The Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland

The Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland

This is Halloween!

 -The Nightmare Before Christmas

For the past 5 years we have been attending the Halloween event at Disneyland. This is a special ticketed event that is separate from the Annual Pass that we have. While it is definitely on the pricey side, I find it to be completely worth it! Disneyland puts together an amazing Halloween experience that you can’t find during their normal business hours.

This year Disney brought The Oogie Boogie Bash to California Adventure. In the years that we have been going, it has always been at Disneyland. Although, fun fact, when I worked at Disneyland, the halloween event was always at DCA. Anyway, I was a bit skeptical because Disneyland has so much more space, but in the end I actually preferred for it to be over at DCA!

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I’ve put together a list on how to maximize your time at The Oogie Boogie Bash below:

1. WHEN TO BUY YOUR TICKETS

These tickets will set out fast so you definitely want to get them as soon as they go on sale! They typically go on sale around summer time and annual passholders get priority. I prefer to purchase tickets for the last week of September at the latest. These tickets will be slightly cheaper than if you were to go in October.

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2. GET THERE EARLY

If you have a ticket you are allowed to enter the park 3 hours before the event starts! There will be a separate line to enter the park and people will start to line up pretty early. I actually decided to enter the park with my annual pass so we could go in slightly earlier. There was a place inside of DCA where we could go and “sign in” with our Oogie Boogie Bash ticket to get our wristband. This line was significantly shorter than the one outside.

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3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY ENTRANCE TIME

Believe it or not you can really get a lot done in those 3 extra hours! I love to take those hours to ride all of the rides we love. This way we aren’t “wasting” the party on the rides and missing out on the special Halloween stuff. I have the Max Pass (which I also highly recommend), so we got Fast Passes for a majority of our favorite rides.

Eat dinner before the party starts! As soon as that clock strikes 6pm (or whatever time is starts), the party starts and you are going to want to get right in there! So definitely take this time to eat dinner. You are definitely going to want to eat before the trick-or-treat trails start 🙂

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4. MAKE A MENTAL PRIORITY LIST

There is SO MUCH to do and if you are going with kids, it is nearly impossible to do EVERYTHING. But grab one of the event pamphlets when you enter and scroll through it. In years past we skipped all of the trick-or-treat trails but now that my son is older we made that a priority. This year was really cool because they had villains at some of the trick-or-treat trails and it was amazing!

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5. WHERE TO WATCH THE PARADE

The Frightfully Fun Parade is my FAVORITE parade year after year! It has your favorite villains, it’s a little eery, and has a whole unit dedicated to the Haunted Mansion. Talk about awesome, right?!

Since this year was a first over at DCA I wasn’t really sure where to watch the parade. I asked a cast member early in the day where the parade would step off (Pixar Pier) and I knew that I wanted to be as close to step-off as possible. When you are further down the parade route, it takes longer for the parade to get to you and I knew I didn’t want to sit around waiting. I also took into consideration that the parade route was longer than at Disneyland so I took a shot at not waiting in a spot for an hour before the parade started.

My instinct was right (thank goodness) and we found a spot right next to the Golden Zephyr just as the Headless Horseman was walking down. We honestly love this parade so much that B cried when it was over because he said it wasn’t long enough 🙂

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There is so much to do and see at The Oogie Boogie Bash – which I well get to in my next blog post, so stay tuned!

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OC Bubble Pop

OC Bubble Pop

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

(We were hosted by OC Bubble Pop, but all pictures and opinions are my own).

We are always looking for fun things to do right here in Orange County, which is why we were super excited to explore everything that OC Bubble Pop had to offer. OC Bubble Pop is conveniently located at The District Promenade in Tustin, right in the heart of Orange County. 

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Immediately when we walked in we were greeted by the incredibly friendly staff. It was super easy to get checked in but TIP: you can fill out the waiver online prior to your visit. My son (6) could hardly contain his excitement and rushed right in and ready to start exploring.

OC Bubble Pop offers various bubble stations ranging from dry-ice bubble making to a station where you get to actually stand inside of a life-size bubble!

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One of our favorite stops was the Bubble Smasher. Bubbles float across the station and your goal is to pop the bubble and make a basket at the same time. Super challenging, but so much fun! And don’t worry about picking up the balls on the floor. A staff member is standing by to help get that for you 🙂

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We also had on our eyes on the stations where you could build as big of a bubble as you possibly could. I couldn’t even believe some of the bubbles B was making! It’s pretty awesome to watch your kid have an idea and then watch it come try.

My son could have spent all day there! And OC Bubble Pop makes it super convenient for families of littles that DO want to spend all day there because the price of admission is good for ALL DAY! Does that get any better?! They also have semi-private birthday parties and events, and you get your very own party room.

My biggest takeaway from OC Bubble Pop was the staff and how clean it was! Never have I experienced such an attentive, kind, creative, and nurturing group of people. Every staff member was there to help, to guide, and to even play with your kid. I could tell they genuinely loved their job!

Thank you, OC Bubble Pop, for letting us explore your space, we will definitely be back!

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Have you been to OC Bubble Pop? Or anything similar where you live? Would you want to spend a day having bubbles of fun?!

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Last Night I Drank a Beer In The Shower

Last Night I Drank a Beer In The Shower

It was one of those days. I don’t even have to elaborate on that sentence for you to know what I mean. Whether you’re a parent or not, everyone has “those days”. The days where you just need a moment. You need some space, some time, A MOMENT, to just be.

If you’re local to Southern California then you know August and September (heck even October) can be some of our hottest months. It’s really quite a shame they make the kids go back to school during our “local summer” but I digress…Today was hot. I typically don’t mind the summer heat, but today I was not about it.

This time of year is historically busy for my work, and to throw in the “back to school” of it all, it’s just downright insane. Not to mention, we are at a new school with new rules, new friends, new processes, new teachers – it’s too much NEW.

With the heat comes the whiney kids. And the hungry kids, because they are too hot to eat, but yet somehow still find the energy to burn whatever they have stored up on the playground. And then the tired kids show up around 3pm because they haven’t eaten, they’ve burned all of their reserved energy, and they’ve whined themselves into a stupor.

But I’m a “cool mom” (despite the heat) and decided to team up with my sister and take our boys for a swim. I envisioned cooling down by dipping my toes in the pool, laughing at the kids as their dives turned into belly flops, and having easy conversations with my sister. Instead the above-mentioned kids showed up, and they brought friends – the ornery and argumentative kids.

Then something suddenly came up. My cute ponytail had drooped low behind my neck. The denim mini skirt I was wearing somehow had hiked its way up past my waist.  And I was sweating so much down my back it traveled down to my butt. It was time to call it quits.

Leaving to come home took way longer than it needed to. By the time we made it inside the door – I was done. I scrambled together some version of dinner while B showered, flipped on Spongebob Squarepants and said “It’s your lucky night! TV DINNER!” I opened the fridge and saw the most glorious cold beverage staring at me – Mexican Lager. But where could I find 15 minutes of solitude and drink this beer in piece? That’s right, the shower.

To be fair, I hadn’t drank a beer in the shower in probably 15 years. I’m not even sure if I ever had, but if I did, it for sure would have been in my “college days”.  I say “college days” because I didn’t go to college until 26, but consider my cruise ship days my college years.

It wasn’t even about having a drink, it was more about the fact that I needed a moment to myself that was all mine. I knew in that time my only moment was the shower. And to make the moment even sweeter, I added a beer. I have to say, it felt weird at first, but then it oddly felt so invigorating to be doing something out of the norm.

I soaked up every square inch of space within my moment of “me” and I genuinely don’t think I would have made it without it. Sometimes we just cannot make it to bed time and that’s okay! Throw your kid in front of the TV every once in awhile and allow yourself some time. Some days you just gotta drink that beer in the shower, ya know?

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The Summer of Me

The Summer of Me

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”

-John Lubbock

It’s been the summer of me. And I don’t feel guilty one bit. As some of you know, in the summer my son spends a big chunk of the week with his dad. When new friends hear this piece of information I am often times asked, “Oh, I’m so sorry. You must miss him a lot?” I very kindly respond, “No, not really.”

You see, I have my son 90% of the time during the school year. His dad doesn’t live in the same city, not even the same county, so logistically it’s hard to get down there between school and sports. While I wish his dad would move closer to us, it’s not our reality right now. So, the school year is 90% on me and it is exhausting.

Between school lunches, drop offs/pick ups, play dates, homework, school projects, emotional breakdowns, teacher gifts, household duties, my full time job, and my part time job…by June this mama is SPENT. Some days getting both us out of the door on time is a task and a half. While I yearn for the weekends – sometimes those are more hectic than weekdays!

I have a great co-parenting relationship that I am so grateful for, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of co-parenting in the flesh. I am the bad cop and hardly ever the good cop. I am the enforcer of house rules and hardly do we ever have the time to break the rules. I have to create schedules and structure so that my son and I can have happy and successful days. But, when all of that falls on the shoulders of one person, it can take a toll.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. I love my son. But when summer rolls around, it is my time to refuel. It is my time to regroup. It is 8 weeks of: mindless TV; hours spent on the couch in my robe; days of dishes piling up in the sink; laundry half done; beds unmade; clothes on the floor; cereal for dinner; staying up til midnight because I can; sleeping in until 8 because I can; solo Disneyland trips; and many Door Dash deliveries.

I never want to reflect on being a single mom as anything but positive. I don’t know any different. But no, I don’t feel guilty for my summer of me. And you shouldn’t either.

Good luck to all the mamas that are gearing up for the school year ahead. We got this! Also, does anybody know how many days until Christmas break?

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Summer at Knott’s Soak City

Summer at Knott’s Soak City

If you grew up in Orange County then you most likely spent countless hours at the infamous Wild Rivers. I have so many fond memories of many summers spent at this thrilling water park, I couldn’t wait until my son was old enough to take him to one! While Wild Rivers is gone (for now), we do have Knott’s Soak City right here in Orange County. For our first trip I had so many questions about what I needed to know, bring, do and etc. I had a hard time finding any real information so I’ve put together some helpful tips for your next Knott’s Soak City adventure!

Top 10 List of Things to Know When Visiting Knott’s Soak City

1. Buy Before You Go

Get your tickets before you go! Plan the date you want to visit the park, purchase your tickets online and save as much as $9 on your ticket. You can also take a peek at Goldstar and see what they have to offer.

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2. Get there early!

Knott’s Soak City opens at 10am but people will start lining up well before then. Once the doors are officially opened the line moves fairly quickly, but you will still need to go through security. You will also want to grab a spot ASAP! Which leads to me to…

3. Grab a Spot in the Shade

Shade is hard to come by so you will definitely want to head to the shaded areas first. I made that mistake and we only got half shaded chairs, which was kind of a bummer. We really only were in our chairs to eat lunch but it would have been nice to cool down. They do have shaded areas to eat lunch but the signs say you can only sit there for 30 minutes.

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4. Harbor Waterworks

We just happened to find chairs in front of Harbor Waterworks which ended up being perfect! If your kids are old enough to go off somewhat by themselves, this is the perfect area to set up camp. Even if you don’t have a chair over in this area, it’s a great place where the kids can run around and you can take a moment to breath! Just be careful of the big buckets of water that will dump out every so often. I learned this the hard way!

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5. Bring a Waterproof Phone Case

Somebody gave me this idea and it was the best advice! Because you’re rarely with all of your belongings this is the perfect way to keep your phone on you. It came in handy when I wanted to grab a few photos and videos. It also was really convenient to slide in a credit card. I used a Joto Waterproof Phone Case that I found on Amazon.

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6. Wear Your Flip Flops

The ground gets pretty hot as the day goes on so we had to put on our flip flops while we were walking from ride to ride. Trust me, you won’t be the only one. You’ll see a big pile of flip flops at the bottom of each ride!

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7. Rent a Tube

We didn’t rent a tube but I think on our next visit we will rent tubes. We went on a Friday so it was pretty crowded the later it got in the day. The rides that require a tube, you have to wait in line to get a tube and then wait in another ride to go down the ride. Also, if you want a tube in the wave pool or the lazy run, they are pretty hard to come by. But you can bring your rental tubes in any pool or on any ride!

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8. Make Your Own Cabana

You’re allowed to bring in a small cooler with water and sports drinks. But honestly, we brought in a lot of snacks and nobody said a word. I think you could probably bring in lunch under the radar. Many families also brought in wagon strollers and set up camp on the grass with their umbrellas. I don’t have an umbrella that will stand on grass, otherwise this seems like it would have been such a good idea!

9. How Tall Are You?

If you are under 48″ inches you are required to wear a life vest on any ride that doesn’t have tubes and in any of the pools. I suggest being a minimum of 42″ if you plan on going. If you are less than 42″ then you won’t be able to ride any of the rides..

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10. Lockers

When we first got there we immediately went to the lockers to put everything in there. The lockers range from $15-$25 depending on the size you get. But, I think next time we will skip the lockers and keep everything at our chairs. I would rather spend that money on rental tubes! And make sure you keep your valuables at home 🙂

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I hope this is helpful to you! Do you have any plans to visit Knott’s Soak City this summer? Or a water park in your town? Let me know in the comments!

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Navigating Sports as a Single Mom

Navigating Sports as a Single Mom

My son is Mr. Sports. As soon as one season ends he’s on to the next. And not necessarily the same sport. He’ll jump from baseball to basketball to soccer to whatever else he can think of. I don’t think he has a love for a single sport yet so in the meantime he wants to try it all. And at 5 I think he should! He has his whole life to play one sport, now is the time for him to find out what he loves. But, as a single working mom, juggling this athletic life can be complicated.

Last year was our first full year in sports mode. Luckily, soccer was only a one-day commitment, which made the schedule juggle super easy. We moved on to baseball in the spring and I was so fortunate to have a job that was pretty flexible with adjusting my lunch hour to be there for games and practices when needed. I also have very helpful family members to pick up/drop off when I couldn’t. And now I have a different job this year where I get to work from home, so essentially I can take my son anywhere, anytime.

But it really got me thinking – what do single working moms (or dads) do during a sport season? From my experience, practices are in the afternoon (during regular business hours), and some games are during the week. Is your child not allowed to participate in their local little league due to scheduling conflicts? I haven’t been in this sports world for too long but I really feel that there is a demographic that is completely forgotten about. Not every family is able to logistically get to a practice and/or game. It’s really not fair that they can’t participate solely because they don’t live in a two-parent household or have family nearby that can help.

I am SO grateful for my current job situation but you never know when that can change. You never know when life is going to throw you upside down. I don’t have any answers but I think we should start a conversation. Children living in a single parent household (or even a two working parent household) shouldn’t have to sit out on a sports experience because practices are at 3pm. There has to be another way!

And while we’re here… why don’t we know the practice schedule when we sign up? Why don’t we know until 2 weeks before practices start? How is anybody supposed to plan anything?! It really just feels like they’re marketing towards families that have at least one at home parent.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can be more inclusive? I would love to hear in the comments.

The New Legoland Castle Hotel

The New Legoland Castle Hotel

Just before Christmas I took my son to Legoland for a little 2-day staycation. I wasn’t going to be spending Christmas with him that year so I wanted to do something to make this holiday season still special. One of his most favorite places to go is Legoland! I thought I would up the “special” this time and add one night in their new Legoland Castle Hotel…and it was pretty spectacular! Read below for everything they have to offer and even take a peek at a pretty sweet deal at the bottom. Enjoy!

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The Legoland Castle Hotel is incredible with all of the lego features on the outside, complete with a drawbridge! It’s also right in front of the Legoland Park – literally like 10 feet. Can’t beat that!

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This was probably my favorite part of the hotel. This amazing lego sculpture is in the lobby centered right where the adults check-in. Below the sculpture is a huge bin full legos to occupy the kiddos. Also, just behind is a slide! I love that everything at the hotel is catered to kids as soon as you walk in the door.

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We chose to the stay in the “Knights & Dragon” themed room but there are other options such as; a “Magic Wizard” & Royal Princess Theme”. All rooms are equipped with a separate quarter for the kids, which includes bunk beds! See below 🙂

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Below the bunk beds is a pull out cot, perfect if you have lots of kids with you! Also, the kids have their own TV and lego station to build to their hearts content.

 

One of the highlights of our stay was the scavenger hunt throughout the Legoland Castle Hotel. Hidden in the hotel are clues that unlock a treasure chest that is in every room. It was so much fun running around the hotel room looking for the clues. And then of course unlocking the treasure box to find TWO lego sets! Honestly, I had no idea the hotel did this, but it truly was one of my highlights.

 

We didn’t make it out to the pool on this trip as it was SO cold but from a distance I could see they offered water slides, splash pads, and lots of water activities for littles that aren’t ready to swim just yet.

We did however get to enjoy the outdoor common area which included a HUGE movie screen, life-size games, and a very stimulating park area. I really think you could spend the entire time at the hotel, not even go into Legoland and still feel highly entertained. Especially if you came in the summer and took advantage of the pool activities.

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When I booked our reservation our room came with a complimentary breakfast. I really didn’t think much of it because typically when a hotel says it has a complimentary breakfast it’s not much more than coffee, muffins and maybe some fruit. Boy was I surprised! It was a full on buffet with omelettes, french toast, sausage and even a buffet just for kids! I didn’t get to snap any photos of that because you know, kids in a restaurant…

All in all, we had a great time and I am already looking forward to our next stay at The Legoland Castle Hotel. And right now is the perfect time to book YOUR trip! There is a limited-time offer right now, so don’t miss out because it ends on February 28th! If you book a hotel room you receive:

  • FREE 2-Day Child LEGOLAND + SEA LIFE Hopper tickets
  • 2-Day Adult LEGOLAND + SEA LIFE Hopper tickets
  • Exclusive early access to LEGOLAND on both days

BOOK HERE!