The Corona Virus has taken completely over our lives, and it’s time to turn something negative into a fun project that sparks joy. In normal circumstances, I would encourage art projects that might require an errand for supplies. With the way things are at the moment, I wanted to create projects in which the supplies are easy to order online, or you may already have them around your house. The world may not have a ton of toilet paper at the moment, but we all have a roll or two that is empty, so collect those and set them aside for this cute craft! Here we go!
For this craft project, you will need the following supplies:
Toilet paper roll
Small amount of potting soil
First, you will take your toilet paper roll and decorate it with the markers. This is where the kids can make their own unique design, and explore their creativity. You can also have them write down on the roll what they are grateful for, draw images of things they see in nature, etc.
After your toilet paper rolls are decorated, it’s time to attach the wooden base to the roll. I found a pack of wooden craft pieces on Amazon and was able to have them shipped directly to my door, so there is no need to head out for supplies. Take your glue gun and run the glue around the base of the toilet paper roll. Then stick it to the wooden base.
Once you have glued tour toilet paper roll to the wooden base, fill the toilet paper roll about halfway with some soil. If you don’t have potting soil on hand, head to your backyard and snag some soil from the ground. It’s all about social distancing at the moment, so minimizing errands is key. After it’s filled about half way, set it aside and grab your pipe cleaner and beads. Have your kid string the beads on in any pattern they like. Once they are done, take the decorated pipe cleaner and twist it around the toilet paper roll.
Now that the toilet paper planter is decorated, it’s time to add the plant to the top. Before things in the world got crazy, I headed to Home Depot and snagged a few succulent plants for another project I had planned. So I happened to have some ready to go. IF you don’t have these just laying around, don’t worry! We’ve been encouraged as a society to take walks in nature, so go take a walk! Once you come across a succulent plant, take a piece off. Succulent plants thrive, even when being broken off. So, this backup plan is more than efficient to complete this project. Take your succulent plant and gently push it down into the toilet paper roll. That’s it! Now you have a cute way to display our planet’s most prized possession: The toilet paper roll. Enjoy and be safe! Don’t forget to wash your hands.
It’s almost St. Patty’s Day, which means it’s the perfect time for a yummy and festive treat. Kid approved as always, my recipes are never hard and always contain some element in which the kids can help. This time, we’re on the hunt for some gold! Jell-O gold coins are the easiest things to make, and along with a few inexpensive additions, you can really get creative with your setup. Here are a list of ingredients you will need:
Two boxes of lemon flavored “Jell-O”
9×13 glass pan
Small glass jar
Coin shaped cookie cutter
Rainbow striped candy (optional)
After you have gathered together your ingredients, take 2 1/2 cups of water and set it to boil. Once it’s boiling, remove from the heat and gently add your two packets of Jell-O. Do not add cold water. Once it’s mixed in, take the yellow liquid and pour into your 9×13 dish. For thicker coins, you can use a different dimension. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Once your yellow Jell-O has firmed up, take your coin shaped cookie cutter and cut out your coins. This process can be tedious if the Jell-O isn’t firm enough, so make sure it’s completely ready before you do this step. Cut out your coins and stack them into your glass cup. I found a cauldron shaped bowl at the Dollar Tree in the floral section, but you can choose any container you like.
Once you’ve filled up your glass jar with gold Jell-O coins, take your shamrock stickers and decorate the jar. You can also add the rainbow candy strip on top as a faux rainbow by shoving the ends down on each side of the jar. At that point, you are ready to enjoy your pot of gold! The kids are capable of helping you with each step of this process, but you may want to hide your hard work and have your little leprechaun search for it! The hunt can be equally delicious! Enjoy!
Do you ever have a day at the parks planned, and then the weather comes and ruins all the fun? How about not knowing that rain was in the forecast, and being stuck at the parks unprepared? I’ve been in BOTH of those scenarios, and let me tell you, it’s not fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love the rain! The smell of the earth after the showers stop. The warm and cozy feels it brings. What I don’t like, is my stuff getting soaking wet, and that includes my kids. So is it actually possible to enjoy Disney with a rainy day forecast ahead? Absolutely. As long as you’re prepared ahead of time.
When it comers to rainy day park preparation, the first place i suggest starting is the stroller cover. Each stroller should have a coinciding rain cover for sale. I have made the mistake of traveling to the parks without my stroller cover and using a blanket instead. Spoiler alert: It’s NOT the same thing. Investing in a rain cover for your stroller is worth every cent it costs. Why? The cover is designed specifically to snug around your stroller, keeping everything, including your child, dry and happy. Most also come with a zipper on the side to allow your child to get in and out, without having to uncover everything else. I use the Joovy “Zoom 360 Ultralight” stroller and I swear by it. Hands down, best stroller I’ve ever had. They make a rain cover for it as well. I’ve linked both below:
If you need additional dry storage, I would suggest taking advantage of the lockers they have available around the parks. If you are enjoying Disney’s California Adventure Park, there are full body dryers for $5 next to Grizzly Rapids. The water is a part of the process, but these options are here to help eliminate ruining your things, or creating a damper on your fun. Pun intended.
If you’re wondering what to do on a rainy day, the answer is everything you would normally do, but slightly altered. Some attractions are closed when the weather gets wet. Some of those are as follows:
Storybook Canal Boats
Mad Tea Party Spinning Teacups
Tom Sawyer’s Island
The Golden Zephyr
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
There are also a list of rides (not all options listed) that stay open regardless of the weather. Those rides are as follows:
Most Fantasyland Rides like:
Alice in Wonderland
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
It’s A Small World
King Arthur’s Carousel
Other rides in various lands including:
Winnie The Pooh
Splash Mountain (hey, you’re already wet)
Tiki Tiki Room
The Little Mermaid
Just head to the nearest information desk or City Hall on Main Street to ask what is available for the day. It often changes depending on how bad the weather actually is. Sometimes they will have the fireworks show in the rain, as long as wind isn’t an issue. Most of the time, they will replace it with a light show. Most often, parades are cancelled due to the rain. Character meet and greets are still available, but locations to where the characters are might change. If you are on the lookout for a certain character, ask the information desk at City Hall as to their whereabouts.
Above all, HAVE FUN and don’t worry if things don’t go as planned. Maybe you didn’t know it was going to rain. Maybe you’ve had this trip planned for months and there is just nothing you can do about the timing. The fact of the matter is, we’ll wait in line for over an hour for a water ride during the Summer. So as long as we’re prepared, a little water never really bothered anybody. You’re at the Happiest Place on Earth regardless of the rain. It’s still a beautiful day no matter what. Embrace the unexpected, but try to pack and plan ahead if possible. These are the things I always take with me for a rainy day:
Ponchos (they also sell them at the Parks)
Stroller Cover (I keep it in the car at all times)
Rain boots & Extra Shoes (I keep in the locker)
Towels and Extra Clothes
Portable Hand Warmers
Thermos of warm water or soup
Large waterproof bags for wet clothes. I love Bumkins Wet Bags:
If you’re staying in a hotel around the area, take a break and change. Sometimes all that constant rain pour can tire you out. So take a break and warm up, then head on back. If you’re not staying local, maybe just plan for a half day. The absolute best time to go to the Disneyland Resort is in the rain because there are virtually no lines for rides. The parks are empty and you can still enjoy a variety of shows and attractions. Just know your limit and come as prepared as possible. There are various fun buildings to explore that are completely covered. My favorite spot is the Animation Academy, specifically “Turtle Talk With Crush.” Utilize those spaces to wait out the storm and try something new.
I hope some of this helped. Like i said, above all, have fun and roll with the day and how it unfolds. This type of thing is not in our control, so it’s best to enjoy what we can. The rain can be really fun for the kids, and kids at heart. Don’t forget that umbrella!
When it comes to where our family goes to “get away for a bit,” there is only one place we head to. The Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim is located just a few minutes away from the Disneyland Resort. It is a family friendly hotel that is stacked with things to do! From the balloon swords that are given at check-in, to the adventurous “Castaway Cove” water playground, everything is themed around pirates! My kids love to snag a chocolate treasure coin when we arrive, along with a pirate hat. The staff is always so nice to the kids and are there to help with anything we may need. Traveling with an infant or small child? No need to worry. They have cribs available to use in the rooms for your stay. We used the cribs when Kensey was smaller and it was a huge life saver to not have to bring our travel crib!
Once you’ve checked in, you get to head up to your room if it’s ready for use. The rooms in building one are fully renovated, complete with an Alexa in every room! That means dance parties on command and that is really what life is all about, right? The other buildings are being remodeled as well, and in time the entire hotel will be modernized, but still have their throwback flair. Each room around the property has a vintage feel to their decor. Scattered around the rooms are old artwork of popular rides and attractions in Disneyland Park, as well as a Mickey or two. The bathrooms also come equipped with a rubber ducky, as the rubber ducky is a HOJO staple, and often displayed in artwork around the property.
Let’s talk water play! Castaway Cay is a pirate themed water playground that has something for every age level. Are your kids more on the smaller side? The have a one foot wading pool located to the side of the water park, along with a smaller water slide option. Got bigger and taller ones? This water park comes complete with a bigger slide and the best dump bucket around! I love watching the kids rush to the center as they hear the ticking of the bucket turning over. TIDAL WAVE! What would a pirate themed water park be without some water guns! Those babies are scattered around, making it easy to shoot your target without being caught! It’s easily the best time in the late Spring and Summer, when the temperature spikes and heading to the pools is a must! I would say, it’s a better option on those days than the parks! There are some trips where we will spend the majority of the day at Castaway Cay than head to Disney, and we love it!
Looking for a more relaxing experience at the pool? There is a second pool location that is not centered around the water park. It’s a nice and relaxing option where they have towels on site for your use, as well as many lounge chairs to take a nice nap by the pool, or catch up on a good read. There is also a Jacuzzi located next to the water park side, and both locations are open until 10pm. It is hands down the coolest experience to watch the Disneyland fireworks from the Jacuzzi in Castaway Cay, I highly recommend it! A great second option for a hotel fireworks viewing is your hotel balcony! Lots of rooms have a perfect view of the show, and weather permitting, you don’t need to be inside Disneyland to enjoy one of it’s major attractions!
Aside from the walking distance to Disney parks and great entertainment the hotel has to offer, this mom especially loves that there is a Keurig coffee machine in every room! Complete with little coffee pods, it’s the absolute best thing to have when you need to be up at dawn for a Rise Of The Resistance boarding pass. Another favorite amenity of mine is the beauty ring that surrounds the mirror in the bathroom. I have never looked more glam getting ready in my life! The lighting makes the perfect tool for getting ready in the morning and looking your best!
Whether you’re looking for a fun getaway with the family, or are trying to map out your next Disney trip, be sure to make the Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim your home base for it. If it’s Disney you’re there for, they have all you need to make your stay enjoyable. If you’re looking to explore other things besides Disney, they offer shuttles to fun places like Universal Studios, Los Angeles and Hollywood, and more. The hotel is also located very closely to things like the Anaheim Packing District, Downtown Disney, the Honda Center, and Angel’s Stadium. Save a ton of money by not booking at a resort property, and stay at the HOJO! To book now, click on the link below:
It’s officially March! Time to get festive with this homemade play dough recipe that your kids can help make too! Most of these steps are completely kid friendly, but they do require some adult supervision. To begin, you will need to gather the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. cream of tartar
2-4 drops of green food coloring
1 cup of water
festive cookie cutters
Once you have your supplies, combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and water, and oil and mix well with a whisk. Once mixed, add a few drops of food coloring and continue to mix well. If you prefer a more vibrant colored play dough, add a few more drops of food coloring. These steps are easy and fun ways to get the kids involved. Depending on their age and abilities, have them help pour the ingredients into the bowl, or help stir together! Not only will it be a great bonding experience for you, they will learn just what goes into making play dough!
Once you have mixed the ingredients together, scoop up the dough mixture and drop it into a cooking pan or bowl. Cook on low to medium heat, stirring constantly. The play dough will begin to thicken and form a ball. Remove the ball of dough from the stove top and let it sit out to cool.
Once the play dough has cooled, it’s time to add the sparkle! Grab your kiddo and have him or her knead the dough until the cracks and bumps start to disappear. Once it starts to resemble the store bought thing, slowly add gold and green glitter to the center of the play dough. Have your child start to knead in the glitter until it has spread to all the parts of the dough. After that, it’s time to play! I found the cutest set of St. Patrick’s Day themed cookie cutters on Amazon, and I’ll be sure to link it at the end of this post.
I had a blast making home made play dough with Emma! It completely took me back to my childhood during the Summer, where we would make it all the time! The smell of home made play dough is just something of pure magic, don’t you agree? Plus, this activity is a really fun way to get your kids involved in something crafty, with minimal mess involved. I hope you have a blast making this shamrock colored creation! Happy March!
When it comes to throwing any type of party, I’ve officially got a GO-TO Team! The company is called Magic Jump Rentals, and they truly are magic and more! Magic Jump Rentals is a party rental service that covers the Los Angeles County and surrounding areas. Come March, they’ll be servicing the Antelope Valley and San Diego areas! When it comes to customer service, product quality, and safety, there is no one better!
I’ve had the pleasure of using Magic Jump Rentals for both of the girl’s parties this year, and each time I’ve had nothing but positive and memorable experiences. Not only is the process to order online so simple, they are thorough at making sure you are satisfied with your experience! They are always on time with your order, and for me they we’re flexible with pick up time! Each party we we’re able to enjoy the bouncers a bit longer than originally agreed upon, which the kids LOVED! The bouncers always showed up completely clean and they were inflated within minutes of arriving! Safety is of the highest importance to Magic Jump Rentals. The day of Emma’s party, there was a small chance of rain. Policy states that they cannot deliver if the weather calls for rain, due to safety. As much of a bummer as that sounds, the safety of the children attending our party was the most important thing to them. Did i mention that they are more than just inflatables?! Like, WAY more! They have everything from carnival games to rock walls and zip lines, concession machines, photo booths and more! There are endless possibilities to how you can amp up your next party with Magic Jump!
To learn more about Magic Jump Rentals, or to book them for your necxt party, head to:
Believe it or not, it IS possible to throw a “beach party” in February. Tricky? Yes. Impossible. No.
Emma had her heart dead set on a beach party theme, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her no. So off to Pinterest I went. There were a lot of cute ideas I wanted to implement, so if you’re ever in a jam, seriously Pinterest is a miracle worker! The main highlights for Emma’s party according to Emma had to be:
Bounce house complete with slide
Cheeseballs and Gushers must be present
Pizza, lots and lots of pizza
Ice cream cake, and it must be cookies n’ cream
Limbo- for prizes
That didn’t seem like too bad of a list, and I am so happy to report that all of her requests were met. When it came to the bounce house, there was no other company I would go to other than Magic Jump Rentals. If you read my previous blog post about Kensey’s Frozen themed party, you know just how awesome they are! I wouldn’t count on any other party rental company for my events.
After preparing for this party for weeks, I felt like I had everything ironed out. Then the weather decided to throw a curveball at me and anticipate rain on the day of the party. With only a few days to spare before party day, I needed to figure out entertainment for a few dozen kids, and FAST. I contacted Magic Jump Rentals to see what my options were. I learned that due to safety reasons, they won’t deliver bounce houses when rain is present. They did however offer me four carnival games in exchange, which was music to my ears, because that will entertain the kids for hours, all while staying on theme. The carnival games reminded me of the fun boardwalks by the beach, so it completely worked! I was so relieved to have worked with a company that was so fast to fix the issue, and not leave me hanging without a plan. It completely turned the party around! I also ordered some “sand in a bottle kits” for each kid to create as a backup plan for the rain. No one was going to be bored on my watch.
The weather was at a 50% chance of rain come the night before the party, so we decided to play it safe and bring on the carnival games. I woke up on party day with a clear idea of how the party was going to go, and then the rain disappeared completely from the weather app! I quickly called Magic Jump Rentals and scheduled the original jumper to be delivered again, but let’s add a few carnival games, because I seriously moved furniture for this concept. I was relieved that the kids would have the bounce house she originally wanted, but now we have some extra fun to make this party complete. Again, Magic Jump Rentals was a BIG reason this party went to smoothly, so I can’t thank them enough.
It was time for the day of the party! Sunny (and cloudy) skies ahead, and a birthday girl full of excitement. After running around like a chicken with my head cut off all morning for prep, the party was ready to begin right at noon, all while I was still in my pajamas. After quickly changing into something less “swamp mom chic” I was ready to party! This beach bash had it all: tropical bounce house complete with obstacle course and slide, carnival games, a s’mores cart, as well as a ton of other fun activities and delicious food. I’m not one for pinatas, it’s just too much work for okay candy. So, we decided to create some fantastic goodie bags for the kids to take home instead.
Once the party began, it was just consistent chaos until about 5pm, which was only a few hours past the party end time. Since we had the bounce house until dark, I kept it open for the kids to stay and play if they wanted to. That was a blast for Emma, but boy was I ready for the day to end! The day began though, with s’mores. K Franco events hooked it UP for Emma’s party! Knowing her theme was a beach theme, they came fully decked out in beach aesthetic for their cart! She had a special custom sign with Emma’s name and the menu for the day. Upon ordering, she toasts the marshmallow on the spot and even melts the chocolate a bit, creating the most perfect and mouth watering s’more. Like them extra toasty? You got it! We had a full hour of on the spot s’mores and I was more than okay with this being my lunch! If you’re ever looking for that extra special touch to add to your next event, look no further. K Franco events has done everything from baby showers to weddings and more! These chic little square mallows make it a bit leveled up than your average s’more. I cant thank K Franco Events enough, and I cant wait to use them again!
After indulging ourselves in s’mores, I decided to snag some pizza to even things out. I’m all for desserts first, but all these kids needed a legit lunch. Along with pizza, they snacked on veggies and chips, and after all of that was finished, we sang Happy Birthday with ice cream cake. I got Emma a personal sized ice cream cake as well as a much larger one for her friends. After lunch, the kiddos enjoyed making sand art. I found the bottles and small funnels as a kit on Amazon, along with the sand to compliment the project. The kids loved how they could use the colors of the rainbow to create something beautiful for their family. Each creation looked different than the one next, and it was a beautiful sight to see. We also gathered the kids together for a fun game of limbo. I was quite impressed with just how flexible these kids really are! After some food and fun, the party came to an end. Everyone took home a goodie bag filled with toys and treats, all of which i got in a kit off, of course, Amazon. The fun addition to the bags were our favorites, Sunstaches! We LOVE Sunstaches because they are actual functional sunglasses with a fun twist to them. We use them for theme parks trips, car rides, and of course, party favors. They create everything from Disney to DC and even funny avocado glasses! Seriously, name your theme, they got something for that! They were kind enough to provide the glasses for her party, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Since it was a beach theme, we went with Ariel mermaid glasses for the girls and boat captain theme for the boys. They we’re a total hit!
Bottom line is, with a little bit of patience and creativity, and an Amazon prime membership, a beach party is totally possible any time of the year. I relied heavy on Pinterest for my ideas, like using a fisherman’s net and small clips to hang pictures on it. Then i took to Amazon and tried to minimize the extra work, like decorations and goodie bags. If you have a kid over the age of two, chances are a bounce house is all the entertainment they need. Most party rental places will have a beach or tropical bouncer as an option, but I would definitely check Magic Jump Party Rentals if you’re in the Southern California area. Having carnival games was certainly not on the original list of ideas, but having it there added the “boardwalk” element I didn’t even know was missing. It allowed the traffic in the bounce house to spread out a bit, and gave kids who needed a break an option for something else to do. Magic Jump had dozens of games to choose from, and we ended up choosing the ring toss and duck hunt. I also purchased tropical style temporary tattoos and had a station all set up with a wet sponge ready to go. I felt like there was more than enough to keep the kids happy and entertained, so I’m going to consider this party a total success! A HUGE Thank You to all who came out and celebrated our incredible Emma! The party would NOT have been a success without the people we love to share in the day, and that is what truly matters most.
I would like to personally thank Nicole Long Photography for providing all of the photos used in this post. She is absolute MAGIC behind the camera and specializes in family and engagement shoots, but also content creation at theme parks and anywhere else your heart desires in So Cal! Be sure to head to her Instagram at @NicoleLongPhotography or visit her site at:
You can also have the beach party of your dreams by booking your party needs through Magic Jump Rentals. Although I originally contacted them about a bounce house, they offer SO much more than that! And that customer service… their help picked my sad state off the floor after finding out about the rain and I can never thank them enough for that! They were punctual on BOTH parties on drop off and picking up. The bouncers were clean and ready to be used! Even after a small amount of rain happened, we used towels to dry it off and the towels were practically clean after wiping! To a germ hating mom, this is music to my ears! If you’re in the So Cal or Los Angeles area, do yourself a favor and visit them at:
Emma’s blue tie-dye romper was from Justice and Kensey’s rainbow dress is from Cotton On Kids. The party decor was a mix of Target and Party City, and the balloons are all from Party City. The ice cream cake I custom ordered at Baskin Robbins and was delicious!
I know what you’re probably thinking…WHAT is the Micechat Gumball Rally? To put it into its simplest form, it’s a contest/scavenger hunt in which the goal is to visit as many Disneyland attractions as possible in the time allotted. It’s the MOST fun you will ever have at Disneyland, I promise you that! Upon registration, teams of anywhere from 2 to 4 run around Disneyland (Not DCA) from opening all the way to sundown, trying to cram in as many attractions as possible. The winner receives a one of a kind trophy made out of a gumball machine, where a talented artist has crafted around it to depict a famous ride from the parks. This year, the star of the show was the Materhorn, but the trophy also had the monorail and Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage! Being my first time in The Gumball Rally, I was in awe of the trophy’s beauty and wanted to win badly!
My team consisted of my bestfriend Jennifer (@Randomly_riley) as well as our friends Leah Green (@cutebowdaddyo) and her daughter Abby Shayne (@theabbyshayne). Our team name was “Livin’ La Vida Yoda” and we were all decked out with maracas (thanks Leah!) and cute “The Child” accessories from Buckledown Products (thanks Jenn!) We we’re ready to win! Due to my distance from Disneyland, I knew being local beforehand was key, because check-in for Gumball was 6:30am sharp! I would like to thank The Howard Johnson Hotel of Anaheim for hosting my stay, and allowing me to be walking distance from not only where i needed to check-in, but also the parks themselves.
My teammate Jenn and I were up at 5:15am to get ready for the Gumball Rally. After all, it might be early but i still want to look cute! Once we we’re ready to walk, we grabbed our coffees and headed out. Due to checking in at an event the evening before, all we needed to do was grab our lanyards and rule books. That was a bonus because girl, that line was no good! After hearing an overview of the rules and getting our books, it was time for everyone to make a mad dash to the park. Most of us we’re honestly heading to get that all important “Rise Of The Resistance” boarding pass, and the lines to get in were CRAZY! Somehow, we all made it into the parks by 8:04am, and snagged boarding group 130 for Rise, the highest it had ever gone. That was not a good sign, but that’s okay, Rise wasn’t listed in the rule book as an option and we had a job to do. It was time to head on some rides and visit some attractions!
The handbook that was given to us had the rides and attractions listed that we’re apart of the competition. Each ride or attraction had a point value to it, so depending on the value of the ride, that would help you determine your strategy. Most fast pass rides were only worth a point, which was a bummer to me because those are the rides I go on least due to being a mom. Once you boarding a ride or visited an attraction, you would need to answer a question on your handbook about the ride, as well as take a picture with your team and numbers and email it in to a specific email. That way, it prevents any cheating or planning ahead. Each year, the questions and rules change, allowing everyone to have an even playing field. We had NO strategy and just wanted to enjoy ourselves and the experience, as we we’re all first timers.
We started in Fantasyland and worked our way around most lands. Not all stops we’re rides, but “attractions” such as walking through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and visiting Mickey Mouse. Depending on the ride’s point worth and wait time, we decided to just have a blast and not worry about being first place. We only stopped for a few bathroom breaks and lunch, and hustled as fast as we could from ride to ride. Due to the popularity of Rise Of The Resistance , the parks we’re very crowded that day, which made it hard to accomplish all of what was to offer.
The latest you could turn in your ballots was 7pm. Our team was beyond tired by 4pm and couldn’t hang on another minute. We decided to call it, and head to Disney California Adventure for an early dinner and celebratory margarita. By the time we finished our meal, it seemed there might be a beacon of hope that we could ACTUALLY ride Rise Of The Resistance, so we decided to head back to the Howard Johnson Hotel to wait it out. The awards ceremony for the Gumball Rally was anticipated to begin around the time that our boarding passes could be called, so we made the hard decision to miss out on the ceremony. It was a long shot, but I personally have never been on the ride and don’t have the opportunity to get a boarding pass or even stay long enough to board. This was different. I had a hotel room and nothing stopping me from this epic moment.
An hour after leaving the parks, we get notified our boarding group had been called. Not only had boarding group 130 NEVER been called before, it was also the final boarding group of the night. We had 45 minutes to scan our boarding pass or it was curtains. We ran as fast as we could down Harbor Blvd. to scan our tickets to get in and we made it! Over an hour later, i left the ride a changed person. This ride is not like anything I have ever ridden and I cannot wait to go on it again and again and again! I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, I know the process of even getting a chance to ride is grueling. But I can tell you this, it’s worth the hours of waiting for your boarding group to be called and it’s certainly worth the early morning wake up call to score one!
But back to the Gumball Rally…
Like i said, I’ve never done the Gumball Rally before. This was my first experience, and I was asked to be on a team, led by our captain Jennifer. I immediately agreed when I found out the entire point was to visit as many attractions as i could! That to me just seemed like the Disney dream! As a mom of two littles, I don’t get to visit all of the attractions that the park has to offer. I actually got to ride the rides i loved, without talking my way out of it due to a long line, etc. The added element of answering a question about the attractions made it more like a scavenger hunt, which was super fun! I will never miss a Micechat Gumball Rally in the future, as this is the dream Disney day! Registration is required, so be sure to follow Micechat on Instagram as well as on their blog for updated information on the next event, as well as up to date Parks info!
I would like to thank Micechat for sponsoring our event tickets and allowing us to experience this day! I would also like to thank The Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim for hosting our weekend stay, and allowing my family to relax while i rode rides till I dropped.
The theme for this year’s Gumball Rally was to save the gumball “Child” which was a Mandalorian reference of the popular baby Yoda from the show. I am happy to report that the Gumball child has been saved, but sadly we did not place in the top 75 teams overall in points. Oh well, there’s always next year. Long live Livin’ La Vida Yoda!
I absolutely LOVED my outfit for the day, because it was cute and functional. Some of the pieces I already had in my closet, and some I bought specifically for the day. I linked the pieces still available, as well as some alternatives for your purchasing needs:
On February 12th, I was the lucky date of my best Galentine, Jennifer, to attend Disneyland’s After Dark event “Sweetheart’s Nite.” Jennifer, or as you may or may not know on Instagram as @randomly_riley , was asked by Mice Chat to write up a blog on her experience at a Disney After Dark event. When she asked me to be her date, of course I didn’t hesitate to say YES. I personally have never been to an after dark event, so I was excited to see what everyone had been talking about. All of the events that I have seen in the past from posts online have looked like so much fun!
“Sweetheart’s Nite” was originally conceptualized with the idea that couples young and old will attend with their “sweethearts.” I thought that attending with your “Galentine” or best girlfriend would be a great alternative to the traditional idea, and boy was it fun! The after hours event check in starts as early as 6pm. What that means is, if you purchased a ticket for the event, you can access Disneyland Park as early as 6pm at no additional cost! I personally am an annual passholder, so this made no difference to me. I did however, think it was pretty neat that you can enjoy the parks for 6 hours total for the cost of your ticket. It may not sound like much, but most of those hours are “after hours” hours, so the lines are minimal for rides once the event begins. We arrived dressed in our Galentine’s Day best about 6pm, and that was a mistake. Major traffic getting into the parking structure, so I would plan ahead on that one and carpool.
Once we we we’re parked, we decided to snag some dinner really quick before checking in. We headed to Disney California Adventure for some baked potato soup at Pacific Wharf Cafe, in which we mobile ordered as soon as we walked into the park. By the time we arrived on our three minute walk, it was ready for us! I highly recommend downloading the Disneyland app and mobile ordering your food when possible. It saves you time in line, which means more time for things you actually want to do. Once we ate, we headed back to the Disneyland gate, where we checked in and got our lanyards for the night. The lanyards act as an indicator to cast members that you are there for the event, because they are in the midst of getting regular guests to exit for the evening. Since there is an overlap of about an hour before things can begin, we grabbed our maps and snagged a locker and headed to The Jolly Holiday to read the map and decide what to do.
The event runs from 9pm-1am. There are a handful of special meet and greet opportunities with rare characters, as well as special food items that are not available in the parks during normal business hours. Aside from that, there are photo opportunities scattered around the park, as well as the option to ride most of the rides in Disneyland with very minimal lines. It is almost impossible to do everything, so making a plan is most important in making the most of your event experience. They often release information about the evening prior to the event, so you can sometimes plan way ahead, if you need to do so. Most people we’re dressed in couple’s cosplay or costume, but because it was nearly 40 degrees the entire event, lots of us covered up in jackets pretty quickly. We decided on the few items we we’re going to eat, as well as the characters we wanted to see and we headed off.
We snagged the “Pucker Up” sour cherry churro in Tomorrowland, which already had a line 30 minutes before opening. This churro was a regular churro base, dusted in sour red sugar. The topping to dip it in was a cream cheese frosting. The entire thing together reminded us of a toaster strudel, which for me was too sweet. I thought the sour sugar topping was pretty yummy, but the dipping sauce was too sweet for my taste. After snagging the churro, we headed towards the castle for the “Sweetheart’s Nite” fireworks show. This show was a custom show created specifically for the event. From Lady And The Tramp to Up, they played the classics while the skies above the castle sparkled. Watching the fireworks always makes me feel like a little kid. Due to the distance that I currently live from the parks, watching the fireworks rarely happens. This was an absolute treat for me and a definite highlight of the night.
Once the fireworks show ended, we started walking around to meet the characters we wanted to meet. We we’re most excited to see Hercules and Meg, because they are NEVER out. Poor Wonder Boy was stuck in this tiny dress of a costume, and it was freezing! The lines for characters felt like forever because the characters take breaks often. So if you want to meet characters, it might be tricky to meet them all. After Meg and Herc, came Anna and Kristoff. They of course we’re the cutest and so fun to hangout with! Milo and Kida from Atlantis we’re also a popular stop, but because i had zero clue who they were, we took a hard skip. Since it was Sweetheart’s Nite, you could of course meet a lot of classic couple characters like Ariel and Eric, Flynn and Rapunzel, as well as Belle and Prince Adam. Fabulous singles like Gaston and Anastasia and Drizella we’re also mingling with guests until the event was over.
Once we met a few characters, it was time to enjoy some of the photo backdrops that they had scattered around the parks. Disneyland did a fantastic job recreating some of their film’s most iconic and romantic moments for couples (and Galentines) to enjoy. From Aladdin’s balcony moment on the magic carpet, to Rapunzel and Flynn’s boat ride filled with lanterns, they nailed it! Of course, we couldn’t go to all of the adorable spots, so we picked our favorite few and snapped some cute bestie shots. The photographers loved the break from the romantic mood and we hammed it up as Galentines would! These photo backdrops have very long lines, so again pick your favorite few and be patient. Most locations that are anticipated to be popular have multiple set ups that are identical, so the line goes fast.
Once we did the photo taking and the character meeting, we wanted to experience the Royal Ball, which was a small show held every hour on the hour right out front of It’s A Small World. The show was an impromptu ball that starred a few of the Disney princesses and their princes, as well as some royalty from foreign lands. Royal friends I’m guessing. This evening, we we’re graced with the presence of Aurora and Phillip, Snow White and Prince Charming, Cinderella and her Prince, and finally Aladdin and Jasmine. Since this was royal ball, the three fairies were also in attendance. Things we’re all good, until Maleficent crashed the ball. Clearly, she was not invited, and was not happy and not receiving an invitation. Once she calmed down a bit, the Princesses and Princes asked the guests to dance. I was royally flushed when Cinderella’s Prince asked me to dance. I’m way awkward and must have complimented his shiny outfit ten times. Didn’t know what to say, lol. He was a gentlemen and it completely made my night. Once we enjoyed the ball a bit, we realized it was about time to leave. We had partied until nearly 1am, and I still needed to drive back home to Thousand Oaks. We snagged our stuff from our locker and headed homeward.
Like I said above, this was my very first after dark experience, so I have nothing to compare it to. I do have some tips and opinions on the evening I would like to share with you, in case heading to one of these events is on your bucket list (which it totally should be).
After Dark Event Tips:
Arrive early. You can access the parks hours before the event actually takes place, so avoid the traffic jam on the road and at the gate and get there early.
Check the weather beforehand. I loved my outfit and was dedicated to looking cute regardless of the weather. But about an hour in, my jacket was on and I was freezing. I saw lots of cute outfits with freezing people wearing them. Don’t be them. Check ahead of time.
Plan your outfits! Tet tohis is the moment other than the Halloween events that you can be over the age of 14 and dress up! If costumes are your thing- Go For It!
If you want the special collector’s pins: Head There First! Apparently, they only hand out a certain amount per evening, and the line is nuts! ask a cast member or check out on the map you’re given where the event merch is being sold, and run as fast as you can in that direction!
Take Advantage of Photo Pass! The photo employees are there specifically with professional equipment to capture your moments for free! Don’t count on your IPhone in the dark to get those magical shots you waited in line for. It’s not worth it. Let them take them and download the photos to your phone from the app within minutes of taking them.
If you like rides- Ride! This is the moment where if photos are not your thing, to take advantage of the little to no wait time in line. Most rides are open until 1am. Rise of the Resistance was not open for the event to ride, which I thought was a mistake and a bummer. Maybe for Star Wars After Dark, we’ll see. If you are not a passholder, this is a great opportunity to enjoy the park and ride the rides without the crowds.
Try the Food! Each event has their own unique offerings, so scope them out and choose your faves. We wanted to try more options, but ran out of time due to waiting for characters.
ENJOY YOURSELF. Seriously, enjoy yourself. It will be crowded in places and lines can be long in spots. Just enjoy your evening and the company you’re with. Depending on your personal preferences, map out a night for you and your party that you can enjoy.
Despite the chilly weather, I was completely obsessed with my outfit, and rocked it for as long as i could! These overalls we’re sent to me by Pepper Kids Inc. and with the puffy organza top and Chucks, I felt like a straight Minnie Mouse park treat! I’ve linked my outfit below.
I would like to thank Mice Chat for hosting our evening of Galentine’s Day fun. Mice Chat is the GO TO spot for all things information regarding Disneyland and other theme parks and entertainment in the So Cal area. To read more and get informed, head to:
If you would like to experience one of these after dark events yourself, don’t worry. There are three more events already scheduled in the future. “Pixar Nite” will be held on March 5th at Disney’s California Adventure Park. “Villain’s Nite” will also be in Disney’s California Adventure Park on April 30th, and “Star Wars Nite” will be on August 27th in Disneyland Park. You can purchase tickets by heading to:
This past weekend, we celebrated our littlest not being so little anymore. Kensey has been asking for a birthday party for months now, and not just any kind of basic party. This princess wanted a FROZEN themed party, and she had just a few ideas on how I could make it the best day ever! Those ideas included the following:
Frozen castle bounce house
Anna and Elsa MUST be in attendance
Frozen Fruit Snacks
Her best friend, Ruby, must also be able to come
To me, that didn’t seem too hard to accomplish, although some of those requests seemed (and still do) a bit much for someone just turning three. I mean, C’mon, I remember that day well, and i know for a fact I should be the one being celebrated. I was happy none the less to make her little dreams come true, and I think I got pretty close to hitting this one out of the park in her eyes.
This party was geared mainly towards the younger crowd, so I wanted to make sure that the activites and party favors matched the age of the guests. We had a spread of all of Kensey’s favorite foods, like chips and pizza, as well as some options for the grown ups, like a veggie tray and some gluten free options. The kids also got to enjoy some pretend play with masks and Frozen themed Sunstaches sunglasses, and they even got a pair or two in their goodie bags to take home. Click on the link below to see all of their Frozen themed options:
For entertainment, I was lucky to find the BEST bounce house rental company in Southern California to come help with the party! Magic Jump Rentals has everything you need from inflatables to seating, to food machines and more from L.A to Orange County, and even the Inland Empire. The company was exactly on time to deliver the bouncer, and even let us keep it a few extra hours at no additional cost! The staff was super friendly and professional, and completely made my daughter’s birthday one to remember! As parents, we LOVE bouce houses because they can entertain kids for hours on end, while I get to sit back and relax and enjoy her having fun!
You can access ALL of Magic Jump Rentals options by clicking on the link below:
We we’re also fortunate enough to have royalty stop by at her birthday party. Kensey wanted her dearest friends, and personal heroes, Anna and Elsa to come to her party. Not because she needed to have the best party one could ask for, but because she genuinely sees Anna and Elsa as her friends and wanted them to be in on the fun! A few calls to some friends later, and we had ourselves a royal birthday party! Anna and Elsa surprised Kensey by arriving during her party and playing some fun games with her friends. We played pin the nose on Olaf and pin the snowflake on Elsa. We played freeze dance too, which basically turned into one big dance party! They even stayed to sing the birthday girl Happy Birthday, and helped her blow out her birthday candles! I think it’s safe to say, Kensey and her friends LOVED spending time with our special guests!
Once Anna and Elsa needed to head back to Arendelle, we continued to bounce and play! I had bubbles set out for the kids, so that was a huge hit too. The kids continued to enjoy snacks and cupcakes, with the cutest little cupcake toppers from Glam Banners. Each kid took home a goodie bag and sunglasses, and a huge tired smile on their face! This Frozen party was a total success, and yes, her best friend Ruby did make it to the party, which was obviously most important piece of the day!
I’d like to thank the following for contributing to Kensey’s special day:
Magic Party Rentals- for providing the bounce house
Glam Banners- for providing the cupcake toppers
Sunstaches- for providing the Frozen sunglasses
Disguise Costumes- for providing the costumes and wigs for Anna & Elsa
Nicole Long Photography- for providing all the photography for the party.
Say It Now Boutique- for providing the fabric headbands for my girl’s party outfits
Anna & Elsa Actors- You know who you are. Thank You for your magic