Disney Adventures & 4th of July Celebrations 🇺🇸🎆

Hello hello!

I am finally posting my Disneyland recap post on here. I actually spent 5 hours, yes 5 hours, writing this on Monday.. but was too tired to finish this post until just now. That being said, brace yourselves, this post is a long one (sorry mom!).

Tuesday – Prepping for our trip

I am not going to lie, Tuesday was absolutely insane. I had a busy day at work, trying to get as much as I could get done before leaving for vacation, and had lots of errands to run before picking Ian up from his office to head to his parents’ home later that evening.

Before 5 pm, I managed to:

  • Wrap up on all of my projects at work
  • Finish packing
  • Clean the apartment
  • Pack the car up with Ian’s suitcase, my suitcase, Winton’s dog food, Winston’s crate, my work bag, Ash’s birthday gift, an Amazon package Ian wanted to return, and Winston!

After picking Ian up, we drove 20 or so minutes out of our way to drop off Ian’s Amazon package to a UPS facility… only to realize we had driven all the way to a drop box – which does not facilitate Amazon returns. We then drove another 20 mins in the opposite direction to a UPS store and waited in a long line before we finally dropped that darn box off. I am not going to lie, I was a little cranky.

We then battled traffic for another 20 minutes before arriving at Ian’s parents’ house. By then I was absolutely exhausted from running around like a crazy woman all day.

 

Once at his parents’ house, we finally got to take it easy… well, kind of! We spent the rest of our night hanging out with Ian’s niece – Lilly! If you haven’t read my last post, Ian and I took Lilly out to the Zoo that past Saturday (read post here).

Wednesday – Back in California!

The next morning Ian and I woke up at 5:30 am to catch our flight. Thankfully, the Portland Airport is extremely calm and easy to navigate, so I didn’t mind the early morning arrival once I had my coffee in hand.

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As for our flight? It was a piece of cake. The flight was less than 2 hours long and had zero crying babies. It was awesome.

 

Unfortunately, Ash did not have the same luck as we did that morning. She missed her first flight and had to change her flights around. Originally, Ash was supposed to arrive 40 or so minutes before us, but after missing her flight, her ETA was pushed back to 90 or so minutes after we were to arrive.

Since we were all planning on ordering a Lyft together, Ian and I waited by her gate and ordered lunch. For those of you who have never flown out of the John Wayne Airport, you should know that this airport is awesome. There were no crowds and the airport itself was laid back and small. It was perfect!

 

Once Ash arrived, we all hopped into a Lyft and headed to the hotel. Thankfully, the hotel let us check in early, so we were able to get situated and drop off our things before heading out to Downtown Disney.

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^ How cool is this lobby?!!! I was drooling over the architecture and interior design. I am a huge sucker for fireplaces, wood frames, and stones.

 

Once Ev & my mom arrived to the hotel, we all headed to Ballast Point Brewery for dinner. Ian and I had been to Ballast Point during our trip to San Diego last year and were stoked to relive our experience that we had in San Diego – but this time in Anaheim!

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Wanting to relive San Diego, I ordered their fish tacos in the hopes of having fish tacos that close to rivaled (nothing compares to) Oscar’s Mexican Seafood fish tacos. Sadly, these tacos did not come close, but that is totally fine! We will just have to make another trip to San Diego sometime to eat at Oscar’s 😉

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After dinner, we were all absolutely stuffed so we decided to walk around Downtown Disney to walk off some of our dinner.

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I couldn’t help but gawk at all of the buildings and landscape work that I saw while walking around. I think everyone was tired of me pointing out everything I thought was cool.. but I mean come on! Isn’t it gorgeous?!

 

4th of July & Disneyland! ✨

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At the bright and early hour of 6 am, we all got out of bed and got ready to head into Disneyland at 7 am that morning. We were able to score early morning park access (7am vs 8 am) and wanted to make full use of that 1 hour.

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In the morning, it felt pretty gloomy with the gray clouds hanging above, but we soon learned that once 10/11 am rolled around, the blue skies would come out and make an appearance.

 

The bright side of gloomy skies? Not having overexposed photos where I white out 😂#blondepeopleproblems

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The first ride we made sure to hop in line for? Space Mountain, duh!

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The craziest part? We only waited in line for 5 minutes 😉

Before photo:

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After photo:

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Ian and Ashley’s faces just killed me 😂

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After Space Mountain, we went on Buzz Lightyear ride (which I won, ha) and then took obligatory photos in front of the Disneyland Castle.

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How awesome are Everett’s pants?!! 😂

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After taking a bunch of photos, we headed on to more rides. For those of you who have not been to Disneyland or Disney World in a while, a few things have changed. The FastPass system is now used on mobile phones, meaning that you need to download the Disneyland or Disney World App and pay $15 a person for the ability to use the mobile FastPass and get free digital copies of any and all photos taken of you at the Park. While I was not too happy about paying an additional $15 on top of the already steap park tickets.. it really was worth it. We saved soooooo much time in lines and also enjoyed getting photos of ourselves around the park. Were the photographers the best? No.. but it beats me having to take family selfies!

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Ughh this part of the park made me want to visit the south sooo bad! One of my best friends was in NOLA while I was in Disneyland and I definitely thought of her (hi Angela!) while walking through Disney’s French Quarters theme.

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After hopping on a few rides, we all began to feel hunger set in.. or maybe for me it was my craving for a good cup o’Joe. We stopped in River Belle Terrace for some morning fuel.

 

I was mainly craving coffee after sleeping 5 hours the night before, so I opted for an oatmeal and coffee to kickstart my day.

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After breakfast, we were back off to walking around the park and hopping on rides. To our surprise, the park was relatively empty during the morning, so we intended to make the most of our time there before the massive crowds rolled in.

 

It was also awesome having Ash there taking pics of Ian and I. I am usually behind the camera when taking photos, so I rarely have photos of Ian and I together (that are not selfies), so I really appreciated having her take our photo.. even when not looking!

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And then.. we went to Galaxy’s Edge – the new Star Wars Land!!

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It was absolutely incredible. I don’t think these photos will even do it any justice.

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Just walking around this new park made you feel as if you were on set of a Star Wars movie. Between the elaborately done buildings, storm troopers patrolling the area, and fighter jet sounds whizzing around.. it was absolutely surreal.

 

Just looking at the buildings and how real they looked, I could tell that this project had to have cost Disney a pretty penny. As it turns out, building Galaxy’s Edge was a $1 Billion project. Not a million.. a billion. Unfortunately, the project is a little behind its timeline which has resulted in only 1 of the 2 rides being open and ready for Disney guests to enjoy.

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Despite only having one available ride open, there was plenty to do in Galaxy’s Edge!

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One of those things being drinking “Blue Milk” (or Green Milk)!

 

The “Blue Milk” is a combination of coconut and rice milk flavored with dragon fruit, pineapple, lime, and watermelon. Ash and Ev were not huge fans of the Blue Milk, but Ian and I did not seem to mind it. However, Ian and I shared ours.. which may be why we enjoyed ours more. The drink is really sweet.. so only a little is really needed. I wouldn’t want to drink one all to myself.

As for the “Green Milk”, none of us wanted to try it, however, the cast member working there informed me that it also was made with a combination of coconut and rice milk but instead flavored with mandarin orange, passion fruit, grapefruit, and orange blossom. I am not really a citrus-y kind of person, so I opted for the Blue Milk instead.

 

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Not only did they have “Blue Milk” to try and 1 ride, but they also had multiple shops and a bar called Oga’s Cantina which is based off of the movies! For those of you considering visiting the Cantina, be sure to make a reservation. We walked by the Cantina and heard a family trying to get in, only to hear a cast member telling them that this new trendy bar was reserved only to those with reservations. What?!

Wanting to experience the Cantina, we quickly looked online for a reservation and were shocked to have found only ONE spot left.. and for 11:15 pm that night. Honestly, I think we were even lucky to have gotten that time. Had we looked for reservations 30-60 mins later than we did, I do not think we would have gotten one.

For those of you planning on making a visit to the Cantina in the near future, be sure to make a reservation here: Oga’s Cantina Reservations.

As for the shops, they were absolutely crazy! It is amazing how much people are willing to spend on Disney merchandise! Take a guess at how much they were selling an R2-D2 for!

….

$25,000. Yes, 25 thousand. Insanity.

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As it approached the afternoon, the crowds began to pour in more and more until walking around Disneyland became a battle of strollers vs pedestrians. Rather than playing chicken with crazy stroller moms, we opted for a break by the poor with a cold cocktail in hand. Was the cocktail over-priced? Oh yeah. BUT as Ian reminded me, “we are on vacation” so I enjoyed that cold cocktail on a hot sunny day in Southern California. It was great. I really need take more days off to lounge around outside 😂

Once it began to cool off and the sun began to go down, we headed back into the park for more rides, fireworks, AND the Cantina reservation we had made earlier that day.

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I don’t know what it is about Disney at night, but wow it almost feels like a whole new park to me during the evening! I absolutely love it! The crowds seem more manageable, the heat lessens, and all of the pretty lights make my heart feel so full. It almost feels like Christmas to me 😂

 

Once back in the park, we headed back into a few lines for rides and then headed to Galaxy’s Edge to catch the firework display. You may not be able to tell in the photos above, but the front area of the park was an absolute mad house. People began camping out on Main Street at 4:30 pm.. for 9:30 pm fireworks. That being said, we wanted somewhere to view the fireworks that would be less crowded but still a good view. A cast member tipped us off the previous day to watch the fireworks from Galaxy’s Edge and boy was that a good idea! There were a lot less people and the view was also really cool.

 

Not to mention, Galaxy’s Edge looks sooooo cool at night. I don’t know whether or not I like it more during the day or night.. but I might have to lean towards enjoying the views more at night!

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I mean come on, how cool is the lighting?!

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Rather than waiting for the fireworks since 4:30 pm like some of the dedicated people in the park, we found our standing spots at 9:00 pm or so and hung out there until it was time to watch the fireworks.

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And wow. They were absolutely gorgeous.

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Just as the fireworks were beginning to near the finale, we made a move for the one ride in Galaxy’s Edge called, “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run“. Earlier that day, the wait time for the ride was 85 minutes.. during the firework display? 30 minutes.

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And it was definitely worth the (30 minute) wait! We had a blast!

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I actually filmed part of the ride (since it was a little hands off for some people) and plan to put a clips I shot together in a video.. that I hope to post on here sometime soon. It’s more a matter of.. when will I have the time/energy this week.. so we will see! No promises being made!

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After the ride, we had an hour to kill before our reservation at Oga’s Cantina, so we decided to walk around and try to take photos of the Disney Castle at night.

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Seeing this carousel reminded me of Lilly at the Zoo and how much she loved that carousel 🙂 I almost wanted to go on the carousel here.. but there was a long line and I knew that no one would want to join / wait for me to go on 😂

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The photo above was our first attempt at taking a photograph with the castle.. it appears that Ev could not keep his eyes open 😂

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Fortunately, we were able to get a photo from a cast member that actually had all of our eyes open in it. Was it a super high quality photo? No, but it has all of us in it, so I am happy!

 

We also had a little fun while taking the photos 😉

Friday – Disney California Adventure Park 🎡

The next morning was also an early morning. We headed to the park at 7 am, yes.. 7 am again, and immediately headed over to our favorite ride – the Incredicoaster.

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Although the Incredicoaster did a fabulous job of waking me up that morning, I was still dying for a cup of coffee. Ash and Ian were feeling the same, so we stopped by a cafe.. that was essentially a Starbucks. How cute are the Disney Starbucks cups thought?!

 

 

After grabbing coffee, we walked around the park a little more, witnessed people actually running  to get in line for the Radiator Springs Racer ride and headed over to the former Tower of Terror, which is now Guardian of the Galaxy themed.

I am not a fan of rides that purely exist for dropping you.. so I sat out riding on the Guardian of the Galaxy ride with Ash and Ian. They seemed to enjoy it though!

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We then walked around a bit more and eventually hopped in line to ride the Radiator Springs Racer ride, which turned out to be a really cool ride. Would I run through the get a good spot in line for that ride? Probably not.

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social++200349653.jpegSince we were early risers and got to the park before the crowds arrived, we were able to get photos of us taken in front of the Cars Land sign with little to know wait.

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After hopping on rides and walking around for a while, we all worked up a bit of an appetite. We spotted a little cafe towards the park entrances in Downtown Disney, so we decided to grab breakfast there.

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After breakfast, we headed back to the park for a few hours, rode a few more rides, and then headed back to our hotel pool to hangout.

Later that night, we ventured out to Calivino Wine Pub for dinner. My mom found it online and suggested trying it out, so we did! The location of the restaurant was a little strange, if I am going to be honest. It was located in the middle of a business park and had a very casual atmosphere, especially for a wine bar… but man was the food good.

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After eating heavy food while at Downtown Disney and in the parks, I was craving something light and refreshing. I ordered their Ahi Bed of Greens, aka Ahi Tuna Salad, and it was just what I was looking for. I ate every last bite of this salad.

We also ordered an order of their Brussel Sprouts and holy cow! All of us ate them up so fast! The brussel sprouts were roasted in honey and tossed with pork belly, yum!

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Later that night, we headed back to the park for one last go at rides. After standing in line to ride the Incredicoaster one last time, people began to leave the lines and informed us that an earthquake had just occurred and that the ride was closed for the rest of the evening. We were so bummed! It was the second time in the two days at the parks that we were in line and had to leave due to an earthquake.

Unfortunately, all of the rides then closed down for the evening, but rightfully so. It would be a huge liability to have people riding roller coasters if another earthquake was to occur. I am actually a little surprised that they didn’t ask people to leave the park as well.

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Saturday – Sunshine & Crazy Shakes ☀️

Saturday, unlike the other two days was pretty laid back. We all slept in until 9 am or so and then headed out for breakfast. After doing some googling, I found a healthy breakfast spot for us to try out – Cultivation Kitchen.

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And wow was this place cool! I was absolutely in love with their interior design and the overall feel of this place. I think I just stared at their plants and furniture for a little too long.

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I mean, look at all of the plants here! UGH! It was a total plant heaven. If you couldn’t already tell, I loooove plants 😂

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And how cute are these little garden shovel tap handles?!

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And this little bar area that wraps around a plant?! Love it! Oh and the tree stump underneath the table top? I mean, come on. This place is gorgeous.

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When it came time for me to stop looking around and gawking at their design, I couldn’t help but notice their Matcha Croissant.. so I ordered one!

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And wow was it good 🙂

As for the rest of my meal, I ordered their Avacocoa smoothie.. but I decided against taking a photo of it since I honestly did not enjoy it, which was a huge bummer. The smoothie consisted of almond milk, cocoa, avocado, banana, dates, vanilla, and lavender.. which all sound absolutely amazing.. but it kind of just tasted like baby food. The ingredients seemed to all be tossed into a blender in their room temperature state. Typically when I am ordering a smoothie, I am looking for my smoothie to be cold and refreshing and sadly, this was just not that. I really did want to like it though! My mom ordered one as well and felt the same as I did. Definitely a bummer but the rest of their food looked really good!

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Ian really hit the jackpot with his order though! He ordered their Blood Orange Ricotta Pancakes and was definitely impressed. The pancakes were topped with warm berry compote, blood oranges, lavender ricotta whipped cream, and maple syrup. Not only were they absolutely delicious, but they were just the right size! Ian was worried that by ordering pancakes he would feel uncomfortably full and weighed down, but it was quite the opposite. The pancakes were actually light and perfectly satisfying!

 

As for Ash & Ev, they were also satisfied with their meals but were surprisingly stuffed by how filling their food turned out to be. Ash ordered their Morning Power Wrap, which consisted of two organic scrambled eggs, sweet corn, basil, heirloom beans, Pico de Gallo, guacamole, all wrapped up in a spinach tortilla, served with oven roasted rainbow potatoes. Ev ordered their Full Shovel which consisted of two organic eggs scrambled, crispy organic bacon, California sharp cheddar, avocado, heirloom tomato, served with toast and oven roasted rainbow potatoes.

Should I find myself in Anaheim again, I will definitely be sure to revisit Cultivation Kitchen! Next time though, I probably won’t order a smoothie but rather their pancakes or avocado toast 🙂 For those of you in the Anaheim area, I highly recommend giving this place a try!

 

After breakfast, we all headed back to the pool for more relaxation and sun! Ash snapped a few photos of Ian and I and these made me laugh, so I hope they make you laugh too!

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After sitting out by the pool all afternoon (don’t worry, we wore sunscreen), we decided that it was time to try Downtown Disney’s “Crazy Shake” at Black Tap and wow. I found this place while casually scrolling through Instagram’s nearby locations feature and found a photo of one of these shakes and just knew that I had to try one, and I am glad I did!

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For the 4th of July, they had a special red, white, and blue shake that had a cake batter ice cream as the shake and was then topped with a red, white, and blue cake and coated in sprinkles. I originally wanted to try this shake out, but Ian and I ended up deciding on trying out their Churro Choco Taco Shake.

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Our shake also called the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake, had a vanilla frosted rim with cinnamon toast crunch and was topped with a choco taco, two churros, whipped cream & dulce de leche drizzle. It was absolutely insane. I am so thankful that Ian and I decided to split one.. because having this all to myself probably would have made me feel sick!

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Unsurprisingly, the shake was absolutely delicious. Extremely sugary.. but sooooo good. I wouldn’t recommend eating one of these everyday, but if you are ever in Anaheim, NYC, Las Vegas, Bahrain (Manama), Kuwait, Singapore, Switzerland (Geneva), or the United Arab Emirates.. you should give this place a try. The shakes are definitely on the pricey end (averaging $15-17 a shake), but if you split one it is not so bad! Besides, you will probably feel a little less guilty for enjoying one if you split it 😉

Sunday – back to reality

But first, coffee & exploring Newport Beach!

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I just had to start my day with a little coffee 😉

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With our flights leaving at 4 pm on Sunday, we decided to head towards the airport but make a stop at Newport beforehand and walk around.

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And oh my gosh was it gorgeous there. We only got to enjoy walking around for 30 or so minutes, but those 30 minutes were glorious. We walked down the coast and looked at the homes built right on the coast. It really made me wonder what it would be like living in one of those homes. To wake up every morning with the view of the ocean.. crazy. I don’t want to even know how much one of those homes cost!

..

ok.. so after writing that.. I was curious about how much the homes cost on Ocean Blvd (the street we were walking on) and oh my gosh. The homes on that road ranged from $7M to… $27M. WOW!

Anywho, after walking around Newport, we were off to the airport and headed back to reality. I already miss my family but am excited to see my mom and brother in just about a month when we go on our next adventure 😉

Now your turn!

~ What did you do for the 4th of July / this past weekend?

~ If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

~ Did you experience an earthquake near you this past week?

 

2 thoughts on “Disney Adventures & 4th of July Celebrations 🇺🇸🎆

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