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I Rode Knott’s HangTime Dive Coaster!

I was invited to a special media event in order to share about my experience with you. All opinions are my own. 

I waited MONTHS for Knott’s all-new HangTime to open and it finally is! We were so excited to be invited to attend the Preview Party and join in on the Grand Opening festivities.knotts-hangtime-backdrop-1 knotts-hangtime-preview-party-mapThe party was held on Knott’s Boardwalk area and was filled with themed food and treats, beachy entertainment, and a ceremony to welcome HangTime that included live music and even fireworks!knotts-hangtime-boardwalk-surf-shopknotts-hangtime-cupcakesknotts-hangtime-at-duskAs I shared on the blog recently, HangTime is the only dive coaster on the West Coast and features gravity-defying inversions, mid-air suspensions and twisting dive tracks. Probably the scariest part, at least for me, is at the beginning when you go up a vertical lift hill into a 15-story 96-degree drop! Yikes! It’s super gnarly! (in a good way.) It’s the steepest drop in California. Confession: I may have closed my eyes during most of it! hangtime-fun-factI was a combination of nervous and excited about attending the HangTime Preview Party because I knew the pressure would be on to go on it. I mean, I have to set a good example for my daughter, right? Well, I think I won “Parent of the Year” that night for rallying and going on it. By the way, it’s extra beautiful when you go on it at night because all of the tracks are lit up with beautiful colors. knotts-hangtime-at-nightHangTime was amazing! My daughter was ready to go on it again and again after our first time. You’re going to love it too! I think you’ll also love our souvenir photo! Haha! (Photos from the attraction are available for purchase through Knott’s FunPix.)knotts-hangtime-souvenir-picWatch my short video showing a little bit about our night out at the HangTime Preview Party:

HangTime is now open and if you haven’t made your way over to check it out yet, I don’t think you should wait any longer.knotts-hangtime-selfieThere’s really never been a better time to grab one of Knott’s Season Passes. I mean, it’s affordable, they offer payment plans and there are no blackout dates. A Regular Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2018 to Knott’s Berry Farm with no blackout dates. 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.For more info about Knott’s Season Passes, go here.knotts-hangtime-snoopyConnect with Knott’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Join in the conversation on social using #KnottsHangTime to share about your experience riding it! thank-you-knotts

 

Woody’s Lunch Box Menu at Toy Story Land

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

 

As if we weren’t already excited enough about the upcoming opening of all-new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World, set to open June 30, yesterday they announced the menu for Woody’s Lunch Box, the new eatery that’ll be located inside Toy Story Land. Meal time at Woody’s Lunch Box will include a heavy helping of nostalgia as they serve up classic on-the-go menu items with a creative twist!toy-story-land-woodys-lunch-box

“Everyone has a special food memory, so it can be tricky putting a modern spin on the favorites. We honored these classic dishes by using the best ingredients to elevate the flavors. How we constructed the sandwiches was important, such as layering the ingredients in a specific order, to maximize textures and flavors. Why have a cold sandwich when you can have a toasted hot, gooey, cheese-filled one?” – Lenny DeGeorge, Concept Development Culinary Director for Walt Disney World.

Here are some of the of menu items they revealed. Wow, the words “lunch box” and “cuisine” never described anything I brought to school! I cannot wait!

  • S’more French Toast breakfast sandwich – Oozy goodness in a chocolate ganache- and marshmallow-stuffed French toast topped with graham cracker crumbles. Inspired by the classic American campfire treat.woodys-lunch-box-smores-french-toast-sandwich
  • Grilled three-cheese sandwich – To ensure a soft gooey middle, Disney chefs created a sharp cheddar cream cheese spread, layered in provolone and cheddar and wrapped the sandwich in garlic butter-grilled French bread.
  • BBQ brisket melt -With a nod to cowboy Woody, this Texas-style smoked brisket features cheddar, Monterey Jack, pickles, BBQ sauce and garlic butter-grilled sourdough.woodys-lunch-box-bbq-brisket
  • Monte Cristo – Woody’s version of this classic sandwich has layers of ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, and raspberry jam…and is grilled to a golden brown.woodys-lunch-box-monte-cristo
  • Totchos – Bite-sized potato barrels, corn chips, chili and queso. ‘Nuf said.woodys-lunch-box-totchos
  • Lunch box tarts – A modern interpretation of a breakfast toaster pastry as a hand-held dessert, these feature a uniquely delicate crust. Layer in high-quality ingredients for fillings, add a decorative garnish, and these tasty tarts beat anything mom packed. Choice of Raspberry Lunch Box Tart garnished with Icing and Dried Fruit and Chocolate-Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart garnished with Icing and Caramelized Bacon, woodys-lunch-box-tarts

Here are a couple of the healthier menu options:

  • Smoked turkey, tomato, and lettuce on multigrain bread – The quintessential lunch box sandwich. To give it a kick of flavor, Disney chefs add a creamy Dijonnaise.woodys-lunch-box-smoked-turkey-sandwich
  • Banana Split Yogurt Parfait – Layers of banana-vanilla Greek yogurt (with a hint of honey), fresh bananas, strawberries, and pineapple topped with granola and chocolate chips. A delicious way to start the day!woodys-lunch-box-banana-split-yogurt-parfait

Other healthy options available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios include fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, and grilled meats and fish.kids-offerings-at-woodys-lunch-boxKids’ offerings include grilled cheese sandwich or turkey sandwich, both with potato barrels and mandarin oranges. Sides include tomato basil soup, vegetable macaroni salad, potato barrels and Mini Babybel® snack cheese, the official snack cheese of Walt Disney World Resort.woodys-luncy-box-alien-sipperIn addition to fountain drinks and refreshing lemonade, beverage offerings include a classic Barq’s root beer float and a Mystic Portal Punch (PowerAde Mountain Berry Blast with flavors of lemon-lime and tangerine). For the big kids there’s a Grown Up’s Lemonade with cherry vodka, Odwalla Lemonade, and black cherry purée.woodys-lunch-box-drinksWoody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is set to open on June 30, 2018. What are you most excited to try first? I can’t pick just one!

For more information about Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort, including assistance with vacation planning, please visit here.

Images are property of Walt Disney World Resort and used with permission. 

 

 

Revel in LEGO® Cheer During the Holidays at LEGOLAND® California Resort Beginning 11/18

Winter is the most wonderful time of the year! This year, Holidays at LEGOLAND® California Resort will begin on November 18. This family friendly holiday celebration is an opportunity for children and their families to feel the LEGO® cheer at the annual winter holiday celebration and enjoy shimmering lights, live entertainment, the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree, festive decor and more! Here’s a fun video showing a glimpse of what the holidays at LEGOLAND California are like:

Fun Town will be glimmering in the night sky as buildings are trimmed with twinkling lights and décor and guests will look picture perfect in front of the world famous LEGO Christmas tree. Standing 30-feet tall and constructed out of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks, the LEGO Christmas tree is adorned with more than 400 LEGO ornaments and 11,000 LED lights.legoland-holidays-lego-santaChildren can practice their belly laugh as the family poses for a photo with life-size LEGO Santa and his reindeer, then head over to the Fun Town stage to dance and sing along with The Yule Tides, Santa’s musical elves who deck all the halls with carols old and new.legoland-holidays-lego-friendsThe fun continues in Heartlake City which transforms into a winter wonderland for guests to enjoy. Kids can sing and dance as they watch the Friends live holiday show and join in building activities in the Heartlake City stables. A traveling brass band playing festive bluegrass music will fill Heartlake City with the jingles of the season. Guests can indulge in tasty holiday fare such as churros con chocolate, vanilla bean hot chocolate and spiced apple cider, plus enjoy character meet and greets with LEGO Santa and a LEGO toy soldier and collect holiday inspired pop badges.legoland-holidays-tree-2All new this year, indulge in our Winter Holiday Market during extended Park hours on Saturday Dec. 9 and 16. Guests can enjoy authentic “German Christmas Market” inspired treats like traditional holiday breads, grilled sausages, giant Bavarian pretzel and more. LEGOLAND California is also offering exclusive retail deals for shoppers looking for the perfect LEGO holiday gift.
legoland-holidays-us-with-treeThe family festivities continue at SEA LIFE® aquarium and LEGOLAND® Hotel. SEA LIFE aquarium has a special holiday themed daily dive show and winter craft activities. LEGOLAND Hotel has also gotten in the holiday spirit with festive decorations, holiday entertainment and its own LEGO Christmas tree. Kids will also enjoy special holiday themed games and story time at the castle, plus building contests themed for the festivities.special-early-bird-pricing
The grand finale of Holidays at LEGOLAND California Resort is when midnight comes early at their annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve party. This celebration begins with special musical performances on Fun Town Stage and Heartlake City. Then, the party moves to San Francisco in Miniland U.S.A. where, like the famous Times Square party, Kids’ New Year’s Eve features a countdown followed by a huge LEGO brick dropping 22 feet into 2018 and spectacular fireworks at 6 p.m. to end the night.legoland-california-holidays-soldier-and-santaSpecial early bird pricing for Holidays at LEGOLAND start at $75 beginning Nov. 1 through Dec. 11. For more Holidays information, visit http://www.LEGOLAND.com or call (760) 918-LEGO (5346).

Some images and video are property of Legoland and used with permission. 

 

5 Great Reasons to Stay at The Grand Legacy at the Park in Anaheim

I was provided with accommodations in order to write this post. All opinions are my own. 

 

I recently stayed at the Grand Legacy at the Park in Anaheim with a group of girlfriends and it was so much fun! We were there on the weekend of CHOC Walk in the Park and it was so convenient to stay there because this hotel is just across the street from the Disneyland Resort in the heart of Anaheim.
grand-legacy-at-the-park-friendschoc-walk-pin“The Grand” isn’t a new property, although it was recently renovated in a big way, but the hotel has been a family favorite for over 40 years. grand-legacy-at-the-park-lobby-1Today I want to give you just 5 of the reasons you should book a stay sat the Grand Legacy at the Park on your next trip to Anaheim.5-great-reasons-to-stay-at-the-grand-legacy-at-the-park-in-anaheimLocation, location, location
The Grand Legacy at the Park is a prime location, literally across the street from Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, and the Downtown Disney District. What this means is you have easy access to walk to and from the Parks. There’s really something to be said about staying so close by. You don’t have to even think about driving to the Resort and paying for parking there. It’s also convenient because you have the option of returning to the hotel to rest and recharge at any time during the day, if you need to. Families traveling with children know the importance of naps and this location allows you to go back and do so easily, without having to travel very far. Sometimes you realize you might need to change your outfit or shoes, grab a jacket, or even go back and get something you forgot to bring to the Parks. Knowing your hotel room isn’t very far away is really reassuring. For me, location is key, especially on a family vacation.disneyland-resort-celebrate-summer-mickeyThey have newly renovated rooms and suites grand-legacy-at-the-park-lobby-2The Grand Legacy at the Park went through a major renovation just last year, which included a brand new lobby and new suites, some that are even facing the Disneyland Resort!grand-legacy-at-the-park-room-2grand-legacy-at-the-park-bathroom-2 grand-legacy-at-the-park-bathroom-1The hotel offers renovated rooms that range from Classic 2 Double Beds up to Grand Legacy 3 Room Suites. Whichever room you stay in, you’ll find all the comforts of home with these amenities:

  • a mini-refrigerator, microwave
  • tea and coffee-making facilities
  • Wi-Fi
  • complimentary Tarocco toiletries

grand-legacy-at-the-park-tarocco-1

grand-legacy-at-the-park-tarocco-2Other amenities you’ll find at the Grand Legacy at the Park include a complimentary Snack Bag” (includes seasonal fruit, water, a granola bar, and string cheese.) which you can grab and take with you in the morning if you’re leaving early but don’t want to take the time to have a full breakfast.There are also 2 self-service coin laundries available on property, along with 24 hour dry-cleaning. Roll-away beds and cribs are available for Deluxe, Premier, Luxury, and Suites at no extra charge and are based on availability. Car parking is $15.00 plus 17% tax/fees per car, per night, with a limit of two cars per reservation. For reservations in our Classic, Deluxe, and Premier rooms, the second car parking fee will be $25.00 plus 17% tax/fees per night. They also offer valet at no additional cost for your convenience. While you’re staying at The Grand, you’ll also want to take advantage of the heated pool, which features a beach entry and a kids area. grand-legacy-at-the-park-hotel-poolThe Grand Legacy at the park is home to Anaheim’s ONLY Rooftop Bar
Another really great reason you’ll want to stay at the Grand is because up on the rooftop, you;ll find Anaheim’s only rooftop restaurant & bar, The FIFTH. thefifth-logo-grey-300x154You can enjoy an assortment of artisan cocktails, craft beers, and delicious small plates perfect to share in the 5000 square foot open-air rooftop.grand-legacy-at-the-park-the-fifth-drinks There are fire pits and plenty of seating all around, allowing guests to get a fabulous view of the Anaheim skyline, along with the nightly Disneyland® Resort fireworks. (when available)the-fifth-1 The FIFTH is also a great location for a special occasion or celebration and is available to book for private parties. For more information about reserving the space for your special occasion, you can email:  info@thefifthoc.com. Please note: The FIFTH welcomes guests of all ages but becomes 21 & over at 10pm each night.grand-legacy-at-the-park-the-fifth-with-friendsThere are great food options adjacent to the hotel
One of the unique features about this hotel is there are food options you’re going to love, adjacent to the hotel. They are actually just outside of the hotel and offer you the option of eating there or bringing the food back to your hotel room. grand-legacy-at-the-park-jimboys-tacosYou’ll find a Jimboy’s Tacos, Pizzaterian, and a Creamistry. When I’m traveling, especially with my family, I like to have several options to choose from so that everyone can find something to eat that they like.creamistry-mint-chipcreamistry-rainbow-sprinklesFor your convenience, there’s also a Discount Tickets & Tours and an Alpha Gift  Mart also located next to these eateries.

grand-legacy-at-the-park-ticket-machineIt’s in the heart of Orange County and close to many other nearby attractions 
Although I keep mentioning Disneyland Resort, Grand Legacy at the Park hotel is also close to a variety of other nearby attractions and destinations in the Orange County area, some of which include:

  • Anaheim Gardenwalk
  • Anaheim Convention Center
  • The Grove of Anaheim
  • Angel Stadium
  • Honda Center
  • Anaheim Packing House
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Knott’s Soak City
  • Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure
  • Discovery Cube OC

The Grand Legacy at the Park is really a great hotel to stay at when you’re visiting Southern California. Whether it’s for a family vacation, a convention, a runDisney event, a business trip, etc. you’ll be pleased to know that they also run incredible specials year-round and have great packages, even offer an Annual Passport Special, so you’ll want to sign up here to receive their newsletter in your inbox. Hotel guests can even purchase Disneyland® Resort tickets at the front desk. To check rates or make a reservation, please visit here or call 714.772.0440 or 800.854.6097.

Grand Legacy at the Park is located at

1650 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92802

You can connect with Grand Legacy at the Park on Facebook ,Instagram, and Twitter.

Some images and logo are property of Grand Legacy at the Park. 

 

Let’s Go Back to School Shopping at Brea Mall

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

 

Summer feels like it’s still in full swing but as it starts to wind down and we get closer to the start of a new school year, there’s a lot to consider when planning for back to school! I’ve embraced the summer so much, I saved all of my back to school shopping until the last minute. It’s ok though, I work better under pressure! I also know I can find everything on my shopping list at Brea Mall.brea-mall-signWith several years of back to school shopping under my belt, I feel like I’m getting better at it each year. I’m definitely a list maker, so here’s my shopping list: back-to-school-shopping-listMy regular back-to-school shopping list has necessities on it such as clothing and shoes and backpacks and lunchboxes.mac-accessories Nowadays, schools also request your child(ren) come to school, equipped with a laptop or other device because they’re “21st Century Learners”. What this means for me as a parent, is that there are now even more school necessities to shop for.school-technology-needs Not only devices but also accessories for the laptop, carrying cases, and anything else that a student might need to be successful in this technological age of implementing digital technologies in the classroom.
apple-store-macbookThis year, I broke my back to school shopping into 2 trips. I wanted to get over to the mall by myself to check out the laptop options for myself, without my daughter there making me feel rushed. Thank goodness Brea Mall has an Apple store! I love going into Apple to look around at all of the latest laptops, iPads, Apple Watches, iPhones, etc. I will admit that it can be a bit overwhelming for me. Luckily for me, “Peter” from the Apple store, took a lot of time to help me pick out the right laptop for my daughter to use for her schooling. The “Beats” they have at Apple are also really cool so I picked up a pair of those too because my daughter’s been begging for some. apple-beatsBrea Mall also has Brookstone, which is another great place to shop for school technology needs, in addition to some other things. I found another pair of wireless headphones for my daughter to take to school. These are great quality and offered at a great price but also won’t have me worrying about her “Beats” getting lost at school. brookstone-headphonesBrookstone also had a great selection of portable batteries/chargers, which she is going to need to carry in her case. brookstone-portable-chargerFor the main back-to-school shopping trip, my daughter and I like to make an entire day out of it. We love to start out at the Starbucks and make our shopping plan while we get something to drink. Then we shop, take a break to have a late lunch at one of the eateries there, and then shop some more. It’s a fun annual tradition and something we really enjoy doing together. brea-mall-directoryI always love to see all of the latest trends for kids when we go back to school shopping. This year there are too many to choose from: dinosaurs, unicorns, cute monsters, super heroes, camo, sparkly stuff, etc. I wanted to buy it all! Not only am I shopping for my daughter, I also like to pick up a few things for my nieces and nephews. back-to-school-gymboreeSome of the stores we checked out this year at were Cotton On Kids, Gymboree, GapKids,  Journeys, Justice, and Vans, but Brea Mall has over 175 specialty shops and several popular restaurants. back-to-school-justice

back-to-school-gap-kidsback-to-school-vansHave you finished your back to school shopping yet? Maybe I should ask if you’ve even started yet? Leave me a comment and tell me if you have any back to school tips, tricks, or ways to make it easier on your own family. I’d love to hear all about it!back-to-school-cotton-on-kids

Connect with Brea Mall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too.giveaway I’ll be hosting a Brea Mall gift card giveaway soon on my own Instagram so be sure to keep your eye out for it. Good luck with your own back to school shopping!

{Giveaway} 7 Reasons to Love LEGOLAND California Resort + Enter to Win 4 Park Hopper Tickets

Southern California is the hub of so many family friendly things to do. One of them is LEGOLAND California Resort and luckily for us, it’s only about a 45 minute drive from our home. Since that’s practically a hop, skip & a jump away, we find ourselves there quite often.legoland-keychainOver the years, we’ve really come to love LEGOLAND more and more! There are just so many fun things to see and do there and even with a pre-tween daughter, I still get asked by her, to go to LEGOLAND. lego-bff-sleepover-friendsHere are just 7 of the reasons we love LEGOLAND California Resort:

There are fun attractions for all ages! 
LEGOLAND has over 60 great shows and attractions. I love that there are some geared towards small children, some geared towards families, and even many for “big kids”, like my daughter and her friends, We are never stuck trying to find something to go on when we’re at the Park. Did I mention that my daughter and her friends enjoy all of the rides though? (including those intended for younger guests.) legoland-attractions-1legoland-technicMiniland USA is amazing! 
A visit to LEGOLAND needs to include a stroll through Miniland USA. The area is located in the heart of the park and features iconic structures and figures, made of LEGO bricks by Master Model Builders. Some of the sites to see there are the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Grand Central Station in New York City, and the strip in Las Vegas. There’s even a large LEGO Star Wars area in Miniland USA where guests can embark on a journey through the seven different LEGO Star Wars scenes.legoland-miniland-usa-1one-world-trade-center-legoland-4LEGO Character Meet and Greets are cool!
One of the fun ways to capture memories are by taking photos with some of the LEGO costume characters you run into in the Park. We’ve met Wyldstyle, Emmet, UniKitty, pirates and knights, friends in LEGO Ninjago World, and the LEGO friends.legoland-wyldstyleGranny’s Apple Fries Are a MUST! (among other LEGOLAND snacks) 
It’s no secret that I love finding good things to eat. You know this if you follow me on Instagram. I cannot visit LEGOLAND without getting myself an order of Granny’s Apple Fries. These sweet treats are Granny Smith apples, cut into “fries” shapes, deep fried to perfection, and coated in sugar and cinnamon. They’re served with whipped cream for dipping and are out of this world! legoland-apple-friesLEGO Friends Heartlake City is adorable!
One of my daughter’s favorite areas in the Park is LEGO Friends Heartlake City. Back in 2015, the LEGO Friends Heartlake City area opened inside the Park and it’s so much fun to visit because you feel like you’ve stepped right inside of one of the LEGO Friends episodes. The color palette and the decor in HEARTLAKE city adorable and there’s also a stage in the center of the area where LEGO Friends perform several times a day.legoland-lego-friends-benchBrick or Treat Nights are fun! 
LEGOLAND offers a special ticketed event every fall called Brick or Treat. The tickets (or portion to add on to your regular ticket) is very reasonable and allows you to get into the park fora fun and not so spooky night of Halloween fun. There are trick-or-treat stations set up around the park for guests of all ages, even the adults, to go “trick or treating”. Some of the stations even give out LEGO brick sets. There are also cute Halloween decorations throughout the Park, special dance parties, a costuem contest, and a few other surprises. It’s one of our favorite things to do each Halloween season. Oh, and everyone can dress up. Even the adutls. You can read my post about our experience at Brick or Treat herelegoland-brick-or-treat-pumpkinlegoland-brick-or-treat-costumesLEGOLAND Waterpark! 
Our family loves the fact that we can spend part of our day at the Resort, inside the LEGOLAND Waterpark. Since the weather is so nice in Southern California, the waterpark is usually open all the way through October, so we like to visit a couple of times each season.legoland-waterpark-1 There are all types of slides inside the waterpark, some more “thrilling” than otheres, just depending on how “brave” you are. legoland-waterpark-lazy-river Inside of the LEGOLAND waterpark there are also play and splash areas, a Lazy River, and plenty of seating, including Cabanas that you can rent ffor the day.  (for a fee.) Also, a new area called “Surfers Cove” was recently added to the waterpark. *Please note: You need to purchase a Park Hopper ticket to gain access to the LEGOLAND Waterpark area, as it’s inside of LEGOLAND.legoland-california-resort-giveaway

giveaway-enter-to-winAre you ready for some exciting news? I have teamed up with a group of other bloggers to host an amazing giveaway! One winner will win 4 LEGOLAND California Resort Park Hopper tickets! It’s simple to enter, just leave a comment on this post AND go below and enter through the Rafflecopter. Good luck and thanks for reading!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 “Giveaway open to US Residents Only. No purchase necessary to enter. All readers have an equal chance to win, however, you must enter to win. A winner will be randomly selected via RaffleCopter and notified via email. I will attempt to contact the winner for 3 days. If the winner cannot be reached by email, a new winner will be selected the same way. There are several different ways to earn entries. One prize per household. The winner will receive, free of charge, the prize mentioned above. This prize is not available for exchanges and has no cash value. Prizes are not transferable or refundable and must be accepted as awarded. The winner is responsible for any and all other costs and expenses not listed above. Not liable for unclaimed prizes or fulfillment.”

CHOC Children’s Opens New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with All Private Rooms

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

 

CHOC Children’s Hospital opened its new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with 36 all private rooms, a feature that will allow parents the opportunity to stay close to their newborns receiving intensive care. This is such wonderful news and will be of service to so many families in need.choc-childrens-nicu-birdseyeThe 25,000-square-foot unit nearly triples the size of the hospital’s previous Level 4 NICU, which included an open layout that grouped patients in pod-style beds.choc-childrens-nicu-level-4The new unit, located on the fourth floor of CHOC’s Bill Holmes Tower, creates a homey atmosphere with sleeping quarters and storage space outfitted in warm colors and wooden accents to help parents feel more comfortable while their infants receive highly specialized care for extended periods of time.choc-childrens-nicu-private-room

“CHOC is proud to offer private rooms to our smallest patients and their parents. No one’s vision of parenthood includes a NICU stay, but our new unit will provide parents with the space and privacy to get to know their new baby, and reassurance that they’ll be nearby while their newborn receives the highest level of care.” – Dr. Vijay Dhar, medical director of CHOC’s NICU.

Private NICU rooms are a new standard for improved patient outcomes. Benefits for babies cared for in single-family rooms include higher weight at discharge and more rapid weight gain. Also, they require fewer medical procedures and experience less stress, lethargy and pain. Researchers have attributed these findings to increased maternal involvement. A private-room setting provides space and privacy sought by parents to breastfeed, practice skin-to-skin bonding, and be more intimately involved in their baby’s care. Further, individual rooms allow parents to stay overnight with their newborn, and give staff more access and interaction with the family and patient.choc-childrens-nicu-room2In addition to private rooms, the new space includes other features that will enhance patient care. Should an infant need a sudden surgical procedure, three rooms within the unit can quickly be converted into space for surgeries. The unit will also include a life-saving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) unit. Rooms that adjoin can be used to accommodate triplets.choc-childrens-nicu-same-handedSafety features include same-handed rooms, wherein equipment is positioned in the same location among all rooms to reduce human error; room-adjacent nursing alcoves; and an in-unit nutrition lab for the preparation of breast milk and formula.choc-childrens-nicu-family-dining-areaCHOC’s new unit also features a family dining space, a room dedicated for siblings, a lactation room and other amenities to ensure the comfort of the entire family.
choc-childrens-nicu-family-play-areaFor several decades, CHOC has served infants requiring the highest level of care. With the unit’s opening, CHOC’s neonatal services now include 72 beds at CHOC Orange and the CHOC Children’s NICU at St. Joseph Hospital, and 22 beds at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital. In addition, a team of premier CHOC neonatologists care for babies at hospitals throughout Southern California.choc-childrens-nicu-receptionA suite of specialized services comprises the CHOC NICU: the Surgical NICU, which provides dedicated care to babies needing or recovering from surgery; the Small Baby Unit, where infants with extremely low birth weights receive coordinated care; the Neurocritical NICU, where babies with neurological problems are cohorted; and the Cardiac NICU, which provides comprehensive care for neonates with congenital heart defects.choc-childrens-nicu-wall-of-hopePlease visit http://www.choc.org/nicu to learn more about CHOC’s neonatal services.

Images are property of CHOC Children’s and used with permission. 

 

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announces Exciting Additions at D23 Expo

Oh my goodness, so many exciting announcements came out at this year’s D23 Expo!  Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced an extraordinary line-up of brand new attractions and experiences coming to its parks and resorts around the world as it continues to revolutionize the guest experience! disneyland-resort-bob-chapekWalt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek  unveiled more than a dozen new experiences coming to Disney parks and resorts and gave a sneak peek at much-anticipated projects in development and I’m excited to share them with you! D23-expo-bob-chapek-speaks-to-fansSeveral Imagineers joined the presentation by providing details of the creativity, imagination and innovation in development around the world. Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios John Lasseter also shared his enthusiasm for plans to include a larger Pixar presence at Disneyland Resort. In addition, there was an announcement that Fantasmic! returned to Disneyland Park last night, two nights earlier than it’s original date of  July 17th, in honor of the Expo. fantasmic-mickey

“On the heels of the many new and incredibly popular experiences that just debuted this year, the best is yet to come. We have ambitious plans for our parks and resorts around the world. We’re investing in the guest experience like never before, and we’re doing it all in way that is only possible at Disney!” Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

From new lodging and transportation options that make getting around more fun, to original
storytelling and immersive experiences based on guests’ favorites, Disney continues to provide unparalleled vacation destinations for guests across the globe in even more exciting ways than ever before.

The big D23 Expo announcements included:

  • An Unprecedented First Look at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
    Fans were elated to hear their Star Wars stories will come to life in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the newly announced name for the Star Wars-themed lands. Chapek shared exciting new details and a glimpse inside the two anchor attractions, including one that puts guests right in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance where guests will feel like they are inside a hangar bay on a Star Destroyer. Guests will also have the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon, where each guest is critical to the mission’s success. milleninum-falcon-attractionChapek also revealed many characters that guests will meet, including BB-8, Chewbacca, Rex and Kylo Ren. Representing the largest single-themed land expansion at 14 acres each, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in 2019, with the first land debuting at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, then at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando.star-wars-battle-attraction
  • Timeless Transformation of Epcot Revealed
    Looking ahead to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, there are grand plans to complete the transformation that started with the debut of New Fantasyland in 2014. There are plans across Epcot to realize the original vision of the park while making it more timeless and relevant than ever before. Patterned after the number one family attraction at Disneyland Paris, Ratatouille will be added in an all-new space in the France pavilion at World Showcase. Walt-Disney-World-Epcot-RatatouilleEpcot will also see the addition of a brand new E-ticket attraction based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy, the next step in how guests can encounter these characters at Walt Disney World Resort.Walt-Disney-World-Epcot-Guardians-ExteriorWalt-Disney-World-Epcot-Guardians-Interior In Future World, a new Green Mission at Mission: SPACE will take guests on a stunning tour around the Earth, and an updated Orange Mission will make the trip to Mars even more spectacular. Walt-Disney-World-Epcot-Mission-SpaceAdjacent to Mission: Space will be a new restaurant that will invite guests to travel high above the earth for an unforgettable dining experience.Walt-Disney-World-Epcot-Space-Restaurant
  • More Thrills than Ever Planned for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom
    Disney remains at the cutting edge of deeply immersive, creative storytelling that draws guests into new worlds, and it is a legacy that lives on in every new Disney Parks experience. The first ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, will come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Walt-Disney-World-Mickey-attractionWith a new original story and lovable attraction theme song, this new state-of-the-art ride-through attraction will take guests on a journey inside the wacky and unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts using new technologies that transform the flat cartoon world into an incredible dimensional experience.
    Chapek also announced that the highest rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is coming to Walt Disney World Resort. A thrilling, Tron-themed attraction will be added in a new area near Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom.Walt-Disney-World-Magic-Kingdom-TronWalt-Disney-World-Magic-Kingdom-TRON-2Additionally, a new live entertainment theater coming to Main Street, U.S.A., based on the iconic Willis Theater in 1920s Kansas City, will bring world-class entertainment to the world’s most popular park.Walt-Disney-World-Magic-Kingdom-Theatre
  • Pixar Fun at the Happiest Place on Earth
    In addition to announcing the summer 2018 opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Chapek was joined by Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios John Lasseter to unveil plans for Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure, where the pier will take on a brand new look as more favorite Pixar characters and stories come to life, from The Incredibles, to Inside Out to even more Toy Story. Chapek also announced there is more Pixar in store during Pixar Fest at Disneyland Resort. Starting in 2018, this limited-time offering will include a new fireworks spectacular as well as special characters and entertainment moments.As part of the celebration, the Pixar Play Parade will return to Disneyland Resort, this time at Disneyland Park and the fan favorite Paint the Night Parade will move to Disney California Adventure, one of Disney’s longest parade routes.Disneyland-Pixar-Pier
  • Disney Cruise Line to Double the Size of its Fleet by 2023
    Chapek surprised the crowd by announcing that Disney Cruise Line will add one more ship in its expansion to take family cruise vacations to a whole new level. Joining the other two new ships that were announced just last year, all three ships will be powered by one of the cleanest-burning fuels available, liquefied natural gas. When all three ships are completed by 2023, Disney Cruise Line will have nearly doubled the size of the fleet.Disney-Cruise-line-seventh-ship
  • Immersive Hotel Concepts
    Among the announcements were projects that infuse even more exciting experiences for resort hotel guests in ways that are only possible at Disney. To the delight of fans, Chapek confirmed ambitious plans to create the most experiential concept ever in an immersive Star Wars-themed hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. Dedicated entirely to the galaxy of Star Wars, it will be a one-of-a-kind experience where a luxury resort meets a multi-day adventure in a galaxy far, far away.Walt-Disney-World-Star-Wars-Themed-ResortWalt-Disney-World-Star-Wars-Themed-Resort-2Adding to the immersive resort hotel slate, Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel at Disneyland Paris will transport guests to the action-packed world of Super Heroes, including Iron Man, The Avengers, Spider-Man and more. Guests will be able to explore the Marvel Universe through its comic art, films, Super Hero costumes and more, displayed in the style of a contemporary art galleryDisneyland-Paris-Hotel-New-York-LobbyDisneyland-Paris-New-York-HotelLeading up to the July 17 opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, Chapek also announced the proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property, Disney Riviera Resort, coming to Walt Disney World Resort near Epcot.Disney-Vacation-Club-Riviera-Resort
  • Seamless Transportation Options
    Completing the immersion so guests never have to leave the story while on a Disney vacation, Chapek announced plans that will make getting around Walt Disney World Resort even more fun. An all-new Minnie Van service will provide a point-to-point transportation service in a way that only Disney can do, giving guests an even more seamless resort vacation from start to finish.Walt-Disney-World-Minnie-Van-ServiceAdditionally, a whole new transportation system called Disney Skyliner will give guests a birdseye view of Walt Disney World Resort. This brand new system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts, as well as the proposed new Disney Riviera Resort, with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.Walt-Disney-World-Skylinerwalt-disney-world-skyline-2
  • Honoring the Heritage of Disney Parks
    In a memorable tribute to the legacy of beloved attractions, entertainment and characters, fans enjoyed a special one-time-only performance of entertainment numbers from Disney Parks through the years. Following the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade, Chapek hinted there are even more fan favorites in store from Disney Parks’ storied past.

I’m so overwhelmed, in a good way, by all of these amazing announcements and can’t wait to see it all come to fruition at Disney Parks and Resorts! What are you most excited for?

Images are property of Disney Parks. 

 

LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat Now Open at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

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

 

Have you heard the exciting news? LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat is now open at LEGOLAND Florida Resort! These all-new accommodations give guests great new reasons to play and stay!legoland-florida-beach-retreat-1Filled with creative LEGO® theming inside and out, the village-style vacation resort features brightly colored bungalows grouped into 13 horseshoe-shaped “coves” named after popular LEGO Minifigures. The fun begins almost immediately, thanks to a drive-through check-in process that will take you from your car to your cove in minutes. This speedy service makes staying at LEGOLAND Beach Retreat as carefree as a day at the beach.legoland-florida-beach-retreat-4Designed to look like larger-than-life LEGO sets, 83 bungalows offer 166 separate rooms that sleep up to five, including a cozy area just for kids with a bunk bed, trundle bed and privacy curtain.legoland-florida-resort-beach-retreat-6legoland-florida-resort-beach-retreat-7They’re an ideal solution for families and groups traveling together, or for those seeking a fun new way to vacation at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Each cove has its own outdoor play area within view of the bungalows’ shaded patios, where mom and dad can relax while kids romp and run.legoland-beach-retreat-2Opening less than two years after the debut of the popular 152-room LEGOLAND Hotel, and with its own unique, outdoor-themed amenities, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat more than doubles accommodations at the Florida vacation destination. Along with picturesque lake views and a giant LEGO lighthouse featuring a real rotating beacon, highlights also include:

  • A giant swimming pool next to The Lighthouse, with an adjacent sandy area perfect for building sandcastles and the resort’s biggest outdoor play structure for kids.
  • Sandy’s Castle Restaurant, featuring a bountiful menu of entrees, sides and desserts designed to please the palates of kids and grownups alike. A delicious breakfast buffet is included with each night’s stay.
  • Bricks Beach Bar, offering an eclectic menu of made-to-order food, drinks and creative cocktails served both poolside and indoors.
  • Palm Tree Traders, a large retail shop stocked with LEGO building sets and Minifigures, apparel, toys, swimwear, snacks and sundries.
  • A hands-on LEGO building station where kids can contribute their original creations to a giant sandcastle made out of thousands of LEGO bricks.
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the site.
  • Complimentary transportation to the theme park entrance, as well as complimentary parking in LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s main parking lot for guests who choose to drive.
  • Early access to the LEGOLAND Florida theme park, with exclusive use of some of the most popular attractions, including the all-new LEGO NINJAGO® World and LEGO NINJAGO The Ride.

legoland-florida-resort-beach-retreat-5Located three-quarters of a mile from the theme park entrance on the tranquil shores of Lake Dexter in Winter Haven, Fla., LEGOLAND Beach Retreat represents the latest milestone in the largest period of growth and expansion in the five-year history of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, with theming and architecture unique among the eight LEGOLAND resorts worldwide.legoland-florida-beach-retreat-3The Florida site is the first LEGOLAND resort in North America to offer a second accommodation type for overnight and multi-day stays. Nightly room rates start at $135 (plus tax and resort fee) and vary by season, date and availability. Packages including theme park tickets also are available, and Awesomer and Awesomest Annual Pass Members receive a 10 percent discount year-round. To book a stay, visit http://www.LEGOLAND.com/florida or call (877) 350-5346, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.legoland-florida-resort-beach-retreat-logo

About LEGOLAND Florida Resort 
More than 50 rides, shows and attractions inspired by the LEGO and DUPLO® brands await at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, including experiences based on “The LEGO Movie™,” LEGO NINJAGO, LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS™, LEGO City, LEGO Technic and LEGO Friends. Upcoming events included with park admission include including KIDZ BOP Weekend (April 28-30), LEGO® Star Wars™ Days (May 6-7 and 13-14) and LEGOLAND Knight Lights (every Saturday and Sunday in July, plus Tuesday, July 4).

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