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Celebrating the Holiday Season at Knott’s #MerryFarm With Our Little Family!

Disclosure: My family & I were invited by GigaSavvy to attend a Media Day at Knott’s Merry Farm in order to write this review of our experience.  No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.The Southern California Holiday SeasonThe holiday season has just began and our family had so much fun kicking it off with a visit to Knott’s Merry Farm this year. We live locally and love going to Knott’s Berry Farm but this was actually our first time getting a chance to visit during “Merry Farm”, which runs this year from November 22nd to January 4th! The park is adorned with holiday decorations and the Peanuts characters are dressed in holiday attire! The sunny Southern California weather justified us wearing summer attire that day.

Knotts-Merry-Farm-Water-Tower

Knott's Merry Farm SelfieOur first stop of the day was at Camp Snoopy! Emily loves the kid-friendly rides and all of the little areas to explore in Camp Snoopy. During Knott’s Merry Farm you can catch one of several performances of “Lucy’s Wish List” show, each day, over the Camp Snoopy Theatre.

Lucy's Wish List Show

Lucy's Wish List Show 2Some of Emi’s favorite rides in Camp Snoopy include The Balloon Race, The Grand Sierra Railroad, and the Linus Launcher . While we were there, we decided to stop by and show Woodstock his other house. Emi also got to take a picture with Charlie Brown and sought some helpful (psychiatric) advice from Lucy. We love Camp Snoopy!

Woodstock's House

Charlie Brown

LucyIt was fun to walk through Ghost Town, which has been transformed into the Christmas Crafts Village for Knott’s Merry Farm. It’s a shopping wonderland filled with dozens of local artisans selling their unique gifts. Some of the highlights of the Village include artist demonstrations of chainsaw wood carving, pottery sculpting, and elegant glass blowing. We found a lot of photo opportunities in the Christmas Crafts Village. We also enjoyed listening to carolers sing.

Ghost Town 1

snoopy in calico town

Christmas CarolersAs you continue to walk deeper into Ghost Town, you’ll find Santa’s Christmas Cabin, located inside Wilderness Dance Hall.  Santa is right inside, sitting up on the stage, and waiting for you to bring your little ones to chat with him about what they’d like for Christmas this year. He also reminds them to be good for their parents, which was my favorite part! There are photographers on hand to capture the perfect moment with your little one(s) and Santa in photos available for purchase afterwards.

Emi and Knott's Santa

Inside Santa's Christmas CabinInside Santa’s Christmas Cabin, there are plenty of treats  to choose from including homemade cookies & milk, hot chocolate, gourmet coffee and hot chocolate, s’mores on a stick, roasted nuts, winter wines and beer. It’s a nice place to sit down and take a break for a snack. Emi loved sitting at one of the little wooden tables to share some milk and cookies with Snoopy!

Milk and Cookies With SnoopyDuring Knott’s Merry Farm, the Calico Railroad is converted into a special Christmas on Engine 41 train ride experience. After you climb aboard the vintage railcar, you get to interact with a whole cast of characters who are ready to brighten your holidays with songs and chats about their traveling adventures. It’s a Christmas train ride filled with holiday cheer.

Christmas on Engine 41#1

Christmas on Engine 41#2Just past the Calico Railroad, standing in front of the Calico Square Stage, stands the Knott’s Christmas tree, adorned with hundreds of ornaments. It’s so beautiful standing tall against the sunny blue sky! Emi and Snoopy liked checking themselves out in the giant ornaments!

The Knott's Christmas TreeAfter the sun goes down, you can enjoy watching Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting on the Calico Square Stage as it lights up with the celebration of the season. It’s a musical, whimsical tree lighting featuring a cast of Toy Soldiers, Snowmen, Elves and the world’s most famous beagle, Snoopy!

Snoopy-Merriest-Tree-Lighting-650-pixels-wide(photo credit: Knott’s)  

After dark, there’s also snowy fun each night during Knott’s Merry Farm along the buildings and paths in Ghost Town’s Main Street, as they are filled with glow and snow! Thousands of sparkling lights dance to the beat of “Let It Snow” while snow gently falls in this spectacular one-of-a-kind moment you can enjoy with your family in the Ghost Town.

Snowing-in-Ghost-Town-family-header-650-px-width-(photo credit: Knott’s)

Emi, Snoopy, and Woodstock really wanted to eat dinner at Grizzly Creek Lodge, located inside of Camp Snoopy! They loved having a cheeseburger, fries and some Knott’s Berry Punch together. It’s one of our family’s favorites that we HAVE TO  have on each visit to the park. Emi loved the keepsake lunchbox that her kids meal was served in. She truly adores the Peanuts gang.

dinner with snoopy

Knott's Berry PunchI think our most favorite show at Knott’s Merry Farm was the “Merry Christmas, Snoopy” Ice show, which is in the Charles M. Schultz Theatre. I grew up watching Peanuts on TV and now Emi loves them too. Watching her face light up as all of the characters came out to skate during the show was priceless. Skating Snoopy was precious, the costumes were beautiful, I loved the songs they chose and the story lines, and the skating was amazing! What true talent!

Merry Christmas Snoopy 1

Merry Christmas Snoopy! 2It was a great day at Knott’s Merry Farm and we’re already planning our next visit. Have you checked out all of the benefits that come with a 2015 Knott’s Season Pass? They’re very affordable and make great holiday gifts! We’re considering grabbing 3 of them for our own family! If you purchase a pass now,  you get one 2014 visit to Knott’s Merry Farm for free! For more information, click here!

Thank you Knott's!

Thank you again, Knott’s! As you can tell by the smile on her face, she LOVED Merry Farm and our family is so grateful for the opportunity to have spent the day creating more memories together!  Happy holidays!

Get Ready to Create Holiday Family Memories at The Shops at Mission Viejo With Santa Photo Experience and Much More!

He's here!It’s that time again….the decorations are up, holiday music is playing and Santa has arrived at The Shops at Mission Viejo! Eager children and their families can experience the joy and magic of the holiday season with a visit to the Simon® Santa Photo Experience, where Santa awaits them in his winter wonderland. Located on the lower level near Nordstrom, children can visit and be photographed with Santa every day until December 24, when he has to head back to The North Pole.

Make an appointment with Santa This year, you can save time and avoid the line with Santa by making an appointment! Reserve your magical moment with Santa online at http://simon.noerrsanta.com. For a complete list of Santa’s dates and times, click here. The Simon Santa Photo Experience is, once again, sponsored by Gymboree.

This way to SantaCaring Santa 

The Shops at Mission Viejo also provides children with special needs and their families with an opportunity to enjoy a carefully managed Santa photo experience through the Caring Santa program, which provides a sensory-friendly environment for families of children with special needs, to safely experience the time-honored tradition and magic of Santa.

Caring Santa

Caring Santa will be held at The Shops at Mission Viejo this year on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Space is limited (1 reservation ticket per family); please visit theshopsatmissionviejocaringsanta.eventbrite.com to make your reservation. Caring Santa events have expanded from 7 Simon malls in 2011 to over 100 Simon malls today, reflecting the positive impact of this unique program. In 2013, Simon and The Noerr Programs were honored by Community Gatepath, earning a Community Impact Award for their efforts in pioneering Caring Santa.Caring Santa program.

Family Holiday Events at The Shops at Mission Viejo

The Kidgits Holiday Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the lower level, near Forever 21. Kids can get festive with various crafts and activities including making their own ornament, writing a letter to Santa and decorating a gift box to celebrate The Boxtrolls, available this Holiday Season.

Kidgits Holiday Celebration The Kidgits event on December 6 will be followed with a celebration of the grand re-opening of the center’s updated Dining Pavilion. Beginning at 11 a.m., head to the pavilion for live entertainment, face painting, a balloon artist for the kids, and more. Don’t miss giveaways every hour, and swag bags while they last. Special offers will be available from food pavilion eateries, which include Blaze Pizza, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Great Khan’s, Muscle Beach Lemonade & Hot Dogs, Panda Express, Paradise Bakery & Café, Rubios Baja Grill, Ruby Thai, Sarku Japan and Smashburger.

TheShopsatMissionViejo_Dining Pavilion RenderingAlthough this is just a rendering of the updated Dining Pavillion area, I think I see myself eating at a table! 

New to the holiday event lineup this year is Holidays on Ice Mission Viejo, the first-ever seasonal ice rink at The Shops at Mission Viejo. From November to January 11, skate under festive lighting, and celebrate the season with music and family fun. The 50-foot by 70-foot outdoor ice rink will accommodate approximately 120 skaters, and is located in the exterior parking lot, near Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. The rink will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

photo-14The Shops at Mission Viejo will offer several additional amenities during the holiday season. Additional valet will be available. A giftwrap station will be available in December, and located near Zara. Proceeds from the giftwrap station will benefit the Girl Scouts of Orange County and the Simon Youth Foundation.

There are so many fun things happening at The Shops at Mission Viejo! Happy Holidays!

 

Why Did I Wait So Long To Get SMASHed at SMASHburger?

Have you gotten SMASHed yet? I hadn’t until recently and now I’m wondering why I waited so long? I noticed the sign in the food court of “my mall“, The Shops at Mission Viejo, but just hadn’t gotten a chance to try it.

smash burger sign

I decided to start with one of their shakes while I checked out seriously extensive menu. There were a ton of shake flavors to choose from, but the manager suggested I try one of their specialty flavors, so I chose something you can’t get just anywhere…the Salted Caramel Shake! A shake is an appetizer, right?

top of my shakeWhoa! Look at all of that whipped cream and that caramel drizzled on top! Their shakes are all hand-scooped and made with Haagen Dazs ice cream! I was having hard time getting very much of it since Emi seemed to have fallen in love with it first and isn’t the best at sharing!

salted caramel shakeAfter I finally got my shake back from Emi, I stood there in front of the menu, drinking it, and feeling a bit overwhelmed, but in a good way. Their menu has A LOT to offer. I knew I at least needed to try a Classic Smash. In case you’ve never had one before, they’re “smashed”, seared and seasoned to order, using fresh, premium beef.

ClassicsmashI opted for a Classic Smash with cheese. It has American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and plenty of Smash sauce, which is a blend of mayonnaise, yellow mustard, pickled relish and lemon juice, and is served on the yummiest egg bun ever! (they actually make all of their own buns, too!)

photo-9I was told that you really shouldn’t have a Smashburger without having an order of Smashfries to go with it! So, I did! Smashfries are shoestring fries tossed in rosemary, olive oil, and garlic! They are beyond addicting and although the menu also features regular fries on it, I have no idea why someone wouldn’t order Smash fries. They are just THAT good.

the perfect comboI also ended up with a Smashchicken, which is the chicken version of the Smashburger. It was the picture on the menu board that caught my eye and I KNEW I needed to try the Buffalo and Blue Cheese Smashchicken. You have a choice of a grilled or crispy chicken breast and it’s topped with Franks’s Redhot Buffalo Sauce, crumbled blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, served on an egg bun.

smashchickenI swear the minute I finished it, I wanted another one! The combo of the buffalo sauce and the blue cheese is crazy good! Some of the menu items (like this one) are considered “regional” and are only offered at certain locations. You can check that availability online.

smashclub

Although I do love food and love to share about food, I think one of my other favorite parts about getting to write about places I visit, is making a connection with people. The afternoon that I visited SMASHburger, I got to chat a little bit with the store manager who figured out right away, that I was a “first-timer”.  Jen was BEYOND knowledgeable about the menu, food preparation and even special menu items (I have friends who are gluten-free and vegan). Above all though, what really made the experience even more special was how genuine and nice Jen was. It truly makes all the difference when the person running the store is personable like that and is what will keep guests coming back again and again!

I cannot wait to go back to SMASHburger and try more items from their menu! I already know I’m going to have ANOTHER Buffalo and Blue Cheese SMASHchicken! Have YOU eaten at a SMASHburger yet? What is YOUR favorite menu item?

Knott’s Merry Farm: A True Southern California Holiday Celebration #MerryFarm

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a social media day at Knott’s Merry Farm and provided with information to share with my readers about Knott’s Merry Farm and 2015 Knott’s Season Passes. No other compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% my own. 

The holiday season is officially underway! There are decorations popping up in stores everywhere, Christmas commercials are playing on the radio and on TV, and moms like me are already starting to think out about WHAT to buy everyone on our Christmas Shopping List! (I already feel like I’m behind on that part!) There are so many fun family holiday activities and events happening around Southern California this time of year also. Our family is really excited to be invited to experience the opening day of Knott’s Merry Farm this year on November 22! It’ll be our first time and we’re counting down the days.

Knott's Merry Farm LogoKnott’s Merry Farm has been a Southern California Holiday Tradition since 1985 and is one of Knott’s Berry Farm’s seasonal events. The celebration of the Christmas season will start on November 22 this year and go through January 4, 2015. The event includes park-wide lavish decorations, festive food, live entertainment, and a shopping wonderland filled with local artisans.

wreathFestive Food

Knott’s Berry Farm’s culinary elves have created delicious festive treats including Santa’s homemade cookies, sundae bar, decadent hot chocolate topped with hand carved chocolate shavings, and winter wine and craft beer tastings. Savor the ultimate comfort foods with Knott’s world famous desserts, including fresh made-to-order Maple Lollipops, churros from the Churro Factory, cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men in the Farm Bakery, as well as the legendary cooking at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. I can hardly contain my excitement.

Live Entertainment

I think I’m most excited to experience all the things Snoopy that Knott’s has in store during Merry Farm, starting with going to see a performance by the world famous beagle, himself, as he performs a brand new ice spectacular, Merry Christmas, Snoopy!, held inside of the 2100 seat Charles M. Schultz Theatre.

Boy and SnoopyOther live entertainment offerings include:

• Live performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” or O. Henry’s “A Gift of the Magi” in an intimate setting of the historic Bird Cage Theatre.

Singers at Calico Saloon

• When the sun sets on the Farm, Calico Stage lights up with the celebration of the season in Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting. Join us for a musical, whimsical tree lighting featuring a cast of Toy Soldiers, Snowmen, Elves and America’s most famous beagle, Snoopy!

Peanuts Characters• Over in Camp Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy invite you to dance, sing and join in on the holiday fun in the Camp Snoopy Theatre.

• Introduced in 2013, the Ghost Town and Calico Railroad celebrate Christmas on Engine 41. Climb
aboard a vintage railcar and meet an ever-changing group of Ghost Town residents eager to share their
Christmas plans and songs with you.

Family and Carolers• Ghost Town also celebrates of the sounds of the season with its very own Dickensian vocal quartet, Calico Carolers and interactive country Christmas blue grass quartet, the Ghost Town Miners.

Calico Carolers

Santa’s Christmas Cabin

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without visiting Santa Claus. The Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town becomes home to Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. Here, the young and the young at heart can share their wish lists with jolly Santa Claus and take home a picture of the occasion. We’re excited to capture a special family memory like this because we like to use our annual Santa photo for our family holiday cards!

Sign w_family

Baby and SantaAt Santa’s Christmas Cabin, guests can also indulge in holiday delights such as:

  •  Santa’s homemade cookies
  •  Hot fudge sundae bar
  •  Decadent hot chocolate topped with hand carved chocolate shavings
  •  Winter wine and craft beer tastings paired with fresh fruit, cheese and more!

Christmas Crafts Village

Relax and unwind in Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village as it transforms Ghost Town into a shopping wonderland filled with dozens of local artists and artisans selling their unique wares including a chainsaw sculptor and glass blower. Entrance to the Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village is free Monday through Thursday and is included daily with theme park admission.

Inside Christmas Cabin

So, let’s get back to when I mentioned about how I’m starting to think about WHAT to get everyone on my holiday shopping list! I came up with the best idea! It’s a one-size, fits all, and it’s sure to please EVERYONE who receives it! It’s a 2015 Knott’s Season Pass! Why not grab one for everyone on your list? Seriously though!

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Look at some of the benefits of having a Regular Season Pass:

  • Six Easy Payments (as low as 13.25 each)
  • One FREE Merry Farm Visit
  • Additional 2014 Visits Only $9.99
  • Unlimited Visits In 2015
  • Early Ride Times
  • Food & Merch Discounts
  • Knott’s Hotel Discounts
  • Scary Farm 2015 Ticket Discounts
  • Bring A Friend Days

Knott’s is California’s best amusement park and the prices for a year-long season pass are incredibly affordable! All the fun activities, shows and entertainment happening during the holidays at Knott’s is something you don’t want to miss! Why not purchase a Knott’s Berry Farm 2015 Season Pass for someone (or your entire family), which makes the perfect holiday gift and plan your own day out at Knott’s Merry Farm this year, which would be included with your pass as your one 2014 visit?

We’ll be there on the 22nd and can’t wait to share a ton of fun pictures with everyone! Will you be going to Knott’s Merry Farm this year? I sure hope so!

Photo and Logo Credit: Knott’s

Irvine Park Railroad’s 19th Annual Christmas Train AND Brand New Christmas Tree Ranch!

I think the holiday season is my most favorite time of the year! There are an abundance of family fun holiday events to attend and enjoy together as a family. People everywhere just seem so happy during this time of the year.

train with lightsOne of our favorite things to do before Christmas is to visit the Irvine Park Railroad’s Christmas Train! You can visit with family and friends and take an enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The train departs every 15 minutes from the brightly-lit train station and drops passengers off at the North Pole, where Santa is waiting for the children!

train 1It’s fun to ride the train at night and see all of the twinkling lights! Don’t forget to dress warmly! 

We didn’t get to go last year so this year we’re extra excited about visiting on the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is opening weekend! We like to get there early and walk around Santa’s Village, which is set up just next to the train station. Emi loves to participate in all of the fun activities there. (Activities in Santa’s Village will open one hour prior to when the Christmas Train runs)

photo propsIrvine Park Railroad always sets up adorable photo props! I think we make a pretty cute penguin and polar bear, don’t you? 

Here’s what you’ll find in Santa’s Village:

• Story Time with Mrs. Claus
• Christmas Cookie Decorating
• Carnival Games
• Ice Fishing
• Santa Claus Moon Bounce
• Christmas Coloring Corner
• Picture Stands

Read with Mrs. ClausEnjoy story time with Mrs. Claus in Santa’s Village. (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Activities are open weekends ONLY. Activities will be open daily starting December 15th Prices for activities in Santa’s Village vary; for additional information and costs, visit http://www.IrvineParkRailroad.com.

Let’s get back to talking about the Christmas Train though. When visitors are transported on the Christmas Train to “The North Pole”, they are greeted by Santa and his elves.

Santa with Train in the BackgroundSanta will be waiting to take pictures with you and your family when you arrive at The North Pole! (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Coffee, hot chocolate, and other snacks are available for purchase from the Elf House Snack Bar. (A full kitchen menu is also available at the train station) Visitors may take their own pictures with Santa or may also purchase a picture taken by Irvine Park Railroad. Each 5″X7″ photo will be presented with an Irvine Park Railroad border and are available for pickup shortly after being taken.

 keepsake photoThis was our keepsake photo with Santa from 2012! (excuse the quality of it being a picture of a picture) 

After visiting with Santa, hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to the station. You’ll LOVE the tunnel! Oh and there’s (faux) snow too!

Train in the Tunnel of LightsThe Tunnel of Lights! (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Christmas Train tickets may ONLY be purchased online and can be purchased beginning November 1st! Tickets may not be purchased in person. You can purchase your tickets to ride the train on a specific date and time. Then, you print them out, bring them with you, and get in line to board the train any time during the hour for which you purchased your tickets.

Here’s what’s NEW this year at Irvine Park Railroad…..

Christmas Tree RanchAfter visiting Santa, why not pick out your own special Christmas tree to take home at the all-new Christmas Tree Ranch? (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, families will be able to purchase Christmas trees at the all-new Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Tree Ranch! Visitors will be able to choose from among Douglas fir, Noble fir, and Grand fir trees ranging in height from 4′ to 12′. Christmas tree stands, preservatives, tree disposal bags, wreaths, and garland will also be available for sale. The Christmas Tree Ranch is open daily at 10:00 am beginning Friday, November 28th through Tuesday, December 23rd. Families can walk the Christmas Tree Ranch to find their perfect Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Ranch StaffIrvine Park Railroad staff will help you load your Christmas Tree into/onto your car. (photo credit: Irvine Park Railroad)

I am already feeling the holiday spirit and am pleased to announce a giveaway hosted by the Irvine Park Railroad! I’m giving away 4 tickets for the Christmas Train, 6 Christmas Activity tickets, 1 Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park bike rental (excludes the double surrey), and 1 Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park paddle boat rental! Just enter below on the Rafflecopter! Good luck and happy beginning of the holiday season!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dogs and professional videography/photography are prohibited. Hours are subject to change without notice. The Christmas Tree Ranch is open weather permitting.

Annual Irvine Park Railroad events include the Christmas Train, Anniversary Celebration, Easter Eggstravaganza and Pumpkin Patch.
Visit Irvine Regional Park’s other activities including Wheel Fun Rentals® at Irvine Park — fun and unique bike rentals that can be enjoyed by single riders or an entire family — paddle boat rentals, the Orange County Zoo and pony rides.
Irvine Park Railroad is located inside of Irvine Regional Park. The address is:

Irvine Park Railroad
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869

Become a fan of Irvine Park Railroad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.

For pricing, park directions and complete details, please visit http://www.IrvineParkRailroad.com.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media event as a guest of Irvine Park Railroad and given information to share with my readers. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own. 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas at Disneyland Resort!

It's a Small World at Christmas timeIt’s only November 2nd and Christmas is popping up already, all around Disneyland Resort with a heavy emphasis over in Toontown! Yep! I really couldn’t be happier about it, either!

firehouse in ToontownWe ventured into Toontown this morning to ride Gadget’s Go Coaster and I immediately noticed the decorations on the firehouse! As I looked around, I could see that there were beautiful garlands hanging on the boughs of the buildings and houses in Toontown!

city hall 1

I loved the patriotic decorations hanging on Toontown City Hall. I was lucky enough to catch Pluto peeking out of the door when I was standing there! He gave me a big hug and then stopped to take a selfie with me before continuing on his way!

city hall

selfie with Pluto

I think my most favorite parts in Toontown were the decorations on Mickey and Minnie’s houses! They’re so lucky that they each get their own Christmas tree in their front yard!

Mickey's houseMickey’s house is all ready for the holidays! 

Minnie's House 2How adorable is Minnie’s house? The CM told us that Minnie was up late last night working on that heart-shaped wreath!

Disneyland Resort is most definitely “My Happy Place” but with Christmas decorations slowly appearing all around the parks, it Just Got Happier! I can’t wait to go back soon and see it when everything is decorated for Christmas!

Do YOU have a favorite part about Christmas time at Disneyland Resort?

The 13th Annual Tree Lighting Concert at The Citadel Outlets on November 8!

 

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was provided with information and details about this event to share with my readers. All opinions are 100% my own. 
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If you’re looking for a fun way to kick off the holiday season with something fun, you should consider attending the 13th Annual Tree Lighting Concert on November 8, at the Citadel Outlets!  This event has become a holiday tradition in Los Angeles and is expected to draw over 20 thousand attendees to witness the lighting of the World’s Tallest Live Cut Christmas Tree (115-ft), see the World’s Largest Bow atop the Citadel wall and enjoy the free, outdoor concert headlined by country star Jana Kramer, The Voice’s Christina Grimmie, YouTube sensation Cimorelli, pop boy band After Romeo and X Factor’s Josh Levi.

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Presented by AMP 97.1 and FOX 11, television personalities Tony McEwing and Maria Sansone and radio personality McCabe will host the night’s events. Immediately following the concert performances, Tony & Maria will direct attention to center court where guests will be invited to participate in a countdown leading up to the lighting of the World’s Tallest Live Cut Christmas Tree.

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The Citadel Outlets’ record-breaking tree is an impressive 115 feet talk and is sourced from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. It spans 20 feet longer than an NBA basketball court and stands at twice the size of the famous Hollywood Sign. In addition, the center’s Christmas tree is 40-feet taller than the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in New York City. In addition to hosting the World’s Tallest Live Cut Christmas Tree, Citadel Outlets is also home to the World’s Largest Bow. Sitting atop the iconic Citadel wall overlooking the 5 Freeway, the World’s Largest Bow is 36 feet wide by 21 feet tall with 18 loops and two 72-feet long tails that drape down the front of the building. Over 4,000 cans of red paint and primer and one half-ton of glitter were used to cover the striking accouterment.

Event attendees are encouraged to bring gift donations for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. To maintain safety and well being of CHLA patients, only new and unwrapped toys will be accepted. Please note that CHLA cannot accept stuffed toys or toys with small pellets or beans. All donations should be non-toxic, free of sharp edges and cannot promote violence and/or aggressive behaviors. Thanks to generous supporters CHLA is able to gift approximately 80,000 toys per year.

Previous headline performers to grace the Citadel Outlets’ stage include Jesse McCartney (2013), Ariana Grande (2012), Big Time Rush (2010), Justin Bieber (2009), Ashley Tisdale (2009), Demi Lovato (2008) and many more.

This year’s star-studded line-up includes:

After Romeo – The Los Angeles-based, five-person boy band reached number one on the MTV music charts with Free Fall. After Romeo’s songs have been playing on-air Radio Disney and have reached number six on their countdown. Hits singles include Love on Lock, One Night and Save Some Snow.

After Romeo

Josh Levi – The Houston native triple threat began dancing, singing and acting at age five. Levi had a recurring role on NBC’s hit series “Friday Night Lights.” In 2013 he began focusing on his singing career and also competed in season 3 of X Factor where judge extraordinaire, Simon Cowell stated, “we might just be looking at the next big star.”

Josh Levi

Cimorelli – Winners of 2013 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Web Star, Cimorelli is a six-woman band comprised of sisters with a passion for singing. With almost 3 million subscribers on YouTube and music deal with Universal Records, Cimorelli is enjoying a meteoric rise. They are set to release their latest EP, Renegade, on October 27, 2014.

Cimorelli

Christina Grimmie – The American singer/songwriter finished in third place on Season 6 of NBC’s The Voice. Grimmie’s studio version of her performances reached top 10 on iTunes charts. She released Must Be Love early in July and has been touring with previous contestants of The Voice.

Christina Grimmie

Jana Kramer – The Country-singing sensation and One Tree Hill star’s hit “Why Ya Wanna” reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart and has grown in popularity ever since. In 2013 Kramer won Top New Female Artist at the American Country Music Awards. She is currently on tour performing her new songs Deal Breaker, Pop That Bottle and Don’t Touch My Radio.

Jana Kramer

Citadel Outlets is located just off the Interstate 5, just 10 minutes south of downtown Los Angeles, at Atlantic Blvd North at100 Citadel Drive, Suite 480 Los Angeles, CA 90040. For more information please visit http://www.citadeloutlets.com. For updates on the tree lighting ceremony and holiday concert, please follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/CitadelOutlets.

All images property of Blaze PR and The Citadel Outlets. 

Keep Calm and Grab a 2015 Knott’s Season Pass Now at Their Lowest Prices of the Year!

Now that Halloween’s over, it’s officially “that time of year” again…time to start thinking about what to get for everyone on your  holiday shopping list! I know what the people in my family are asking for this year….a Knott’s Season Pass!

photo-375(image by Over the Top Kid)

If you haven’t seen what amazing prices Knott’s is offering their 2015 Season Passes at right now, you need to! Right now, the Regular Season Pass is available for 9 low monthly payments of $8.50! I know there are many families who can appreciate the option of that payment plan, too. It’s such an affordable price and something that you could buy for your whole family to enjoy together, over and over. This is the lowest pass of the year and will go up after November 4th.  Another amazing offer this year is Knott’s Season Pass With An All-Season Dining Plan! The plan includes one lunch and one dinner (beverages are not included) at participating locations throughout the park, every day you visit Knott’s Berry Farm in 2015 and can be purchased as an $11 add-on to your Season Pass. Meals can be a big expense during a visit to an amusement park, so this is a really great deal, too!

family with snoopy Our family recently spent a really fun day together at Camp Spooky, which is a non-scary way to celebrate Halloween time together at Knott’s. We can’t wait to go back next year and create even more memories together!

snoopy and emiIt’s so much fun for me to be able to watch my own daughter enjoy some of the same rides at Knott’s that I enjoyed as a kid. I also adore that she loves Snoopy and all of the other Peanuts character that I grew up with.

hugging 1The 2015 Knott’s Season Pass also includes one 2014 visit. (additional days in 2014 can also be purchased for only $9.99 each) Here are some of the other Season Pass benefits:

  • unlimited visits to Knott’s in 2015
  • early ride times
  • food and merchandise discounts
  • Knott’s Hotel discounts
  • Scary Farm 2015 ticket discounts
  • Bring a Friend Days
  • Access to special Season Pass events and surprises
  • Access to Knott’s great seasonal offerings, including Knott’s Camp Spooky, Knott’s Merry Farm and Knott’s Berry Bloom
  • Option to add on unlimited access to Soak City OC
  • Option to add on a dining plan for only 9 easy payments of $11

merry farm

wreathWhy not grab 2015 passes for your family now and use your 2014 visit to experience Knott’s during their annual Knott’s Merry Farm celebration, beginning at the end of November? Whatever you do, you might want to hurry up and grab this deal before November 4th, when the prices increase! For more information about Knott’s Season Passes, click here.

 Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails Exhibit Now Through January 4 at The Discovery Cube OC!

Emi and I had the privilege of attending a special preview of the Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails exhibit at The Discovery Cube OC. It was the opening weekend of the exhibit and and there were so many excited little boys and girls who came out to play!  It’s such an adorable, hands-on exhibit, sponsored by Fisher Price.

thomas 1We love Thomas! He’s everyone’s favorite blue engine! My daughter, now 9 years old, watched Thomas the Train when she was younger. She was always fascinated by the way that their faces moved and talked in the shows. She still knows all of the trains’ names. There’s even a train named “Emily”. I didn’t even realize that. She actually told me.

thomas and friendsThomas & Friends! How many of them can YOU name? 

The exhibit will take you on an imaginary trip to the Island of Sodor. Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails is a hands-on STEM exhibit, based on the adventures of Thomas, his engine friends and the Island of Sodor’s iconic locations: Knapford Station, Sodor Steamworks and much more. Visitors can help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of challenges, from simple sorting and shape identification to more complex engineering obstacles.

hands on thomas

Here are some of the fun activities  you’ll find at the exhibit:

  • Climb inside Thomas’ cab to explore the engine’s inner workings
  • Remove and replace parts to fix Percy’s wobbly wheel
  • Load Percy’s coal box and water so he can deliver the mail
  • Suit up as the conductor and sell tickets to ride the train
  • Load and sort luggage and freight into the train cars
  • Explore the history of Thomas & Friends through books, TV show clip and toys
  • Plan and build navigation routes to favorite destinations on the gigantic Island of Sodor train table

emi in thomasThere are a ton of photo opportunities! I don’t think you’re ever too old for a photo with Thomas! 

kids Every child there that day must’ve flocked to the room full of train tables! So much fun with these hands-on activities! 

Sir Topham HatVisitors can enjoy story time and a Meet n’ Greet with Sir Topham Hat, himself!  conductorKids can have fun playing with all of the train props that are set up. The conductor who took my luggage looked so familiar! 

 Although the majority of the museum’s guests that morning were preschool age, Emi and I had a blast together at the Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails exhibit! I think it’s so much fun to be able to step inside of the City of Sodor and be able to imagine that you’re part of their world! The exhibit runs through January 4th and it’s a definite must-see!

For more information on The Discovery Cube OC, click here.

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Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event for the purpose of writing a review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.