Tips For Visiting The Downtown Disney District In Anaheim

The Downtown Disney District, located at the Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, California, is fun to visit! Here are some tips for exploring this unique, family-friendly, shopping and dining area.


Downtown Disney District

Downtown Disney District ~ www.socalwithkids.com

The Downtown Disney District Has Something For Everyone!

The Downtown Disney District is an outdoor promenade comprised of restaurants, shops, a movie theater, and more. It’s a great place to enjoy a snack or meal, do some shopping, or simply enjoy the day while leisurely strolling around the promenade.
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Mickey’s Halloween Party Lights The Night At Disneyland!

Trick-or-treat! Mickey’s Halloween Party, a family-friendly event happens on select dates at Disneyland each Fall. I’ve already purchased a ticket to take our toddler, and can’t wait to go with him! Below are some details about the festivities.


Mickey’s Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party ~ www.socalwithkids.com

A Special Party Requires A Special Ticket

Mickey’s Halloween Party happens during Halloween Time at Disneyland, but is a special nighttime event, requiring a separate ticket. It doesn’t matter if you’re already at Disneyland the day of the event, unless you have a purchased a party ticket, you will have to leave. Those that have purchased a ticket for Mickey’s Halloween Party receive a special wristband upon entry, and believe me, Cast Members DO check, and direct anyone without wristbands out of the Park.

Mickey's Halloween Party Ticket

An Event Ticket Is Less Expensive Than A Single Day Park Ticket

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party are less expensive than a single day Park ticket. Pricing starts at $63, and goes up to $77 for Halloween night. Annual Passholders can receive a discount on tickets for certain nights. If you’re an AP, be sure to inquire about the special pricing. Children under 3 are FREE!

Halloween Time at Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

You Can Enter Disneyland 3 Hours Prior To The Party

Although Mickey’s Halloween Party is a nighttime event, you can enter Disneyland up to 3 hours prior to the start of the party. So, if the event starts at 6pm, you can enter as early as 3pm. This gives you 3 extra hours to explore The Happiest Place On Earth. I highly suggest taking advantage of these extra hours. There are so many incredible seasonal displays to see, and fun areas to take photos during the extra time before the party begins. If you head on over to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree prior to about 4pm you should be able to take some time to enjoy the Halloween Carnival, which is closed during the evening.

Mickey's Halloween Carnival ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Kids of ALL Ages Can Participate In The Fun!

This event is one in which kids of ALL ages can dress up in costume and trick-or-treat! Part of the fun of the event is seeing all the people dressed up in costume. Some are amazing!

Halloween Time At Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

The Event Includes Parking

Unlike regular tickets to the Park, tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party INCLUDE parking. Sweet! You must park in one of the lots designated for the Parks to receive free parking. There are tons of parking spaces designated for the Parks. I’ve been to the Parks hundreds of times and I’ve always been able to park in a designated lot for the Parks. If a lot or structure is full, a Cast Member will direct you to another lot.

Small World at Mickey's Halloween Party ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Trick-Or-Treating, A Parade, Fireworks and More!

Mickey’s Halloween Party includes loads of opportunities for safe trick-or-treating throughout the Park. The event also includes a special parade, dance party, awesome decorative displays, neat lighting, character photo opportunities, and more! Most rides and attractions are also open during the event as well.

Halloween Time at Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Be sure to check the official Disneyland website for further details about Mickey’s Halloween Party. I’m really looking forward to taking our son. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

P.S. You might be VERY interested in reading our other related post, Halloween Time At Disneyland!

The opinions in this post are our own. We do not work for any brand mentioned, nor do we have any official relationship with them. We were long time Disneyland Annual Passholders, and been to Disneyland at Halloween Time many times.

5 Reasons We Love Halloween Time At Disneyland!

Halloween Time at Disneyland is so fun, that we think it’s fabulous! As Disneyland Annual Passholder for many years, we’ve experienced this yearly event on many occasions. If you haven’t been to the Disneyland Resort at this time of year, you haven’t truly experienced Halloween in Southern California! Below are some of the reasons why we love visiting Disneyland during Fall.


Halloween Time At Disneyland!

Halloween Time at Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Decor, Decor, Decor… Need I Say More?

Disney goes ALL out with neat seasonal decor. From the moment you enter the Disneyland Resort, you can’t help but notice all the beautiful Autumn-themed decor at Halloween Time at Disneyland! The entrance to Disneyland is decked out with gigantic, cute character pumpkin heads. At the beginning of Main Street USA you’re greeted by a gigantic Mickey pumpkin, perfect for taking a fun picture. The entire area is filled with festive banners, pumpkins, and more.

Halloween Time at Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Pumpkin, Spice, and Everything Nice

Halloween Time at Disneyland means pumpkin, spice, and everything nice. Who doesn’t love tasty seasonal treats?!? Some of the seasonal treats that have been offered throughout the years are pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin cheesecake. Delicious!

Halloween Time at Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Characters Dressed For The Occasion!

Inside the Park, you’ll often find your favorite Disney characters dressed in special seasonal outfits at Halloween Time at Disneyland. There are plenty of character photo opportunities inside Big Thunder Ranch.

Halloween Time at Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Carnival With Games, Crafts, and Entertainment Included

Along with seasonally dressed characters, you’ll also find a Halloween Carnival within the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area of the Park, during Halloween Time at Disneyland. This area has carnival-style games, crafts, and even some fun entertainment.

Mickey's Halloween Carnival ~ www.socalwithkids.com

The crafts we’ve done in the past have been simple for all ages, including coloring with crayons on paper masks. We love visiting this area, playing the games, enjoying the live entertainment, and having special opportunities with some of our favorite characters.

Mickey's Halloween Carnival ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Here you might also see some pumpkin carvers working on some incredible, unique carved pumpkins! Their creations are true works of art!

Disney Carved Pumpkin ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Special Attractions and Tours

Some of the attractions are seasonally transformed during Halloween Time at Disneyland. The Haunted Mansion is changed to The Haunted Holiday Mansion, inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love this attraction, and I’m not even a huge Tim Burton fan. Space Mountain also boasts some seasonal changes, but since I’ve always visited with at least one little one too short (or too scared) to go on it, I haven’t experienced it first-hand.

Halloween Time at Disneyland ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Disneyland also offers a tour called Happy Haunts, which takes you to different areas in both Parks at the Resort. The Happy Haunts tour requires an additional fee.

The Park also has a fun, family-friendly event on select nights, called Mickey’s Halloween Party. This event requires a separate ticket, and often sells out prior to the event dates. If you’re interested in attending, you should look into purchasing your ticket(s) far in advance. You can read our post about Mickey’s Halloween Party HERE.

World of Disney at Halloween ~ www.socalwithkids.com

If there’s anything that gets me in the mood for Fall, it’s Halloween Time at Disneyland! Halloween Time at Disneyland runs from 9/12/14-10/31/14. Be sure to visit the Park’s official website for details about pricing, hours, and further . Perhaps we’ll see you there!

P.S. You might also enjoy reading our other post, Planning Your Child’s 1st Visit To Disneyland.

The opinions in this post are our own. We do not work for any brand mentioned, nor do we have any official relationship with them. We were long time Disneyland Annual Pass holders, and been to Halloween Time at Disneyland many times.

5 Things To Know About The SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular Event!

As a long time Passholder, I’ve been taking our kids to the SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular event in San Diego for many years. We can never really get enough of the festive Fall celebrations throughout Southern California, and often go to this particular event several times each season. Spooktacular is a fun, family-friendly event, which really isn’t spooky at all. Here are some details about the event that I think are helpful to know before you go.

SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular Tips!

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Using FASTPASS At Disneyland and Disney California Adventure


How To Use A Disney FASTPASS

A girlfriend of mine was recently planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, and questioned me about FASTPASS. She’d never used one, and was wondering how to obtain and use a FASTPASS at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park.
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Best Ways To Beat The Heat At Disney California Adventure


Beat The Heat At Disney California Adventure

We’re super lucky to have really great weather almost 365 days a year in Southern California. It makes for pretty easy planning when visiting local theme parks. Certain days can be warmer than others, and some summer days are down right HOT. Sometimes we even have odd heat waves at unexpected times of the year. When visiting the Disneyland Resort, we love going to California Adventure. Our favorite ways to beat the heat at Disney California Adventure are below.

Stay Cool at DCA ~ www.socalwithkids.com

The Disney Animation Building

Our absolute favorite place to beat the heat at Disney California Adventure is the The Disney Animation Building. It’s air conditioned throughout, and you can sit in the lobby and be entertained by illustrations and short videos set to music and recharge. There have been times we’ve spent an hour or more here with one of our little ones sleeping in the jogger, and the rest of us enjoying the atmosphere.

Inside this building you can attend the Animation Academy’s interactive drawing sessions known as The Secrets of Drawing. Each participant receives a pencil and paper, and you have the opportunity to follow along with a Disney artist as they teach you how to draw familiar character. It’s fun, and gives you the opportunity to give yourself a shot at drawing. The session is free, and is short enough for most children to enjoy as well. Even really young ones!

Also within the Animation Building is Turtle Talk with Crush, The Sorcerer’s Workshop, and Character Close-Up. We’ve always enjoyed Turtle Talk with Crush, which is an interactive show with the turtle, Crush. The Sorcerer’s Workshop is fun to walk through, and has some neat hands-on, interactive features. It’s neat to take a few minutes to check out the Character Close-Up while waiting for a Secrets of Drawing session, or before you leave the building.

Disney Junior Live On Stage

Disney Junior Live On Stage is indoors, and lasts about 20 minutes or so. It’s great for younger children, especially those that love the characters from Disney Junior!

Princess Dot Puddle Park

Don’t let the name fool you, boys will love this area too! Located in Bugs Land, the Princess Dot Puddle Park is a great little water park for little kids to get wet! Bring your child’s bathing suit, water proof shoes, and a towel to dry off. We’ve spend hours here playing.

Muppet Vision*3D

Muppet Vision 3D is an indoor show featuring the beloved Muppets! Sometimes there’s a bit of a wait for the show, but once inside, you get to sit in a large waiting area with great air conditioning! I think the performance itself is about 20 minutes, so even if you walk straight into the show you’ll get a nice amount of time to sit in cool air.

It’s Tough to be a Bug

It’s Tough to be a Bug is an interactive show in an air conditioned building within Bug’s Land. Like Muppet Vision*3D, this show may have a little wait in an cool, indoor waiting area. Be forewarned, this show can be a little scary for some young kids.

Indoor Rides

Indoor rides are always a great place to beat the heat. Indoor rides at Disney California Adventure include Toy Story Midway Mania, Soarin’ Over California, Monster’s Inc, The Little Mermaid, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (which I’ve admittedly never ridden!),

The Boudin Bakery Tour

Although it only takes a few minutes to do so, the Boudin Bakery Tour is a nice place to enjoy cool air. It’s pretty educational too! I highly recommend going through it at least one time if you’ve never experienced it.

Indoor Dining

Stopping for a bite to eat inside an air conditioned restaurant is always a great way to recharge. Our personal favorites inside Disney California Adventure are Flo’s V8 Cafe, located in Cars Land, Taste Pilots Grill, located at Condor Flats, and The Ghiradelli Soda Fountain, located at Pacfic Wharf, but there are other indoor dining options as well.

Browsing Gift Shops

Browsing through the gift shops is also a nice way to escape the heat. The gift shops used to be one of my go-to places if both of my first born kids fell asleep in the jogger at the same time. I could easily walk around and browse the shops in the AC while they got their beauty sleep; a bonus for each of us!

Other Stay-Cool Ideas

Other places I would think would be great to cool down would be the indoor show, Disney’s Alladin – A Musical Spectacular. I would think the Grizzly River Run water ride would be refreshing as well. For whatever reason, we’ve never done either, so I cannot give my personal insights, but I’m pretty certain both would be great to beat the heat!

Shopping At Disney ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Check out the Park’s official website for more information about the places we’ve mentioned. Where are your favorite spots to beat the heat at Disney California Adventure? Perhaps we’ll see you there!

P.S. You might also enjoy reading our other related post, Planning Your Trip To The Disney California Adventure Park.

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The opinions in this article are our own. We do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this post, nor do we have any official relationship with them. We’re Disney fans and were pass holders for many years.

Planning Your Trip To Disney California Adventure Park


Trip To Disney California Adventure Park

I took my 1st trip to Disney California Adventure Park in February 2002, just a year after it opened. This was a couple of years before I had children of my own. The theme park has grown quite a bit since then, and as a longtime pass holder, I’ve visited countless times with my children since my first visit.

Pluto Hug DCA ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Disney California Adventure is located steps away from Disneyland, in Anaheim, California. If you drive to the Disneyland Resort, you’ll want to park your vehicle at the structure or one of the designated lots for the Parks. You can take the tram to the entrance, or walk to the entrance yourself.

When you visit, you’ll go through security, just as you would if you were to enter Disneyland Park. Disneyland is located to the North, and Disney California Adventure Park is located to the South, past security. The entrance is very visible, so you should have no problem identifying it.

If you have yet to buy tickets, you can’t miss the ticketing area after you pass security. If you have purchased tickets prior to your visit, you can walk right up to the entrance of the Park, and present your ticket(s) at the turnstile. Super easy!


Characters and Rides Based On Pixar Films!


Inside Disney California Adventure Park you’ll often see your favorite original Disney characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and more. Here you’ll also find the characters and rides based on Pixar films such as Toy Story, Cars, and Monsters, Inc. to name a few.


Pixar Play Parade, Live Entertainment, and More!


Like Disneyland, Disney California Adventure Park has a parade, and live entertainment in the form of musical performances. It too has a water and lights show with music, known as World of Color.

My personal favorite things at Disney California Adventure Park are the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Grizzly Peak, visiting Cars Land, taking in the sights and sounds of Buena Vista Street., and the Pixar Play Parade.

The kids can be active, and run around the Redwood Creek Challenge. A visit to Cars Land is like walking into Radiator Springs. So awesome! It’s fun to ride the short Red Trolley Car ride at Buena Vista Street, and if you’re lucky, you might catch some live entertainment there as well. I love watching the Pixar Play Parade with little ones. They get so excited seeing their favorite Pixar characters in real life! So fun!
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Knott’s Rocks Summer 2014 With Renovations and New Entertainment!

Knott's Rocks Summer 2014 ~ www.socalwithkids.com


Knott’s ROCKS Summer 2014!

Knott’s rocks Summer 2014 with renovations to Camp Snoopy, the Calico Mine Co. Ride, and the Knott’s Hotel, PLUS they’ve added some new family entertainment! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the updates first-hand on recent media trips to the Resort, and think all of the renovations and new shows are great! Here are some details of what to expect on a trip to Knott’s during Summer 2014.


Camp Snoopy Celebrates the big 3-0!

Camp Snoopy celebrates 30 years at Knott’s! This area is one of our favorites, with the tall trees, beautiful stream, and fun rides for the little ones. The renovations to this area compliment that which we already love about Camp Snoopy. This area has three new rides, Linus Launcher, Charlie Brown’s Kite Flyer, and Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies, all of which look really fun!

Camp Snoopy 2014 ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Camp Snoopy has a brand new, super neat Peanuts® Meet and Greet area. The individual character sections are really cute, and the waiting area is shaded. It’s a great addition to to Camp Snoopy!

meetandgreet

Also added to Camp Snoopy is a shaded rest area, with a small play area as well. It’s a great place to sit and have a snack while overlooking Camp Snoopy. Here you’ll also find a large rock with Charlie Brown and Snoopy carved into it. So cute!

Camp Snoopy At Knott's ~ www.socalwithkids.com

The Camp Snoopy Theatre has an all-new show for Summer 2014, Happy Campers! The show has some of your favorite Peanuts® characters, including Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Sally, and Linus, singing and dancing in an upbeat performance. The show happens at select times each day, so be sure to check the Entertainment and Show Guide (available as you enter the Park) to fit it in your visit.

Happy Campers Show at Camp Snoopy ~ www.socalwithkids.com

Here’s a super cute video showcasing the new, fresh, Camp Snoopy. I love that they show the three new rides. Chloe Noelle, the “KidCaster”, did a great job!


Rockin’ New Ice Skating Show, Snoopy Unleashed!

Snoopy Unleashed, an all-new ice skating show is being performed in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre, located in the Boardwalk are of Knott’s. The skating is top notch, the costumes and set are great, and the music is upbeat and fun. It’s a great place to sit and cool off on a hot summer day. Just like the Happy Campers show, Snoopy Unleashed happens at select times, so check the schedule in advance to make sure you have the opportunity to see it. There are no performances of this show on Wednesdays, and it is set to run 6/14-8/24/14.

Snoopy Unleashed Ice Skating Show ~ www.socalwithkids.com


Updates To The Calico Mine Co. Ride

The Calico Mine Ride, located in the Ghost Town area of Knott’s, has been fully renovated is now reopened! It’s the same ride that park guests have loved since 1960, with new, even more realistic animatronic characters, different lighting and some other neat visual features. The renovations were made by Garner Holt Productions, the same company that renovated the Knott’s Log Ride in 2013. If you’ve never been, now would be a great time to check it out!

Knott's Calico Mine Ride ~ www.socalwithkids.com


Boom Town Show On The Calico Stage

A new high-energy acrobatic and juggling show called Boom Town is scheduled to be performed on the Calico Stage, in Ghost Town from 6/14-8/24/14. It’s a great one to check out before or after riding the Calico Mine Ride. As with the other shows, be sure to check the performance times in advance. This show does not run on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Knott's Boom Town ~ www.socalwithkids.com


Lots of Renovations To The Knott’s Hotel

The Knott’s Hotel has recently had lots of renovations as well. Upgrades have been made to the lobby, front desk, meeting and event spaces, and more. I’d never seen the inside of the hotel prior to the recent work, but love how it presently looks. The interior is decorated in neutral tones with pops of color, and has a warm, comforting feel.

Knott's Hotel Lobby ~ www.socalwithkids.com


Summer Contest, Social Media Sharing and More

Aside from the recently renovated areas, Knott’s rocks Summer 2014 with all the usual family fun, including tons of rides, year-round shows like the Wild West Stunt Show, Mystery Lodge, and the Native American Dancer to name a few. If you’re looking for a Splashing Good Time, Knott’s Soak City, their awesome Water Park, is located just across the street from the Amusement Park.

Knott's Berry Farm ~ www.socalwithkids.com

If you enjoy social media like we do, follow and use the hashtag #KnottsSummer. You can also have some fun participating in the Knott’s Best of Summer Contest, with a chance to win a return trip the theme park. Details can be found HERE.

Calico Mine Ride At Knott's ~ www.socalwithkids.com

More information about how Knott’s rocks Summer 2014 can be found on their website. We plan to take the kids to see the renovations this summer as well. Perhaps we’ll see you there!
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Knott’s Gold Season Pass Makes Summer Cooler With Entry To Soak City OC!


Knott’s Gold Pass Includes Soak City OC!


Float, Slide, and Play at Soak City OC!
Knott’s Soak City is opening for Summer 2014 in just a few short weeks! We loved visiting last year, and have accepted an invitation to visit again. We’ll also be going to Knott’s Berry Farm, and checking out the newly renovated Knott’s Hotel as well. This will be our first time ever staying at the Knott’s Hotel, and we’re excited to experience how easy it is to bounce back and forth between the Parks and the hotel for a fun staycation.

Family Fun At Knott's


~ Knott’s Gold Season Pass Savings ~


If you’re thinking about visiting Knott’s this summer, you might be interested in the savings offered with the Knott’s Gold Season Pass. This pass includes entry to Knott’s, as well as Soak City at no extra cost for 2014. It also includes discounts to the Knott’s Hotel, as well as discounts on food and merchandise at select locations, early ride times, and more! The Knott’s Gold Season Pass is available to both Southern California residents as well as out of town guests for the same price, and the pricing is not very much more than the standard Knott’s Season Pass.

Knott's Soak City OC


~ Knott’s Hotel Vacation Easy Paying Program ~


To make Summer vacation planning even easier, Knott’s is also offering a Knott’s Hotel Vacation Easy Paying Program. The Easy Pay program allows you to book now, and pay later. The cost is spread over four payments, and you can lock in current rates at the time you book.

Knott's Berry Bloom Train ~ www.socalwithkids.com width=


~ Soak City Opens May 17th ~


Knott’s Soak City opens for the 2014 season on May 17th, 2014. We’ll be sharing pics and updates via social media (Twitter, Instagram, etc…) live from the Park that day. Check out #SoakCityOC for posts, and share your own with the hashtag when you visit! Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Knott's Soak City OC

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Disclosure: The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

Trade LEGO Minifigures At The LEGOLAND California Resort!


It’s Easy To Trade LEGO Minifigures At LEGOLAND California!


tradelegominifigures
Our kids love LEGO, and have acquired quite a collection of Minifigures from birthdays and Christmas’ past. A few years ago we learned that you can trade LEGO Minifigures at the LEGOLAND California Resort. It’s super easy, too!
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