An Ode to Paradise Pier, Disney California Adventure

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Disney Parks are always my happy place, but when we lived in California, Disneyland was pretty much our second home. Prior to 2018, what is now Pixar Pier was Paradise Pier. Paradise Pier was designed to be reminiscent of boardwalks and seaside amusement parks of the past. Paradise Pier featured billboard ads, rides, games, and snack stands like those of the 1920s and spending time there was like stepping into the past. This area of Disney California Adventure has since been rebranded into Pixar Pier and while I cannot wait to explore what it is now, I will miss what it once was.

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Addison’s First Haircut

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When we started planning for our Walt Disney World trip, I discovered that the Harmony Barber Shop was an actual working salon and that it was possible to make an appointment for a child’s first haircut. Miss Addy was in definite need of a cut months before our trip, but we decided that we would push it off so that she could get her first cut at Disney.

The Harmony Barber Shop was so great and the stylist that cut Addison’s hair was so patient and quick! Addy had a little spinner toy that she was given to keep her content during the cut and honestly, she was not even bothered by the fact that her hair was being cut.

It was a definite once in a lifetime experience and these photographs are some of my very favorites that I’ve ever taken. I hope one day Addy loves and cherishes them as much as I do.

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Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

 

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Jason and I are so happy to have been able to take Addison to one of our favorite places in the entire world, Walt Disney World!

We tossed around the idea of going to Disney for a while and actually decided against it until she was a bit older, but then she started showing an interest in costumed characters and certain Disney movies and characters. So, after lots of research and tons of planning, we decided to go for it. I am so glad we did! We had the best time experiencing Disney through her eyes. She loved meeting the characters and was not intimidated at all. In fact, she learned really quickly to take each character her little autograph book and give them big hugs! She was such a trooper and we all had such a great time together. She took naps in her stroller when she was tired, but when a show began or it was time to meet a character, she was all eyes and ears!

One thing that I was really passionate about us doing was a character meal. After researching and considering Addy’s favorite characters, we decided on Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Addy has loved her Little People Mickey and Minnie for as long as she was old enough to hold them and play with them, so it was really important to Jason and I that we find a meal that included both Mickey and Minnie. We felt that for this trip, Chef Mickey’s would be perfect and we could also schedule our meal on a day that we did not have tickets to the parks, since the restaurant and resort are outside the parks and do not require an admission ticket. We had read prior to reserving our meal that the food is not necessarily the best of all of the character meals, but because of the nostalgia and ambiance of the Contemporary Resort, as well as the character line-up, we decided that it was a risk we were willing to take. Honestly, we were quite happy with our meal and especially loved the sweet options, and of course, the Mickey-shaped waffles!

We really loved Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet and we really enjoyed spending time exploring the Contemporary Resort as well, as I have long been enamored with “the Disney resort that the monorail runs through.” I think our time at the Contemporary Resort brought out the kid in all of us.

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Travel Log: Disneyland Paris at Christmastime

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While living in Europe, Jason and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit Disneyland Paris multiple times. I love Disney Parks at any time of the year, but Christmastime is especially magical.

When people knew we had visited Disneyland Paris, one question we got many times was “How does Disneyland Paris compare to Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California?” To be honest, we went in to each experience with no expectations or comparisons between either park and we feel that each individual park has its own set of unique experiences, food that is unique to each park, and rides that were either unique to each park or were slightly different than the “same” ride at another park. In my opinion, no one park is better than the other, we love them all! One of my favorite memories of Disneyland Paris was when a cast member noticed that we traded pins, which is not typically a huge draw for visitors of the Disneyland Paris parks, but he made a point of bringing out some limited edition pins specific to Disneyland Paris and traded as many pins as we needed to get all the pins that he had, that we wanted.

One year, we opted to spend Thanksgiving Day at the park and ring in the Christmas season there. We were able to see the park’s Christmas parade on Thanksgiving Day, take in all the festive decor, and just enjoy the magic that being at a Disney Park brings. Speaking of enjoying the magic of Disney Parks, we are really excited to be spending a bit of time at Walt Disney World this holiday season; we are especially excited to take Addy to Disney for the first time, as she loves Mickey, Minnie, and Olaf, music and dancing. I also cannot wait to experience Epcot Festival of the Holidays and try things from each of the Holiday Kitchens! Obviously if you read this blog, or know me personally, you know food is one of my very favorite things. 😉

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and are able to spend time with the people (and pets) that you love, make time to slow down, and relish in the season.

 

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