Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Man Giveaway


Little Man Giveaway

Green Scene MomThese adorable products are designed especially for little boys to encourage imaginative play, inspire healthy eating and simple mealtimes, and cover the basic essentials. Check out Green Scene Mom's favorite products for little rambunctious boys to use and enjoy as they explore the world around them. Moms will also love these companies for encouraging eco-friendly lifestyles through their innovative product designs.
Green Scene Mom - Alex Toys GiveawayAlex Toys' Busy Fire Truck is a new twist to a classic wood toy! Baby will love playing with 8 fun colorful activities on every side of the Busy Fire Truck! Actives include rolling wheels, a curvy bead maze, a mirror, turning picture tiles, a spinning gear, a movable ladder and a discovery wheel. Includes a pop-up feature too. For ages 10+ mos. For more information, visit alextoys.com.
Green Scene Mom - Pacific Baby GiveawayPacific Baby thermal bottles keep liquids hot or cold for up to ten hours. These high quality bottles are versatile to use from birth to 5 years old and make feeding and drinking simple during outings and while traveling.

The wide neck offers greater visibility and the inner scale simplifies measuring out formula. The bottle nipples come in three speeds and are naturally shaped. Just add handles and a spout to transform this bottle into a sippy cup for older kids. For more information, visit pacificbabyworld.com.
Green Scene Mom - pediped Giveawaypediped's adorable shoes are perfect for going on summer adventures! These stylish shoes fit comfortably and ensure healthy foot development. They are available in more than 140 designs for boys and girls.

Exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort and distinctive styling have made pediped the fastest growing children's footwear brand in the United States. pediped footwear is sold in over 2,500 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide. pediped has also received many awards for their innovative footwear designs. For more information, visit pediped.com.
Green Scene Mom - BreathableBaby GiveawayBreathableBaby is a child product safety company dedicated to breathable innovations that address parents' concern for baby's safety inside the crib.

BreathableBaby products include breathable mesh crib liners which are designed to address the risks of suffocation and entanglement, breathable wearable blankets and blankets with moisture wicking mesh fabrics to keep your baby comfortable by reducing overheating, and breathable toys that are safer for baby to snuggle with. For more information, visit breathablebaby.com.
Green Scene Mom - Yummi Pouch GiveawayYummi Pouch makes eco-friendly snack solutions that encourage healthy snacks for active kids. Their reusable food pouches are freezer safe, dishwasher safe, BPA-free, Phthalate-free, and can be filled with healthy blended snacks and easily taken on-the-go, no spoon required.

Yummi Pouch also recently introduced cloth snack and sandwich bags, each lined with a water resistant interior and decorated with colorful prints. They're perfect for crackers, chips, and sandwiches and also make great little storage bags for hair accessories and cosmetics. For more information, visit yummipouch.com.
Green Scene Mom - Baby Bump Bundle GiveawayBaby Bump Bundle creates care packages for moms-to-be by trimester, newborn babies, and nursing new moms. Baby Bump Bundle also offers high quality products for moms and babies individually, so you can build your own bundle or just buy an item that catches your eye! For more information, visit babybumpbundle.com.
Green Scene Mom - oogaa Giveawayoogaa designs and manufactures non-toxic feeding products for baby and young children. Their award-winning divided plate is stackable, soft, durable and easy to clean. It's also dishwasher, microwave, freezer and oven safe. oogaa's tugboat spoon makes mealtime fun! Toot-toot... open wide, here comes the tugboat! For more information, visit oogaa.com.
Green Scene Mom - Buttons Diapers GiveawayButtons Cloth Diapers are quality, affordable, and adorable cloth diapers that are an easy to use two-in-one system. Buttons' one-size diaper covers can snap to fit babies from 9-35 lbs, and are made of 2 layers of soft wipeable PUL with double gussets around the legs. Their snap-in diaper inserts are soft and absorbant, and come in two sizes. For more information, visit buttonsdiapers.com.

These wonderful companies have allowed us to give away an amazing gift set! One lucky mom will win these great Little Man Summer Essentials for their little guy!

Prize Gift Set - Retail Value $260

BreathableBaby buried treasure sheet, mesh blanket & toy elephant - $45.99
pediped pair of boys shoes - $35
Alex Toys Busy Fire Truck - $43.95
Pacific Baby bottle set - $50
Baby Bundle 3 item gift set - $30
Yummi Pouch Spunky snack bags & mustache dishwasher safe stickers - $15.99
oogaa silicone divided plate & silicone tugboat spoon - $16.99
Buttons Diapers diaper cover, 2 daytime inserts & 1 nighttime doubler - $24.50
Little Man Giveaway
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

I didn't really pay attention to newly renovated attractions for my Disneyland trip.  I knew that I would be missing out on Alice in Wonderland and Space Mountain due to refurbishments, but it had slipped my mind that Big Thunder had a major 14 month refurbishment in 2013.

Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad


Without knowing about the refurb, I went into this attraction thinking that it would be fairly similar to the east coast version.  Railroad going through an old mine town...

But this attraction has added more story (though according to original Imagineer Tony Baxter, there are two conflicting stories in this attraction... but, you and I won't even think about it!) including the mine town and explosions!

There is more of an old town feel - the old mine town signs, old shops, waterways - this attraction is FANTASTIC.

And I'm going to say this - though many people talk about how Space Mountain is better at Disneyland, I'm going to say that Big Thunder is better, too.  Do NOT skip this attraction because there is a duplicate at your home park - you'll regret it!

Which is your favorite?  Do you compare attractions coast-to-coast, too?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Super Shuttle Overview

Traveling to The Disneyland Resort isn't as straight forward as trying to The Walt Disney World Resort.  One of the most simple and basic fixes that WDW offers - free (included) airport transportation to all those staying in a WDW resort.  Before I left for Disneyland, I did some basic research and chose to use Super Shuttle to get me from the airport (LAX) to my hotel (in Anaheim).  

Super Shuttle 


Super Shuttle 

A national airport van service that is often more cost effective than car rental or taxis - to get from LAX to Anaheim, cost me only $17.  Prices vary drastically, so check costs before you sign up!

Standard Van Service

While there are several options, the standard one that I'll be covering today is the airport van service.  It's very easy to do beforehand (or have your travel agent do so) - simply plug in the locations, dates, and times. 

Stay in Contact 

After I made my reservation, I received an email confirmation, which I kept close when I was leaving.  I also entered my cell phone number for updates and when I landed, I received a text message saying something like "Welcome to LAX, proceed to .... when you get your luggage."  After I got my luggage, headed off to the super shuttle stand at LAX, located outside of baggage claim.  I checked in and was told what number shuttle I would be on. 

Patience Required

I arrived in LA after 10 pm - after a full day at work, it was 1 a.m. on my body clock and I was exhausted!  However, LAX is a zoo and I had a little bit of waiting to do for my shuttle.  When I checked in, I was told approximately 20 minutes - they communicate with tablets and each shuttle has a specific route and customer list, so even though I watched at least 10 shuttles drive past or stop to pick up, I didn't get onto a shuttle until my assigned van arrived, right about 20 minutes later.

Payment Options

For ease of everything, I paid for my ride and tip online before I left so I didn't need to think about cash or anything for the ride.  One less thing to worry about is always a plus!

Successful journey

I shared my van with a large group visiting from Australia.  They were headed to another Anaheim hotel, but luckily, I was dropped off first!  The driver quickly got my luggage for me and headed to the next stop.  Super Shuttles are not one stop vans.  You will most likely share with many other people and possibly stop at several locations.  I lucked out in that I was one of the last people to get in the van and the first person dropped off!

Recommendation

For the price, ease, and convenience, I would recommend and take the super shuttle again.  Though at a different time of day, I might have taken the Disneyland bus, as it doesn't run after 6 p.m., that wasn't an option.  Though I've heard different results and different experiences, I couldn't beat $20 with tip for an easy and quick ride to my hotel!

What is your preferred airport to hotel transportation?


Friday, July 25, 2014

Foodie Friday - Napa Rose

We love Signature Dining!  Enjoying fancy food on a date night is something we do a few times a year for special occasions.  Our quick trip to Disneyland, celebrating my birthday, was definitely a reason to try Disneyland's Signature Restaurant at the Grand Californian Hotel by Chef Andrew Sutton.

Napa Rose


Chef Andrew Sutton

Award winning Chef, Andrew Sutton, was recruited by Disney in 2000 to create the signature restaurant for the resort, which turned into Napa Rose. They wanted a destination restaurant and Chef Sutton has definitely done that.  He is also the head chef at Carthay Circle, the newest restaurant in California Adventure, and also Club 33, the VIP members only restaurant located inside of Disneyland Park!

Menu

Inspired to be "Upscale Californian fare with an extensive wine list" the hardest part of dining here is deciding what to eat!  The menu is constantly changing with seasonal fare "inspired by California’s bounty of produce, meat, game, poultry, seafood and farm-fresh specialty ingredients."  

We started with a glass of wine (for me), beer (for him), complimentary bread basket (delicious), and by splitting the seasonal roasted tomato soup.  They split the soup for us in the kitchen so that we both had our own mug!  It's not often my husband asks for soup, but we both enjoyed that indulgent!

Entrees

Not quite as tricky as deciding on appetizers, choosing our entrees was fairly simple.  When we entered the restaurant, we walked past the open kitchen and I saw/smelled the filet and knew I had to order it!  The official menu online has already changed from what I ordered just a month ago, but I was able to find the official description: 
Grilled Filet of Angus Beef Tenderloin - Grilled Asparagus, Asparagus Coulis and Tomato-Cabernet Vinaigrette. 
 It was better than expected.  We have become accustomed to eating fresh organic grass fed beef and the fresh flavors that can have - this was better than anything we have ever made at home!  I don't always love/crave steak, but I'm sure glad I was that night!

Adam chose the rack of lamb - not my thing, but he said it was perfect!
    Green Garlic Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb - Slowly Braised Lamb Breast and California Coastal Mushroom Ragu.
And, we just had to split an order of the truffled mac & cheese.  Why?  Because when you are in a fine dining experience and they offer truffle mac n cheese, you have to.  It's the rule.  A month later I'm drooling at the thought of it!

Desserts


When it came time for dessert, we new we couldn't skip out!  The waiter even took notice of my birthday button when he brought me my:
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Paté with Hazelnut Crème Anglaise
Adam ordered *what I think was* the Bananas Foster Creme Brulee - it was also fabulous, but for my money, chocolate gooeyness is always the way to go!

Napa Rose is an incredible restaurant and I would absolutely eat there again, assuming we have a babysitter!  Kid friendly or not, this is a date restaurant - or maybe older kids/teens!  It's not exactly quiet, but too expensive to waste money on small children!  


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disneyland Extra Magic Hour

On Walt Disney World Vacations, I always recommend taking advantage of the Morning Extra Magic Hours - especially for families with young children that tend to rise early anyway!  Those first hours when the crowds are minimal make touring much more pleasurable and it's usually possible to ride 4 or 5 attractions before the park opens to everyone else!  But, Disneyland's hours were slightly different...

Disneyland Extra Magic Hours


What Is Extra Magic Hour?

With Extra Magic Hour, an early admission option, registered Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests enjoy—during every day of hotel stay—admission to select attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park for one full hour before the parks open to the general public on select days.

To enhance the early entry experience, it is strongly recommended that Guests arrive at least one hour and 15 minutes prior to regular park opening.

Be Our Guest 

Extra Magic Hour is one of the many benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel and is only available for Guests who book and stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel.

Schedule for Extra Magic Hour

The current Extra Magic Hour schedule allows registered Resort Hotel Guests access to one park on these select days:

Disneyland Park: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
Disney California Adventure Park (including access to Cars Land): Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays

Good Neighbor Hotels Magic Morning Early Access

Receive one Magic Morning* early admission into selected attractions at a designated theme park. Valid with Disneyland Resort Park Hopper souvenir tickets of 3-Days or longer.  Only for Disneyland Park mornings.

Know Before You Go

For admission, each registered hotel Guest (ages 3 and older) must have a valid theme park ticket and active hotel room key card.

Applicable days and times of operation and all other elements including, but not limited to, operation of attractions, entertainment, stores and restaurants and appearances of Characters may vary and are subject to change without notice.

Subject to capacity, cancellation and other restrictions.

Disneyland Extra Magic Hours - are they necessary?

When I was there, we took advantage of the morning hours because we could.  We stayed at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel with easy walking access to both Disneyland and California Adventure.  But, unlike Walt Disney World, I don't think they are a must!

Our first day - 

We started around 9:30 am, after checking into our hotel, grabbing a green juice (there is a Jamba Juice right outside of the Grand Californian in Downtown Disney).  We used our optimized Touring Plan to guide us from attraction to attraction and did just about everything on our plan by around 3:30 p.m.!  

Our second day -

We read the sign wrong and woke up early to visit California Adventure early to find that it was Disneyland that had the extra magic hour again that day.  So, we mosied around Main Street, U.S.A. to find that the stores were closed (talk about not being at Walt Disney World!).  We took tons of pictures (all of the Windows - that series will be coming back soon!) and left the park to start the 8 a.m. day at California Adventure to be among the first in Carsland!

Our third day -

We started our day with the morning extra magic hour for California Adventure and headed, with everyone else, to Carsland.  And Radiator Springs Racers was closed.  The fastpass machines don't open until actual park opening...  we didn't know what to do with ourselves!  So, we shopped and bought our boys presents from Radiator Springs.  The attraction was down for hours - and we ended up going back to Disneyland before the fastpasses were being handed out!

My conclusion?

Sleep in, take advantage of a nice breakfast or morning exercise class (Grand Californian offers a morning power walk thru California Adventure select mornings), and don't rush!  Disneyland is a much more laid back park.  Crowded thanks to the locals, but without the insane wait times (aside from Radiator Springs Racers) that you will find on crowded days in Florida!

Do you use extra magic hours?  Do you prefer morning or evening?  Email me at JennL@thewdwguru.com for more personalized planning advice and free travel planning!