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5 Tips to Make Your Day at Disneyland Resort Easier (MaxPass is Awesome!)

We were invited to a media day in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

 

It’s no secret that our family loves all things Disney. Creating new memories together in the parks is the best, especially having fun photos to look back at and remember our day.disneyland-summer-celebrate-summer-colorful-wallWe were invited to celebrate summer at Disneyland Resort, which happened to be the day Disneyland Railroad and the other Rivers of America attractions reopened, so it was a great day to be there!disneyland-resort-celebrate-summer-davy-crocketts-explorer-canoesNow that Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Colombia, and Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, and Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island reopened, all seems right in the world again! Just wait until you ride on Disneyland Railroad’s new route!  It’s been beautifully updated but they also kept all of the important and historial elements of this attraction and I bet you’ll be in awe for the entire train ride! I know we were!
disneyland-resort-celebrate-summer-colombiaAdding to our excitement about being at Disneyland Resort was the opportunity to try out the new MaxPass. If you haven’t heard of it before, don’t worry, I’ll explain more. Just keep reading. By the way, MaxPass is awesome! disneyland-resort-celebrate-summer-max-passHere’s something you may not know about me: I’m planner and usually have a schedule of some type for most occasions, even if it’s just in my head and my family doesn’t know about it. (Shh, don’t tell them!)disneyland-fantasmic-fast-passes Planning your day out at Disney, even if it’s just a little bit, will help it go smoother. I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy being spontaneous at Disney, I just know that it can sometimes be overwhelming, especially on a busy day. As a mom, I always appreciate helpful tips I get from others. Today I want to share my own tips with you about how you can make your day in the parks much easier.5-ways-to-make-your-day-at-disneyland-resort-easier1) Download the Disneyland App
First off, I highly recommend downloading the Disneyland app and familiarizing yourself with it prior to your visit. It can be found in the App Store and is free. Once you have it downloaded, set up your account, using an email and password. I also recommend playing around with the app a little bit at home, to get to know where things are. It looks like this:

disneyland-appThe Disneyland app allows you to view current wait times, make FASTPASS selections through MaxPass, view your PhotoPass photos, locate show and parade times, and find amenities such as dining locations and restrooms. I assure you that having this set up ahead of time will alleviate the stress of hurrying to do so when you arrive at the Resort.

2) Add Disney MaxPass to your ticket (It’s totally worth it!)
We were super excited to try out MaxPass the day we visited. If you’re not familiar with what that is, don’t worry, it’s something new. disney-max-pass-imageDisney MaxPass is a feature you can add to your ticket and includes 2 great benefits to make the most of the magic! For $10 a day, per person, you’ll have access to PhotoPass services and be able to reserve digital FASTPASS selections for any of the 16 attractions that have this set up. (per availability)max-pass-review-and-confirm This is all done through the Disneyland app on your mobile device. (Now you see why I recommended downloading it!) With MaxPass, you have the convenience of scheduling your digital FASTPASS selections through your mobile device. With a regular FASTPASS, you have to walk over to the attraction to obtain it on your ticket through. You can also reserve a digital FASTPASS from either park, as long as you’re in one of them. It saves you so much time not having to walk back and forth. Your feet will actually thank you! I know mine did! disney-photopass-splashYou’ll also appreciate the Disney PhotoPass benefit included with MaxPass. You’ll be able to download your photos taken at select locations throughout the parks, character photos, and also photos from popular attractions. Sometimes the poses caught on the attraction photos are beyond hilarious and priceless!disneyland-resort-celebrate-summer-mickeyWith PhotoPass benefits, you can almost instantly download your photos from the app and share them online. You’re also able to download them and print them out as keepsakes, once you’re home. For just $10 per person, per day, Disney MaxPass is totally worth it and makes your day so much easier.

3) Plan out your meals for the day
Have a plan for meals. This may sound a little too planned out but trying to deal with your family when they are hangry (that’s hungry + angry) is no joke! There are many different food options at Disneyland which include a ton of quick service restaurants and snack carts. disneyland-grilled-cheeseIf you think you might want an actual sit-down meal during your day, I recommend making that reservation before you even arrive at the parks. As soon as you download the Disneyland app, you can make a dining reservation. Some of the restaurants that offer dining reservations at Disneyland include Blue Bayou Restaurant, Cafe Orleans, Carnation Cafe, Plaza Inn (offers character dining for breakfast), and River Belle Terrace. At Disney California Adventure Park you can make a reservation for Ariel’s Grotto (character dining) and Carthay Circle Restaurant. disneyland-resort-soupAlthough it’s super simple to make a dining reservation through the app, you can also always call 714.781.DINE or 714.781.3463 to make one also. For more info about all of the dining options at Disneyland Resort, go here.

4) Choose parades and shows you want to watch ahead of time 
On any given day that you choose to visit Disneyland Resort, there’s always a great lineup of shows to go see and parades to watch in both of the parks. You can get entertainment info for the day you’re visiting on the Disneyland app. Paper schedules are also available when you go through the Main gate at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park.

 

Again, I recommend planning ahead because some of the shows may require you to get a FASTPASS early on in the day, such as World of Color and Fantasmic!. main-street-electrical-parade-signThere are also dining packages available for World of Color, Fantasmic! and Main Street Electrical Parade, which include preferred seating in the package. If you have an idea of what shows and/or parades you’re determined to watch, it will help drive the rest of your day. For a list of entertainment at Disneyland Resort, go here.

5) Carry a backpack and get a locker for the day! 
I can’t tell you just what a huge difference it makes for me to carry a backpack instead of a purse! It allows me to throw everything I’m going to need for the day inside the backpack and then just carry it around on my back and have the ability to have my hands freed up.disneyland-backpack-and-locker I also invest the money in a locker for items such as extra clothes and a change of shoes for nighttime and also to put my big camera if I happen to bring it and get tired of lugging it around. At the end of the day, it’s all worth it!

disneyland-resort-celebrate-summerI hope my tips are helpful for you! A very special thank you to Disneyland Resort for inviting our family to spend a special day in the parks. We hope to see you again real soon! Happy Summer!

Disney MaxPass image property of Disney Parks. 

 

 

 

Holiday Inn® “Summer of Smiles” Program Promotes Reading for Young Guests

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

 

This summer, Holiday Inn® hotels kicked off the “Summer of Smiles”, a series of on-property events, made possible with their partnership with Scholastic. The main goal of the program is to help keep kids reading all summer long. The “Summer of Smiles” is the Holiday Inn brand’s new program full of in-hotel experiences, including character breakfasts, a lending library, and a total eclipse viewing party, were especially crafted to make both parents and kids smile.holiday-inn-summer-of-smiles-clifford-1As I mentioned, the Holiday Inn brand has partnered up with Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, for this program. We were invited to attend a special character breakfast with the popular Scholastic book characters Clifford the Big Red Dog® and Geronimo Stiltonholiday-inn-summer-of-smiles-geronimo-stiltonholiday-inn-summer-of-smiles-activities-1Young guests at the hotel were able to meet and take pictures with the characters. They also received a take-home frame to displaying their character photo and took part in fun craft activities during the breakfast. holiday-inn-summer-of-smiles-activities-2Attendees were also gifted a Scholastic book, which will also remain available for young guests at check-in, at participating locations, through the end of August.holiday-inn-summer-of-smiles-breakfastholiday-inn-summer-of-smiles-breakfast-2Another great component of the program is the lending library. Select Holiday Inn hotels will offer a Scholastic lending library, through the end of August, where kids can borrow a book to read during their stay. Parents who are away from home on business can also borrow a book to read their kids a virtual bedtime story. Participating hotels will lend traveling parents a stand for their smartphone or tablet so they can read hands-free to their little ones at home. For a list of participating Holiday Inn hotels, please visit HolidayInn.com/smilesahead.

“Nothing puts a smile on kids’ faces like summertime, and we want all of our guests to feel that same sense of joy when they visit our hotels this summer. We’re going above and beyond to celebrate even more of those unforgettable moments that truly put the joy in travel and leave a positive lasting impact on our guests.” – Eric Lent, Vice President, Full Service Hotels & Food and Beverage Solutions, The Americas

holiday-inn-eclipse-imageOn August 21st, the Holiday Inn Nashville-Vanderbilt hotel and Scholastic will host a Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party. Hotel guests will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the first total solar eclipse in America in nearly 100 years. The hotel is along the eclipse totality line, providing families with the optimal view of this rare celestial occurrence. Kids and parents alike will learn about space with the “Magic School Bus Presents: Our Solar System” book while cherishing this unforgettable moment together. Guests will also receive a special pair of eclipse-viewing glasses and have the opportunity to meet two Scholastic characters. The solar eclipse viewing party is complimentary for hotel guests. For bookings, please go here.holiday-inn-summer-of-smiles-outsideAs a mom, and an elementary teacher, I really appreciate the efforts of the Holiday Inn brand in encouraging reading, even when on vacation. It’s one of the most important things we need to instill in our children, beginning at a young age! holiday-inn-smiles-ahead-follow-alongJoin in on the conversation by using and following along with the hashtag #SmilesAhead.

Some images property of Holiday Inn. 

 

‘Fantasmic!’ Nighttime Spectacular Returns to Disneyland July 17 + the Disneyland Railroad is Reopening

Summer is underway at the Disneyland Resort and visitors this time of year are in for a whole lot of WOW on their visits to both theme parks.  celebrate-summer-at-disneyland-resortThere’s something to be said about getting to experience new magic with your family, during your visit, and creating new memories together. I know it’s a favorite in our family. summer-at-disneyland-resortThe thrilling new attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! opened at the end of May and according to wait times shown on the Disneyland app, it continues to draw large crowds on a daily basis. disneyland-app-guardians-of-the-galaxy-wait-timeIt’s the only Disney attraction in the universe where guests step into a Guardians of the Galaxy story, as they help Rocket rescue this cosmic gang of misfits. With multiple ride profiles, guests never know which adventure they’ll encounter.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-mission-breakout-facade

guardians-of-the-galaxy-insideMore exciting news for Disneyland Park as some of the classic attractions are scheduled to reopen n July.  On Monday, July 17, which will also be the 62nd anniversary of the 1955 grand opening of Disneyland,  a newly enhanced “Fantasmic!, will premiere. This popular nighttime spectacular. tells the story of Mickey Mouse and his vivid imagination. “Fantasmic!:will return to the Rivers of America in Frontierland with its classic theme song and engaging storyline, which guests have treasured for 25 years.fantasmic-mickeyIts portrayal of Mickey’s exploration now features new scenes with characters from “Aladdin,” “Tangled,” “The Lion King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”fantasmic-aladdin-sequenceOne dazzling sequence finds Aladdin and Jasmine discovering “A Whole New World” as they float on their flying carpet over a bed of fog on the Rivers of America. Those sensational “Fantasmic!” adventures come alive with new mist screens and innovative, state-of-the-art projection technology to create visuals that are brighter and more vibrant than ever before.disneyland-park-here-you-leave-todayExciting news for train lovers of all ages is the re-opening of the Disneyland Railroad, beginning July 29. Park guests aboard the Disneyland Railroad will, once again, be taken on a Grand Circle Tour of Walt Disney’s “original Magic Kingdom”.disneyland-railroadThe Disneyland Railroad, one of the park’s original attractions, returns with its iconic steam-powered locomotives for new adventures. The Disneyland Railroad will now travel across the rocks on a trestle that extends out into the Rivers of America, and for the first time ever it will make a left-hand turn on its tour of the park.new-disneyland-railroad-route-renderingAlong the way, guests will enjoy a view of Walt Disney’s legendary Dioramas of the Grand Canyon and Primeval World, which have been carefully restored to their original splendor with a bit of new magic added to both. Guests on board the Disneyland Railroad also will discover a breathtaking new view along the north bank of Rivers of America.

A gorgeous new Columbia Gorge section highlighted by five new picturesque waterfalls can be seen from the trains as well as from the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. This new adventure complements the scenes guests have come to know and cherish through the years. Landscapes inspired by four of America’s majestic rivers–the Mississippi, the Columbia, the Missouri and the Rio Grande–are carefully recreated, complete with indigenous rock formations, natural forests and wildlife, and the waterfalls.disneyland-mark-twainOther Classic Rivers of America attractions are also set to relaunch July 29, including the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. They’ll be bringing new adventures and breathtaking new views for guests to enjoy. Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island reopened June 16.disneyland-columbia-shipIn addition to the returning classics in Frontierland and New Orleans Square, the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade continues nightly performances in Disneyland through Aug.20, featuring such favorite scenes as Cinderella’s ball, the appearance (and disappearance) of Elliot, the smoke-breathing, tail-wagging “Pete’s Dragon,” and the glittering “To Honor America” finale.main-street-electrical-parade-signThere’s so much going on this summer at the Disneyland Resort. You’ll want to be sure to check out The Summer of Heroes festivities, which continue at Disney California Adventure Park through Sept. 10. For more information about all of the happenings going on at the Disneyland Resort, visit their site here.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Some images are property of Disneyland Resort. 

 

 

Top 10 Phoenix Summer Getaway Deals

This is not a sponsored post. 

 

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to travel, especially when you can find a great deal. Right now, there are some amazing summer getaway deals you can grab in the Greater Phoenix area, & save 75 percent or more at landmark properties.
arizona-state-signCheck out these top 10 Phoenix Summer Getaway Deals: 

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – Summer Inclusive Package
Save up to 75 percent at the famous Arizona Biltmore now through Sep 10, 2017. This package, starting at $215 per night, includes a luxurious guestroom, 20 percent off a la carte Spa Biltmore services, complimentary self parking and resort charge and entertainment such as family-friendly movies by the pool on every Friday and Saturday night.

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort – Lather on the SPF: Squaw Peak Fun!
Avoid a boring summer and lather on the SPF with this package, which starts at just $124 per suite, per night, now through Sept. 9, 2017. This 60 percent savings over peak season rates lets guests enjoy the hotel’s four-acre water park for less, including sports pool, tennis courts, miniature golf and lazy river. Free kid’s programming and activities abound at Hole-in-the-Wall’s River Ranch including Saturday Dive-in movies.

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa – Come to Life this Summer Golf & Spa Packages 
Come to life now through Sep 30, 2017 with two great packages where you can save over 100 percent. The Come To Life Golf Package starts at $179 per night and includes: $50 Resort Credit daily, unlimited golf (tee time restrictions apply), free kids meals (12 and under with a paying adult), 20 percent discount off spa treatments at Revive Spa and free resort fee included. The Come To Life Spa Package starts at $199 per night and includes a 50 resort credit daily, one 50-minute Revive Massage, free kids meals (12 and under with a paying adult), 10 percent discount off purchases in retail shops, free resort fee and a 25 percent discount off additional spa services.

Sheraton Wild Horse – “You Stay, We Pay” Package
Starting at $149 per night, this package includes a $50 daily resort credit, representing nearly 75 percent savings now through Sept 5, 2017. Families can retreat from the heat with the new River Boat Adventures, which include options to pedal boat, water bike, kayak or stand up paddle board down their winding river. The resort’s summer holiday waterpark weekends feature large-scale slip and slides, multiple inflatable water slides for kids of all ages, a dunk tank, family-friendly concession stands and much more. Guests can enjoy live poolside music and outdoor lawn games such as bocce, life-sized Jenga and cornhole. Adventurers can enjoy other unique experiences including the Native American culturally themed courses such as; jewelry and dream catcher making courses, gourd painting, canvas & cocktails and much more. Parents can get pampered at the Four-Star Aji Spa or on the links at nearby Troon-managed Whirlwind golf club while the kids take part in the Adventure Club Camp.

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa –The Big Chill Package
Now through Sept. 4, 2017 save up to 60 percent off high-season rates at the Westin with rates starting at $149 per room per night. The package offers a choice between a $50 per room, per night dining credit or two free sessions on the Kierland FlowRider wave simulator (a $70 value). All summer, the Resort’s FUN Team leads chill-seeking adventurers in activities created to beat the heat, suh as Freezin’ Fridays, the Adventure Pool, Lazy River, 110-foot waterslide and more. Kierland FlowRider will stay open until 10 p.m. with a poolside Glow Party with musical entertainment, glow sticks, S’mores, and party games to round out the fun. On Saturdays, guests enjoy wintery poolside games and activities all day including the Polar Plunge (hundreds of pounds of ice are dropped into the pool) and delicious Smokin’ Jack’s BBQ. All weekend long, guests can enjoy cool treats delivered by the Kierland ice cream truck as its makes its way around the Resort. Plus, the Resort’s one-of-a-kind, 3-D PaintScaping Show will be offered every evening through July 4.

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch – Summer at The Scottsdale
Cool off with weekend rates starting as low as $99 — over 60 percent savings over the high-season rate — now through Sept. 4, 2017. The package at this resort, which recently completed a $10 million renovation which transformed the indoor and outdoor spaces, also includes free entertainment, dive-in movies, games (horse shoes, ping-pong, corn hole, life-size beer pong), adult and kid snow cones and daily drink specials. Guests can have a rockin’ good time by the pool with live music by the Mark Long Band and rock ‘n’ roll-themed movies like ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ and ‘Walk The Line’ after the sun sets on select Friday and Saturday nights.

The Wigwam – SummerScapes Package Escape to The Wigwam
Now through Sept. 7, 2017 and get a fantastic weekday rate of $139 and weekend rate of $159 (25 percent savings), including a free summer camp for kids and a $50 resort credit per night per room that’s good for food, beverage, spa, golf, or tennis. The Wigwam currently spans more than 440 acres on an estate-like setting and features 331 casita-style guest rooms, including 72 suites, crafted from distinctive adobe architecture. The resort offers 54 holes of championship golf, The Red Door Salon & Spa, three pools with two twisting water slides, and five restaurants and bars. The hotel also offers Camp Wigwam, a complimentary summer program that focuses on activities for children up to age 12.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa – Splash Into Summer
Save 25 percent on the first room and 50 percent on the second room with this package, which starts at $149 per night and runs through Sept. 9, 2017. The package includes a $50 resort credit and complimentary self parking. Guests can enjoy the resort’s 2.5 acre water playground, beachside fun zone with games, dive-in movies every weekend, nightly entertainment, sandcastle competitions, a welcome summer “sipper” on check-in and much more.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – Summer Splash Birthday Bash Package
The package starts from $169 per night — up to 75 percent off the high-season rate — plus a $50 daily resort credit now through Sept. 4, 2017. The $30 resort fee includes complimentary half-day admission to the Trailblazers Kids Club for up to three children ages 5-12. In addition to the substantial savings at this luxury resort, guests can take advantage of the action-packed summer schedule of activities, such as fireworks every Saturday all summer long, concerts on the Lagoon Lawn and Float Fit paddleboard yoga at the rooftop pool. Guests can also enjoy Techno Glo pool parties with fog, lasers, LED hula hoops and DJ Splash, and the new interactive Techno-Bot siblings, Beta and Blast. Trailblazers Kids Club and Recreation Center will offer a new BEAM interactive floor playground and virtual reality adventures. Guests can ride on a roller coaster or glide above the clouds in an immersive, virtual reality 3D simulator, which are complimentary at the Kids Club. Classic games, billiards, ping-pong, shuffle board and arts and crafts are also available in this family-friendly fun zone on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North – Summer Rates
Make this a summer to remember with savings up to 25 percent now through August 31, 2017, with weekday rates beginning at $189 per night. The luxury resort offers easy access to sunrise hikes to adjacent Pinnacle Peak Park, dining al fresco under a blanket of stars and poolside pampering at the sparkling, two-tiered pool complex. The entire family can head to the pool for complimentary “Dive-In” movies, running every Saturday night throughout the summer.

To book the above packages or find even more summer deals, check out Visit Phoenix’s packages page here.visit-phoenix-summer

Some images are property of Visit Phoenix.

LEGO® Star Wars™ Days Returns to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort May 6-7 & 13-14

This May, the creativity of the LEGO® building system meets the thrilling adventures and beloved characters from “a galaxy far, far away” when LEGO® Star Wars™ Days returns to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort.legoland-florida-star-wars-days

Authorized by Lucasfilm, this year’s event will double the fun on two weekends –from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 6  Sunday, May 7, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14. Legoland-florida-star-wars-days-2In MINILAND USA, kids can explore some of the most famous scenes from the Star Wars™ saga made out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks, including detailed displays inspired by “Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope,” “Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” plus giant LEGO models of Darth Vader, Darth Maul and R2-D2.legoland-florida-star-wars-days-darth-vader

Kids can also:

  • Create a giant LEGO® Star Wars™ mural, brick by brick
  • Build their own LEGO® Star Wars™ model
  • Search for LEGO droids throughout MINILAND USA to unscramble a secret message
  • Learn tips and tricks from our LEGO Master Model Builders
  • Build the world’s largest LEGO Yoda model
  • Meet LEGO Darth Vader
  • Dress up as their favorite LEGO® Star Wars™ character and participate in our intergalactic costume parade (ages 12 and under)

…and much, much more, including giveaways, fun photo ops, opportunities to win LEGO® Star Wars™ prizes and exclusive retail offers.legoland-florida-star-wars-days-modelsNew this year: Are you more rookie or Wookiee? Test your family’s Star Wars™ knowledge and LEGO building skills against other families during a just-for-fun competition!legoland-florida-star-wars-days--more-modelsAll activities will take place both weekends and are included with all forms of park admission. No extra ticket or Jedi mind tricks required! It’s the only LEGO® Star Wars™ theme park event in Central Florida. Hope you can join in on the fun. It is your destiny!

For more information visit http://www.LEGOLAND.com/florida, or call (877) 350-5346.

This is not a sponsored post. Photos and logo are property of LEGOLAND. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

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. 

 

Celebrate Spring-a-Palooza at Great Wolf Lodge Through April 16

I was invited to attend an event at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.#GWLSoCalTurns1 #GWLSpring

 

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since Great Wolf Lodge Southern California opened! I was so honored to be invited to a special celebration for their 1st anniversary, complete with special birthday hat wolf ears, character photos, and delicious cupcakes. great-wolf-lodge-southern-california-wiley-and-IGuests staying at the resort and media were in attendance and got to hear from Great Wolf Lodge General Manager Phil Cunningham. great-wolf-lodge-southern-california-birthday-cupcakesTo celebrate their 1 year anniversary/birthday, Great Wolf Lodge Southern California collaborated with artist Linda Mihara and had her create the world’s largest origami cake, which was unveiled at the ceremony. The details of the artwork were incredible and my favorite piece of the “cake” were the origami animals on top.spring-a-palooza-artist-lindaDuring my visit to Great Wolf Lodge Southern California that afternoon, I was also treated to a very special lunch, prepared by Great Wolf Lodge Executive Chef Hany and his team. They put together a menu for lunch that was absolutely amazing! Chef Hany prides himself on using only the freshest and finest ingredients to resort guests.great-wolf-lodge-lunch great-wolf-lodge-tomato-and-avocadoA majority of the produce is locally grown and I appreciated how sensitive they were to special dietary needs and allergies of guests when preparing the dishes.great-wolf-lodge-salmon great-wolf-lodge-potatoesGreat Wolf Lodge does an amazing job at catering to guests of all needs and sensitivities. We feasted on a variety of foods which are included on the resort’s menu during Spring-a-Palooza.great-wolf-lodge-carrotsgreat-wolf-lodge-zuccini-and-squashSpring-a-Palooza will take place at Great Wolf Lodge locations, March 10 through April 16, 2017 this year, the Spring-a-Palooza event is offered at all of the Great Wolf Lodge resorts to families visiting, as a way to commemorate the turn of the season.spring-a-palooza-logo

The Grand Lobby at the resort is Spring-a-Palooza central. Guests will find colorful spring decorations throughout, including a special Great Wolf Lodge character-themed garden for children to explore.great-wolf-lodge-spring-a-palooza-lobbyDuring Spring-a-Palooza, Great Wolf Lodge will offer additional entertainment options for guests to enjoy, with special spring-inspired activities and events taking place daily. Some of the scheduled events include:

  • Spring Picnic: A time-honored spring tradition gets a Great Wolf twist, as guests can grab a blanket, spread it out on the floor and enjoy an afternoon picnic in the Grand Lobby. Guests can sip complimentary Minute Maid beverage available from the Great Wolf Lodge character-themed Lemonade Stand and play a few rounds of DzTake A Wiley Guessdz card game.spring-a-palooza-violets-lemonde-stand
  • Bubble Dance Party: This special Spring-a-Palooza event fills the Grand Lobby with cascading bubbles while Great Wolf Lodge’s Ambassadors of Fun keep energy-levels high with a family-friendly dance party.
  • Spring-a-Palooza Story Time: Great Wolf Lodge’s nightly Story Time takes on a spring theme with a new tale featuring the Great Wolf Lodge characters called DzNatural Wonders.dzKids are encouraged to wear their favorite jammies to the Grand Lobby for this event and will have the opportunity to meet one of the Great Wolf Lodge characters in person.spring-a-palooza-fun
  • Spring Scavenger Hunts: Great Wolf Lodge will introduce two self-guided scavenger hunts as part of Spring-a-Palooza. The “I Spy Spring” scavenger hunt will have guests looking high and low in the Grand Lobby to find a dozen hidden objects and claim a prize. The “Spring Sprint” scavenger hunt has guests solving clues that will take them on a journey throughout the lodge. When all 10 clues are solved, guests are rewarded with a prize.
  • Character Themed Flower Gardens: A highlight of the Spring-a-Palooza celebration is the colorful springtime gardens found in the Grand Lobby. The gardens are designed and hand-crafted by Pack Members from the resort. Surrounded by a fence, the collection of flower pots are inspired by the Great Wolf Lodge characters. Guests are encourage to stroll around the garden and vote for their favorite display.spring-a-palooza-violets-basketspring-a-palooza-vote-for-your-favorite-flower-pot
  • Jelly Bean Guessing Game: A gigantic jar filled to the brim with jelly bean candies sits in the Grand Lobby and guests are invited to enter a contest guessing how many delicious treats are within the jar. The guests closest to the correct number without going over will be entered for a chance to win a Great Wolf Lodge Gift Card.spring-a-palooza-jelly-beans-guessing
  • Spring Themed Crafts: During Spring-a-Palooza, the resort’s Ambassadors of Fun will host several spring-inspired craft making events for kids of all ages. Character-themed crafting projects include Oliver’s Crazy About Bugs Jar, Violet’s Springtime Noodle Doodle, Brinley’s Don’t Blow Away Kite and Wiley’s Can You Spot It Binoculars.spring-a-palooza-spring-craftspring-a-palooza-spring-photo-backdrop

In addition to admission into the indoor water park, all of the Spring-a-Palooza events are also complimentary to guests staying at Great Wolf Lodge through April 16. A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule, which is provided to guests upon check-in. As you can see, there’s so much Spring fun going on at Great Wolf Lodge during Spring-a-Palooza that you won’t want to miss out!

great-wolf-lodge-southern-california-facadeFor more information about Great Wolf Lodge, please visit greatwolf.com.

Some images and logo are property of Great Wolf Lodge. 

 

Red Rose Taverne Now Open at Disneyland With a Beauty & the Beast-Inspired Menu

Exciting news! Red Rose Taverne, a Beauty & the Beast-inspired eatery is now open at Disneyland! Located in Fantasyland, inside the space that’s normally Village Haus, this quick-service restaurant offers a variety of delicious dishes that make you feel like you’re a guest in Beauty & the Beast.gaston-wall-decorAs you enter the restaurant, you’ll find subtle,decorative changes inside that vibe with the movie’s theme. I was there before it was fully finished so I only saw a few of the touches. (I can’t wait to visit again now that it’s all done.)mrs-pottsOn my visit, I didn’t have the chance to eat a full meal, although I did try the desserts. (see below)  I cannot wait to go back and sample some of these other menu offerings:

The Beast’s BurgerA 1/3 pound Angus beef patty, slow-cooked beef, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and horseradish aioli on a toasted roll.
Class Angus 1/3 lb CheeseburgerAn Angus beef patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato and signature sauce on a toasted roll.
Enchanted Cauli-Flower SandwichA grilled cauliflower steak, spicy lime aioli, tempura-battered green beans, lettuce and tomato on a toasted roll.
Slow-Cooked Beef Poutine Slow-cooked beef and gravy over seasoned waffle-cut fries, pickled onions and cheese curds.
Chicken Sandwich à la LumièreGrilled chicken breast, apple slaw, onion-bacon jam and fried cherry peppers on a toasted roll.
Chef’s Chopped SaladCabbage, Romaine and iceberg lettuce, smoked bacon, apple, hard-cooked eggs, blue cheese crumbles, garlic croutons and apple vinaigrette.
Poutine FlatbreadTopped with slow-cooked beef, pomme frites, roasted garlic aioli, cheese curds, gravy and herb oil.
Garden Mozzarella FlatbreadTopped with marinated tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce.
Pulled Pork FlatbreadTopped with pulled pork, roasted corn, sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, pickled onions and cilantro

Red Rose Taverne also offers Kids’ Meals, referred to as “Chip’s Dishes”, and a Toddler Meal.

In addition to regular beverages, you can also order Gaston’s Famous Brew at Red Rose Taverne, which is an apple-mango punch topped with passion fruit foam. Guests have the option to order it in a souvenir mug for an additional $8.00. keepsake-mug-red-rose-taverneNow let’s talk about the desserts because that seems to be the most important part. I promise that you’ll want to stop by and enjoy one of each for yourself on your next visit to the Park!

I started off by trying some of “the Grey Stuff” They named it Grey Stuff Gateau. It’s a white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a sweet raspberry center and was delicious! the-grey-stuffNext, I tried the Lemon Rose Cake, which is a lemon mousse cake with strawberry-rose filling. This one was bright, colorful and oh-so-tasty.lemon-rose-cakeI also took home one of the Mrs. Potts Krispy treats so I could enjoy it the next day.mrs-potts-krispy-treatI’m really excited about everything going on right now at Disneyland Resort surrounding the upcoming release of Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast” in theaters on March 17th! Did you know that you can catch a special 8-minute sneak peek of the film right now in Disney’s California Adventure Park through March 26th?new-beauty-and-the-beast-posterStop by the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land to get an advance look of a scene from the movie, presented in 3D with special in-theater effects, presented continuously throughout the day. While you’re there, be sure to check out the special lobby display featuring a few costumes and props used in the production, too!

This is not a sponsored post. Artwork property of Disney. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

 

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.

 

 

Guide to the Holidays at Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort is such a wonderful place to visit with your family or friends during the Holidays! This year, Holiday time at the Resort kicked off on November 10 and both parks were decorated and ready to welcome guests who were visiting for some holiday joy. disneyland-holidays-photo-passNow through January 8, guests at the Resort will find many different experiences and offerings. Although it’s possible to see it all in one day, I recommend purchasing a 2-day Park Hopper (or more days) so you can take your time because there’s a lot to see and do. disneyland-holidays-park-hopper-ticketsHere’s my own personal guide to the Holidays at Disneyland Resort.must-dos-at-disney-california-adventure-parkFestival of Holidays
One of the new additions to the Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park this year is the Festival of Holidays. There’s music, dancing, food, and heartwarming holiday festivities inspired by cultural traditions from around the world.festival-of-holidaysfestival-of-holidays-guideWith so many little food and drink themed houses set up in the Festive Foods Marketplace, it’s a foodie’s holiday dream come true! If you’ve ever been to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, it may remind you of that. It’s so much fun to go “house to house” and sample different beers, wines and savory & sweet treats! Check out the Complete Guide to Festive Eats here on the Disney Parks Blog. festival-of-holidays-christmas-craftsAnother fun part about the Festival of Holidays are the craft tables set up around the park. Kids can sit and spend time learning about different traditional holidays celebrated around the world and make a craft, card, or ornament to take home with them.festival-of-holidays-hanukah-craftsEntertainment during Festival of Holidays
The daily lineup of entertainment includes nearly 50 performances of nine unique shows including: 2 special Disney characters, street parties, cavalcades, musical ensembles and dance performances. The celebrations include Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas/Navidad and Three Kings Day. Guests can look for performances of traditional Indian dance that builds to a Bollywood party, a Klezmer band with a new global sound, the Mariachi Divas and an a cappella vocal group that puts an R&B spin on holiday songs.viva-navidad-wreathThe popular Disney ¡Viva Navidad! is sure to wow you as it also returns as part of the fun at Festival of Holidays.disneyland-holidays-viva-navidadThere”ll also be a wonderful finale to celebrate Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes).The special festivities for Three Kings Day will run Jan. 5-8, 2017, including music and storytelling in Paradise Garden. Treats for this holiday will include traditional Rosca de Reyes bread.disneyland-holidays-balloonsMeet Elena of Avalorwelcome-elena-of-avalorSanta at Redwood Creek Trails 
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is where guests can go for Santa’s Holiday Visit. His joyful elves have transformed the trail into a magical playground of holiday fun and games, including opportunities for guests to join the ranks of Santa’s elves.meet-santa-guidedisneyland-holidays-redwood-creekWhen you enter the area, a Cast Member will give you a fun guide to help you find Santa and join in on some fun Elf Games.santas-elves“World of Color—Season of Light
All-new this holiday season is “World of Color—Season of Light”! This nighttime water spectacular that will inspire guests with cherished holiday music and treasured Disney animation. This fourth all-new production of “World of Color” creates a sparkling winter fantasy with magical storytelling, brilliant lights, lasers and high-definition projectors, along with fountains that shoot as high as 200 feet to create the giant screens of water. You’ll want to grab a FastPass for World of Color, first thing in the morning!Disney-Holidays-Buena-Vista-Street

must-dos-at-disneyland-park

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and the Breathtaking Decor
There are so many holiday happenings this time of year in Disneyland Park too. The entire Park is decorated with fun, festive decorations and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is dressed up for the Winter time.disneyland-holidays-castle-dayAt the top of Main Street, U.S.A., you’ll find twinkling lights, festive holiday garland and nearly 1,800 ornaments decorate the soaring Christmas tree in Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A.. It’s an ideal place for guests to begin their holiday traditions. The Christmas tree becomes an enchanting place for guests to take their holiday photos, up close or with all 60 feet of the shimmering tree.holidays-at-the-disneyland-resort-family-memoriesThe classic Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle brightens the park nightly with magical snowfall moments along Main Street, U.S.A., concluding with “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks and its stirring snowfall finale.disneyland-holidays-castle-nightSpecially Transformed-for-the-Holidays Attractions halloween-time-at-disneyland-resort-haunted-mansion-holiday-signGuests at Disneyland Park can enjoy the one-of-a-kind transformations that create “it’s a small world” Holiday, Jingle Cruise and Haunted Mansion Holiday. Now celebrating its 20th holiday season, “it’s a small world” Holiday has added some “Hidden 20s” for guests to discover on their voyage.Disney-Holidays-Small-World-Facade“It’s a Christmas Fantasy” Parade
Celebrate the season in “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a daily procession during the Holidays complete with floats, music, marching “tin soldiers” and holiday cheer.disneyland-holidays-parade-mickey-and-minnieSanta, who makes a jolly appearance in the parade, also will be found welcoming guests at his special location in Critter Country while he visits Disneyland.Disney-Holidays-Santa-floatThere’s so much to see and do during Holidays at the Disneyland Resort and it’s a perfect time to create new family memories together! For more information, please visit http://www.disneyland.com.disneyland-holidays-carslandA very special thank you to Disneyland Resort for hosting our family for a festive day in the parks

 

 

 

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