If you look closely at the shirt I wore to Disneyland, it says “Chasing the Fun.” Turkey and Bunny said it should have read “Chasing the Characters,” because apparently that’s what I do best when we go to theme parks!
Here’s a round-up of the characters we met or saw up close at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (plus Goofy’s Kitchen)….my personal highlights were meeting Donald Duck, and also getting to see Goofy in his snazzy green suit! Also, since I was wearing a birthday celebration pin, many of the characters either said “Happy Birthday!” to me (like Lightning McQueen), or pantomimed it in some way (like Minnie Mouse).
Not pictured, but also seen by us include Peter Pan and Wendy, Captain Hook, the other chipmunk, Mirabel, Pinocchio and Geppetto, Sadness and Joy, Snow White, the Evil Queen, Ant-Man, Thor, Merida, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, the Dora Milaje, Mary and Bert, Chewbacca, Rey, Mulan, and Clarabelle Cow. I think that’s pretty impressive for just two days in the parks!
We only had one truly sit-down meal when we were at Disneyland, but it was a very special meal, prepared in Goofy’s Kitchen!
The restaurant is located in the iconic Disneyland Hotel, and I was very excited to have an excuse to stop by there.
The highlight of our dinner was probably getting the chance to pay our compliments to the chef!
We really loved that Goofy’s distinctive profile is prominently displayed on the tables!
It’s a buffet restaurant, but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Of course their were kid favorites like mac ‘n’ cheese and chicken nuggets, but there were also some pretty high-end foods, including international options and even a carving station with steak!
Did I mention there’s also a huge dessert section? There were endless options of cakes, cookies, brownies, and also a soft-serve ice cream bar with all the toppings! (One of the dessert offerings is the specialty of the house, peanut butter and jelly pizza, which I’m sure that Goofy created for Max, good dad that he is).
I had quite an eclectic plate, and it was all delicious! Seriously, I wasn’t expecting buffet food at a family-style restaurant to be so good, but it really was! In addition to the steak, I especially enjoyed the fennel salad (I went back for seconds!) as well as the salmon with artichokes. (Not pictured is the carrot cake I had for dessert, which was also delicious!)
Another highlight of the dining experience were the character interactions. We saw Minnie, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale (why does Goofy employ so many rodents in his establishment?!?), and in addition to going table to table, greeting the diners, they also entertain with dances on a regular schedule. While they’re performing, the diners are encouraged to wave their napkins in the air (which I did with gusto!), which just adds to the fun atmosphere!
This was such a great dining experience…I’m so glad we had the opportunity to eat at Goofy’s!
The real fun began on the second day of our trip, when we walked from our hotel to Disney California Adventure!
We stopped by Radiator Springs first thing, only to find out that our number one ride opens late. We did get to see some characters, though, and Lightning McQueen wished me a happy birthday! (Since we were also celebrating my birthday on the trip, I got one of the park’s “Happy Birthday” buttons…you would not believe how many cast members notice and congratulate you!)
After that, we headed over to Pixar Pier, where we got to ride an eccentric ferris wheel (I think there are only two like it in the country!), a carousel, and a roller coaster (OK, only Turkey went on that). We also met some characters from Up!
After Turkey got off the roller coaster, we headed over to Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, where we go the “Pixar Parfait.” The combination of soft serve and slushy was surprisingly good!
Then we headed back to Radiator Springs, were we got in line for Radiator Springs Racers, a ride we all wanted to go on. The line was long, but you really felt like you were in the movie, so we didn’t mind, because there was a lot to see (and a lot of back story explained). The ride itself started off very calm and relaxing, just like when Lightning and Sally went for the same drive in Cars, but then it turned into a race (we won!).
We also went on Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, which was just plain fun!
We stopped by Flo’s to share a traditional diner meal of a burger, fries, and a milkshake:
Then we headed back to Pixar Pier. We went on the Little Mermaid ride (but sadly not Goofy’s Sky School, because it was closed all day), but more importantly, we found someone nice enough to take a great picture of us!
Buena Vista Street is a great place to find characters (sadly for me, no Daisy Duck), and we took full advantage:
We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do after that. The Monsters, Inc. ride broke down while we were in line. A few of the other rides we were considering going on were closed, too. We did finally make it on Soarin’, which is a fantastic ride, and makes amazing use of scent, and that was a lot of fun. We also visited the Avengers Campus and the Shawarma Palace, and lived out our superhero dreams…we even got to pose as various characters!
By that time, it was starting to get late, so we headed back to Radiator Springs to see the neon and grab a snack at the Cozy Cone Motel, where you can get ice cream cones, chili “cone” queso, frozen cone-coctions, a popcone, and…churros. We picked the churros, partly just because the ridiculousness of trying to make churros fit a cone theme amused us!
And then we went back to the pier for the light show, which was really beautiful…it’s amazing what they can create with light and water!
We stayed pretty much until the park closed. The walk back to the hotel felt much longer than it had in the morning, and we were exhausted, but we still had a full day at Disneyland to look forward to!
That’s it for the 2022-23 school year! This was a pretty light week, focused on wrapping things up. Ladybug and Chickadee took their final tests and finished what they needed to in various books. We also had one last field trip…a visit to Grant’s Farm for Maifest. I thought this was a great way to end the year, especially since our Christmas School was focused on learning about Christmas in Germany, and Chickadee has so diligently studied German with Duolingo this year.
We ended the year the way we began…with a Disney-themed Lego set. This one is an art set of Minnie Mouse that is a companion to the piece we built back in August, and they actually connect to make one large picture!
In some ways, I don’t feel like I put in as much effort as I should have this my 15th year of homeschooling. It was a complicated year, schedule-wise, and I felt stretched pretty thin. I’m already looking forward to all of the things we’ll be doing next year, though, and hopefully I’ll make up for the lack of energy I had this year!
Last week, I shared a Daisy Duck-inspired mani (she is my absolute favorite!), but I’d be remiss if I didn’t also share one inspired by the most fashionable of mice, the queen of Disney, Minnie Mouse herself! I alternated Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in “Black to Black” with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in “Can’t Beet Royalty” and added Minnie’s iconic polka dots with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in “Get Mod.”
Sometimes, your accessories need an accessory, right?
I have been obsessed with getting a Baublebar bag charm for months. The Mickey Mouse ones were cute, and I was tempted, but I resisted. And then they added a whole collection of different Minnies, and I almost cracked, because they’re all so adorable. But I waited, and I’m glad I did, because Baublebar has been having a Friends and Family event, and my patience was rewarded with 25% off!
Like I said, there are lots of cute Minnie options right now…close to a dozen, I think, including picnic, ballerina, and my second-favorite, black tie. But in the end, I went with the classic design…it’s so sparkly, it’s iconic, and to be honest, it’s also a little cheaper. But mostly it’s iconic…who can resist Minnie Mouse in all her polka-dotted glory? Now if they’d just add Daisy Duck, I could have a pair of the cutest bag charms ever!
Happy National Polka Dot Day, a day to celebrate the iconic style of that Disney fashionista, Minnie Mouse (although I still like Daisy Duck best!). I pulled out my best polka dot dress, the Maneater swing dress from Vixen by Micheline Pitt, for the occasion:
I didn’t buy this Loungefly polka dot crossbody bag, which is designed in the pastel colors of 90s Minnie Mouse, for this holiday, but I’m glad it arrived in time for it! It doesn’t matter which side of the bag you’re looking at…they’re both adorable!!!
I accessorized with some Splendette Duchess Bangles, an Erstwilder Jemima Puddleduck brooch (you know, because Minnie Mouse’s best friend is a duck), a pink hat, and my Minnie Mouse earrings:
It might not be Minnie’s usual color combination (at least not these days), but I think I captured her joyful spirit!
I can’t believe how perfectly the whole look came together!
What a great way to remind me of the fun of our Disney World trip!
I’m not sure that I’ve ever purchased an accessory inspired by architecture before, but this Loungefly Disney Contemporary Resort handbag certainly is!
I love that the bag has the a-line shape of the main building of the resort, plus a whimsical print that combines Mickey and Minnie with mid-century details (the perfect reflection of the resort, which is also celebrating an anniversary this year!). And if you look closely, you’ll notice that the handle is in the shape of the monorail that travels through the building!
The best souvenirs of a trip are the ones you can wear, and I picked up a whole outfit’s worth before and during our trip to Walt Disney World!
Just as I did with my Kyber Crystal necklace, I decided to order this beautiful Disney World 50th Anniversary dress before we left for our trip. I didn’t know for sure if I would actually bring it with (spoilers…I did!), but I knew I wanted to have it as a wearable memory. Lucky for me, the Disney Dress Shop dresses tend to have a retro feel, and this shirtwaist dress definitely fits my personal style!
The print is beautiful, featuring the castle and fireworks in the anniversary color scheme, as well as embroidered 50s scattered throughout.
While we were at the Magic Kingdom, I picked up a Loungefly mini backpack that matches the Minnie Mouse ears I found at the same shop (the Emporium). It has the same castles, fireworks, and 50s as the dress, plus the major Disney characters (Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy, Goofy and Pluto, and Chip and Dale). A helpful store employee even found me what she called the “perfect bag,” (they’re all a little different) with a 50 right in the middle of the front pocket!
The dress also has a pretty yellow belt. I’m also wearing a silver belt underneath, because I can never tie a belt tight enough. And did I mention the pockets?!?
I’ve got a whole Disney World 50th Anniversary look!
Besides the Minnie ears, I accessorized with my Cinderella key necklace, a single gold glitter bangle, and a pair of Minnie Mouse hoop earrings that are another souvenir of the trip:
I mentioned that I brought the dress on the trip…here’s a look at my outfit right outside the castle!
I’m really glad I found these special pieces that not only commemorate our trip, but also the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World!