HALLOWEEN AT DISNEYLAND

The Saturday after Carter's birthday, we spent a quick (very quick) 24 hours in California. We flew out of Salt Lake at 6:30 that morning, landed at 7:20 in Long Beach, and were at Disneyland and in the park by the time they opened at 8:00. I was still a little sick, so we almost weren't sure if we were going to go, but I am so glad we did!! The first thing we rode...

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COLORS IN CONNECTICUT

Our final day of vacation was so perfect. We headed straight to the beach first thing in the morning, and it was seriously such good weather! It was only an hour drive from our hotel, so it was probably 10:300 or 11:00 when we got there. The sun was shiny, it was warm, and there was hardly anybody there! We walked on the sand, flew the drone some more, and checked...

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BACKROAD FALL COLORS

The second full day of vacation was so much fun! We left Stowe relatively early, and started to make our way down to Connecticut. Before we left for the trip, Brandon had found an article about the best drives to take to see fall foliage in New England. He worked his magic and pieced our drive together, making it so we could take three of the seven suggested routes! We...

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LEAF PEEPING IN STOWE

Our quick trip to New England was so much fun! We flew in to Burlington, Vermont and headed straight to Stowe, where we stayed at the Golden Eagle Resort. We stopped at the Ben & Jerry's factory on our way to Stowe to take a tour and sample some ice cream, then got dinner before going to bed. It got dark around 6:30, so by 8:30 (still only 6:30 at home...

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The Best Mickey-Shaped Foods at Disney

Let's be honest, one of the best parts about Disneyland and Disney World is the food. There are so many great choices for meals and drinks, but when it comes to snacks, Disney always outdoes itself. We have a few snacks that we get every single time we go to the park: a Mickey ice cream bar, a Mickey Pretzel, a dole whip, and a churro. And we usually get popcorn too, because no matter how hard we try to resist, those dang carts basically throw the smell of buttery-goodness at our heads and it's really hard to ignore.

Anyway.

I had a fun new shirt to wear to Disney this last time, and I felt like I needed to actually live up to what I was advertising. My goal was to eat as many Mickey-Shaped foods as I could find in one day. I'm sure I missed a few, but I went with what I could find! If you know of any other Mickey-shaped foods, let me know!

 

Mickey ice cream bar - sold at nearly every single ice cream stand

Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Fudge Sundae - Gibson Girl Parlor in Disneyland

Mickey-shaped Beignets - Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland (they currently have blackberry for the seasonal flavor and it is SO GOOD)

Mickey waffles are served at just about every sit-down breakfast place. Disneyland - Carnation Cafe. Disney World - The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Crystal Palace

Mickey soft pretzels are honestly so much better than any other soft pretzel. They can be found at most pretzel carts in every park!

 

Our quick weekend at Disneyland.

 
 

Our weekend at Disney was ridiculously wonderful.

We left Salt Lake Thursday afternoon and flew into Long Beach Airport (which I love, by the way. never flying into LAX again), then went directly to our AirBnb to drop off our things. We called an Uber, and got to Laguna Beach around 6:00. Neither of us had ever been to Laguna Beach, as far as we could remember, and it was BEAUTIFUL! We took way too many pictures of the sunset, but it was unreal. We hung out there until it was dark, then stopped for dinner at Urth Cafe before heading back to our Airbnb. Shortly after, our friends Sam and Jennika showed up with their kids! The kids were already asleep, but the grown ups stayed awake for a while and caught up. They just moved to Arizona, and even though we didn't see each other all that often before they moved, I had missed them so much!

Friday morning we all woke up and went to Disneyland!! Brandon and I were so excited to go with the adults, but we were also really excited to do Disney with kids. The first thing we did when we got in the park was take the kids to meet Moana, and seriously, it was so precious. We had some pretty tender moments with the kids all day, and even though it made us ache a little for our own, we had a blast with them. This was our first vacation ever with Sam and Jennika, and on like, the third ride of the day I was already trying to talk them into planning more. So hopefully that will be happening again!

On Saturday, Brandon and I went to California Adventure by ourselves. We got a lot of the big rides done quickly, and realized that we were bored without Sam and Jenn and their kids haha. But we rode the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride (and only waited 15 minutes in line), Toy Story, Cars ride, Little Mermaid, Soarin', and California Screamin' all before 1:00. We contemplated waiting to watch the Frozen show, but we had seen it before, and both of us wanted to go back over to Disneyland, so we did! And it was the best decision. We rode Autopia, Splash Mountain, and Pirates, and just soaked up some last Disney magic before having to leave. We bought Sam and Jenn's kids bubble wands before we left the park, because we had been wanting to the day before and just didn't do it. Luckily, they were still up when we got home, so we all a little pre-bed bubble party. It was so much fun! When we go visit them in Arizona, I fully intend to steal their children and bring them home with me. 

Our flight the next morning left at 7:20, so we left the Airbnb in the 5:00 hour, and spent a good chunk of our time in the airport trying to wake up. I woke up with a cold, but it was so worth it for Disney! Once we got home, we unpacked, took a nap, then just rested for the rest of the night. We're already trying to figure out how we can swing a trip in October. The park was partially decorated for Halloween already, but we want to go when it is the full-blown Halloween Celebration! So we'll see. 

We really did have the best weekend though, and it was a perfect lead-in to a great week! You can watch a recap of our weekend on the vlog, and you can watch Sam and Jennika's vlog here!

The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Disney World.

Before we left for Disney, I had the idea to do a drink tour. There are tons of posts online about drinking around the world at Epcot, and the best places to get beer at the parks, but we kind of had to sift through a lot of posts to compile a list of the best non-alcoholic drinks. I'm sure there are a ton more, but we had to alternate our specialty drinks with water (and obviously Mickey pretzels), so our list isn't extremely long. And sorry we didn't get a picture of every single drink (thanks to The Disney Food Blog for providing some of these!). I promise they are all worth it! If you know of any that aren't on this list, put them in the comments!

Magic Kingdom

Lefou's Brew - Gaston's Tavern (by Be Our Guest restaurant) : Tasty frozen apple juice (and a hint of marshmallow!) topped with passion fruit-mango foam. Enjoy it while you gaze with wonder at the antlers Gaston uses in all his decorating.

 

Dole Whip Float - Aloha Isle (Adventureland by the Magic Carpet Ride) : Pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice and it's so good. And a classic.

 

Epcot

The American Dream - Fire and Drum Tavern (America) : Honestly my favorite drink of the whole trip! Blue Raspberry slushie, soft serve vanilla ice cream, and Strawberry slushie layers will make you feel patriotic even when you're dying from the heat.

 

Kaki-Gori - Kabuki Cafe (Japan) : They might look like your typical shaved ice, but everything is better in Disney World! A variety of flavors and a sweet milk topping!

 

Animal Kingdom

Shangri La Berry Freeze - Warung Outpost (between Africa & Asia) : A strawberry smoothie that's fit for any animal (except don't really feed it to the animals, okay?).

 

Night Blossom - Pongu Pongu (Pandora) : A mixture of limeade with apple and pear, topped with Passion Fruit boba. The glowing Unadelta Seed is optional, but I recommend it just out of sheer coolness.

 

Hollywood Studios

PB&J Milkshake - 50's Prime Time Cafe (near Echo Lake) : It tastes just like the classic sandwich, but with ice cream, which makes it that much better. (And I'm really not kidding, it tastes just like it!!)

 

Wheezy's Breezy Freezy - Hey Howdy Hey Takeaway (near Toy Story Mania) : A frozen drink in your choice of Coke, Wild Cherry, Lemonade, or Watermelon. After standing in line for Toy Story Mania, you'll need one!

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Disney World 2017

I want to start out by saying that I've never been so legitimately sad to come back from a vacation. Yeah, it's always a bummer to come home, but I don't know that I've ever actually been sad to see it end. Not as sad as I was when we got home on Tuesday, anyway. This trip was so necessary, and so much fun and relaxing at the same time! We've had to make so many big decisions in the past nine months, so it was really nice that the only things we had to decide on this trip were what rides to ride next and where to eat. And also which snacks to get. (The answer was all of them). We stayed at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort. This was our first time staying on the Disney property as a married couple (we stayed at Saratoga Springs with my parents before we got married) and it was so nice! In the past, we've fumbled with airport shuttles, and shuttles to and from the park, but Disney just does everything right. They have a shuttle that picks you up and drops you off at the airport, and their park shuttles run about every 20 minutes or so. Our resort is one of the value resorts, and I would say that when comparing it's prices to a non-Disney hotel, it's definitely worth it to pay a little more for the convenience of the shuttles!

We went to Epcot on our first day (which seems to be an accidental tradition for us) and had a blast. We were able to do all the big rides, all the chill rides, and eat our way around World Showcase. We had enchiladas in Mexico, gelato in Italy, a soft pretzel in Germany (that was for you, Jake and Alyssa!), and an eclair in France! Eating all the treats is obviously our favorite part of Epcot, but it was a great first day!

The next day we went to Universal Studios, and basically hung out in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade all day long. We ate an early lunch at the three broomsticks, watched a little show, and drank our weight in Butterbeer. The Hogwarts Express goes between the two parks, so we rode it three times both ways haha. We were a little all over the place! We also rode the new Jimmy Fallon ride, and E.T., but those were the only other things we did. Universal is mostly 3D simulator rides, and I don't do so well with those, so we didn't do quite as many things as we probably could have. We did watch the Animal Actors show, and good news everyone, the real Marley isn't dead! I got to pet another pup that was in the show and for a moment we locked eyes. It was magical. 

Day three was spent at Animal Kingdom! They were open from 8 am to 1 am, so we had already planned for a nap in the middle of the day. It worked out really well, because we were able to get most of the rides done before noon (when it got blisteringly hot). We even got to ride Expedition Everest twice that morning! That night, we watched the new Rivers of Light show, which I very highly recommend! Animal Kingdom used to close before dark, but this show alone makes the extra hours worth it! We also were able to ride both new rides in the new Pandora section. We waited an hour for the river ride, and while it was cool, I don't know that I would wait that long again. The banshee ride however...wowza. We waited two hours for that ride (from ten to midnight, I was dying) and it was so worth it for the first time!! I can't even explain how cool it was, you'll just have to plan a trip and see for yourself!

Hollywood Studios is my second favorite park, so I was really looking forward to our fourth day of vacation! We got there as soon as the park opened, rode Rockin' Roller Coaster, then went straight to Tower of Terror! I always forget how much I love Tower of Terror, it's so good! After breakfast, we went to Star Tours, then tried to walk to the Backlot Tour, only to be disappointed. Everything in that area, the Backlot Tour, Lights Motors Action, and the little city section of the park are all closed!! That's where they are putting the new Star Wars area, but I was so sad!!! And then we discovered that they changed Pizza Planet to Pizzerizzo, and honestly we should have just called it a day then. We were seriously so sad. Brandon had even purchased a Pizza Planet hat, and we had the perfect picture all planned out, only to be disappointed. The rest of the day was fine, despite those few things. We had lunch at the Sci-Fi Diner, had two fastpasses for Toy Story Mania, watched Fantasmic, and got to see most of the Star Wars fireworks. All in all, a good day!!

Magic Kingdom is both mine and Brandon's favorite park, and we saved it for last. Like the other days, we got there as soon as the park opened, and surprisingly it was not very crowded. We didn't get to ride Pirates in Disneyland, so that was our first stop on this trip. We rode Pirates, Peter Pan, and Small World all within the first hour of the park opening, and did the Jungle Cruise shortly after. That park is seriously such a classic! I could go on forever telling you about every ride we did, but I won't. We rode rides and had some snacks, then had lunch at Be Our Guest (also highly recommend, for any meal, just make sure you go inside!). We felt like we had done most of the rides, so we went back to the hotel for a nap, and I just kept Brandon awake the whole time. I was exhausted, but my excitement for being at the park was stronger than my fatigue! We went back, had a snack at Gaston's Tavern, rode more rides, had hot dogs at Casey's Corner, then wandered around to find a spot to watch the special 4th of July fireworks (even though it was the 3rd). While we were walking, a girl snagged Brandon and told him she had some space, and was just looking for normal people to share it with, so we ended up with seats in the very front row closest to the castle!! The light show was great, and the fireworks were so good! It was really hard to leave at the end of the night, and I'm already wanting to plan another trip! 

Even though we've been so many times, I feel like we learned a few new things on this trip. I'll post those a little later, since this one was so long. If anyone wants to book a trip to Disney, we're in!