running at once. Truth be told, we’re really spoiled now and I hope I never have to go back to “the old way”. I don’t think I would’ve survived with dial-up internet! cox-smart-home-welcomeGetting back to the Smart Home though…it was beyond cool to see the demonstrations they had going on, showcasing the capability of the home’s high speed internet and how it can handle more than 10 interactive, visually stimulating demonstrations at once.Some of what was going on included a Wi-Fi cooking with a food blogger, telehealthy sessions with CHOC Childrens (via InTouch mobile robot), online music lessons that were streaming, a Wi-Fi pet and Wi-Fi pet feeder, virtual educational instruction, and more! With everything happening at once in the home, the heavy bandwidth was really put to the test! cox-smart-home-infoHere are some of my favorite features from that day: 

WiFi Pet and Pet Feeder
It was fun to be greeted by Chip, the Robot pet, right when I walked through the front door. There’s nothing like coming home from a long day at work and having a pet there waiting for you. I realize that chip is a robot dog, but isn’t he adorable?


These are some of the hottest toys that kids are asking for nowadays. The home also has “Feed and Go” Smart Pet Feeder set up, which has a built-in webcam that connects via Wi-Fi to the home network. Not only can you set it up to feed your four-legged companions, you can also keep tabs on them via your Smartphone.cox-smart-home-chip-and-biancaCox Contour Service With Voice Remote
Ryland Madison, director of Product Marketing, Cox Communications was on hand in the family room to talk about Cox Contour Service, which is available to all Cox customers. The remote offers a variety of features, which you can access from the couch. I know, firsthand, what an amazing set-up this is. You can even do everything with the “voice” button when you speak into the remote! No more searching through 1000’s of channels to find your show!cox-smart-home-contour

Wi-Fi Enabled Cooking
If you’re a foodie (like me), you may already know of Internet Chef Whitney Bond. She’s best known for her YouTube videos, demonstrating how to put together recipes in 30 minutes or less. Whitney was in the kitchen demonstrating how she prepares some amazing appetizers using a Wi-Fi enabled WeMo slow cooker, which was functioning on the gig-peed internet. She also treated us to some of her delicious cookies!cox-smart-home-whitney-bond-cookies For someone who relies on the internet for her job, having super fast speeds and capabilities within her home is essential. Whitney also showed us how she controls the slow cooker from her smart phone using the free WeMo app, even when away from home.cox-smart-home-whitney-bond-cooking-demoThis could be a game changer for a working mom like me who spends time driving to and from sports practices, but somehow needs to prepare a meal that’s ready immediately after practice, when I have a starving kid! Having the ability to adjust cooking time and temperature from the and and a smart device delivers the ultimate convenience and peace of mind.

Telemedicine sessions with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC)
In one of the bedrooms, there was a demonstration of a telemedicine session. Michelle Jones, the telehealth manager for CHOC Children’s and Dr. Jack Winkle with In-Touch Telemedicine. cox-smart-home-telemedicineDr. Winkle was speaking from the  In-Touch Express Robot because he was off-site at the time.. The capabilities of telemedicine are amazing, allowing the doctor-patient connection at any time to be possible. It’s basically going to be the house calls of the future! 

Streaming Online Music Lessons With Skype
I was so impressed to be able to watch world-renowned violinist, Jason Yang, give a violin lesson via Skype. cox-smart-home-jason-yangHis student was actually in Canada and Jason explained that he relies on Cox G1GABLAST to provide him with the necessary bandwidth to stream while he’s working.

With the increased digital needs of people living in the 21st century, Cox has recognized that gone are the days of having just 1 or 2 devices running in a home. Not only is technology a way of life, it’s also necessary for students and their homework, adults who telecommute form home, families streaming shows and movies at home, and using devices in the home that help make life easier overall. It seems like everything relies on internet speed and service.

      Canopy at Esencia is located at:

                100 Vasto St.

       Rancho Mission Viejo, Calif.  92694cox-smart-home-facadeMy experience inside the Cox Smart Home was nothing short of amazing! To learn more about Cox Communications and the services it offers, visit here.


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New Teaser Trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Did you see the new teaser trailer yet for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? I get excited about every new Pirates of the Caribbean movie and this one is no different! Pirates-of-the-caribbean-poster

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” (Although I was sad not to see him appear in the teaser trailer.) The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck
Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill
fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.


Watch the Teaser Trailer: 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens in theaters May 2017 in 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D! How excited are you about it? I can’t wait!

Find the film’s official Facebook page here. Connect with Walt Disney Studios on Twitter and Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post.  Images and trailer are property of Walt Disney Studios. All opinions are 100% my own. 

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Islands Restaurant Now Open at The Shops at Mission Viejo + Giftcard Giveaway

Our family loves to dine at Islands Restaurant and when we heard a new location was now open at The Shops at Mission Viejo, we were excited because it’s literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we live! islands-at-the-shops-at-mission-viejo-now-openThe newly opened location is beautiful and is the 11th location in Orange County! In addition to indoor seating and a full 600 square foot bar area, the location also features an outdoor, open air, wrap-around patio for outdoor dining. Amongst the surf-inspired décor, you have a grand view of the 14 huge wall-mounted TVs, from wherever you are seated and will feel like you’re on the beaches of Hawaii as surf videos play on some of the screens. Sports fans won’t miss a play during their favorite games as they dine, with some of the other screens showing “the game” when it’s on.islands-mai-tai-1Islands offers an extensive menu with a full bar so I decided to have a fun drink to start off with. I ordered The Islands Mai Tai. Made with a marriage of two exotic rums, tropical fruit & essence of the islands, this is literally “Paradise in a Glass”! Have you checked out Islands NFL Happy Hour yet? Right now, football fans can enjoy extended happy hour from 4 p.m. to close in the bar area, and all day happy hour on Sundays. All items on the happy hour menu are under $10, including think loaded nachos, sliders, wings, featured IPAs and mai tais. Islands Restaurants will be playing NFL Redzone and NFL Sunday Ticket.

Our favorite appetizer to start with at Islands is the Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Served with fresh chips, this dip is made with chopped spinach & artichoke hearts mixed with sautéed onion & garlic in a creamy alfredo sauce and is delivered to your table piping hot and is enough for your entire family.islands-restaurant-spinach-and-artichoke-dipKids dining at Islands have quite a few choices on the “Gremmie” menu. I appreciate that they can choose from applesauce, carrots and ranch, carrots, or fries. Kids like to be able to make choices on what they’re going to eat.islands-kids-menuI tend to be a creature of habit when I visit and usually end up ordering the Chicken Club Wrap which has grilled & chilled sliced chicken breast, Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, cheddar, jack, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing & bbq sauce and is served in a flour tortilla. It’s so delicious that it’s difficult for me to want to order anything else. Mmm, BBQ sauce! I didn’t realize they had sweet potato fries on the menu so I had to try them and they were yummy!islands-restaurants-bbq-kitchen-wrapBacon lovers dining at Islands will be happy to know Islands includes a BLT on the menu called “The Wedge“. It’s made with Applewood Bacon, cheddar, jack, lettuce, tomato & mayo, served on an Islands white or whole wheat bun. It’s also served with Fresh Cut Island Fries. Yum!islands-restaurant-the-wedge-bltAlthough we were pretty full at this point, there’s no denying dessert at Islands. It’s hard to choose between Kona Pie and the Fudge Brownie, so we splurged and ordered one of each. islands-restaurants-kona-pieIslands’ Kona Pie is made with Mocha Almond Fudge, ice cream & cookie crust topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, roasted nuts, and a cherry. Their Fudge Brownie is made with a rich fudge brownie served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. islands-restaurant-fudge-brownieThey’re both perfect for sharing. Have you had either? Oh goodness, they’re both delicious and I had to stop myself from finishing them all by mysefl!Giveaway-time

You can also enter to win a $25 Islands Restaurants giftcard. Enter below on the Rafflecopter. Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Islands Restaurant on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


This is not a sponsored post. We were invited to dine at Islands Restaurants in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% my own.




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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer Exhibit at Discovery Cube Orange County

Have you been to the Discovery Cube Orange County lately? They just opened a brand new exhibit, which is actually the first-ever museum exhibit featuring Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!tmnt-characteresNow through January 16, when you visit the Discovery Cube, these four heroic ninjas-in-training will show you how to leap to the rescue and learn teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving as you work your way through puzzles, mazes and obstacles. Guests can explore the turtles’ sewer-like lair, where good guys win and bad guys lose!tmnt3Since 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have rocked it with their talent and teamwork, inspiring and teaching generations of fans that being part of team lets us discover and exercise our own hidden strengths and those of our teammates. Together we can achieve more than we can on our own. tmnt6 Now you can join the pizza-eating, crime-fighting “Heroes in a Half Shell” to hone your own ninja skills and problem solving intellect while learning the secrets of the sewer!tmnt5The exhibit includes:

The Dojo and Splinter’s Room
In order to create a seamless ninja fighting team, Master Splinter has devoted many hours to training the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the Dojo, Splinter and Raphael show visitors the value of hard work, practice and knowing your enemy.tmnt-climbingThe Common Room
Families are encouraged to explore the Turtles’ Lair, discover facts about these teenage crime-fighters and hone their individual skills.tmnt-which-turtle-are-youDonatello’s Workshop and Lab
Donnie is the inventor of the group; his lab is the place to try your hand at creative problem solving, as well as learning from mistakes. tmnt1tmnt4New York City Streets
Put your skills and training to the test in the streets of NYC. Try working together to stop the villain Shredder and his foot clan! tmnt-in-the-alleyFor more information about the Discovery Cube Orange County, go here. Connect with Discovery Cube OC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


This is not a sponsored post. We were invited to attend a media preview in order to write this post. Some images are property of the Discovery Cube. All opinions are 100% my own.





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New Dunkin’ Donuts Baskin Robbins Opening in Foothill Ranch October 4!

Have you heard the exciting news yet? Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, and Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, are bringing Orange County’s first Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins multi-brand drive-thru restaurant to Foothill Ranch on October 4. foothillranchdunkinThe new location will open at 5 a.m. at 26722 Portola Parkway. It’ll offer a full array of both Dunkin’ Donuts’ freshly brewed coffee and delicious baked goods and Baskin-Robbins’ premium ice cream and frozen treats. It’s like a foodie’s dream come true! dunkin-donuts-coffee-cupThe Foothill Ranch Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant is also the brand’s 100th DD Green™ Achievement location which means it was designed with energy efficient and sustainable elements. A milestone originally planned for the end of 2016, Dunkin’ Donuts is ahead of schedule with integrating this program into its new restaurants nationwide. The Foothill Ranch establishment will feature specialty lighting to reduce energy use, high-efficiency mechanical units, water reduction features and more. dunkin-donuts-drive-thruThe first person in both the drive-thru and walk-in line on October 4 will earn a $250 gift card, and the first 200 people in both the lobby and drive-thru will receive a free Dunkin’ Donuts tumbler or a Baskin-Robbins campfire mug. Throughout the day, customers can collect a branded keychain by signing up for DD Perks®, Dunkin’ Donuts’ guest rewards program.dunkin-donuts-donut

Additionally, attendees will have opportunities to take photos with Dunkin’ Donuts brand mascot, Cuppy, in a photo booth on October 8. Furthermore, the local women’s roller derby team will be passing out delicious beverages as well as Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes for guests in line on October 4 and 8. To continue the celebration throughout opening week, Dunkin’ fans will receive a free medium hot or iced coffee offer with the purchase of a dozen donuts at this new location from October 4 to 11.

The Foothill Ranch location will be operated by Precision Hospitality & Development. Precision Hospitality & Development became a franchisee in 2014 and has since opened Orange County’s first Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant located in Laguna Hills, as well as a location in Irvine. The group has plans to develop several additional Dunkin’ Donuts locations in both South Orange County and North Los Angeles in the coming years.

Dunkin’ Donuts will mark the occasion with a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 10 a.m., which will be attended by Lake Forest dignitaries. In an effort to contribute to the surrounding area and enjoy the day with community members, the franchisees will also donate $1,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Forest during a check presentation on grand opening day. The donation will further the organization’s efforts to support children’s activities in Lake Forest.

Will you be joining in on the grand opening festivities on Tuesday, October 4th? Hope to see you there bright and early! (opens at  5 a.m.)

For more information about Dunkin’ Donuts, visit http://www.DunkinDonuts.com. Connect with Dunkin’ Donuts on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about Baskin-Robbins, visit http://www.BaskinRobbins.com. Connect with Baskin-Robbins on Facebook and Twitter

This is not a sponsored post. We were invited to attend the grand opening as media guests. All opinions are 100% my own. Some images are property of Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. 

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10 Things To Do During Halloween Time At Disneyland Resort

Halloween Time is in full swing at the Disneyland Resort! Although the weather in Southern California doesn’t feel like Fall right now, the decorations and festive ambiance in the Parks definitely feels like Halloween is here!  halloween-time-at-the-disneyland-resort-guide-mapToday I’m sharing 10 things you should check out while you’re at Disneyland Resort during Halloween Time!10-things-to-doSince the majority of the Halloween Time fun is inside Disneyland Park, that’s where we actually spent our day. You should definitely take a photo in front of the giant Mickey Mouse Pumpkin, which is located in Town Square.  halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-giant-mickey-pumpkinAs you skip down Main Street, you’ll see the Main Street Pumpkin Festival. where you’ll find so many adorable and unique, hand-carved jack-o-lanterns. They’re up on the rooftops, inside store windows, and hidden in places you’d never expect. You should definitely find the “Elvis” jack-o-lantern. It’s my favorite one this year!halloween-time-at-the-disneyland-resort-elvis-pumpkinAt the end of Main Street, U.S.A., you’ll find the Partners Statue, featuring Walt and Mickey Mouse. Right now, it’s so festive as it’s surrounded by jack-o-lanterns carved with characters in them. Each one is themed to represent a different “land”. I just love the one with Woody on it!halloween-time-at-the-disneyland-resort-tink-pumpkinhalloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-tarzan-pumpkinhalloween-time-at-the-disneyland-resort-pooh-pumpkinDuring Halloween Time, you can find several of the characters dressed in their spooktacular Halloween attire. Don’t forget to grab some pics with them and utilize the Resort’s PhotoPass services. The PhotoPass Photographers have ability to capture your magical memories perfectly and they make for great keepsakes of your trip.halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-ghost-galaxyI highly recommend grabbing a FASTPASS® early in the day for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. It’s located in Tomorrowland and doing so will allow you to have at least one ride secured for the day on one of the most popular attractions.halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-fast-passOver in Frontierland, just next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you’ll find a special area set up as a tribute to “Dia de los Muertos“. Although this traditional festive celebration for the “Day of the Dead” isn’t something “Halloween” and is more of a celebration honoring those loved ones who have passed away, the Resort includes “Zocalo Park” in the Halloween Time features in Disneyland Park since it’s celebrated immediately after Halloween. The area is absolutely beautiful to visit. .  disney-halloween-time-zocalo-parkThe special area has a beautiful display of some cultural art, “calacas” or skeletons, authentic decor, and even face painting. (free of charge.) You can also enjoy special seasonal food offerings at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante.disney-halloween-time-dia-de-los-muertos-3-calacasAnother extra popular attraction this time of year is Haunted Mansion Holiday featuring “A Nightmare Before Christmas”. It’s one of the specially transformed attractions during Halloween Time. (It actually stays up through Christmas as well for obvious reasons). halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-haunted-mansion-holiday-signThere’s an exciting addition this year, too. Sally! (Spoiler alert: You can find her in the graveyard scene inside.) I always enjoy seeing the gingerbread house and checking to see if my name is on the “naughty list” inside this spooky adventure.halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-haunted-mansion-holiday-facadehalloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-hmh-jackolanternThere are so many special Halloween Time treats and food offerings this time of year, that it would be impossible to try them all. Well, at least to try them all in just one visit.  disney-halloween-time-popcorn-snacksThe different collectable popcorn buckets that you’ll find at different locations throughout the Parks are one of the more popular keepsakes, as are the travel mugs.halloween-time-disneyland-resort-travel-mughalloween-time-disneyland-resort-mickey-bat-cookie The Jolly Holiday Bakery is a great place to find a bunch of different sweets, as are several other places at the Resort. For a complete list of Halloween Time food offerings, check out what the Disney Parks Blog says here.halloween-time-disneyland-resort-pumpkin-muffinI think the only thing we didn’t really get to conquer was a ride on  The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror over in Disney’s California Adventure. I’m dying to ride on it after dark because they offer “Late Check-Out”, an experience guests have never experienced before and a must-do before The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror approaches its final check-out date on January 2, 2017! Late Check-Out is a chance to venture beyond the fifth dimension into complete darkness! It entails free-falling in the attraction’s haunted elevator shaft with all the lights out! You should definitely try to experience this before it goes away forever! halloween-time-disneyland-resort-crystal-arcadeAll of the previous Halloween Time offerings can be experienced during regular park operating hours. The 10th thing I highly suggest you check out though is Mickey’s Halloween Party which is a separate ticketed event! It’s non-scary fun for the entire family! halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-jack-pumpkin

Have you had the chance to visit during this time of year yet? There’s just nothing like it. Well, I mean nothing except the Holidays at Disneyland Resort, but that’s coming soon!





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“SMURFS: The Lost Village” Teaser Trailer, Poster, and Interview with the Director

Whenever I hear the word SMURFS, my childhood self emerges! Everyone loves the SMURFS and Sony Pictures Animation just release a new teaser trailer and poster for the all-new, fully animated feature “SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE“, which will be in theaters in April 2017! smurfs-the-lost-village-posterThis all-new take on the SMURFS features an all-star voice cast which includes Demi Lovato (Smurfette), Rainn Wilson (Gargamel), Joe Manganiello (Hefty), Danny Pudi (Brainy) and Jack McBraye (Clumsy), and Mandy Patinkin (Papa Smurf).

Directed by Kelly Asbury
Written by Stacy Harman and Pamela Ribon
Produced by Jordan Kemer
Co-Produced by Mary Ellen Bauder Andrews
Based on the Character and Works of Peyo

A Little Bit about the Story
SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE is about a mysterious map that sends Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest, a wondrous place filled with magical creatures, to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!
Here’s the teaser trailer:

Notes from the Director 
In an interview with the film’s director, Kelly Asbury, she talked about how “SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE” is different from the previous 2 SMURFS films saying,

Sony Pictures Animation’s previous two SMURFS movies were live action films in which real humans interacted with more realistically designed and animated Smurfs, and the stories centered as much around the human characters’ issues. SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE has nothing to do with those other films. It is a radically different take on the Smurfs and their imaginary world, fully computer animated, and much closer to the tone and style that creator Peyo initially envisioned.

Kelly was also asked to speak about the inspiration for this film.

Many things inspired the type of movie we wanted to make. Everyone involved agreed that the story should be a high-adventure journey, so classic movies like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and GOONIES came to mind. The richness in color was influenced by the great French Impressionists painters. The Forbidden Forest where the Smurfs venture was envisioned as equal parts Oz, Pandora and Wonderland, filled with dangerous and magical creatures like Smurf-eating Flowers or Boxing and Kissing Plants, to name a few.

Here’s what she had to say about the Voice Cast for this film:

Demi Lovato has a certain toughness mixed in with a confident brand of femininity, which is perfect for Smurfette. Mandy Patinkin is one of my favorite actors, who can play both comedy and drama, each with honesty and sincerity. Who better then to play Papa Smurf? Rainn Wilson has a unique way of portraying wacky, comical characters, who are self-important, yet deeply insecure and flawed – that’s Gargamel in a nutshell. Joe Manganiello is the manly man, with a big heart, so he’s perfect for Hefty and happens to be a major Smurfs fan. Danny Pudi has a way with nerdiness that encompasses Brainy Smurf’s persona. Jack McBrayer can channel the fumbling nervousness needed to play Clumsy Smurf. All together, they form a wonderful ensemble, each of whom is hugely fun to work with. And there’s other incredible talent in the film which I can’t tell you about just yet.

Although she didn’t want to give away too many details, during the interview, Kelly shared a little bit about what’s new in this SMURFS film:

Without giving too much away, all I’ll say is that this new movie takes the Smurfs – and the audience – on a journey into a Forbidden Forest, a fantastical world like no other, filled with crazy plants, insects and animals. Most of all, there are surprises at every turn. The colors, shapes and overall environment are transportive and exciting, just the way a fun adventure movie should be. And the clever humorous tone should delight audiences of all ages–Smurfs fans or not!

Well, I know I’m already excited for SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE! What about you? Stay tuned, as I’ll be sharing more information about this fun, upcoming family film, as it comes out!

You can find the film’s official site here. Connect with Sony Pictures Animation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post. Images and clip property of Sony Pictures Animation. All opinions are 100% my own. 

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