Daily Archives: May 4, 2015

A DAY at Disneyland: Tips & Tricks

Last year we DID Disneyland in a DAY with our baby and toddler.  Over 17 hours worth of fun without one single tantrum nor tear.  As we rode the tram home after the fireworks display late that night my husband and I HIGH-FIVED each other and chalked it all up to good old-fashioned planning.


A Day at Disneyland: Tips & Tricks

A DAY at Disneyland: Tips & Tricks


ADR (Advance Dinner Reservation) – cuts wait times down to 5 minutes(or no wait-can I get a high-five?) instead of the typical 40-50 minutes and get in to Disneyland Park BEFORE it actually opens for the public.  Rockstar Status.  Can also get Character Meets done as well.  We ate at the Plaza Inn(in Disneyland) and were able to take pictures with characters who came around to our individual tables. We ALWAYS bring a ton of dry cereal, baby food pouches, camelback water bottles(easy to refill), and rice-krispy treats.  For dinner our MUST for every visit is Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue.  Delicious, finger-licking good time.  Drinks flowing(hello Diet Coke) in large mason jars, a live band(great for kids to watch), and all you can eat BBQ, corn, beans, and cornbread. Plus being tucked away from the crowds of the parades(during dinner time) is most pleasant-surrounded by cool pine trees.

Or – save time and money and bring your own food. You can eat snacks while waiting to board rides; just be ready to store those snacks. See Fanny Pack.


Road Map to Rides – Check height restrictions, make a list of which rides are a must. My husband made a spreadsheet. Don’t forget about Baby Swap(Rider Exchange)! Hello secret path through Indiana Jones! Know which ones are Fast Pass and USE THEM. A lot of the kids rides have a large line and no fast pass… know which ones are height and AGE friendly for your family before waiting.  Little known secret for tiny tots?  The ride hidden behind the Splash Mountain Exit NEVER has a wait and is baby and toddler friendly.  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. LOVED being able to ride that a couple times with two EXTREMELY happy little ones.


I’ve worn one in each adult trip I’ve taken.  At first I’ve had a few snickers and a couple call outs BUT when they are asked to store their backpack after they’ve waited an eternity to get on a ride? Payback? Knowledge is power.  You can ride EVERY SINGLE RIDE at Disneyland while wearing a fanny pack.  The same sadly can not be said for the much cooler looking cousin, the back pack.

Snacks, Epi-Pens(crucial for us), Cell Phone, Keys, Tickets. BOOM.  Always with you.  Please remember to bring a ziplock bag to store your cell phone in(in the fanny pack) because you can AND WILL get wet on Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain(does that really need to be written?) and by a wayward toddler trying to “help” you with your water. Inevitable.

Last year I forgot my precious Ergo in the car(and it is a TREK to go back to the car) and goodness my back paid the price.  Babywear for the WIN! 

Strollers are necessary.  Our baby and two year old took multiple naps throughout the day.  Plus we just “parked” our stroller outside each ride with about fifty of it’s stroller friends and never had a problem.



Bring extra power – Disney doesn’t have Wi-Fi and some rides bring you deep underground with no cell signal (battery drain). Peace of mind you won’t run out for families who may separate and need to communicate.  There were many times where we split up to take our toddler on a ride and for me to go to the Baby Care Center to feed the baby in peace and quiet.   Also would be bad if you were depending on your phone for pictures! Don’t forget to LIVE in the moment though.  Technology is not an end all.



Memories – Use Disney Photo Pass(for a price) – no cameras required and pro quality pictures with no obligation to buy online later BUT can get pricey. Bring your own camera and let the photographers use it!  I did not feel at all shy about giving my camera to the pros to get a picture of our family ALL DAY LONG.  They are photographers and we paid good money to get into the park.  Plus all of them were more than happy to help.





Nap Time – … kids may not be willing take a nap until their eyes are too heavy to keep open. Make plans mid-way through the day for a quiet, sensory-limited break. That is why we NEVER make a meal reservation for lunch.  Snacks and watching the Jedi Training Academy(1, 2 or 3 times in a row) is a great way to decompress AND for you to go on Star Tours while the kids are relaxing.


If not staying at the Resort –  Buy tickets/parking pass online and print out ticket – skip a line and go straight to the park entrance. They will exchange the print out for a fast pass ticket. If you are not bringing a car, use ART (get it from hotel concierge) an easy-to-use bus system that my husband and I have used on baby-free trips.



Call Disney – Extremely friendly, knowledgeable staff and will answer any question! (714)781-4636




Free Souvenirs – Get the Buttons – First Disney Trip, Birthday, Honorary Citizen of Disneyland, Family Reunion, Happy Anniversary, Just Engaged, Just Graduated, Just Married….there are even more from City Hall and any of the shops on Main Street.  Ask a cashier.

Also get a Jungle Safari Map – just ask one of the tour guides. Speaking of Jungle Cruise.  It is the FIRST ride we go on.  Everyone in the park makes a BEELINE for Indiana Jones and we just grab our fast pass for Indiana(or rider swap-MUCH faster) and then get onto a boat for a hilarious ride around.  Every single trip at Jungle Safari brings different jokes.  Last year while holding the baby on my lap I forgot about a certain part that JUMPS out at you and nearly lost my marbles.  Lucky that Emma Marie thought it was hilarious.  Message me if that information is need to know.


Starbucks on Main Street- not advertised at all and it’s probably the fanciest one we’ve ever been to. Crucial for our 7th inning stretch before fireworks.


Disneyland Map Apps – find everything and anything; from rides (wait times), food, bathrooms and character locations. There are free and pay versions. We didn’t use the free version while in the park much, but it was helpful to find the Starbucks. See above.



In a week we will be traveling back to California for a vacation and a DAY at Disneyland with our toddler and preschooler.  Our tickets are purchased, parking pass printed, and the fanny pack is ready!

Our breakfast at the Plaza Inn and dinner at Big Thunder Mountain Barbecue are BOOKED.  Plus- if you have food allergies and you book two weeks in advance they are more than willing to accommodate you and will work to make sure your meals are safe and MAGICAL.  Each time we have had the Head Chef of both restaurants come out and welcome us, letting us know that they are making our meal.  Not having to worry about life-threatening food allergies?  Now THAT is another reason that Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth.


What is your NUMBER ONE tip for Disneyland?  


Would LOVE to hear about your experiences!  Please let me know if you have any questions and don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.


Fanny Packs Anonymous UNITE



Don’t Be Afraid to RUN

I love to be outdoors with my two little ones.  There was a time that I even CHOSE to run as a form of exercise that I saw fulfillment in.  After both pregnancies I’ve had a hard time getting back in “running shape”.  Not literally in shape, although that did take an interesting turn of events with my pregnancy and postpartum with Emma Marie.  Now is when I am going to discuss some lady business- so for the male readers(thanks for reading) and those that want to gloss on over, go right ahead!


Hi, my name is Holly Marie and I can’t sprint without knowing if I’m going to have a tad bit of an accident.  No not like my kids… not noticeable.  At least not anymore.  But enough where I am uncomfortable with the thought of sprinting or any form of exercise that could possibly make that reaction occur.

Prior to kids I played soccer competitively, ran for fun, and could Zumba with the best of them!  Now I just know that there may or may not be an unwanted little problem if I choose to participate in those activities.  Kegels be darned.  No amount of working out has helped and I am just going to have to realize that the price of my two little darlings may be a little unwanted trip to the bathroom.

Right after I had Raymond- six weeks postpartum-I was trying to play Just Dance with my family at home for the holidays in Washington State.  My body was just not ready for that amount of action and a period pad couldn’t hold it all… yep, I went there.  My family knows the story well-heck they even joke about-so if maybe one or two of you are nodding your head in unison?

Well fist-bump it up ladies.


Life happens and learning what can help and THAT IT HAPPENS TO OTHER PEOPLE has made the embarrassing factor melt away.

There is another time I subbed in for a competitive outdoor soccer team when I was home visiting Washington State-escaping the triple digit heat- and played a full game while my little man(only seven months old) watched from the sidelines.  I could have used some support then.  AND I am not talking about emotional-my mom was cheering us on.  Thankful the jersey was long.  And that the co-ed members didn’t notice.

Not much embarrasses me now after having kids.  That was a tad embarrassing though.  Playing the game and sprinting around WHILE worrying about my body’s reaction was just a little too stressful.


 Guess what works?  Poise.

Tried and true.  No amount of extra-long period pads worked for me. Especially RIGHT after the birth of both kids.

-One in three women experience Light Bladder Leakage (LBL) – little leaks that can be triggered by everyday occurrences like coughing, sneezing, laughing and exercise.
-Weak pelvic floor muscles, pregnancy, childbirth and weight gain are just a few LBL contributors.

Stay fresh and confident with Poise® pads and liners. They’re designed specifically for Light Bladder Leakage (LBL), which make them an easy choice for the 1 in 3 women who experiences LBL.

Designed to move with your body, new Poise Thin-Shape pads feature Super Absorbent Material (SAM) and a Thin-Flex design for extraordinary protection that’s still 3x drier than period pads† to help you take care of leaks with confidence.


Now onto the FUN- ways you can actually recycle your period pads.

For fellow bloggers or for those of you at home that take party photos and FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY to post to Instagram you will want to take note.



When working with food photography there are lots of hints and tricks- a big one that I used recently for a campaign was to cut up a period pad and place under the meat of the dish.  The pad soaks up the juice of the meat so that the plate does not get soaked and RUIN that Pinterest perfect moment. #RecycleYourPeriodPads– No one wants to eat a soggy looking steak or a sloppy looking burrito. The fact that I didn’t have to keep touching up the plate and could style the shoot kept the time down to a minimum.  I did use one  Q-tip to help with some wayward salsa, but c’est la vie.


Now for those that are not jumping into their car for a run to Target… like we need a reason? I kid.  BUT for those not completely sold-I had to try it before I bought a big pack… there are FREE SAMPLES.  Seriously, what is in the harm in trying?  They are FREE.  And they work.

Thanks for sticking through the awkwardness.  I talk about this sort of thing openly with my girlfriends(and husband) and feel like I should be just as open with this little spot on the Internet.  Plus, if this helps just one of you in knowing that you are NOT alone.  Then I will feel just a bit better in opening the floodgates(bah bad joke).

Better to laugh, than to cry.

I’d ask if you’ve tried them… or if you are going to.  But realize this is a sensitive topic.  Feel free to email me and let me know you snagged a sample.   It would make my day!