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How to Do California Adventure with a Toddler

Day 24-11:18 pm: This past weekend we had the great pleasure of being able to spend a day at California Adventure. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, this is a theme park located across from Disneyland and has similar attractions, rides, and characters as Disneyland. It is Disneyland’s sister park, and let me tell you, it is so much fun! Doing Disneyland with a toddler can be overwhelming, especially when there’s a ton of lines and it’s busy. I should know, I went last year with our toddler when she was 20 months. But, California Adventure is a completely different experience.

California Adventure is very toddler-friendly.

So many of the rides allow little kids to come on. Yes, the whole park is a lot smaller than Disneyland, which makes it more manageable with a toddler. I think it also helped that it wasn’t super busy there. We were able to get on every ride with a 5-minute wait or less.

So, here is how our day went:

FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers

We got there at 9:00 am and went straight for the Cars ride “Radiator Springs Racers” FastPass. You have to get it early because it’s the most popular ride in the park and the FastPasses get taken quickly. My sister came with us, and this ride is only for big kids, so just my hubby and I got passes and my sister agreed to watch the toddler.

Monsters Inc. Ride

Then it was on to the Monsters Inc. ride. I thought it would be too scary for my toddler but she loved it! It was dark and there were monsters, of course, but the kid “Boo” in the story line kept her entertained and when we walked off she said “Mommy, that wasn’t scary!”. So there you go.

Anna and Elsa

After that we walked down Hollywood land to the big amphitheater. I was curious so we went inside where they have couches and large TV screens in a giant room. The perfect place to give everyone a much-needed break, nurse a kid, or have a kid take a nap. Since it was still early, we didn’t need to do that, but they announced that Anna and Elsa were there so we walked up to a couple people working there and asked if we could meet them. They took us down a hallway of doors, knocked on one, and then opened it. To my toddler’s surprise, Anna and Elsa were standing right there (with a photographer)! She walked right in and they both welcomed her and started talking to her while the photographer (and us) got some great shots. She was totally star struck and didn’t know what to do! I was in shock because there was no line to meet them! Win!

Cars Land

So, with Anna and Elsa checked off the list, we made our way to Cars Land. We stopped on the way to get a picture taken with Mickey Mouse. Cars Land is super cute and they have Flo’s Cafe which has a good breakfast and lots of snacks. Not to mention the stars of the movie “Cars” were there for photo ops! Get your picture taken with life-sized Lighting McQueen, Mater, Sally, and other characters. My toddler had never seen the movie, but she was still totally into the cars! We went on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and my toddler had the biggest smile on her face as she rode around the ride.

A Bug’s Land

There was another ride for toddlers in Cars Land but the line was longer so we decided to move along. We entered “A Bug’s Land” based off the movie “A Bug’s Life” where it feels like you have shrunk to a bug’s size and everything is bigger. They have some really cute rides here and we went on “Flik’s Fliers” which is basically like a merry-go-round. They have a 3-D movie experience, but I heard it was a little scary for toddlers so we skipped that. They also have a train ride, but it was closed. We just let her run around this area and she was perfectly happy.

Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Then it was off to the Pier. This is a great area with games and rides and food. Here, we went on “Ariel’s Undersea Adventure” which was amazing considering this is one of my toddler’s favorite Disney movies. She absolutely loved it! Simple, cute ride that makes you feel like you are “Under the Sea”.


So, by now it was time to head back to Hollywood Land for the first showing of “Frozen”, a live play of the movie. I knew my toddler would love to see this and they recommended getting there 30 miniutes early. We got in line and waited for about 10 minutes before they let us in. Then we waited for another 15 and the show started. We chose to sit in the Mezzanine because they said it had better viewing, which it did, but in the Orchestra some of the characters go up and down the aisles, so I thought that might have been fun too. It was a great show, about an hour long, and since it was close to nap time and dark in the theater, my toddler started to get a little sleepy.

Lunch at Wine Country Tratorria

After the show it was lunch time, and I had tried to call ahead to make reservations at the Wine Country Trattoria restaurant, but they said everywhere was full for lunch and dinner. (Call ahead, like a few days or weeks ahead, to make reservations) But, I tried my luck just walking up and they literally sat us in 2 minutes. My hubby had been walking around with our toddler and she fell asleep on his shoulder. He plopped her in the stroller and we adults enjoyed a nice meal together! Side note-California Adventure has alcohol, so I got a glass of wine and they even let me take it to go in a plastic wine glass! Great food here and good service!

Radiator Springs Racers

When my toddler woke up it was time for me and my hubby to head to the Radiator Springs Racers ride. Without FastPass the line was 80 minutes long! No way! And that was light! But, with FastPass, we walked right up, waited 5 minutes, got on the ride, had a blast, and was off in a total of 15 minutes! Definitely get the FastPass! My sister and our toddler even got to watch us ride from the viewing area and thought it was hilarious when she saw us in our car go racing by!

Then we stopped and got her a hot dog and sat by Ghirardelli restaurant and ate. They looked like they had a bunch more restaurants around there but we didn’t have a chance to explore.

Disney Junior Show

After food, we went to the Disney Junior show. I had no idea what to expect, but it was perfect for toddlers! The kids and parents sit on the floor and they have puppets on stage of their favorite Disney Junior shows like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. It is very interactive too and the kids are encouraged to stand up and dance while bubbles float from the ceiling. Super cute show and only 30 minutes so it’s perfect.

By then we had felt like we had done most of the rides that we wanted to. I kept my expectations low and decided we shouldn’t try to do too much, but it felt like we had done a lot! There was only one ride remaining that we needed to go on the King Triton’s Merry-Go-Round.

King Triton’s Carousel

So we made our way back to the Pier and got in the short line. But, things seemed to be taking a while. Then we found out why. All of a sudden Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Tiana all climbed aboard the Merry-go-round! My toddler was in shock! And then, they let us in to go ride with them! I went straight for the first princess I saw and sat my toddler right next to Tiana! She got to chat with her and ride along side her! It was a magical Disney Moment! Then on the way out she gave each princess a hug. I was just as excited as she was and she couldn’t stop talking about it. They were just on for that one ride and we had amazing timing. It was a spontaneous thing that makes the Disney parks so much fun.

Toys and a Big Balloon

After that we got ice cream and then to the big “Emporium” store at the front where we let her pick out a toy to take home. We decided not to do dinner at the park (even though I wanted to stay later) since my hubby wasn’t feeling well. So we got our toy, our giant expensive balloon, and headed back to my cousin’s house for dinner.

All in all, it was a perfect Disney Day. No meltdowns. She took a nap. We went on all the rides on my to-do list. And, we had our magical princess moment.

There were only a few things I put on my to-do list for next time:

-Toy Story Ride

-Dinner at Ariel’s Grotto while watching the light show (I hear you get to dine with the princesses, which is where they all had come from)

-Try more of the restaurants

-Soarin’ California Ride (Grown ups and big kids only)

-Watched the parade

I’m sure there’s a ton more to do there, but this was perfect for a toddler. So grab some snacks, put on your walking shoes, and get ready for a fun filled day! You definitely have to check it out!


Clean Eating for Your Family

Day 23-11:14 pm: Recently I have been trying to figure out a way for our family to eat better. It has been something that has been weighing on my mind for a while. At first, I was doing really well. I only gave my toddler whole foods and I made sure she always had a fruit and veggie on her plate. I didn’t want her having any junk food. Then she had a french fry, and the junk food slowly crept in after that. Ice cream. Gummy fruit snacks, chips, pizza, chocolate, and candy. She loves them all. What kids doesn’t? But, as I have gotten busier, it has become easier and easier to buy quick meals or eat out, and we have not been eating as well as we should. Well, that’s all gotta change. Clean eating for your family is far too important.

It’s time to take charge of our eating habits.

When I talk about “clean eating” I mean eating foods that aren’t processed. It is a largely plant-based diet that includes a lot of fruits and veggies, legumes, and whole grains. Basically, only food items that have 5 ingredients or less and no additives or chemicals. So much food is processed and when it is, most of the nutrients are stripped away. Clean eating has so many health benefits and that is why I think it is so important for our family.

I’m not doing it to loose weight (though that would be a pleasant side effect). This isn’t going to be  a “diet”. This is going to be a lifestyle change that the whole family is going to be in on together. We are all going to make the conscious decision to eat better.

I also got a book, Clean Slate. It takes you through the reasons why you should practice clean eating and has a ton of yummy recipes. I haven’t tried any yet, but I’m going to try to get started.

This is all a part of my Journey to Harmony. Feeling better and taking care of myself and my family need to become a priority.

Do you practice clean eating? Thinking of giving it a try? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Have Fun as a Mom and Dad

Day 22-10:48 pm: This evening my hubbie and I went to a wedding. But, kids weren’t invited. So, my parents got a hotel room at the hotel the wedding was at and I called my sister to come babysit. I know my toddler would be in good hands, and she would be at the same hotel I was at, but I was still nervous.

One thing I’ve learned about being a mom who practices attachment parenting is that it’s not easy to hire a babysitter.

But, I did it anyway. And guess what….we had fun!

Everyone was fine. My toddler had fun, and mom and dad got to have a night to just be grown ups again. Of course I was checking my phone all night and texting my sister (until my hubby took my phone and wouldn’t let me have it back), but after a glass of wine I was able to relax a little and talk to family and dance to the silly band. It was much needed considering we feel like we have a lot on our plate.

Around 9:00 we decided we had enough (after chocolate dessert and tea of course!) and when we went down to get our toddler, she was smiling, happy, and having a great time. It made me feel so much better. The night was a success.

My hubby and I had a great time and she had a great time. Win-win all around.

So I’m going to tell you how important it is to spend some quality time with your significant other. Hire a baby sitter and go out on the town. Have a little fun. Your whole family will benefit from it.

What are some ways you have fun as mom and dad? Let me know in the comments below!

Have fun!


How to Tame a Toddler Meltdown

Posted in Blog, Parenting

Day 21-11:15 pm: This was an amazing day! We spent the day at California Adventure next to Disneyland! We had the best time. But, I’ll talk more about that later. What I want to talk about is what happened the night before, when our toddler had the craziest meltdown on the history of toddler melt downs. I thought our child was possessed.

It all happened during a long drive….

We had been driving for a while. My hubby had to work so we didn’t leave until 2:00 (nap time) and had a long 6 hour drive ahead of us. We thought that our toddler would just nap on the way.

Boy were we wrong.

First things started out great. She played quietly with her toys in the back. We stopped and she used the potty. We got her some French fries. She was happy just eating and looking out the window. But we knew she hadn’t napped.

So we gave her the tablet. It had a few downloaded shows on it so that kept her happy. She had fallen asleep with it I her hands before, but not this time. So we kept driving. Stopped again. Fed her more. Gave her the iPhone.

She was so tired but every time she would almost doze off, she would wake herself up. It was like she was purposely trying to keep herself awake. Seesh! I stared at her for a good 20 minutes trying to use brain power to will her to go to sleep. Still nothing.

It was almost 6:00 and she was getting tired. And cranky. We still had 2 hours to go! She started to cry for “milksies” (she nurses to sleep for naps). I obviously couldn’t give it to her because we were driving. So I tried to distract her but nothing worked.

So we stopped again and I gave her some milksies. Then she was fine as we got on the road. But soon, the crying started again. This time louder and more intense. She wanted out. We only had 30 minutes to go, but she was freaking out so much that we had to stop. I got her out of the car seat and nursed her some more. She fell asleep. But we were in a parking lot and only had 30 minutes to go!

We foolishly put her back in her car seat and she woke up. That’s when the sh*t hit the fan. 

She went ballistic.

I’m talking exorcist style. Complete out of body experience. She wanted out. She was screaming, kicking, flailing her head against the seat, scratching herself, scraping me, pulling her own hair. I had to hold her arms so she wouldn’t hurt herself.

My hubby was driving and he didn’t know what to do. We had never seen this behavior before. He started yelling at her to stop. I tried to remain calm and distract her with toys, shows, whatever.

I spoke with her in a calm tone. I said, “I understand you want to get out. We are almost there.”

It felt like it lasted hours, but it was probably only 10 minutes.

Then she started to calm down slowly. She was distracted by a show I put on. I was running her head. I was taking deep breaths. I was trying to be calm for her.

Then I got out her favorite thing, Play-doh. Once she started playing with that it seemed to soothe her. Kinda like a stress ball adults use. The soft squishy dough relaxed her. Finally that along with the show, calmed her down and she was completely fine for the rest of the 20 minute drive.

When we got there it was like its never happened. She was completely fine. So next time your toddler has a freak out moment, just remain calms. Yelling or shouting will only make it worse. Stay calm and give them distractions.

Good luck! ?