Spring Break 2016 Link Roundup

Phew, we made it everybody! A (relatively) timely completion of vacation recaps. (If any of you mentions those Europe posts…….)

Here’s all of the links in one spot for reading convenience:

  1. Vegas
    1. Club Going Up… in Vegas
    2. Gotta Gotta Get Down… in Vegas
    3. Sin City Demands Sin…
  2. LA
    1. Rain, Art, & Lights
    2. Social in SoCal part 1
    3. Social in SoCal part 2
    4. MegaDon4Ever!
  3. Disneyland
    1. Disneyland: Before Food
    2. Disneyland: Before Dinner
    3. Disneyland: Before Bed
  4. Goodbye West Coast

Thanks for sticking by me with all these updates! Here’s a short photo series that I forgot to include in one of them:

Yep, that’s me trying to conquer the Sword in the Stone. Oh well, maybe next time.

See ya next time, West Coast!

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Goodbye West Coast | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we wrapped up a magical day at Disneyland with a fancy dinner, the World of Color light show, and some tiki fun at Trader Sam’s. The parks finally closed, and we were finally able to rest our noggins before our last few hours in California. It was time to go back home…


I was dreading waking up a bit, because it meant leaving Disney, leaving California, leaving vacation… and going back to a world where I had to work without hidden Mickeys.

 

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Looking out over DCA… wishing I didn’t have to leave…

The previous day had really taken a toll on me. I could baaaaarely drag myself out of bed, and I was simply, thoroughly POOPED. We washed up and checked out of the hotel before spending our morning wandering around Downtown Disney a bit, with the intention of maybe buying some souvenirs, since we hadn’t purchased any non-food items in the park.

 

For breakfast, more beignets! I forced my feet to go one before the other to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen (Express), where I got myself another order of beignets. (Non-Mickey-shaped but still very delicious.)

Tip: The Jazz Kitchen is a sit-down New Orleans-style restaurant, but you can pick up mint juleps, beignets, and more little treats at the Express Stop.

Beignets
Yum yum yum!

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Disneyland: Before Bed | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we had an emotional character lunch (well, at least I did) with some princesses before enjoying Disneyland for the bulk of the afternoon. The weather was finally cooperating and our golden afternoon melted into evening as we headed off to dinner to meet back up with Megan and Don.


Don and Megan, splashing out for their mini-honeymoon, not only made reservations for lunch but for dinner as well, at the swanky Napa Rose restaurant at the Grand Californian. Napa Rose is known for their farm-to-table menu brought by Chef Andrew Sutton. If you want the opposite of nomming on a giant turkey leg in the parks (and you’re not a Club 33 member), this is the fine dining spot for you. We were all feeling pretty full from our big, late lunch, so the four of us ordered a bunch of starters to nibble on. It was nice to have a little taste of the high life before throwing ourselves back into the parks. (And although it was a little sad, it was nice to set down my Minnie Mouse ears for a little bit.)

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Grilled diver scallops
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… can’t remember what this is, maybe a seasonal special…
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Truffled mac & cheese
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Green beans
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Wild boar meatloaf
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Roasted duck meatballs

Tip: If I had a second day at Disney, I think I would have skipped meal reservations because there is a lot of great food available in the parks and I was constantly worried about ruining my appetite. (Like we did at Disney World last year.) Napa Rose is a fine dining experience, so it’s not easy on kids or wallets but the food is very yummy.

After thoroughly stuffing ourselves, we split up: MegaDon to see the fireworks at Disneyland and Ben and I rushing to access the viewing area that we grabbed FastPasses for to see World of Color.DSC00888.JPG

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Disneyland: Before Dinner | Spring Break 2016

A lot of crazy and terrible things have been happening, and while I want these posts to mark good memories for me, I am not blind to the injustices and cruelties that are happening to other people this week and in weeks past. Do not take all of this sitting down. I want to let you know that you can do more than just hashtag and repost things on social media. It requires a bit more work to find out what legislators are doing to help you change the world, but I think it’s worth it. Black lives matter.


Last time on Spring Break 2016, Ben and I arrived in Anaheim for one magical day at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure (DCA). After running around trying to see as much of DCA with minimal line-waiting time as possible, we finally had to answer the call of our rumbling tumblies. So, off to Disneyland’s New Orleans Square it was!


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DISNEYLAND! Celebrating their Diamond Anniversary with 60 years of magic.
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The “dinky castle”, as Annie dubbed it

I reviewed a handful of roundups of best food to eat at Disneyland, as it seems that a lot of my vacationing revolves around eating, even at the happiest place on earth. (One that I looked to for reference often was this one at Local Adventurer, which is a compilation based on their own personal experiences and other people’s lists.) We still had a fair amount of time before our lunch reservation, so I thought we’d be able to split one of the much-touted Monte Cristos, as it’d be a nice between breakfast and lunch type of sandwiches. Unfortunately for us, the line into Cafe Orleans was just too long and we hadn’t planned on visiting Blue Bayou at all. Off to Mint Julep Bar for Mickey beignets it was!

Mint Julep Bar
With a mint julep, of course!

I had actually been craving beignets for weeks leading up to this trip, and I can’t remember when the last time I had one before our trip to Anaheim was. (Had I ever had a beignet before this???) These were pretty freaking great, though. And the mint julep (non-alcoholic!) was super refreshing as the sun started to get really hot. (It was our first sunny California day!)

Tip: Mickey-shaped beignets are sold at Mint Julep Bar and Cafe Orleans, but if you aren’t able to stop by New Orleans Square, the lines are too long, or some other obstacle keeps you from this goodness, you can get traditional-shaped (aka square) (aka not Mickey Mouse) beignets from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney. Some folks say those taste better, despite not being Mickey-shaped!

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The man behind me is just not having it with my selfie nonsense and, frankly, I can’t blame him

While we were letting the beignets settle into our tummies, we checked the Disneyland app to see if there were any rides in Disneyland that had shorter wait times before our lunch. On our way to Mint Julep Bar, we saw that Pirates of the Caribbean was unexpectedly closed for repairs, but they had reopened and the wait was 5 minutes! We got up REAL fast and power-walked over to PotC, which I honestly did not think I would get to experience on this trip. I didn’t feel too strongly about experiencing rides that had replicas over at Disney World, in light of having ridden them in Florida and wanting to experience completely new things in California, but this is THE original Pirates ride and it was a lot of fun to experience. It’s slightly different from the Orlando one, and it’s fun knowing that there are still real human bones in the attraction! Also, to wave at the Blue Bayou diners at the beginning of the ride. I love this ride a lot, and I’m so so glad that I was able to ride it.

Tip: This isn’t exactly a tip, but I was a little startled by the small drop that happens after you finish harassing greeting Blue Bayou diners. I remembered hearing some yelps as I was waiting in line, but be advised that your little boat will drop and splash a teensy bit! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Also, despite what Youtube may tell you, I’d recommend not shouting “Throw me a roll!” at the diners.

After Pirates, we grabbed FastPasses for Indiana Jones, since that wait was very long otherwise and we had a FastPass opening! And then, before we knew it, it was time to head back to DCA for lunch at Ariel’s Grotto with Megan and Don. (Muahahaha they thought they could escape us!)Read More »

Disneyland: Before Food | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we finally made it to Don and Megan’s wedding! It was a beautiful ceremony, a fun reception, and I was so happy to be able to partake in this wonderful day with my friends. Now, off to the second-best reason to be in LA – DISNEYLAND!

Note: This series of Disney posts will be a recap with a lot of tips, if you were planning your first trip and would like to learn the bit of a scoop I got! Scroll to the end of the post for some overall tips. Let me know if you’d like just an overall tips post for Disneyland?
Also I wasn’t sure how to divide these up, so it’s going to be broken up roughly around the meals we had? … Here we go!


After spending several days in Vegas and a wedding together, there was a small chance that maybe Don and Megan had enough of us. After all, there was a really good chance that Megan had spent more time with me over the past week than we had over the course of our whole friendship? (This is almost definitely true for Don and Ben.) If they were tired of our faces… they were in for a tough break at the beginning of their mini-moon (Minnie-moon!) in Disneyland as I just had to have at least one day at the original happiest place on Earth.

Ben and I spent one magical day at Disneyland, and it started bright and early! We dragged ourselves out of bed to say goodbye to our AirBnB and see ya later to LA before hitting the road and crossing our fingers that traffic to Anaheim wouldn’t be too bad. Luckily, we managed to get there without sitting in too much LA traffic at all! That Disney magic was helping us right along! We checked into our hotel and got our room keys, although our room wasn’t quite ready yet, so we skipped off to have adventures without being tempted by beds.

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Hidden Mickey fun started when we parked our car!

The key was having the room key because Disney resort guests are able to enter one of the two parks during ~*~Extra Magic Hour~*~ aka an hour earlier than everyone else! This perk, in addition to the convenience of being right off park property, was one of the main reasons I wanted to spring a little extra to stay in a Disney hotel. On the day that we arrived, Extra Magic Hour applied to Disney’s California Adventure (aka DCA), so we head through the gorgeous Grand Californian (where Megan and Don were checking in later after sleeping in after, uh, getting married), which opens up directly into DCA.

Tip: While there is an entrance to DCA from the Grand Californian, that line gets very gnarly because Disney hotel guests want to use this exclusive entrance. However, there aren’t as many line attendants as there are at the main entrance, so, unless you got to that entrance very early, you’ll get into the park faster if you go through the main entrance, where you can also see all the folks waiting for both DCA and Disneyland to open up the gates. We stood in the hotel guest line, having kids gawk at me in my Disneybound for a bit, before deciding to do that and it was the right decision in the end, for sure.

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There’s always time for a photo with Walt! Thank you Christine for these Snow White ears from Modern Mouse Boutique!

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