Over The Top Mommy

Orange County

Knott’s Spooky Farm Celebrates the Fall Season at Knott’s with a Family-Friendly Halloween Festival

Knott’s Spooky Farm is back at Knott’s! This annual daytime, family-friendly Halloween celebration, takes place weekends through October 29 and Halloween Day. image009knotts-spooky-farm-peanutsThis kid-inspired “spooky” celebration will feature activities for ages 3-11 including trick-or-treating, a live show and costume contest with the Peanuts gang, and a Dia De Los Muertos Celebration.knotts-spooky-farm-trick-or-treat-1knotts-spooky-farm-trick-or-treat-bagKids ages 3 -11 can participate in Trick-or-Treating throughout Ghost Town, and interact with an array of spooky but friendly Shopkeepers. New this year, Stanley Scarecrow has opened the Livery Stable for guests of all ages to get close and personal with the Creepy Critters of Calico.knotts-spooky-farm-friends-1The Grand Sierra Railroad in Camp Snoopy transforms to a one-of-a-kind experience which takes riders on an adventure, along with the Peanuts Gang, to Camp Spooky with added special Halloween theming effects.knotts-spooky-farm-theater Come to Camp Snoopy Theatre to show off your best Halloween costume at the Peanuts Costume Contest and afterwards, join Peanuts characters in a Peanuts Dance Party!. Additionally, families can watch the Peanuts Gang in The Monsters Are Coming, Charlie Brown, where they’ll have guests of all ages singing and dancing along to classic Halloween tunes.
knotts-spooky-farm-timber-mountainThis Halloween season, the Timber Mountain Log Ride mystically converts into the Halloween Hootenanny by adding a new family friendly twist to a park favorite. Every year the citizens of the Timber Mountain invite the mysterious creatures that live out in the woods and caverns of the area to join them as they celebrate the season at the Halloween Hootenanny. The ride’s interior will feature new fun surprises as guests venture past the Calico Coffin Creeper band, the town’s green witch and splash down Skull Mountain through a labyrinth of jack-o-lanterns. The seasonal ride will also feature an original song performed by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. Open for day and night guests, this is the perfect family experience for all to enjoy this Halloween season.knotts-spooky-farm-calaverasIn Fiesta Village, join the Dia de Los Muertos Celebration in the Fiesta Stage area for an interactive, non-scary, educational celebration of the season. The themed area offers a walk through village filled with photo ops, educational activities and face paintings at a nominal fee.knotts-spooky-farm-dia-de-los-muertos Then visit the Ghastly Gallery in the Boardwalk Ballroom for a slate of entertaining activities including a live show and opportunities for your little ghouls to participate in drawing their best “monsterpiece.”knotts-spooky-farm-witchA 2018 Season Pass is the best way to experience Knott’s Spooky Farm. With a 2018 Season Pass you will get to enjoy all of the Seasons of Fun next year but will also receive one free admission to use in 2017. You can get your Season Pass now at the Best Offer of the Year! A Regular Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2018 to Knott’s Berry Farm with no blackout dates, and a Gold Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2018 to both Knott’s Berry Farm and the newly expanded Knott’s Soak City Waterpark with no blackout dates. Regular passes are just $92 or nine easy payments of $10.22 and Gold Season Passes are $110 or nine payments of just $12.22. These offers end October 29, 2017. Applicable taxes and fees apply online. Payment plans are only available at knotts.com.knotts-spooky-farm-usKnott’s Spooky Farm runs weekends September 30 – October 29 from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Halloween Day from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and is included with regular park admission. For more information on all the exciting things that are going on at Knott’s Berry Farm, visit knotts.com and follow the conversation using #KnottsSpookyFarm.

Family Guide to Knott’s Soak City Water Park

We were invited as guests of Knott’s Soak City to attend a media event in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

How is it that I go to Knott’s Berry Farm quite often and had never been to Knott’s Soak City until last weekend? I don’t know how it is that I’d never been there but I had so much fun that I’m already planning our family’s next visit to Knott’s Soak City!knotts-soak-city-facadeIf you aren’t familiar with Knott’s Soak City, it’s Orange County’s largest family water park, located adjacent to Knott’s Berry Farm Park, in the heart of Buena Park. The park just finished going through an extensive 2-acre expansion and renovation, which included the addition of 7 new slides and 2 slide towers, Shore Break and The Wedge.  Along with the renovation came an upgrade to the landscaping of the park, which now looks like somewhat of a tropical oasis. More cabanas, available for rental) have also been added to the park, as well as additional shady areas and expanded seating.  knotts-soak-city-tropical-oasisGrand Re-Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
We were so honored to be present for the grand re-opening event, where guests in attendance heard from Knott’s General Manager John Storbeck, who was joined by Buena Park Mayor, Beth Swift. Snoopy was also on hand for the grand occasion and ribbon cutting to welcome the new area to the park.knotts-soak-city-ribbon-cutting

Below is a rendering of the two new areas in Knott’s Soak City. You can see both The Wedge and the set of slides at Shore Break. (artwork is property of Knott’s.)knotts-soak-city-renderingImmediately following the ribbon cutting, we headed directly over to try out the first of the new rides: The Wedge. This thrilling ride takes families with up to 6 riders, on an open-raft ride as they descend down navigating hair-raising twists, turns, and unexpected dips.knotts-soak-city-first-rideMy girls rode in the inaugural raft of The Wedge that morning and absolutely loved it! They loved it so much that they immediately went back on, dragging me on with them. I loved it too!ready-to-ride-the-wedgeNext, we hit up Shore Break, which is the other new group of slides that were part of the expansion. Shore Break includes 6 new slides. First, there are 4 slides that will take single riders on an adrenaline-filled water adventure as thrill-seekers board one of four Aqua Launch chambers to await the chamber’s floor dropping from beneath their feet sending them on a high speed free fall down a 60-foot tall slide and through a series of exhilarating drops and daring loops. Also part of Shore Break are two dueling tube slides which will have riders zipping through adventurous drops and turns as they soak up the warm summer sun.knotts-soak-city-longboards-grill

Menu Expansion at Longboard’s Grill
After going through a menu expansion and remodel, Longboard’s Grill opened this season boasting a newly redesigned sleek restaurant layout and a menu which features delicious items such as hand-breaded chicken tenders, fish & chips and assorted wraps. The menu also includes classic favorites such as grilled burgers and hot dogs. I appreciate that Longboard’s Grill also offer options like meatless hot dogs and vegetarian pizza for guests, upon request. Just outside of the eatery, by the restaurant’s entrance, there’s a new, shaded seating area that’s been added, allowing guests to take a break from the sun while they eat.knots-soak-city-longboards-grill-chicken-tendersIn addition to the newest areas at Soak City, we also had tons of fun relaxing on the Lazy River, playing in Tidal Wave Bay wave pool, and hanging out at Beach House, waiting for the big red bucket to dump on us!knotts-soak-city-lazy-riverknotts-soak-city-beach-houseknotts-soak-city-beachhouseIf you have small children, you’ll want to be sure to visit the Gremmie Lagoon area too.knotts-soak-city-gremmie-lagoonWith all of the new things to check out at Knott’s Soak City, in addition to this summer’s Ghost Town Alive! At Knott’s Park, there’s never been a better time to grab a Knott’s Gold Pass! A Gold Pass includes unlimited 2017 admission to both Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Soak City Waterpark. Gold Season Passes can be purchased online starting at $117.00 or 6 easy payments of $19.50. Applicable taxes and fees apply. Please note: the Season Pass payment plan is only available online at knotts.com

knotts-soak-city-sungearThe sun is always shining in Southern California, so what are you waiting for? Grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and sunglasses, and plan your day at Knott’s Soak City Water park soon! For more information about Knott’s Soak City and to begin planning your visit there, go here.knotts-soak-city-logo

 Logos and artwork are property of Knott’s.

 

Must Haves at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival

I was invited as a guest of Knott’s Berry Farm to a day in the Park in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

If you’ve been following along on my Instagram lately, you may have notice a few of the delicious pictures I posted from Knott’s Boysenberry Festival.knotts-boysenberry-festival knotts-boysenberry-festival-usI had the opportunity to spend a day in the Park, enjoying many of their boysenberry-inspired foods and drinks. I got so excited to see Ghost Town all decked out for the occasion!
ghost-town-decorknotts-boysenberry-festival-decorDid you know that the boysenberry originated at Knott’s? Yep! The roots of Knott’s Berry Farm stretch back to the early 1930s when Walter Knott nurtured the only surviving boysenberry vines back to health and began selling the berries from his fruit stand on Beach Blvd. in Buena Park, California. knotts-boysenberry-festival-1920The popular purple little boysenberry put Knott’s Berry Farm on the road to being America’s first theme park. The rest, as they say, is history. As the birthplace of the delectable boysenberry Knott’s Berry Farm.knotts-boysenberry-festival-fry-breadKnott’s Boysenberry Festival runs from April 1-23 this year. During the festival, guests have the opportunity to enjoy boysenberry foods, both sweet and savory, and boysenberry-inspired craft beer and wine. Trust me when I say that you need to try all of the special boysenberry offerings during Knott;s Boysenberry Festival. One of the best ways to get a tasting of a variety of these foods is by purchasing a Festival Tasting Card. For just $25, you’ll get to sample 6 different items. As you can see, I started with one of the desserts, Boysenberry Panna Cotta! knotts-boysenberry-festival-tasting-cardThe Festival Tasting Card gives you quite a bit of food as you get samples of Boysenberry BBQ Meatballs, Boysenberry Fry Bread, Boysenberry Buffalo Wings, Boysenberry Ravioli, Boysenberry Panna Cotta, and Boysenberry Pizza!knotts-boysenberry-festival-chefsknotts-boysenberry-festival-wings

knotts-boysenberry-festival-boysenberry-pizzaI loved all of the items I got to try but I couldn’t stop there because there was still so much more boysenberry goodness to try! Some of the other boysenberry items you can find during the festival include:

  • Ribs and grilled chicken smothered in Knott’s farm-made Berry Market Boysenberry BBQ sauce
  • Corn on the Cob with Boysenberry Butter and Boysenberry Mayo
  • Boysenberry Short Ribs over riceknotts-boysenberry-festival-short-rib
  • Deep Fried Alligator & Fries with Boysenberry Aioli
  • Chocolate covered Boysenberry cheesecake on a stickknotts-boysenberry-festival-cheesecake-on-a-stick
  • Boysenberry Corn Dog
  • Boysenberry & Apricot Pulled Pork  Sandwich in a Boysenberry Bun Combo
  • Boysenberry Nutella crepesknotts-boysenberry-festival-boysenberry-crepe
  • Boysenberry Cookiewich Sandwich & Boysenberry Ice Cream Cone
  • Boysenberry Flautas
  • Boysenberry Cotton Candy
  • Boysenberry ICEE floats, Boysenberry Cream Soda, and Boysenberry Lattes & Frappuccinos
  • Fun Bun – Fried Cinnamon Roll with Boysenberry Cream Cheese Toppingknotts-boysenberry-festival-fun-bun

Many of the special Knott’s brand jams, jellies, sauces, candies, and other boysenberry products are available year-round inside the park in General Store (located in Ghost Town)  and outside the park at Berry Market (located in the California MarketPlace), as well as online. This is such great news for someone like me who is obsessed with all things boysenberry.knotts-boysenberry-festival-productsAside from all of the boysenberry goodness at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, there’s also a great lineup of entertainment for the whole family, you won’t want to miss including Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jamboree (on the Calico Mine Stage), Old Time Melodrama (Bird Cage Theater), The History of Boysenberry & Knott’s Berry Farm (in Town Hall), Cloud 9 Ballroom/Studio K Classic Dance Party (in the Boardwalk Ballroom), Wild West Stunt Show: Frontier Feats of Wonder! (in Wagon Camp Theater), and the fun Camptivities (in Camp Snoopy). Also stop by Calico Park for some fun, music & games and visit the animals Old MacDonald’s Farm (in Ghost Town).

knotts-boysenberry-festival-merchKnott’s Boysenberry Festival is a must-do. Be sure to stop by before April 23rd! For more information, visit Knott’s Berry Farm’s site here.knotts-boysenberry-festival-chocolate-bar

Some images and logo are property of Knott’s. 

 

 

Guide to Eats and Treats at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival 4/1-4/23

I was invited to a media event in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

You know that “Spring has sprung” when you start to hear about the upcoming Boysenberry Festival at Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s is actually the birthplace of THE boysenberry so a festival to celebrate this time of year seems fitting for the occasion. knotts-boysenberry-festivalSince I grew up in Southern California, I’ve always associated Knott’s with Boysenberry Punch, Mrs. Knott’s Boysenberry Pie, and Boysenberry everything!. knotts-boysenberry-festival-boysenberry-cartThis year Knott’s Boysenberry Festival begins on April 1st and will offer park guests 23 days of special boysenberry offerings, After attending a media tasting and getting a sneak peek at this year’s menu, I’m pretty sure this year’s Boysenberry Festival is going to be the best one by far!fun-bunKnott’s has a line-up of over 70 mouthwatering boysenberry-inspired foods and drinks to choose taste this year. You’re not going to want to miss out on any of it! I was absolutely wow-ed by some of the new offerings this year’s Boysenberry Festival! First of all, they’ve got an incredible Boysenberry Pizza that will drive your palette crazy! knotts-boysenberry-festival-boysenberry-pizza-wholeIt’s made with arugula, smoked ham, and goat cheese, and topped with Knott’s very own boysenberry Sriracha sauce. It was delicious!knotts-boysenberry-festival-boysenberry-pizza-sliceAnother new menu item is the boysenberry ravioli! Who would’ve thought? This ravioli dish is packed with boysenberry flavors and so savory! Also new for this year is the freshly-baked boysenberry fry bread! Mmm!knotts-berry-farm-boysenberry-festival-fun-bun-and-stickSome other guest favorites from years past, which will be offered again this year, include:

  • lip-smacking corn on the cob with boysenberry butter and mayo
  • finger-lickin boysenberry BBQ wings
  • the famous Fun Bun
  • savory boysenberry meatballs
  • sweet boysenberry cream soda
  • creamy chocolate covered boysenberry cheesecake on a stick
  • crispy, deep fried alligator bites paired with farm-made zesty boysenberry aioli

knotts-berry-farm-boysenberry-festival-deep-fried-alligatorGuests who want to take home the exquisite Boysenberry BBQ sauce, Boysenberry Butter, Boysenberry Dressing and Boysenberry Chipotle Sauce can do so by stopping by the Berry Market located in the California MarketPlace and General Store located in Ghost Town. *Select items are available on the online Berry Market store.knotts-berry-farm-marketOne of the best ways to experience the Boysenberry Festival is with a Boysenberry Bites Tasting Card. For only $25, the tasting card includes generous portions of six delectable treats:

boysenberry-bites-cardknotts-berry-farm-boysenberry-festival-wingsGuests at the Boysenberry Festival can also visit the Wine and Craft Brew Garden, which is located inside of Ghost Town’s Wilderness Dance Hall. Those guests who are 21 years of age and older can enjoy 4 craft brews and over 50 different wines from 36 producers including boysenberry beer and boysenberry wine. There’s also a tasting card iavailable for only $25, which includes 6 tastings paired with snacks.

knotts-berry-farm-boysenberry-festival-wine-and-craft-brew-gardenAs you can see, there is lots to see and do at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival this year! In addition to all of these food and beverage offerings, there’s also an entire lineup of live entertainment during the festival, which I’ll be sharing more about once it begins. To see a schedule of the live entertainment, go hereknotts-boysenberry-festival-boysenberry-crepe

You can join in on the “Boysenberry Conversation” by sharing your own Boysenberry Festival pictures on Twitter and Instagram using #BoysenberryFestival. What are you most excited for at this year’s Boysenberry Festival?

Some images and logo are property of Knott’s. 

 

Knott’s Merry Farm: A Southern California Holiday Tradition Through Jan. 8

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to attend a media preview at Knott’s in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Part of our family’s holiday tradition every year includes a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm during Knott’s Merry Farm.It’s such a fun place to visit and a true Southern California holiday tradition. If you’ve never been before, you’ll want to get there this year before it ends on January 8.knotts-merry-farm-entranceAll throughout the Park, there are wonderful, festive decorations, special shows, tasty treats, and the usual thrilling attractions for guests to enjoy. As you stroll through Calico Ghost Town, you’ll literally feel like you’ve stepped back in time and right into the town’s old-fashioned Christmas celebration, “Christmas in Calico“.
christmas-in-calicoFor the first time ever, the bustling streets of Calico are overflowing with seasonal joy as its gleeful citizens, from this summer’s Ghost Town Alive!, help guests celebrate the holidays with Christmas in Calico. knotts-merry-farm-mercantileknotts-merry-farm-town-hallNew this year, Calico’s Town Hall offers plenty of holiday activities for all to enjoy.New this year, Calico’s Town Hall offers plenty of holiday activities for all to enjoy. Little ones can pen Christmas letters to jolly ol’ Santa Claus or gather round for a special reading of the holiday classic the Night before Christmas by the Calico citizens. knotts-merry-farm-decorations-birdcageEveryone can also lend a hand around town by delivering gifts to some of the folks in Calico. Just outside Town Hall, cheerful Calico Carolers roam the festive streets sharing the sounds of the season though songs and hand bell chimes. knotts-merry-farm-carolersAlso in Ghost Town, be sure to save time to watch a performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”and O. Henry’s “A Gift of the Magi” brought-to-life at the Birdcage Theatre.knotts-merry-farm-magiYou can also find the toe tappin’, hand clappin’, comedy and bluegrass of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies in the Birdcage Theatre. They’re always a lot of fun to watch!

santas-christmas-cabinDuring Knott’s Merry Farm, the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town is transformed into Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. This is where you’ll find the jolly fellow himself.knotts-merry-farm-santa santas-christmas-cabin-toysSanta is sure to delight the young and young at heart. Send your season greetings to family and loved ones with special picture of the occasion, pictures can be purchased onsite.knotts-merry-farm-santa-photoYou’ll also want to indulge in one-of-kind seasonal treats like Santa’s freshly-baked cookies, mouthwatering pastries, exquisite chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick, seasonal craft beers, gourmet hot chocolate with marshmallows and hot spiced holiday wine, plus much more.knotts-merry-farm-hot-cocoaknotts-merry-farm-north-pole-treatsKnott’s world-famous holiday treats can also be found all throughout Ghost Town, including fresh poured-to-order maple lollipops at the Gold Trails Hotel, delectable homemade holiday churros from the Churro Factory and extra creamy Santa’s Milk and Cookie shakes from Coasters.knotts-merry-farm-ice-showReturning this year, the PEANUTS® gang, and a cast of world class ice skaters perform in the breathtaking ice show, “Merry Christmas, Snoopy!” in the 2,100 seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre. knotts-merry-farm-merry-christmas-snoopyIn this whimsical show, Snoopy enjoys all of the best parts of the season, including trimming the Christmas tree, awaiting Santa’s arrival, and attending the Christmas Ball! This ice show is a must-see and is my absolute favorite thing to go watch at Knott’s Merry Farm every year! christmas-crafts-villageThe annual Christmas Crafts village includes artistic craft holiday shops featuring power chainsaw sculpting and elegant glass blowing demonstrations. Entrance to the Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village is free Monday through Thursday, November 21 –December 8, and is included with theme park admission every day.whats-new-at-knotts-merry-farmYou’ll also want to make sure to check out what’s new for this year at Knott’s Merry Farm:

  • The all-new It’s The Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown at the Calico Mine Stage where the Peanuts gang put on the greatest Christmas pageant ever with Charlie Brown directing!
  • The all-new Calico Tree Lighting Ceremony featuring the Calico Citizens and Bell Choir followed by thousands of sparkling, dancing lights and delightful snowfall in Ghost Town set to beloved holiday tunes.
  • The all-new show A Peanuts Guide to Christmas at the Camp Snoopy Theatre has the Peanuts gang providing an entertaining primer designed to help everyone survive the holidays.

A visit to Knott’s Merry Farm is a true Southern California holiday tradition for so many families. Stop by between now and January 8 to join in on all of the fun!

Connect with Knott’s Berry Farm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For information about Knott’s Season Passes, go here.

 

 

Book Your Snowland Suite at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California

Make this holiday season a memorable one with Great Wolf Lodge Southern California  as they celebrate their favorite winter howl-i-day…Snowland! Create new family traditions this holiday season with uninterrupted time together under the enchanting spell of Snowland’s twinkling lights, holiday trees and indoor snow showers that melt into perfect 84-degree basking weather in the Great Wolf Lodge water park. The entire resort is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. snowland-snow-in-lobbyStarting November 26 and running through January 1, Great Wolf Lodge will have a limited number of Snowland Suites available, so book yours here today!
Watch this festive “Snowland” video from Great Wolf Lodge’s YouTube:

Snowland-themed suites – Great Wolf Lodge transforms 10 of its suites during “Snowland” into an enchanting Snowland Suites, just for the holidays. Each one comes complete with glimmering garlands, twinkling lights and a fully decorated holiday tree. You’ll open the door to your personal winter wonderland and receive a free copy of the winter story book, “Unique as a Snowflake”. Great Wolf will also surprise your children with an evening milk and cookies delivery by one of our Great Wolf Kids characters! great-wolf-lodge-snowland-suite

In addition to Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor waterpark access, guests will be treated to countless themed activities during Snowland.snowland-mailboxSpectacular decorations throughout the lodge
As you enter the lodge at Great Wolf, you’ll be mesmerized by how it’s been transformed into a magical winter wonderland, complete with spectacular decorations,snowland-1

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Visits with Santa Claus
Santa Claus will make his grand entry on Saturday, November 26 at the Great Wolf Lodge Tree Lighting Ceremony. He also visits regularly throughout the holidays. You’ll find Santa’s “Letter Depot” in the lodge where you can mail letters to Santa in order to make sure he receives them on time.snowland-santaNorth Pole University activities
During your stay, your children can enroll in North Pole University for their winter, 2016-2017 snow-mester. They’ll delight in completing our holiday-themed activities and receiving their official “Snowploma”. They also receive a limited edition Rowdy the Reindeer trading card you can only get here!snowland-university

Life-Size Gingerbread Houses You Can Dine In
The Great Wolf Lodge culinary team spend weeks cooking up and creating the intricate beauty of their life-size gingerbread houses. Each unique-as-a-snowflake masterwork welcomes you with amazingly detailed gingerbread walls, candy trim and plenty of white icing snow. When you dine in, your fee goes to the Ronald McDonald House Charities®! You can request to dine in one when you book your dining reservation.snowland-gingerbreadAs you can see, there’s a lot going on over at Great Wolf Lodge during Snowland. It’s the chance to create some new holiday memories with your family and you won’t want to miss out!snowland-gingerbread

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California
is located at
12681 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, California

Connect with Great Wolf Lodge Southern California on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post. Images and logos are property of Great Wolf Lodge. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Extra Festive Hours at The Shops at Mission Viejo

The busiest shopping season of the year is just around the corner and The Shops at Mission Viejo is one of the places you’ll find me frequenting. This indoor mall has 150 stores and restaurants, including Nordstrom, H&M, Macy’s, Apple, Microsoft, Sephora, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and The Cheesecake Factory. This year, they’ll offer extra festive hours so that you can get more shopping time in and cross everything off your “list”!

extra-festive-hoursThe Shops at Mission Viejo will offer the following special Festive Hours: 
11/24 – 11/25/2016: 6pm – 1am (Thanksgiving)
11/25/2016: 6am – 10pm (Black Friday)
11/26/2016: 9am – 10pm (Holiday Shopping)
11/27/2016: 10am – 8pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/10/2016: 10am – 9pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/11/2016: 11am – 9pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/12 – 12/15/2016: 9am – 9pm (Holiday Hours)
12/16/2016: 9am – 10pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/17 – 12/23/2016: 8am – 10pm (Holiday Hours)
12/24/2016: 8am – 6pm (Christmas Eve)
12/25/2016: Closed (Christmas Day)
12/26/2016: 8am – 10pm (Holiday Shopping)
12/31/2016: 10am – 6pm (New Year’s Eve)
01/01/2017: 11am – 6pm (New Year’s Daysantas-waitingWhile you’re there, don’t forget to stop by to see Santa! He’s waiting for you in the Lower Level near Nordstrom! Catch a visit with him before he leaves back to The North Pole on December 24! ornamentsConnect with The Shops at Mission Viejo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is not a sponsored post. Images are property of Simon Malls. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Tickets Now on Sale for Irvine Park Railroad’s Christmas Train + Ticket Giveaway

I am so excited for the real holiday season to begin! Yes, I know Halloween is a holiday but my most favorite time of year starts the day after Halloween because then we get to countdown how many days until Christmas!irvine-park-christmas-train-family-pic-1One of our favorite annual traditions this time of year is to visit Irvine Park Railroad for their Christmas Train! Have you been before? It’s open 7 days a week from December 1-December 23rd and it’s a family event that’s not to be missed! It’s also so popular that it sells out very quickly! (Tickets for the Christmas Train may only be purchased in advance, online and are $12.00 per person. Children 24 months and younger are free. Click here to check the calendar and grab your tickets now!christmas-train-nightIrvine Park Railroad’s Christmas train will take you on an enchanting night ride through the historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The train departs from the brightly-lit train station and drops passengers off at the North Pole. wish-listChildren can share their wish list with Santa (print out a free wish list to fill out and bring to Santa here.) and have their photo taken with him too. irvine-park-railroad-christmas-train-family-santa-photoIn addition to an option to purchase a Santa photo taken by Irvine Park Railroad, you may also take pictures with your own personal camera.irvine-park-railroad-smiling-with-santaAfter visiting with Santa, you’ll hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to Santa’s Village.tunnel-of-lightsSanta’s Village is a fun area that includes a variety of festive activities, some require tickets, while others are free.frostys-mazeSanta’s Village Activities include:

  • Ice Fishing
  • Cookie Decorating
  • Carnival Games 
  • Moon Bounce (1 ticket per person for 10 minutes of jumping time.) 
  • Picture Stands (free)
  • Story Time with Mrs. Claus (free)
  • Coloring Corner (free)
  • Frosty’s Maze (free) 
  • Great Food (prices may vary)mrs-claus

Santa’s Village is located at the train station and is free to enter. Please note that if you were unable to purchase tickets to ride the Christmas Train, you are still able to come out and enjoy these fun holiday activities.with-lights

Please note: Regular train tickets, tokens, complimentary tickets, discount tickets, and/or coupons are not valid for the Christmas Train. All customers must ride the train to visit Santa Claus.giveaway-enter-to-win

I’m also hosting a giveaway for one of my lucky winners to win a great package including 4 Christmas Train Tickets, 6 Activity Tickets, and 1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park Double Surrey Bike Rental. To enter, go to the Rafflecopter below and follow the instructions. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.irvine-park-railroads-christmas-train-signIrvine Park Railroad is located inside of Irvine Regional Park, which has a fee to enter. Prices are as follows:
Weekdays $3.00 per vehicle
Weekends $5.00 per vehicle
Holidays $7.00 per vehicle
Parking FREE after 5:00 pm

This is not a sponsored post. I will be attending a special media preview night at Irvine Park Railroad in exchange for sharing about their annual Christmas Train in this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

I Got A Peek Inside The Smart Home in Rancho Mission Viejo (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:

Why We ALL Need G1GABLAST! 
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?

cox-smart-home-robot

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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