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Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 
Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort invite guests to experience an exciting new dimension of sorcery at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” with the introduction of the “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle,” a powerful, original and breathtaking projection experience.The “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will illuminate Hogwarts castle and “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” nightly from April 13 – 28 at Universal Studios Hollywood then return from May 25 – 27. Universal Orlando Resort’s experience will debut later this year with dates to be announced at a later time.

This exciting all-new experience in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will cast a mesmerizing display of light, music and special effects, unleashing the darkest creatures and villains, including the powerful Dark wizard Lord Voldemort.

Illuminating a darker side of the Wizarding World, this spectacular new light projection experience will be a departure from previous “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” and “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.” “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will bring more intense tones and drama that reflect the Dark creatures and wizards that challenge goodness in the Wizarding World.

Guests will be asked to summon their inner strength and bravery in the face of the all-consuming Dark Arts as some of the awe-inspiring moments and creatures inspired by the films come to life within the majestic light display.

As darkness falls on Hogwarts castle, Dementors™, Death Eaters and other unspeakable creatures from Aragog and Mountain Trolls to Thestrals will cloak the castle with sinister images from the darker side of magic—even conjuring the visage of Lord Voldemort™ himself, until the Patronus spell—one of the most famous, difficult and powerful defense of the Dark Arts charms in the wizarding world—is cast.

The “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will be accompanied by an exclusive musical arrangement that will emanate in a surround sound environment. It was conducted by prolific arranger William Ross and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in London, based on the original scores composed for the film series created by Academy Award®-winning composer John Williams.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort is a masterful recreation, faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including as its iconic focal point, Hogwarts castle.

From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” transports guests of all ages to the very places they watched on the silver screen.

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, the all-new 2019 Season Pass invites guests to experience the fun throughout the year for $149 when purchased online. Blackout dates and restrictions apply. Visit http://www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details.

Images and logos are property of Universal Studios and used with permission. 

Great Wolf Lodge’s Spring-A-Palooza Returns March 16 + Have Tea With the Characters

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

Great Wolf Lodge is springing into 2019 with the return of its fun-filled Spring-A-Palooza celebration. Families staying at any Great Wolf Lodge between March 16 – April 28, 2019 are sure to have a pawesome time as the resort comes into full bloom with a collection of exclusive spring-inspired events such as bubble dance parties and a special character-led tea party. Guests will splish and splash in the 84 degree waterpark and create memories that will last a lifetime.Along with a vibrant and colorful transformation of the lobby, here are some additional entertainment options for families to enjoy during the six week Spring-A-Palooza event:
Northwood’s Tea Party with Violet & Friends: new for 2019, beloved wolf Violet will host a tea party on select days of the week. Violet and friends’ tea party will feature songs, dances, cookie decorating, crafts and games. Of course, no party would be complete without a special character meet and greet.Other Spring-a-Palooza offerings this year include:
Bubble Dance Party: This special Spring-a-Palooza event fills the Grand Lobby with cascading bubbles while Great Wolf Lodge’s Ambassadors of Fun keep energy-levels high with a family-friendly dance party.Spring-a-Palooza Story Time: Great Wolf Lodge’s nightly Story Time takes on a spring theme with a new tale featuring the Great Wolf Lodge characters called “Natural Wonders.” Kids are encouraged to wear their favorite jammies to the Grand Lobby for this event and will have the opportunity to meet one of the Great Wolf Lodge characters in person.Jelly Bean Guessing Game: A gigantic jar filled to the brim with jelly bean candies sits in the Grand Lobby and guests are invited to enter a contest guessing how many delicious treats are within the jar. The guests closest to the correct number without going over will be entered for a chance to win a Great Wolf Lodge Gift Card.Spring Themed Crafts: During Spring-A-Palooza, the resort’s Ambassadors of Fun will host several spring-inspired craft making events for kids of all ages. Character-themed crafting projects include Oliver’s Crazy About Bugs Jar, Violet’s Springtime Noodle Doodle, Brinley’s Don’t Blow Away Kite and Wiley’s Can You Spot It Binoculars.Along with the always complimentary water park entry for all overnight guests, all of the Spring-A-Palooza events are complimentary for guests staying at the resort. A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule provided to guests upon check-in.For more information on Great Wolf Resorts and its brands of indoor water park resorts, please visit greatwolf.com.

Some images are property of Great Wolf Lodge and used with permission. 

Mickey’s Mix Magic at Disneyland + Download the Song from the Show

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

2019 is off to an extra special start at The Disneyland Resort as Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration is in full force! It’s the biggest party for Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland history and celebrates 90 years of magic with the beloved pair! As part of this special celebration, guests will discover new and enhanced entertainment for a limited time and last night we had the opportunity to stop by and watch the all-new “Mickey’s Mix Magic”! (Download the wallpaper below from Disney Parks Blog HERE.) 

“Mickey’s Mix Magic” is an all-new, high-energy projection show that creates a family-fun dance party throughout Disneyland park nightly. The show immerses guests in an all-new experience with projections, lighting and lasers (plus fireworks on select nights) while “DJ” Mickey spins a twist on Disney classic songs.

The other night, I stood in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A., which is one of the three viewing areas in the park for this, and danced and sang with 1,000,000 of my closest Disney friends to “It’s a Good Time”, which is the celebration song from the show. I was enamored as I stood and watched all of the amazing projections light up the store fronts, at the same time the fireworks were happening! Here’s a video of the show from where I was standing:

Where to Watch the Show
There are 3 different viewing areas inside Disneyland Park that guests can watch the show:  Main Street, U.S.A., the façade of “it’s a small world” and the water screens of the Rivers of America (when “Fantasmic!” returns in March). Each of the areas has a custom projection design, which makes for a unique show experience wherever guests are. More than two dozen video projectors bring “Mickey’s Mix Magic” to life throughout the park, and 14 of those are on Main Street, U.S.A., alone.

The Music from Mickey’s Mix Magic
The new celebration song “It’s a Good Time” was written and produced specifically for the “World’s Biggest Mouse Party” that is underway at Disney Parks around the world, celebrating 90 years of magic with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Guests will also dance and sing along to these tunes during “Mickey’s Mix Magic”:

  • “I Wanna Be Like You” (The Jungle Book)
  • “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” (The Aristocats)
  • “Friend Like Me” (Aladdin)
  • “Grim Grinning Ghosts” (theme song from The Haunted Mansion attraction)
  • “Un Poco Loco” (Coco)
  • “Let It Go” (Frozen)

The musical score of “Mickey’s Mix Magic” is inspired by the irresistible beat of “house music,” bringing energy and fun that appeals to the whole family. The multi-speaker audio design in “Mickey’s Mix Magic” supports the “dance party” feel of the show throughout the park, immersing guests in surround sound. (Download “It’s A Good Time” HERE.)Other Fun Facts about “Mickey’s Mix Magic”

  • Nearly 100 special lighting fixtures are utilized throughout the show, and they sit atop 10 different rooftops throughout the park.
  • Disney Parks Live Entertainment collaborated with the team behind the latest Mickey animated shorts to bring the youthful, playful and mischievous personality of Mickey Mouse to the show. Minnie Mouse is also featured, showing off some of her dance moves from the pair’s popular international cartoon adventures.
  • Much of the mapped video projection of “Mickey’s Mix Magic” is original content. Instead of cinematic scenes, favorite Disney characters are creatively showcased amidst kaleidoscopic patterns that move with the music beat.

“Mickey’s Mix Magic” was a truly magical experience and something I really want to go back for again and again. Have you experienced it yet?  Leave me a comment and tell me what you thought.

Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration is a great reason to plan a visit to Disneyland Resort, especially while the limited-time Southern California Resident Ticket Offer is going on.  To read about some of the other things that are new for 2019 at Disneyland Resort, go HERE.

Some images, wallpaper and artwork are property of Disney, Disney Parks Blog and iTunes. 

Disneyland Raises Prices for Tickets, Parking and More

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

Most news that comes out of The Disneyland Resort is exciting news. Disney fans woke up to not-so-exciting news today with a surprise raise in ticket, parking, and Disney Annual Pass prices. It really comes as no surprise to me with all of the recent expansions and renovations  at the Resort, including the Pixar Pier transformation, the Tiki Room transformation and addition of The Tropical Hideaway, the current Sleeping Beauty Castle transformation and mostly the over $1 billion dollar Star Wars expansion, which is going to bring us Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge this summer. Although Disney is a place our family continues to visit and make memories together at, a price increase is always something Disney fans are never excited about. Let’s look at how prices increased though. As you may or not be aware, Disney uses “seasonal” or tiered pricing, basing ticket prices off of a predicted busier times vs. slow times. You can read more about how Disney’s “seasonal” pricing works HERE.

Disneyland Resort current ticket pricing:

  • 1-day, 1-park tickets for a “value” park day is priced at $104/day. with a 1-day Park Hopper priced at $154/day
  • 1-day, 1-park tickets for a “regular” park day is priced at $129/day, with a 1-day Park Hopper priced at $179/day.
  • 1-day, 1-park tickets for a “peak” park day is priced at $149/day, with a 1-day Park Hopper priced at $199/day.
  • Multiple day tickets also vary in pricing, which can be viewed HERE.

Standard Parking at Disneyland Resort is now $25/day per standard auto. Guests also have the option of upgrading to Preferred Parking for $40/day per standard vehicle. Disney Annual Passports
There are a variety of Disney Annual Passports offered, some can be purchased by anyone, while others are only offered to Southern California residents. Disneyland Resort also offers a payment plan to Southern California residents, allowing them to make payments for their “pass” instead of paying the entire amount up front. I’ve listed the features of each Disney Passport below, featuring any discounts a pass may include, if it includes parking and most importantly, the blockout dates. To view the Annual Passport blockout calendar, go HERE.
Southern California Select Pass – currently priced at $399
This pass grants access to both theme parks on select days of the year and is for Southern California residents only. It gives up to 10% off select dining and up to 10% off select merchandise in store or online at Shop Disney Parks.
Disney Deluxe Passport – currently priced at $799
This pass allows admission to both theme parks on select days of the year, gives up to 10% off select dining and up to 10% off select merchandise in store and online at Shop Disney Parks.
Disney Signature Passport – currently priced at $1149
This pass gives admission to both theme parks on most days of the year, gives up to 15% off select dining, gives up to 20% off select merchandise in store or online at Shop Disney Parks, and includes standard theme park parking.
Disney Signature Plus Passport – currently priced at $1399
This pass allows you to visit both parks, includes Disney MaxPass, gives up to 15% off select dining, gives up to 20% off merchandise, includes standard theme park parking and has no blockout dates.
Disney Premier Passport – currently priced at $1949
This pass grants admission to all California and Florida theme parks and has no blockout dates, gives 15% off select dining, gives 20% off select merchandise, includes MaxPass with Digital PhotoPass downloads and PhotoPass/Memory Maker services in Florida, and includes standard theme park parking.Disney MaxPass
The price to add on the Disney MaxPass option to either a Park ticket or an Annual Passport also increased. To add it onto a Park ticket, it’s $15/day per guest. To add it onto any Annual Passports other than the Disney Signature Plus Passport, it’s $100 for the duration of the pass.If you aren’t familiar with it, Disney MaxPass* combines the ability to make Disney FASTPASS attraction selections from your phone with unlimited Disney PhotoPass** downloads for a day.  You’re able to download your photos taken at select locations throughout the parks, character photos, and also photos from popular attractions. Many of the photos caught by the PhotoPass photographers or on the attractions are beyond priceless! Personally, I’m a huge fan of MaxPass for many reasons. To read why I think MaxPass is an awesome addition to your day at Disneyland Resort, please go HERE.Do you have any upcoming visits planned to the Disneyland Resort? Don’t forget, if you’re a Southern California Resident, Disneyland Resort is offering special pricing on tickets beginning January 7. To follow along with our latest Disney adventures, check out my new all-Disney Instagram page HERE.


For more information about the Disneyland Resort, including the ability to purchase your own tickets and Annual Passports, please visit https://disneyland.disney.go.com/.

 

Some images and logos are property of Disneyland Resort and used with permission.

What’s New at The Disneyland Resort in 2019?

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

It was a great end to 2018 for me as I got to spend the morning with my daughter at Disneyland for a few hours and later on at home we got to watch Disney Parks Blog’s live stream of New Year’s Eve fireworks from Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World! Disney Parks Blog also released their first digital wallpaper of the year and it’s adorable! You can download yours for either mobile or desktop HERE

Now that 2019 is off to a magical start, it’s time to take a peek at what’s going to be new this year at The Disneyland Resort! I feel like a kid in a candy store awaiting the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in summer. Meanwhile, the first few months look to be jam packed already with tons of exciting offerings! Starting in January and continuing throughout 2019, the Disneyland Resort will offer a collection of adventures, festivals, shows, food, Disney character interactions and more to inspire guests to join the fun with family and friends.Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration
2019 will kick off in true Disney fashion with Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie
Celebration, a party to celebrate Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse at the place where they first appeared for guests. Adored for generations, Mickey and Minnie Mouse have brought joy and inspiration to millions of fans around the world. Join in and toast their 90-year legacy with a magical, musical celebration featuring entertainment, Character Greetings, themed menu selections, merchandise and more.

Mickey’s Mix Magic – beginning January 18
Guests can light up the night with Mickey’s Mix Magic, a new, high-energy projection show celebrating the one and only Mickey Mouse. Held at Disneyland Park, this family-friendly event features the theme song, “It’s a Good Time” as well as dance-tastic takes on some of your favorite Disney hits and a virtual visit from none other than “DJ” Mickey, of course!

Watch state-of-the-art projections, lighting and lasers transform various parts of the park—Main Street, U.S.A., the water screens on Rivers of America and the façade of “it’s a small world”—into dazzling displays of sight, sound and color.

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade – beginning January 25
Mouseketeers and Guests alike will fall head over heels for the returning fan favorite, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, a beloved park classic that’s back to mark one of the most exciting milestones in Disney history—Mickey’s 90th. The parade features popular Disney peeps, whimsical floats, music and lots of larger-than-life surprises. During a rockin’ new opening, Mickey leads the way with a giant celebration cake accompanied by Chip ‘n’ Dale! Celebrate Valentine’s Month with Mickey and Minnie – Jan. 22 through Feb. 18,
Join Disneyland Resort to celebrate the love of Minnie and Mickey for Valentine’s month. Guests will find a new Mickey Mouse flower “portrait,” and lovely and festive Valentine’s décor all along Main Street, U.S.A. Guests may also choose to partake in Minnie’s Valentine Surprise, a special scavenger hunt experience in Disneyland park. After purchasing a commemorative map and stickers at select merchandise locations, they may search for the hidden valentines that Minnie has left for Mickey around the park. Upon completion, maps can be returned to a designated location to redeem a special Valentine’s surprise.* Lunar New Year Celebration –  Jan. 25 through Feb. 17
Disneyland Resort will, once again, celebrate Lunar New Year and the Year of the Pig inside Disney California Adventure Park.  A joyous celebration of Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year celebration welcomes guests of all ages to commemorate the tradition with beloved Disney characters, and welcome another year of good fortune. Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession, a limited-time offering during the Lunar New Year celebration, is a bright and bold parade hosted by Mulan and her faithful dragon, Mushu. As a special treat for the Year of the Pig, the Three Little Pigs will join the procession. Delicious Asian food and kid-friendly crafts and activities will be available as well.

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival – March 1 through April 23, 2019
Discover a cornucopia of culinary fun—from Festival Marketplaces and tastings to inspirational cooking demonstrations. Whether you’re a foodie, aspiring home chef, wine enthusiast or just looking to glean a few cutting-edge techniques, the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival delivers something for palates of all ages year after year.
will offer tasty treats and special entertainment for guests of all ages to enjoy. Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for the latest updates on this year’s Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. Coming later in 2019
As I mentioned before, summer 2019, is going to be all about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park! For the first time ever, guests will be able to live their own Star Wars adventure at the highly anticipated new land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The opening will make Disney history as the largest single-land expansion ever at the Disneyland Resort. In this epic, new land, guests will live their own adventure in a galaxy far, far away and explore Black Spire Outpost. Once a busy crossroads, this spaceport on the planet Batuu is now home to those who prefer to stay out of the mainstream, including smugglers, rogue traders and exotic creatures traveling between the frontier and uncharted space.Guests will take the controls in one of three unique and critical roles aboard Millennium
Falcon: Smugglers Run. On Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, guests can join a battle
between the First Order and the Resistance – including a face-off with Kylo Ren. These two new incredible experiences, paired with the land’s interactive components and optional integration with the Play Disney Parks app, will invite guests to become galactic travelers and live their own Star Wars adventures in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.As you can see, there’s a lot that’s about to happen in this new year at the Disneyland Resort! What are you most excited for in 2019? Share with me in the comments!

Some images and logos are property of Disneyland Resort and used with permission. 

Plaza de la Familia Returns to Disney California Adventure With a Musical Celebration from “Coco”

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

Guests at the Disneyland Resort can, once again, enjoy special seasonal experiences this fall, inspired by Día de los Muertos, at both Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland Park. The festivities and displays, now available through November 4, are a celebration honoring loved ones who have passed and honoring familial bonds that last forever. At Disney California Adventure Plaza de la Familia returns for a limited-time festivity. The area, located at the Paradise Gardens area of the park, celebrates Disney•Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning film “Coco” and the everlasting bonds of family.
Guests visiting Plaza de la Familia will enjoy an immersive celebration that includes:

  • Live entertainment with storytelling
  • folklórico dancers and mariachi musicians
  • delicious Mexican fare

and interactive experiences such as the new craft where guests make colorful masks like
the ones seen in the “Coco” film.

  • A Musical Celebration of Coco – This festive show by the entertaining Storytellers of Plaza de la Familia celebrates the popular songs from the film “Coco”, including the Oscar®-winning Best Original Song “Remember Me”. As the lead storyteller Mateo recounts Miguel’s fantastical journey into the Land of the Dead, guests are immersed in the story of “Coco.” New this year, Miguel appears as a whimsical, hand-animated dimensional figure, joining a musical gathering that brings together a lively troupe of singers and Folklórico dancers dressed in beautiful costumes accompanied by the Grammy® Award-winning Mariachi Divas. A Musical Celebration is performed several times daily.
  • At the Paradise Gardens Bandstand, guests will enjoy an uplifting and moving family celebration featuring beloved Mariachi music and traditional songs that touch the hearts of all.
  • The World of Coco, an evocative art exhibit, allows guests to rediscover their favorite characters and settings from the film “Coco.” The immersive exhibition features framed imagery that showcases the depth of imagination that went into creating the Land of the Living and Land of the Dead.
  • Guests also will encounter a three-dimensional “ofrenda” inspired by the remembrance altar seen in “Coco.” In the film, Miguel, the 12-year-old lead character, builds an “ofrenda” in honor of his idol, the legendary late musician Ernesto de la Cruz. “Ofrendas” traditionally are created by friends and family members to honor relatives or loved ones who have passed away.
  • Guests are invited to take commemorative photos in front of the iconic Mexican “Árbol de la Vida”, or Tree of Life. The Tree of Life at Plaza de la Familia celebrates the everlasting bonds of family and friends. Guests will be able to add a remembrance note on the Memory Wall to honor the many loved ones who have been − and will forever be − part of their lives.
  • Guests visiting Plaza de la Familia can design their own paper “alebrije” (spirit guide) mask as part of a new craft activity.
  • Mexican Food Menu: The Mexican menu at Paradise Garden Grill features delicious offerings such as the traditional Día de los Muertos Pan de Muerto, Mole Verde con Pollo, a scrumptious Pan Dulce Conchita and a special “Coco” cake.

More Día de los Muertos in Cars Land
Guests who cruise into Cars Land will find that Ramone, one of the citizens of Cars Land, also pays tribute to Día de los Muertos at Ramone’s House of Body Art. Ramone celebrates this time when families gather to remember their loved ones with a traditional “ofrenda” display honoring the gone, but not forgotten, Doc Hudson.

At Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park continues to offer its traditional Día de los Muertos display at Zócalo Park in
Frontierland. This immersive setting features marigolds and papel picado, along with a traditional “ofrenda,” sugar skulls known as “cavaleras” and an iconic figure of La Catrina. Nearby Rancho del Zócalo Restaurante offers delicious Mexican cuisine for lunch and dinner.

For more information about these special festivities and more, please visit Disneyland.com.

Some images and logos are property of the Disneyland Resort and used with permission. 

Fall in Love With Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel by the Sea

I was provided with accommodations in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

Do you ever feel like you need to get away from the “hustle and bustle” of your hectic everyday life? I’ll admit I often feel that way. So, when I received the invitation for our family to visit Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel, California, I was ecstatic!

“Carmel-by-the-Sea, this charming, seaside town’s full name, is located on the Monterey Peninsula in Northern California. The drive from Los Angeles is about 6 hours, so we had the opportunity to take in some beautiful scenery on our drive up north. Just thinking back on our stay there makes me miss it and I truly long to go back there sometime in the near future. I absolutely fell i love with Hofsas House Hotel. Hofsas House is the cutest place to stay! It’s painted pink, which is my absolute favorite color, and the Bavarian-inspired theme and decor of this family-run boutique inn were what reeled me in immediately. I also loved all of the beautiful landscaping around the premises, especially the flowers.  Guests can book a stay in any of the 38 spacious, one-of-a-kind rooms at Hofsas House. Guest rooms include amenities such as fireplaces, private balconies, wet bars, kitchens, and patios and free WiFi. The shower/tubs have been upgraded nicely and you’re going to love the complimentary toiletries like shampoo,, body wash, makeup remover wipes and body lotion.
I think one of my favorite things are the pink Dutch doors in every room. They allow the ocean air into your room and make for a great photo opportunity. Don’t you agree? (Please note: room amenities vary per location on the property) Hofsas House also offers large suites, which are perfect for newlyweds or larger families. The hotel also features a swimming pool and dry saunas. If you’re a dog owner, or even a dog lover, you’ll be so excited to know Hofsas House is DOG FRIENDLY! Oh my goodness! Although we currently don’t have a dog, it’s great to know that when we do, we’ll be welcome to bring ours with us to stay. Also, if you aren’t a “dog person” please know that only certain rooms are reserved for guests bringing their pets, so there are plenty of rooms which haven’t had canines stay in them. This year, Hofsas House is celebrating seven decades of European hospitality. Guests will admire all of the personal touches around the property, including the beautiful welcome mural, on the wall in the driveway. This mural was painted by artist Maxine Albro, when she was commissioned to paint it back in the 1960’s by Hofsas House founder, Donna Hofsas,There are several other personal touches to discover around the property too. Another artist and photographer by the name of Fred, created the mosaic coats of arms which can be seen on the front of the hotel. Their Latin words translate into English as “Leisure with dignity”, These words described our stay there perfectly.

Our Accommodations
The room we stayed was a Deluxe Suite. This spacious 2-room, 2-bathroom (bathtub/shower with vanity area) suite included a king bed in one room and a sitting area furnished with either two day beds in the other room, as well as a wood-burning fireplace. The wet bar area features a microwave, mini fridge, coffee maker and sink. The private balcony overlooks the Carmel pines, and has a private outdoor barbeque. *For a nominal fee, you can add another rollaway bed to make way for another person. Part of the Hofsas House hospitality is their daily continental breakfast, which is complimentary. Guests can stop by the office each morning and pick up French Roast coffee, tea, juice, fruit and fresh pastries, delivered from a local bakery.  You have the option of sitting in the hotel’s lobby to enjoy your breakfast or taking it back to your room. (Trays, mugs, and baskets are provided for carrying out.)  With such a beautiful ocean view from our balcony, we opted to enjoy ours out there. It was a wonderful way to start our day together.Let’s Talk a Little Bit About the Town of Carmel 
Since we’d never visited Carmel before, I didn’t know where anything was. Luckily Hofsas House is located within walking distance to anything you could possibly want to do in Carmel. It’s just a short walk to shops and restaurants and shops and art galleries. It’s also not very far from the beach, which is a must-visit on your trip. I loved being able to park our car there and not have to even think about driving anywhere until we checked out. Carmel is the kind of town where your kid will be so happy, she’ll skip down the sidewalk! Hofsas House is just minutes away from Monterey, Pebble Beach, Big Sur and Pacific Grove. I did enjoy parking our car and just walking everywhere for 2 days, It’s also convenient to be that close to other points of interest and be able to reach them with just a short drive.

Sitting on our balcony at dusk enjoying some wine and cheese, taking in the beautiful ocean view and cotton candy sunset was amazing and just what I needed! In addition to a variety of guest rooms to book at Hofsas House Hotel, they also offer special add-on packages to enhance your stay. To learn more about this charming property, please visit their website hereA very special thank you to Hofsas House for their hospitality. It was such a treat to stay there and we hope to be back soon. 

CHOC Walk in the Park at Disneyland Resort on 8/26 + Meet the CHOC Walk Ambassador

I was invited to a media event in order to share this exciting news about this year’s CHOC Walk in the Park. All opinions are my own. 

This year’s CHOC Walk in the Park is, once again, presented by Disneyland® Resort and will take place on Sunday, August 26,  2018. I really hope you’re going to be able to join in! choc-walk-in-the-park-logoIf you’ve never participated in this annual event, I highly recommend you sign up to join the fun and experience Disneyland® Park, Disney California Adventure® Park, and Downtown Disney® District as never before. This is the one and only walk to take place at the Disneyland® Resort with all proceeds benefiting the health and well-being of Southern California’s kids.choc-walk-in-the-park-starting-lineWe’ve had the pleasure of participating in this beautiful event for a few years now and to see something that is such a huge production being put together, all in the name of the kids, is an incredible thing.choc-walk-finish-lineI recently attended a special CHOC Walk media event held at Disneyland Hotel, to learn about this year’s special programming and some of the FUNdraising events that’ll lead up to the big August event. I think you’re going to want to participate in all of these fun offerings so keep reading for more information.choc-walk-in-the-park-justins-helpers-1

For me, the most special part about attending the CHOC Walk media event was getting to know this year’s CHOC Walk Ambassador, Justin Helpers”. I got to chat with his entire family including his parents, Colby and Tricia, and his big sister and little brother.choc-walk-in-the-park-justins-helpers-3Justin is an 11 year old boy with a very rare neurological condition called lissencephaly, which causes his brain’s surface to be smooth and leads to significant developmental delays. Justin is severely neurologically impaired and has several seizures a day and is fed through a feeding tube. From early on in his life, Justin has spent extensive amounts of time being treated at CHOC Children’s and he’s really defied the odds of his condition. They have a giant CHOC Walk team named Justin’s Helpers that they’ve walked with over the past few years. They are an amazing family and I’m so excited that he was selected to be this year’s CHOC Walk Ambassador.

Some of the highlights of the CHOC Walk in the Park media event included getting a peek at the new artwork for this year’s medal and pin, which was recreated by Disney’s culinary team in the form of cupcakes, as well as getting a very special visit from our favorite gal pal, Minnie!choc-walk-in-the-park-cupcakeNew for this year is the CHOC Walk FUNdraiser Mobile App which will make it easy and FUN to exceed your CHOC Walk fundraising goals. This app is power-packed with extra tools for team captains! CHOC-Walk-mobile-appTo read more about the CHOC Walk FUNdraiser Mobile App, please go here. You can download it from the App Store and on Google Play.choc-walk-in-the-park-minnieIf you haven’t registered as an individual or as part of a team for this year’s CHOC Walk in the Park, what are you waiting for? For more information about CHOC Walk in the Park or to register or donate, please go here.

Some images and logo are property of CHOC Walk and used with permission.

 

Helpful Water Safety Tips from Great Wolf Lodge

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

 

Did you know that May is National Water Safety Month? Are your kids “water safe”? It’s such an important topic and something we, as parents, need to be proactive about, early on!great-wolf-lodge-waterpark-bucketGreat Wolf Lodge, the resort that has welcomed millions of families since its first resort opened in 1997, shared some of its best water safety tips to help splash into this month and I want to share them with you.great-wolf-lodge-southern-california-facadeWith 16 resorts that stretch from coast-to-coast, Great Wolf Lodge is the largest family of indoor water park resorts in North America and a nationally recognized leader in water safety. Ellis & Associates, a renowned international organization focused on aquatic safety has recognized Great Wolf Lodge several years running with its top award for water safety. accumulated a wealth of tips to help keep families safe around water.great-wolf-lodge-water-safety-tips-2Whether planning a family vacation this summer to the beach, lake or one of Great Wolf Lodge’s incredible resorts, here are some great water safety tips to keep in mind.

  • Never swim alone. Always use the buddy system and be sure the area is well supervised by lifeguards before you or other family members enter the water.
  • Encourage your child to wear a life jacket. Many public pools and water parks provide life jackets for your use free of charge and it’s better to be on the safe side if your child is not a confident swimmer.
  • Never assume someone else is watching your child. Even with lifeguards nearby, you have the responsibility for your child. The best way to keep your child safe is to play right alongside them.
  • Stay hydrated. Swimming and playing takes a lot of energy, especially during the hot summer months. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks and rest in a cool location.
  • Forget the Bling. Before heading to the beach, pool or water park, avoid swimsuits that have ties, grommets or decorations that could get caught on something during water activities.
  • Skip the flip-flops. Look for sandals with a heel strap or a full-coverage slip-on water shoe that will stay in place both in and out of the water.
  • Too much sun is no fun. Be sure to limit your exposure during peak hours of 12pm-3pm and reapply waterproof/sweat proof sunscreen every 80 minutes.
  • Take a CPR course. Knowing these skills can be important in any environment. This is a skill we all can benefit from – on land and around water.
  • Read all of the signs before going on a waterslide, pool or attraction. Make sure your child meets the posted requirements. If you have questions about an attraction, ask an employee at the facility.
  • Plan ahead. As a family, decide on a meeting place to go to if anyone gets separated. Kids can take off in instant and crowded parks and beaches can make it difficult for little ones to find you. Choose an easy-to-spot location that can be easily found by all family members.
  • If you see someone struggling in the water, call for help. Remember “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go!” Even professionally trained lifeguards don’t enter the water without having the proper flotation devices to keep themselves safe.

great-wolf-lodge-water-safety-tips-1Great Wolf Lodge is a world-class family resort with spacious, family-friendly suites and a wealth of both wet and dry attractions for every age. The centerpiece of any Great Wolf Lodge is the indoor water park, featuring water-filled fun for every member of the family, from thrilling water slides and rollicking family raft rides to relaxing lazy rivers and bouncing wave pools. The water parks also feature zero depth toddler pools with age appropriate slides and water features for younger guests. With each overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge guests receive two days of play in the water park, having access to the water park until the park closes on the day they check-out.great-wolf-lodge-waterpark-2In addition to the water park, Great Wolf Lodge offers a variety of family-friendly attractions and activities including MagiQuest, an exclusive interactive game where guests use a magic wand to collect relics and runes needed to defeat goblins and dragons.great-wolf-lodge-southern-california-grand-openingFor more information about Great Wolf Lodge, please visit greatwolf.com.

Connect with Great Wolf Lodge on Twitter and Instagram.

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