Saturday, October 30, 2010

XBox KINECT & Somehow, I Missed Beckham...

Lee and Aubrey are ready to Kinect!

Earlier this year, I told you about the new Kinect for Xbox 360. We got to attend the super cool unveiling event presented by XBox and Cirque du Soleil. As if things couldn't get cooler, last weekend we got to attend the Xbox 360 and Elizabeth Glaser's Pediatric AIDS Foundation's official launch party for Kinect. 
Held at a swanky modern pad in the Beverly Hills Hills, we were treated to a live performance by Burnhamdelicious eats, sweets and, of course, GAMES! 

Aubrey got to frolic and play catch with a tiger cub on Kinectimals and cut a rug with her bestie, Isabella, to Lady Gaga's Poker Face with Dance Central (see the video below)!

There were also mini-makeovers for the older girls, a coloring station for the younger kids and airbrush tattoos for everyone! Aubrey chose a purple and pink cupcake tattoo... because she's bad-ass like that.
Aubrey & Isbella chillin with Kinectimal plushes
Also, apparently David Beckham was there and I didn't even see him. See, I told you... cool. The party. Not me.

The holiday gift buying season is coming up and if you're an Xboxer, you can keep up with current Kinect news and info in several different ways:

Twitter: @Xbox and @Microsoft
Xbox 360 Kinect Experience Tour:

Happy gaming everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Totally Bear Naked

Aubrey LOVES this stuff!

And so does Gene Simmons
A couple weeks ago I received a lovely package of goodies from the folks at Bear Naked. I knew them for their awesome granola, but they have just put out a new line of trail mixes and COOKIES that are really quite fab.

We sampled the Chocolate Cherry and Pecan Apple Flax trail mixes and the Double Chocolate Soft-Baked Cookies and we love it all! We are people on the go and I also pack a lunch for Aubrey every weekday morning now. When I ask her what she wanted in her lunch bag the other morning, she grabbed the box of cookies and said. "These please!" Aubrey gives the

cookies a thumbs up. They taste a bit like a brownie met up with a cookie and they made a baby. A soft, healthy, chocolatey baby. Who wouldn't want to eat THAT baby?

The cookies also come in Fruit and Nut and the trail mix also comes in Cranberry Protein.

So here comes the no kidding part... Bear Naked foods are made with all natural ingredients, and I swear to you that you can read and pronounce every ingredient on the label. Ingredients like cranberries, cherries, whole grain oats, brown rice syrup, oat bran, etc. Absolutely NO: HFCS, artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, cholesterol, hydrogenated oils or trans fats.

I'm not a complete health nut, but I'm probably more ingredient label conscious than most and certainly started choosing more carefully in the grocery store aisles after my kiddo started eating solid food. I was blessed with a healthy child and I'd like to do my best to keep her that way, so we do what we can here without going too crazy. The Bear Naked products are a really simple way to add some healthy snacks into our everyday lives. I've been eating their granola for a while now, so I'm pretty stoked about the new stuff. Did I mention COOKIES?! HECK YEAH!

Price for these products are $2.99 for a 4.5 oz bag of trail mix and $3.19 for a box of 8 cookies. It's a decent deal and if you join the DEN, which is Bear Naked's online club-y type of deal, you get a 5% discount when you purchase from their website.

One more super cool thing about this company that I'd like to mention - Bear Naked has partnered with TerraCycle. This means you can mail in your empty Bear Naked bags and boxes and TerraCycle will upcycle them into groovy new products, like tote bags, shower curtains, umbrellas and more! You earn points for every piece you send in and can cash out your points for gear lik reuseable shopping bags or t shirts. Or you can form a brigade of folks within an organization and receive .02 per bag for your group.

Enjoy and eat healthy! Sometimes. Don't go insane on me though. OK? Happy Halloween. :)

I was not compensated for this review and an opinions expressed here are my own. I did receive free samples of Bear Naked products to facilitate my review. So there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DISNEYLAND!! Family Fun... Even In The Rain!

Here's our whole crew with Minnie Mouse!

My brother, sister-in-law and nephew, David, recently came to for their first family visit to SoCal, so naturally, Aubrey and I joined them in a day at Disneyland and a day at California Adventure.

I am fortunate to be invited to a fair amount of Disney events and shows, but this is the first time I went to Disneyland and California Adventure just for the sake of going. This is also my first official review of Disneyland and California Adventure and I'm not putting it lightly when I say, man did we have fun!
Sampling the rides in Tomorrowland
My Aubrey is 3 and her cousin, David, is 4-1/2. They are terrific playmates and are both old enough now to really make a day at Disneyland a full, memorable experience filled with activities and rides that are just right for them.

We definitely had favorites together and apart. David being a little older and less fearless than my sensitive little girl, rode Pirates of the Caribbean TWICE and loved it. Here is the dialogue post rides:

David: Auntie Amy! Guess how many times I rode Pirates of the Caribbean!!
Me: How many? Twice?!
David: NO! I rode it TWO times!

He was pretty darn impressed with that ride.
I think Fantasyland is Aubrey's favorite!
And they didn't even fight over who got to make Dumbo go up and down!
Aubrey was really in love with King Arthur's Carousel and David and Aubrey got to do several rides together like Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the iconic "Teacups". 

Two really special things happened for Aubrey on this day in Disneyland: we got front row viewing for the opening for Sleeping Beauty's Castle when the band plays and the characters come out to dance. They invited some children to come up and dance with Alice and the Mad Hatter and some older kids beat Aubrey to the punch. She was sadly turning to walk back to me when Donald Duck noticed her and quick grabbed her hand. She got to dance alone with Donald Duck during the entire song and that cast member's quick thinking made a super special memory for my little girl rather than a sad one. We were both so happy! I caught it on video too:

The other really special thing that happened was we got to sit right up front for the night time Celebration parade down Main Street (we waited alost 40 minutes to get a good seat on a Mon night) and Aubrey got to dance with the characters and dancers, play a drum and lead a conga line! She also got hugs from Goofy and Pluto. It was such a fun time! I also caught this moment on video and then accidentally deleted it from my iPhone, gone forever. Wahhh. Oh well. At least it happened. 

Cheese Spoiler: At the risk of sounding like a TOTAL cheese ball, as a mom, I can't really describe how great it feels to watch your child experience something magical. To a three year old, these moments are unbelievable and bigger than life. The excitement and joy in her face is something I'll never forget and I hope she remembers some of it too. 

I think the most exciting moment for me of our day at Disneyland was taking Aubrey on her first real roller coaster ride in Toontown! It's a little bigger than a kiddie coaster with a decent sized hill and fast turns and twists. I wasn't sure if it would be too much for her, so I put my arm around her, but she LOVED it and begged to ride it again. We didn't have time as it was late in the day and we had to get ready for our big day at California Adventure and the Mickey And Friends Character Breakfast the next morning.
Now that's a kid friendly waffle
Doing a character meal is something I probably wouldn't have thought of as a local. You just zip down to the OC, hit the parks and head home. But since we had out of town family with us, they thought it would be fun to try a character breakfast before hitting the California Adventure park. I'm not gonna lie, it's a little spendy, but it was totally worth it. For one child and adult, it cost us an even $50 with gratuity included, but we definitely got bang for our buck.

All together now: AWWWWWW!

Disney has a reputation for doing things right and they certainly didn't fail us this time. While the food was good and nothing really special, it was an all-you-can-eat buffet and there was a good variety of healthy and indulgent including Mickey Mouse waffles, eggs, potatoes, fruit, pastries, cereals, etc. However, the whole point of doing a character dining experience is to meet the costumed characters up close and get to take photos, hug, high five them and dance with them. It's the perfect way to dine with a kid because periodically throughout the meal time, a cast member comes out and introduces different characters and leads activities for the kids like dance parties, rug surfing, hula hoops and more. 

I was also SUPER lucky to discover that the cast member running the Surf's Up themed activities is a friend of mine, Reggie De Leon! He was so great and made sure Aubrey and her cousin got an amazing experience. I could tell he really loves his job and he has the perfect demeanor for kid friendly fun. He's such a sweet guy!
With my friend, Reggie at the Mickey and Friends Breakfast!
After an exciting morning of frolicking with Mickey, Minne, Pluto, Stitch California Adventure is really cool, although there are some parts under construction right now which makes it not quite as easy to navigate, HOWEVER, I believe they are building a new Pixar Cars area which should be awesome for the little ones. 

The biggest problem of our day at California Adventure was the weather. Of course my relatives came all the way from MN to get rained on in SoCal. Oh well. We still had a blast, but my kid does not enjoy being cold or wet. Cold AND wet is a real problem, so there was a lot of whining and crying during the morning.

On a positive note though, we did some indoor things that we might have overlooked had it been sunny. Aubrey and I ducked out of the rain to catch the Playhouse Disney show which was perfect for her. We saw Handy Manny, Mickey and Friends and the Little Einsteins come to life with music and dancing and Aubrey went nuts when bubbles came down from the ceiling and confetti fell at the end. Your preschooler will dig this show. I'm not kidding.

We also checked out the Muppets 3D show which I loved (until Aubrey decided Sweetums was too scary so we had to leave) and my nephew really enjoyed too.

After that, we got a break in the rain so we took the kids to A Bug's Land for the kiddie rides and we also made it over to Paradise Pier for more rides and a bite to eat. The California Screamin' roller coaster is really a great ride. I'm a roller coaster enthusiast and this one is on my list of favorites for the blast up the hill and the smoothness of the track. 
On Heimlich's Chew Chew Train at California Adventure
My brother's family and I split up for a bit since Aubrey was just an inch too short for some of the rides. It was at this point that I took Aubrey back to A Bug's Land to ride the ladybug ride when we got drenched. A literal downpour hit us while we were on the ride and Aubrey was miserably cold. I had to leave the park early anyway as I had a red eye flight to Wisconsin that night, so we decided to hit the road. I ran Aubrey, in her stroller, through the rain back to our hotel about a mile away (she's lucky her mommy is a runner) and the good people at the Alpine Inn were very helpful in lending me towels to dry off and letting me change my child in the lobby. 

Even with the rain, we had so much fun, but I don't think I'll take Aubrey back to California Adventure until she grows an inch. She was pretty bummed she was too short for some of the kid's rides, like the Jumpin' Jellyfish and Soarin' Over California . She keeps asking me when she'll be big enough to ride them and at the rate she's growing, we should be good to get our Jellyfish on by the spring. Unfortunately, we had to skeedaddle before the much talked about World Of Color show, but my brother's family got to see it and they said it was awesome. Many of my mom blogger friends have seen it too and they all say it's amazing. Fortunately, my boyfriend and I will be heading to California Adventure sans three year old, in a couple weeks and we are really looking forward to a grown up day of amusement park frolic, including the World Of Color show!

I can't recommend a family trip to Disneyland enough. Yes, the hype is true. It is "The Happiest Place On Earth" and magical things really do happen. Also, I know in this economy, it can be hard for families to afford a trip to Disneyland, but one money saving hint for those of you from out of town, the hotel that Aubrey and I stayed in is one of the best kept Disney adjacent secrets in Anaheim and I'm about to share it with you...

The Alpine Inn!! So inexpensive and nice, quiet and clean. No frills and the "continental breakfast" is coffee, juice and Little Debbie Snack Cakes but it is all you need to get you close to the parks. The Alpine Inn is a goofy looking little log cabin-y motel with fake snow on the roof, just around the corner from the Disneyland main entrance. It is a decent 10-15 minute walk over and according to Yahoo maps it is .87 miles from the entrance. The staff is kind and knowledgable and our room was really comfy. Seriously, it was cleaner than many 3-4 star hotels I've stayed in and we paid $30-$90+ less than all the other walking distance hotels I called that week. Come on, isn't this picture worth a thousand words?
Dreaming of Flying Elephants and Spinning Teacups!

We are so happy with our experience and Aubrey really can't wait to go again. She talks about Disneyland and California Adventure all the time now - even the parts that were a little scary for her are sort of fun to reminisce about - and I know we will be back to visit soon. I hope you and your family get an opportunity to visit the Magic Kingdom too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

POV on PBS: Adoption Stories

My GIANT apologies to my friends at PBS as I am writing this post WAY too late. I misunderstood the airing schedule and thought these amazing documentaries weren't being broadcast until November and it turns out they aired on PBS in August and September but can be seen online through the end of November. Oops. My bad. I'm horrible with dates. 

Nevertheless, I wanted to put out a quick blurb to the blogosphere and let you all know that these are three documentaries about adoption that are worth watching. They are thought provoking and important. Most of you know that I was adopted from South Korea as an infant and have very strong opinions and views on international adoption, open adoption, single motherhood, trans-racial adoption and the many issues surrounding adoption, in general. Adoption is becoming a more and more "accepted" family building block in our American culture, but we often forget to ask the important and, sometimes, difficult questions: Who does adoption affect? How are individual lives changed? What is ethical when dealing with a transaction involving the transplantation of a human being?

I was honored to receive screening copies of each film and can honesty say that all three were moving, fascinating, informative, enlightening and more. I'm was also fortunate enough to have met the filmmakers and their film subjects during their press stop here in Los Angeles. They are proud of their films and I'm am really happy to be able to help get the word about their work.

Please take the time to go online to view and support these important documentaries. They will be available on the PBS website through November 30, 2010.

In The Matter Of Cha-Jung Hee

Filmmaker: Deann Borshay Liem
Synopsis (per PBS): Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the United States in 1966. Told to keep her true identity secret from her new American family, the 8-year-old girl quickly forgot she had ever been anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers, as acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem (First Person Plural, POV 2000) returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in America

Wo Ai Ni (I Love You Mommy)

Filmmaker: Stephanie Wang-Breal
What is it like to be torn from your Chinese foster family, put on a plane with strangers and wake up in a new country, family and culture? Stephanie Wang-Breal’s Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommyis the story of Fang Sui Yong, an 8-year-old orphan, and the Sadowskys, the Long Island Jewish family that travels to China to adopt her. Sui Yong is one of 70,000 Chinese children now being raised in the United States. Through her eyes, we witness her struggle with a new identity as she transforms from a timid child into someone that no one — neither her new family nor she — could have imagined.

Off And Running

Filmmaker: Nicole Opper

Off and Running tells the story of Brooklyn teenager Avery, a track star with a bright future. She is the adopted African-American child of white Jewish lesbians. Her older brother is black and Puerto Rican and her younger brother is Korean. Though it may not look typical, Avery’s household is like most American homes — until Avery writes to her birth mother and the response throws her into crisis. She struggles over her “true” identity, the circumstances of her adoption and her estrangement from black culture. Just when it seems as if her life is unraveling, Avery decides to pick up the pieces and make sense of her identity, with inspiring results.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wendy's New PICK 2 Menu is Pretty Fab!

Wendy's in Lawndale, CA... AHHHHH!!!
I'm not gonna lie... I haven't been to Wendy's in a while. Not because I dislike Wendy's but mainly because my family and I don't eat a lot of fast food. When I do, I'm on the road and other fast food chains are more common and easier to find. However, I do like Wendy's and I think they are one of the best national fast food chains. They offer a wide variety of non-fried items and have for a long time. Long before the "healthy" craze hit the fast food industry, Wendy's was offering baked potatoes, once had salad bars and of course, their signature chili. Also, their beef is never frozen and you can taste the difference.

This week, I was invited to try Wendy's new Pick 2 Menu and I must say, I was really impressed and left Wendy's happily full and satisfied. The Pick 2 Menu is a great way to portion control and save money if you eat out a lot. The Pick 2 menu is divided into two sections and you pick one item from each section to make your own combo. You can have a fulfilling lunch for only $4.99 going healthy one day, go for the grease the next time and mix it up on the days you want to.
I picked it!
The menus include items such as a cheeseburger, a cup of chili, a Frosty, a soda, French fries, a baked potato, Chicken Go Wraps and half servings of their premium salads and it's actually possible to make 28 different combinations in all!

I treated myself to a cup of chili and the new Apple Pecan Chicken Salad and I LOVED IT! The chili has been consistent for years. It was a good portion but not too much and came with crackers but the salad! Oh the salad! It was really REALLY good - mixed field greens (not just iceberg lettuce), grilled chicken, diced red and green apples, cranberries, roasted pecans, blue cheese crumbles and a pomegranate vinaigrette. My friend, Marsha (aka SweatpantsMom), had the BLT Cobb Salad and it looked equally as yum.

Can you tell I'm left handed?

At this point, I want to disclose that I worked with Wendy's and and I received a small stipend to try the Pick 2 Menu.I know there is a fair amount of debate in the bloggersphere about whether a blogger will write a fair review if they are receiving compensation. Listen, I'm not blowing sunshine up your fast food hole. I get paid whether I write something nice or not and I have no motivation to lie about the food. It really was good and I would definitely eat off the Pick 2 Menu again and tell other people about it. In fact, I'm telling you right now!

And here's where YOU come in. Wendy's and gave me two $7 giftcards for a reader giveaway! $7 is enough to try the Pick 2 Menu and have an additional beverage or other treat. :)

Want to win one? There are three ways to enter and please leave contact information in your entries:

1) Leave a comment telling me your favorite menu item at Wendy's!

2) Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect (the link is on the right of this post) and leave a comment to let me know you're following.

3) Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in a comment to show you have done it. Here is a copy and paste you can use:
Win a Wendy's Gift Card at  #WendysPick2 #Giveaway  
Please RT!

Wacky small print: Entries will be accepted until 12:00am, midnight on October 31, 2010, PST. Two recipients will be chosen at random using Winners must respond with their mailing address within 48 hours of being contacted or they forfeit their gift card and another recipient will be chosen at random.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peter Pan 360 at the OC Performing Arts Center

If you've never seen a live production of JM Barrie's Peter Pan, on stage, this is the one to see! After successful mountings in London and San Francisco, Peter Pan 360 is here at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

I have seen and been in a fair amount of theater in my life. I do love it and don't get out enough to see live theater so I was really excited when I got invited to attend this current production.

Granted, I've never seen ANY production of Peter Pan, other than the Disney movie version, and I'll admit I was a little skeptical about this particular production, but man was I wrong. Wrong with a capital WRONG!

The crocodile and the 360 screeen

The 360 in this particular production refers to the world's first 360-degree CGI theater set. You can see a promotional video clip of the production on the website, but it does not even come close to doing it justice.

I'm not one who generally poo-poos technology but for some reason I wasn't so sure this was going to look cool. That it would belittle the actors' performances in some way. I didn't want the star of the show to be a 360 screen just for flying sequences.

Well, like I said I was totally wrong. It wasn't that at all and the play was really brilliantly acted, directed and staged. The 360 CGI screen was pretty cool and definitely added to the experience as a whole.
Johanthan Hyde at Captain Hook
The venue itself - the threesixty Theatre - is something different and exciting for the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The play takes place in the round and is housed in a 100 foot tall tent that was shipped all the way from London. And on the ceiling of this white tent, 12 projectors deliver 15,000 square feet of CGI projection including pirate ships, waterfalls, dolphins, trees and 400 square .iles of virtual London.

But as exciting as all of that was, the stars of the show really were... the stars! Jonathan Hyde as Mr Darling/Captain Hook and Itxaso Moreno as Tinkerbell absolutely stole the show and Nate Fallows as Peter Pan was surprisingly, wonderfully complex.
Nate Fallows at Peter Pan

There are also really cool puppets and an overall this is a creative, fresh and exciting interpretation and adaptation of Peter Pan.

I took my 3 year old daughter to this show and it was a little too intense for her. Mainly, because only two days earlier, I accidentally terrified her to death by taking her on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Read more about my fabulous parenting skills here

WAY too many pirates in one week and she had to leave just before intermission. That being said, she seemed to be the only child leaving and there were several kids there the same age. It's really just MY very sensitive, sweet kid, but there are some scenes which are a bit intense and violent and the production company suggests 5 as an appropriate age level. 

Another feature of this presentation that I really enjoyed was the outdoor patio where there were snacks, drinks and candy for sale and you could even pre-order a glass of wine for intermission! 

Please patronize this wonderful, non-profit arts center. It is so beautiful - stunning actually - and is one of the nation's premier arts organizations. They offer a wide range of programs covering everything from jazz to classical, Broadway to ballet and more. 

To learn more about the Orange County Performing Arts Center, visit their website at and to learn more about Peter Pan 360, go to

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cat Cora, The Muppets and Me.

Cat Cora and The Muppets

I am a child of the 70s and 80s so I grew up on Sesame Street and The Muppets. It has been a long time since I've watched The Muppets do anything but I have had a deep, sweet spot in my heart for them my whole life, so much so that I illegally downloaded songs from The Muppet show for my daughter to listen to in the car. I wanted her to enjoy the same, silly and smart songs from my youth. But other than that, Their hasn't been a lot of opportunity for use to experience The Muppets together.

Luckily, we were invited to the launch of two new awesome web series from Disney Online: The Muppet's Kitchen with Cat Cora and Hasty Tasty Cooking Tips with Cat Cora and The Muppets. These web series were designed to bring families together through cooking healthy, fun meals and snacks and is exclusively sponsored by the all-new Honda Odyssey and National Milk Moustache "got milk" Campaign.

The Muppets Kitchen episodes are really cute and creative, offering themed ideas such as, "Slumber Party," "Movie Night" and "World's Biggest Sandwich" while the Hasty Tasty episodes were designed specifically for parents giving step-by-step cooking instructions, nutritional guidance, quick tips and advice on how to get kids excited about cooking. Look for "Egg-straordinary Wraps," "Dough-Re-Mi," "The Really Cheesey Episode" and "Chicken: The Ins and Outs".

Our event started off with a live cooking demo from Cat Cora and Muppets Chef Angelo and Pepe The King Prawn. I have to say, Angelo and Pepe were so hilarious, I was in tears a couple times. I think few people have been lucky enough to see any of the actual Muppets perform live, and I feel really honored to have been part of this event. It really was kind of a childhood fantasy come true!
With Cat Cora! The first female Iron Chef & mom to FOUR boys!

After the cooking demo, families were treated to some delicious snacks and treats, kids were able to view some of the episodes on computers set up in the room and we each received copies of Cat's Classics With A Twist cookbook which she was kind enough to sign and sit for photos too. 
Aubrey LOVED checking out The Muppets on the website!

I'm excited to have a new way to share The Muppets with my daughter and as you can see from this video where she makes "dog cookies" for our chihuahua, Bob Barker, she is QUITE fond of the kitchen already. I can't wait until I can get her to make dinner for me! Until then, we'll keep having fun in the kitchen together.

My favorite part is around 1:05 when she says, "What time it is? Uh, 20 o'clock... time to wake up! All done!"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland!

Aubrey's First Time to Disneyland
December 2008
Pretty exciting.
I'd like to start by saying: AHHH!!! So much fun! I've only been to Disneyland a few times. Once as a very young child in the 70s. Another time in 2001 when I first moved to Los Angeles. It was only a couple weeks after 9/11 and the park was like a ghost town so I got to ride EVERYTHING! Then I went again a couple years ago when my daughter was a toddler. I got to ride NOTHING, but Aubrey had a fun time sitting in a circle cut out on a wall by the rest rooms (see above) and eating a hot dog in Toon Town. I won't go into the story of how my family (6 people in a rental car) tried to drive to Disneyland from Arizona, circa 1976 and when we got there, it was closed. You think I'm kidding? When the movie National Lampoon's Vacation came out in 1983, we were thinking of suing for stealing our family story.

Needless to say, now that my daughter is three, we need a little more Magic Kingdom in our lives. From the time I was in 4th grade through college, I had a pen pal from Glendale, CA. His name was David Driskill and I'm still trying to find that guy. Anyway, we sent letters back and forth from Excelsior, MN to Glendale, CA for approximately 10 years and he used to tell me how he and his sister would go to Disneyland on the weekends! Like it was going to McDonald's or something. I grew up thinking Southern California must be some kind of magical kid paradise to live in where you can just go to Disneyland whenever you feel like it. Now that I live here, I can confirm that in many ways, it is! Phooey on "high standard of living" in the midwest! We are fortunate enough to live only 50 miles away from the Mouse, himself so I'm making a point to Disney indulge as much as I can and Aubrey and I are just beginning to explore and discover Disneyland together.
Disneyland at Halloween!!

This past Friday, I was lucky enough to attend a special event at Disneyland with Aubrey - Mickey's Halloween Party. While getting into the park was a bit of a hassle with long lines and crowded waiting areas, we knew we were in for something great. 

We started our evening on Main Street taking photos with Disney characters dressed up in Halloween costumes. Here's Aubrey with Minnie Mouse. In case you were wondering, Aubrey is dressed as a chef. She just didn't want to wear her matching hat. We also saw Pluto and Donald Duck!

Pretty darn cute, huh?

Then on to the rides and the Halloween decorations in New Orleans Square! We LOVED the Haunted Mansion (my three year old sat that one out with our nanny) and Pirates of the Caribbean which we stupidly took the three year old on, having forgotten how scary it was. Oops. I get to hear my daughter talk about pirates and skeletons for the next several months. Live and learn... but the grown ups still had fun.

Aubrey pretending not to be terrified. She's such a trooper.
Ahhh... The Teacups!!!

After accidentally horrifying my poor child, we hit the Mad Tea Party teacups and Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides for Aubrey and she still can't decide which one she liked best. I think the teacups! After a bite to eat at the Hungry Bear it was time to head to one of the highlights of Mickey's Halloween Party - the Halloween Screams Fireworks Spectacular. It really was one of the best fireworks displays I've ever seen even though it also scared my child. I'll spare you the photo on this one. Once again, the grown ups still had fun.

Shortly after that, we caught the end of the Character Cavalcade which was also scary for Aubrey... starting to sense a pattern here? Seriously though - it's just my kid - no one else's three year old seemed to be screaming and crying and it you ask my mother, there is a famous Anderson family story of a young girl named Amy who screamed her head off all the way through It's A Small World, so maybe it's genetic.

A ride on King Arthur's Carousel pepped her right back up and overall, the night was truly magical for us all. 
She stayed awake until park close at midnight!
The walk to the car was the end of an exciting night.

Some of the other highlights of Mickey's Halloween Party that DIDN'T make my daughter cry were the trick-or-treating throughout the park (both with candy AND healthy treats) and the dance parties (Aubrey LOVES dancing and jammed with some really groovy space ladies in Tomorrowland while we took turns going on Space Mountain.

Mickey's Halloween Party is a separate ticketed event with prices ranging from $49-$59 and children under age two are free. The party is happening every Tuesday and Friday night and Halloween night from now through October 31st and everyone is encouraged to dress up in a costume! Just remember, even though the scare factor is Disney-Mild, there are a few things that may be a little intense for preschool aged children. 

Just do as I say and not as I do and check before you go. There is a lot to do at Disneyland and you can't cover it all in one night. I think it's a great idea to research online and make a game plan for what you want to tackle in the amount of time you'll be there and what is age appropriate for your crew. You'll have a blast and make memories to last a lifetime!

To buy tickets now and print them at home 
CLICK HERE or call: (714) 781-4400 

Happy Halloween everyone and I hope you can make it to Disneyland soon! And if anyone knows my old pen pal, David Driskill formerly of Isabel Ln in Glendale, CA, a white guy with wavy hair and in his mid 30s, let him know I'm looking for him.