Thursday, August 25, 2016


You've done all the planning, made all the reservations. You've bought the tickets, but the forecast says RAIN!  DON'T PANIC.. your vacation isn't ruined. Here are some tips on how to be wet and still have fun.

The number one thing that I heard from people about rain buy ponchos. I searched every store I could think of and I couldn't find them anywhere. I did not want to spend the money in the park so I packed our best raincoats and umbrellas and hoped for the best. 
Don't skimp on the ponchos

As you can see, our light raincoats were no match for the sudden downpour that happened and we remained wet for the rest of the day. If I could impart any wisdom to you, BUY PONCHOS. If you can't find them in stores anywhere, then fork out the bucks and buy the Disneyland ponchos available on main street. It may be a bit more money, but it's worth not being miserable all day.
 Bring extra layers
As much as ponchos help, once you've been walking miles on end in wet socks, the trench foot can be wicked bad. Bring extra socks, gloves, etc. I "threw in" a couple of extra sweatshirts and things for the kids and halfway through the day, they changed out of their wet clothes into dry clothes and it was amazing how much extra energy and cheeriness they gained. Pack the extra layers in a waterproof bag. I use a cooler bag I bought at Costco to keep food cool on hot days. It also serves as an excellent waterproof backpack for all those dry clothes you want to keep dry.
                                          Stay Dry and Have Fun
You've got the right gear, now what do you do? Just because it's raining, doesn't mean you can't ride. There are plenty of fun rides where you can stay dry..even in line. Start out on the Jungle Cruise. The line and the ride, while in the elements will be a dry one and it can keep you in that jungle atmosphere.
Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo, and It's a Small World are all long rides that you can enjoy inside. Rain can also force people away from standing in a line, so most wait times are short.
Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters are also great for keeping dry.

                   Take the time to Meet and Greet
Every time we go to Disney, my kids want to see Tinkerbell and the line is always monstrously long, even at the beginning of the day. When the rain came pouring down, we saw an opportunity to go visit Pixie Hollow and to our surprise, we literally walked right up to her... NO LINE! When it's raining outside, your Disneyland experience doesn't have to be a downer. Go see the people they want to see most! Visit Fantasy Faire, the wait for that is totally covered and the lines are quite short.

            Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.        
Rain presents a great opportunity to hit up some of those shows you've been meaning to see. Like the Fantasy Faire theater, or Mickey's Magical Map. Over in California Adventure you can go see Aladdin or sing along with the Elsa and Anna at the Frozen Sing-a-long. These theaters offer a dry place and some entertainment that sometimes we forget to stop and enjoy when we're busy riding all those rides.

                          When in doubt, Tiki-out

The tiki room is another great place to enjoy a break from the rain. It offers warm temperatures and fun, classic Disney charm. Our family enjoyed the refuge during a particularly nasty part of a storm. But even the rain shouldn't deter you from enjoying those famous dole whips. They are worth standing in line in the rain for!

                         Enjoy those treats! 
Another wonderful treat is those famous Disneyland hot chocolates. Reasonably priced and full of warm goodness, they cannot be beat, even when standing in the rain. Of course, if coffee is what you need, the Starbucks on Main Street is highly motivating for a rainy day at Disney. I also suggest the gumbo at New Orleans Square or the chili bowl in California Adventure.

                                                Go Big or Go Home
Of course, there are some rides where you just cannot avoid getting wet and to those brave souls who still want their Disneyland adrenaline fix, I say.. go for it! During a rainstorm can be the perfect time to hit up that roller coaster you all love so much, because those lines thin out pretty fast and only make room for the die hards. We made the trek to Big Thunder Mountain and screamed in the rain with no wait time at all. We ended up going on it 3 times in a row because we could just walk on. It can make for exciting, wet memories!


If you're already wet, you might as well get more wet. Take the rain as a perfect sign to go all in on those water rides you may have been avoiding. Guaranteed Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run will have very short wait times. We decided to do Grizzly right before the park closed. We had no wait time, we got soaked and then we walked home. It was the most fun ever!

So don't let that rain damper your time in the park, after all you are still in the happiest place on earth. Make the most of your experience and make memories to last a lifetime!


Disneyland isn't just for the young, it's for the young at heart. While there are many fun things to experience at Disneyland with children, it's also a great place to share romantic experiences. But how do you do Disney on a date?
  Ranging from high-end to low budget, here are the top ten things to do on a Datenight at Disneyland.

#10- Baby You're A Firework.
 Nothing says love quite like fireworks. Come bundled up and ready to snuggle with that special someone while watching a gorgeous firework show sure to dazzle. It's a great start or end to a fabulously fun-filled datenight.

#9A Street-lit Stroll.
 Is there anything more magical than mainstreet at night? I think not. Enjoy a romantic hand-in-hand stroll down the beautifully lit path, or perhaps a nice hot chocolate while sitting on a bench and enjoying the atmosphere. It's proof that not every Disneyland experience has to be about waiting in line.

#8- It's a Small Boat Afterall.
 Nightime is the perfect time to enjoy an almost abandoned Fantasyland. When the kiddos are away, the adults can play and it's a great time to enjoy a quiet ride on a gorgeously lit "It's A Small World". Hit the back of the boat for a more "private" cruise.

#7- High Flying Romance.
While you're in Fantasyland, take the time to enjoy the kid in you and head on over to the Dumbo ride. Full of lights, disney music and a view you can't beat, you can squeeze in close and hold on tight.

#6- Spin Yourself Silly.
See how dizzy you can get by spinning at ridiculous speeds, or take the time to do what really matters.... kiss. Either way, the teacups provides a fun setting and close quarters and isn't that the perfect datenight recipe for success?

#5- Dance the Night Away.
 Stroll on over to the castle where a beautiful waltz is already being played, it's the perfect setting for a slow dance. Tucked away in the back, with lights down low and minimal traffic, it's a great place to cut a rug or maybe steal a smooch.

#4- Someday My Prince Will Come.
Take the scenic route when you're traveling from the bridge and head on over to Snow White's Wishing Well. The lights, music and little water show is a wonderful place for a handheld stroll. While you're there you can throw a penny in the wishing well because when at Disney, all dreams come true.

#3- A Scream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.
There is something to be said for an adventurous date. Plan an adrenaline-filled day where you ride every ride that tests your limits and makes you scream and laugh all at the same time. It's a great way to get to know someone special.

#2 The Love Boat.
How about a romantic evening cruise? A jungle cruise that is. Nighttime is a great time to cuddle while adventuring through piranha-infested waters and chuckle at the cheesy jokes and silly scenery.Who knows what can happen in the dark?

And the #1 thing to do on datenight disney............

#1- You're pulling out the bigstops tonight, you want a romantic experience and you're willing to shell out some moolah to make it special. Then you can't go wrong with dinner at Carthay Circle in California Adventure Park!

Designed like the first theater that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in, this fabulous restaurant has an old Hollywood feel and is just steps away from the entrance to the park. It requires an early reservation, so make sure to call ahead when planning your special night. The upstairs dining area features beautiful furnishings, dim lights and class and sophistication that can only come with high-end dining. There are also private sitting rooms that can make those special moments more unique. The staff is very accommodating of anniversaries, birthdays or other special moments. Just make sure to mention it to your waiter. The menu is incredible, featuring mouth-watering, delectable treats. There are even special meals available that include VIP tickets to the world of color, so you can end your world-class dinner with a little show. Dinner at Carthay is a sure thing on a special occasion.

And there you have it, the top ten fun things to do during a Disney Datenight.



So a while back I stumbled on this tumblr site called Disneybound. Basically, it's a website that puts together outfits of Disney characters that you can wear to Disneyland. I know what you're thinking "Dressing up like a character at Disneyland? That sounds incredibly dorky."
Ok so maybe it IS a bit dorky. I can understand the response. In fact, I had a similar reaction.... at first. But then I thought about the concept behind it. Taking things from your closet you would normally wear ... okay that sounds simple enough and easy. Adding a few accessories to go with your character... that's cheap. But the question still remains WHY?

I guess it all boils down to remembering who you were when you were six years old. Can you remember that far back? When I was six I was a very girly girl, missing my top teeth, full of energy. I was no stranger to a microphone; singing any chance I got. I loved to dress up, and twirl around and I didn't care one iota what anyone thought of me.

I heard a saying once that we are all our true selves when we are 6. I'dlike to think that's true. Sometimes we forget what it's like to wear a tiara and to giggle uncontrollably. To point at fireworks and ooh and ahh. We cover up that part of ourselves and label it as "childish" "immature" or "silly". I guess my question to those people is: "What's wrong with being silly?"  As Walt Disney so poignantly put it "Adults are only kids grown up." That guy really knew how to be a kid.
And with that, I decided that this trip to Disneyland, I wouldn't be afraid or care what people thought. I  would just be the 6-year-old that had been dying to get out... and twirl.
So on the first day, I dressed like Ariel. I had my turquoise and purple on and my fishnet scarf. The finishing touch was a tiara I had saved from my wedding 9 years ago. And as I walked through the gates I was greeted with a "welcome back princess Erin". Wow, isn't that every little girl's fantasy? I had so much fun and I didn't look weird and I didn't stick out but I did get to put my mark on my trip and it was special because I got to match my baby girl, which was even more fun.
The next day I was a modern twist on Snow White. I loved it! I felt so colorful; like a real Disney character. I was even more apt to take pictures with characters! Including the mysterious Peter Pan who is a rare sight indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                 But the highlight by far was spending some time with my look-a-like princess for the day. We had some good gab time- us princesses have to stick together. It was a blast to have people recognize the outfit too!

So yeah, I guess maybe I've crossed some sort of nerd threshold, it's true. But if dressing up and being happy in the happiest place on earth is nerdy than I say, bring it! I highly suggest becoming a "nerd" yourself and enhancing your experience by Disneybounding. I promise, you will not regret it.



There comes a point in every Disneyland trip when it doesn't matter whether you're old or young, have kids or not; you must find a place to relax and you must do it... NOW! 

Maybe you're suffering from heat exhaustion or nursing a wicked bad blister. Maybe you're wanting to eat your packed lunch in solitude or you just want to get away from your whining grandkids. In any case, today I'm sharing with you the Top 10 Best Places to Rest Your Rump at Disneyland.

#1: One of the best meeting spots in Disneyland is The Hub. It's in the center of the park and there are a lot of benches available. The best spot in that section to sit is towards the right near Tomorrowland. Not only does it have plenty of room for large parties to eat, or rest your feet, it's right next to a garbage can and is facing the castle. It's a great place to have one of your party sit and save spots for an upcoming parade: Prime real estate come parade or fireworks watching time. It's also central to all the food vendors on main street and great for people watching; a perfect place to send Grandpa when he's tired.

#2: If you find yourself in Fantasyland, a great place to park it is near the Small World giftshop. Located right next to the bathrooms is a nice little brick wall that's perfect for a bathroom or snack break. It's shade provides relaxation while you sit and wait outside the ampitheater for shows like "Mickey's Magical Map". It gives you the advantage over other waiting people as you can relax that hiney of yours and swoop in at the opportune time when they open up seating for an event. It's also conveniently near a train depot stop in case you want to continue calming your caboose with a nice leisurely train ride.

#3: "I'm in Fantasyland but I don't want to go all the way back to Small World!"  Have no fear, another spot in a tucked away corner is near the exit of Sleeping Beauty's castle walkthrough. Located just steps to your right as you're entering the footbridge of the castle, this is a wonderful little nook for a quick rest. Across the way is the Bippity Boppity Boo Boutique where your little princess can shop till she drops. There are also some drinking fountains nearby and you can enjoy the ambience of the castle. But there's not a lot of sitting room and high traffic so it's really just a quick resting place until you regain your energy. Editor's Note: If you have misbehaving little ones, it's also a wonderful spot for a time-out.

#4: Finding rest for your weary derrier can be tricky in Toontown. It's often crowded and can be unforgiveably hot. I suggest resting your rear at the entrance to Toontown, where there are plenty of park benches. It's a great place to keep the little ones while the older ones hit up the Roger Rabbit ride.

#5: Now you're in Tomorrowland and your desperate for a behind break. I suggest the park benches directly across from the Star Wars giftshop. It's near a few vendors selling refreshements, close to the foodcourt area and it is right at the center of Tomorrowland. This basically means it's where rides like Star Tours, Space Mountain, Captain EO and Buzz Lightyear all feed out of, so if you're meeting a party that has split up to conquer Tomorrowland, this is a great place to sit.

#6: Now let's hightail that hiney to the French Quarter where Disney favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion are. Right near the train depot is a lovely little brick wall that overlooks the French Market restaurant. It's shaded and you can enjoy some live jazz music most days. It's a great stop off if you've just gotten off the train but you're not quite ready to conquer New Orleans Square.

#7: If you find yourself in Critter Country, have no fear. Rest your tired tuckus at the second level seated diningroom of the Hungry Bear Restaurant. You don't have to be eating to enjoy a shaded, peaceful area with a lovely view of the river and Mark Twain's riverboat every now and then. Not to mention it's right by a water fountain and bathrooms. Heck, you could camp out there all afternoon.

Are you ready to explore the restful spots inside California Adventure?

#8: My favorite spot is located at the back of the park next to Goofy's Sky School in Paradise Pier. It's a tucked away, shaded by an awning place full of tables. It's a wonderful getaway spot to eat a packed lunch, or try out the Corndog Castle restaurant just steps away while you're being entertained by one of the many unique live bands playing on the small stage. There's also bathrooms and an outlet if you're like me and have absolutely depleated the battery life of your phone.

#9: Fischerman's Warf in Paradise Pier is also a great spot to relax that rump of yours. Full of lots of benches, next to bathrooms and also smack dab in the middle of some amazing places to eat, it's a prime location for if your fatigued fanny is famished.

#10:Carsland is a spot you could spend half the day in, but where do you park your posterier? Right next to Flo's V8 and directly across the street from the Cozy Cone, is a fantastic little shaded area with benches to spare. It's got bathrooms and waterfountains and is conveniently next to the main Carsland street so you won't miss when Tomater or Lightning McQueen drive down. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the Motown music that's sure to keep you in a great mood.

And there you have it, the top ten best spots to rest your rump at Disneyland. For more fun and interesting Disneyland info, check the labels : Disneyland Secrets or tips and tricks. Thanks for reading!


Olivia turned 3 this month and we felt like it was time to reward all of her hard work with a trip to the castle that she daily talks about. We had the chance to take our other kids a couple of times, but we always left Liv at home due to her maturity but also her extreme sensory issues that made it seem impossible to take her.

But as she got older and became obsessed with the Disney princesses and that big beautiful Disneyland castle, we started to think about how unfair it was to withhold that experience from her just because it would be "hard" to do. Yes, it would be challenging, exhausting, sometimes frustrating and, at times, unnerving. But when you get down to the nitty gritty of it, she still deserves all the life experiences and magical moments that every other kid deserves. And so, we set out planning our daughter's introduction to the land we love so much.

Plan ahead
It's important when dealing with sensory issues, to plan ahead. The first thing we decided was that we wanted to take only her. All the other kids stayed home so we could put all our energy and focus on Olivia. She could set the pace for the day, and if she had a bad day, it wouldn't affect everyone else. We planned the 8 hour drive to L.A. around her schedule and needs. Providing many snacks, comfortable clothes, protective sun shields and plenty of entertainment for her as well as many stops so she could run around. It worked out really well and when we felt like she might start having "a moment", we would play her favorite music that was a cue to her to calm down. We all made it there and back in one piece.

We also decided to take a stroller. While most people do this regardless, this was a big decision for us as we had never taken a stroller to Disneyland. But we felt like we needed to be able to create a safe place for her and a place where she could rest as she became fatigued. While we originally planned for those things, the stroller ended up being so much more. It ended up being the place where we would put her in a time out. When she would become overwhelmed or inconsolable, we would put her in the stroller and put her comfort blanket over the top of it to create a quiet, dark time out environment to allow her to calm down in her own space, while also giving her time to change her attitude.

We chose a hotel that was a little bit further away and went with taking the bus to and from the resort. $24 for the 3 of us for 3 days wasn't half bad and the payoff of not having to walk the 3 miles back was priceless. Particularily because as night hit, the moodiness can sometimes worsen, and it's nice to be able to make a quick getaway. Olivia also enjoyed the stimulation that the bus ride provided and we used it as a signal to her to prepare herself for the park.

Because our Olivia was into princesses, we wanted her to be able to dress special for the occasion but she also has major sensory issues to clothes, so we worked around that by offering a wide variety of outfits and layers. She loved Ariel, so instead of choosing an itchy Ariel costume, my mom made her a special Ariel tutu that she could take on and off as she became uncomfortable . I gave her many sock and shoe options as well as comfortable layers like leggings and cardigans that we could easily add or take off as the day went on. She really loves the tiara, but I made sure to make it comfortable and light. We also included sunglasses which helped BIGTIME with her light sensitivity. Mostly, it was me that had to learn to be flexible. I brought a big fluffy princess dress that I wanted her to wear so badly, but when she tried it on, it didn't feel right so I immediately let it go and allowed her to choose what clothes made her comfortable. WAY LESS of a battle, and she was a much happier girl because of it.

We tried to plan out a few things that we knew she would want to do and see at the park each day in order to gain momentum in her experience. And we did our best to do those things first, while she still had patience and energy. Because she loved the princesses, we knew meeting them would be a priority. While she wasn't keen on the line, we managed to distract her by keeping her stocked with snacks and fun things like chapstick and jewelry to play with while waiting. I'm not going to say that all line experiences were amazing, some were downright difficult, but we did our best to choose the things with the shortest lines and to always make sure that she was the one who wanted to do each activity. If she chose, it was much easier for her to wait in line. And when we would try to do a ride and the line was too long, or she wasn't feeling it, we let go of the idea and tried something different. The key is flexibility and not putting too many unrealistic expectations on the trip.
We also tried to do a lot of shows and fireworks as those things didn't require standing in line and you could sit down and take breaks while doing them. This allowed for her to calm down and for all of us to slow down and enjoy things a bit better.


As much as we all like to pretend like the 300 pound Gorilla isn't in the room, let's face it... there will be meltdowns. The key is, to not let them take you by surprise. Plan ahead. For us, this meant taking frequent breaks. But where do you take breaks for sensory kids? We find that the pavillion at the back of California Adventure by Goofy's Sky School is an EXCELLENT place for lunch. Because that park is so very hot it's difficult to find shade and quiet. But this place has covered and totally shaded places to eat and it's not overly populated because, not a lot of people know about it. It's next to a wide variety of restaurants and bathrooms. Heck, there's even a plug in for your phone by the bathroom. It's a great place for a break. It does have lots of live music shows though, so if your child has sensitivity to noise, I would plan on bringing ear plugs. But if your kid has that sensitivity, that is probably something you do all the time anyways. We chose to pack our breakfasts and lunches and snacks. Obviously, it's cheaper. It allows for you not to have to stand in yet another line and pay a ridiculous price for food your child may or may not eat. But it's also a chance for you to provide foods your child is familiar with. Olivia has a sensitivity to textures in food and will hardly touch anything she's not familiar with. So we made her a sandwhich and snacks as if she was sitting at home. When that meltdown hit, the familiarity of the food allowed her to calm down and focus on eating. She also enjoyed the familiar snacks we packed throughout the day as needed.
We brought her security blanket which helped considerably as well. Obviously it kept her warm, but it also was present during rides that she was a little unsure of and worked like a charm (and got pretty dirty). In hindsight, a backup blanket might have been a good idea.

BOTTOM LINE: There are only so many things we can do to keep our sensory kids from outbursts. They will happen. People will stare, and possibly whisper and pass judgement on your kid, on your parenting and on how annoying the whole situation is. You gotta have tough skin. But you also can remember that these are all people you will never see again. Besides, you're not here for them, you're here for your child, and to provide them with as much happiness, love and imagination as you can. Those are the people of the world that will never understand.

Experience= Priceless
For all the planning, overpacking, and worrying, for your child, the experience really is invaluable. In our family, we have a saying...
We Do Hard  Things
We don't do things because they're easy, but because they're worth it. And this trip, was so so so worth it.