Friday 29 March 2019

3 Big Reasons You Need A Blog

I want to talk about something very near and dear to my heart - the blog. What once started as a hobby, or a creative distraction from a very emotionally heavy job, has since blossomed into a beautiful lifestyle and career that I am so grateful for every single day. La Petite Noob has shape shifted and evolved over the almost 6ish years that it's been alive, and truthfully so has the blogging industry itself. That's right - digital content creation is now a full-blown industry, with terms like "influencer" and "creator" being thrown around. The rise of social media, specifically Instagram, has certainly taken precedence in this newfound industry and the humble blog has completely fallen to the wayside. In a time where likes and followers take precedent over written thoughts and musings, by both creators and advertisers alike, is there really any reason to start or maintain your blog?

Yes. The answer is a resounding yes. I firmly believe that now more than ever is the time to maintain your blog - or even create one, if you haven't already. Here are 3 big reasons that you need a blog in 2019, and need to continue to update and maintain it moving into the future.

You Own Your Blog

You do not own your social media accounts. I repeat: you do not own your social media accounts. The blog, on the other hand, is totally yours. A space on the internet that's totally yours to create, write, design, control - and most importantly, nobody can take that away from you.

Your social media accounts are a totally different story. One decision made by the app developers and totally affect your future on said app, and you're powerless to control any of it. Remember the glitch a few weeks ago that rendered Facebook and Instagram completely useless for a day? A small glitch in an app can caused chaos, and is a brutal reminder that you are not in control of your content on any app.

I like to look at my blog as a 'home' for my content, and social media accounts as rented vacation properties. While the rented properties may be more fun, and generate a bigger crowd for any parties, ultimately my blog is home, and is a place in which I own for myself.  Just like any home base, your blog is an entity that you can count on and a place for both yourself and your audience to come back to should anything happen to these rented social media accounts.

You Can Elaborate On Your Thoughts

In the same respect of thinking of your blog as a home vs. a rented vacation property, I like to use the analogy of my blog being a phone conversation vs. a text message of social media. There's a lot that can get lost in translation in social media, especially with people potentially scrolling through your long, thought provoking captions. We've become a very visual society and while a pretty picture can be enough to draw an audience in, it can ultimately serve as a distraction from what your message truly is.

Though your blog posts may or may not receive as much love as a single post on Instagram, it's a great way to really let your audience know who you truly are as a person. Your blog is a space which you can fully elaborate on your thoughts, share opinions and advice, stories and just general life musings. Even sharing what you like to buy, link and shopping lists have more value to your audience on the blog. I know myself that I feel more of a connection to creators where I read their blog posts as opposed to just scrolling through their Instagram feed.

Truly envision your blog as a long phone conversation as a friend. While there's not the instant gratification of text (aka. a like on social media,) you're left with more fulfillment and a deeper connection to whomever is on the other line.

You Blog Content Can Be Evergreen

You've probably heard the term 'evergreen' being tossed around when discussing online content creation. To break it down into the simplest of terms (which, to be fair, is the only way that I understand it haha): evergreen content is searchable, useful and relevant all year round, and year after year.

While the vast majority of my content on La Petite Noob is certainly not classed as evergreen, those posts that are continue to do well in search engines and drive new eyes to my blog on a yearly basis. I have posts that I wrote when I was first starting out in 2014, particularly those relating to travel and packing lists, that still continue to perform and drive thousands of new visitors to my blog each and every month.

And sometimes it's posts that I don't necessarily think will become evergreen content that get picked up by the Google algorithm and start to drive a new audience to La Petite Noob. It's pretty incredible!

The point is, while not all content can be evergreen, there is a much higher potential for it to become so when posted on a blog versus posted on social media. On Instagram in particular, even is a particular post does well, that success is likely very short-lived and certainly does not continue to be so each and every year.

I hope that I've made a case on 3 big reasons that you need a blog. If you haven't started one, there's no time like the present! Haven't shown your blog some love in the last few months? Try to ease your way back into a posting schedule, even if it's just a simple post a week. Invest the time in your blog. You definitely will not regret it on the long run.

What do you guys think? Are you pro blog? What do you think about having a blog versus investing all of your time in social media? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Friday 22 March 2019

3 Days in LA: A Visual Travel Diary

After what could only be described as the trip of a lifetime, my first experience at Disneyland, Brian and I hadn't quite gotten enough of the Californian sun. We went straight from the park upon check out to pick up our rental car and made the 30 minute drive into one of my favourite cities in the world - Los Angeles.

The more I talk to others, the more I realize what a polarizing city that LA can be. You seem to either love it or hate it. Myself, I can't get enough - which is evident through the blog since this will be my third time visiting the city within a year. I just love it all: the weather, the sunshine, cruising around iconic streets that I only see in movies, the food. I even love the grittiness that comes along with the city; a stark contrast from what you see on the big screen. I love it all, and always leave wanting more.

This particular trip was taken at a snail's pace. After a whirlwind experience at Disneyland, Brian and I were looking for a few days to just soak up the sunshine and hit up all of our familiar places. To be honest the only new spot that we really checked out this trip is Sweet Laurel, the sweetest little pink café you ever did see.

Have a look at my visual travel diary for your daily dose of pinkspiration. For more detailed guides, check out my previous posts on the most Instagrammable spots in LA, as well as my LA travel diary from this past summer

3 days in one of our favourite cities was exactly what the doctor ordered, and we left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Read to take on the brutal Toronto winter that waited for us after a plane ride home - almost, that is.

Let me know if you have ever been to LA. Do you love it, or is it not for you? Where are your favourite spots? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Monday 18 March 2019

5 Reasons To Visit Philadephia

A few weeks ago, right on the heels of coming back from Los Angeles, I had to pleasure of boarding a plane with my friend Didier with Philadelphia as our destination. It would have been both of our first times visiting Philly, and myself I didn't quite know what to expect. I had very basic knowledge of Philadelphia coming into the trip - at best. Think Philly Cheese Steaks and Rocky. While I didn't know much about the city, I was definitely excited to explore a different part of the United States and going into the trip with zero expectations made it all the more fun and exciting.

Now as I sit and reflect on my time in Philadelphia, it's safe to say that my expectations of the city have been exceeded. I was not expecting the hospitality of the people, a bustling food scene and a metropolis so rich in history. Philadelphia really did take my by surprise. I throughly enjoyed my weekend trip to Philly and have already begun brainstorming returning in the summer. If you have Philadelphia on your radar, or are looking for a quick city getaway from Toronto, here are 5 reasons to visit Philadelphia.

The Architecture

Our first morning in Philadelphia was our own to explore, and Didier and I found ourselves mostly walking around the downtown area and marvelling at the architecture of the city. A beautiful mix between historic and modern buildings, the sheer size of some of the structures and their presence in the Philadelphia skyline is absolutely incredible. I especially loved all of the art-deco inspired skyscrapers that lined the city streets. Take a quick trip to the waterfront and see the building style change before your eyes. It's really quite something to see! For those of us who are city-lovers at heart, strolling the streets of Philly and enjoying all that the architecture has to offer may just be the perfect way to spend a day.

The Food Scene

Philly Cheese Steaks, be gone! The food scene in Philadelphia is positively bustling, and extends far from their namesake sandwich. We were eating like kings and queens, and were hard pressed to ever find a bad meal - even if it was just picking up a quick coffee and croissant! There were so many memorable food moments for me; here's a few of my memorable restaurants from the trip, and ones that I highly recommend should you find yourself hungry in Philadelphia:

  • Giuseppe and Sons - A modern take on a classic Italian restaurant. I'm talking plush velvet boots, moody corners, brass details. I half expected Frank Sinatra to be making an appearance! Atmosphere aside, the menu boasts classic Italian fare with careful attention being paid to detail and generous portions. 

  • Talula's Garden - A beautiful, intimate restaurant that's situated in Washington Square - one of Philadelphia's oldest and most haunted neighbourhoods. The space boasts rustic decor and a menu made of local, seasonal ingredients. I would love to visit this gorgeous spot in the spring or summer and take advantage of dinning in their gardened outdoor terrace.

  • Reading Terminal Market - One of America's oldest and largest public markets; a one-stop shop to experience all of the different tastes that Philadelphia has to offer, from both restaurant and grocery. Think St. Lawrence Market, only much much larger. I absolutely loved coming here for breakfast.

  • Louie Louie - Be still my art deco loving heart! Louie Louie is beautifully styled, upscale American fare at it's finest. We enjoyed a simple brunch and, while it wasn't the most imaginative brunch I've ever had, the decor and atmosphere more than made up for it. I'm anxious to go back for a post-pregnancy martini at their stunning bar. 

The Cultural Events

We were told that Philadelphia is a city that always has something going on, and our something for our stay was the Philadelphia Flower Show. An annual event held at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre, this flower show extends way beyond your basic garden rose. We were lucky enough to be visiting the year that the show was hosting the FTD World Cup competition. Florists from around the world competed in a series of events happening live at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and we were able to see the contestants work live on their arrangements and marvel at their finished masterpieces. The show is huge, with so many different booths and activities - it's a must-do for any horticultural lover. 

Museums and Art Galleries

If you're someone who loves to spend their day immersed in different museums and art galleries, then Philadelphia is definitely for you. Didier and I were barely able to scratch the surface on the many museums, art galleries, outdoor gardens and historical displays that Philadelphia has to offer. This city is rich in history and culture - in fact even walking around the downtown area felt like being in a museum since most of the buildings has informative plaques stating their cultural and historical significance to the country! I honestly wish that we had time to experience more of this side of Philly, but I'm really happy that we were able to visit both the Philadelphia Magic Garden and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts Museum. Both I would highly recommend. 

Day Trips Outside of the City

We were lucky enough to be able to venture outside of the Philadelphia city limits, to Brandywine Valley. A short 45 minute drive from our hotel in downtown Philadelphia, Brandywine Valley is the idilic country escape when you need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of a big city. We visited Longwood Gardens, a sweeping botanical garden that boasts the most stunning indoor garden that I've ever seen! To be completely honest, this little day trip to Longwood Gardens was my favourite memory from our entire weekend  - and that's saying a lot coming from a city girl! I so enjoyed wandering the seemingly never-ending rows of manicured indoor garden, marvelling at the orchids during their orchid extravaganza and learning more about the history of Longwood Gardens. My wish it to be able to experience this beautiful botanical wonderland in the Spring and Summer.

I could honestly go on gushing for hours, but I'll leave you with this - if you're planning a trip to Philadelphia, make sure to devote a day to experiencing all that Brandywine Valley and Longwood Gardens have to offer.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the airport and take the short one and a half hour plane ride from Philadelphia to Toronto. As an avid traveler, I love when destinations blow me away and exceed my expectations; Philadelphia has certainly made it to this list. I'm so grateful that I was able to experience this incredible city, and am already looking forward to visiting again in warmer weather.

Have you been to Philadelphia? What are you favourite things to-do in the city? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Thank you to the Philadelphia Tourism Board for hosting our trip. All thoughts and oppinions are 100% my own.

Friday 15 March 2019

Tips for Visiting Disneyland While Pregnant

I am so happy that I was able to experience the magic of Disneyland for the first time in my thirties. I feel like I was able to experience everything with the wide-eye sense of awe of a child, while still being able to appreciate all of the little details like an adult. Did I expect that I would be visiting Disneyland for the first time pregnant? Absolutely not.

I'll admit, when I first thought about experiencing Disneyland while 16 weeks pregnant, I was a little nervous. Would I be able to keep up with the group while spending the day out in the parks? Would I be able to eat everything that I wanted? Would I be able to participate on the rides? There were so many questions and I wondered if I had ultimately made the right decision to experience Disneyland while pregnant.

Thankfully I'm here to tell you that the answer to wether or not to visit Disneyland while pregnant is a huge, resounding YES! I could not have had a better time, and in hindsight can't believe how worried I was about the whole experience. The Disney Parks and Resorts have a special way of taking all visitors and families into consideration, so I don't think that you could find a better place to visit while pregnant. I had an absolute blast and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

NOTE: I was 16 weeks pregnant while visiting Disneyland, and was lucky enough to be feeling pretty great overall. I know that this may not be the case for all women. Always check with your doctor or midwife before embarking on any travel while pregnant.

That being said, there were still certain precautions and changes to my routine that I had to take into consideration while experiencing Disneyland as a pregnant lady. A few tips and tricks that I picked up very early on into our trip that helped to make each day a success.  Here's a few suggestions to take into consideration if you're planning a trip to Disneyland while pregnant. These tips definitely helped me keep my energy levels up and maximize my time at the parks while 16 weeks pregnant.

Stay Hydrated With A Refillable Water Bottle

Probably my number one tip for keeping your energy up as a pregnant lady visiting Disneyland. It's no secret that staying hydrated is important while visiting the parks, but it's especially important when pregnant. Not only does taking the time to drink plenty of water help to keep your energy levels high, but it also helps to prevent any swelling that may occur from spending hours upon hours on your feet. While there are lots of options around the parks for purchasing bottled water, this can get expensive. Instead remember to bring a sustainable, refillable water bottle with you and take every opportunity to keep it filled - water fountains, and even visiting any of the hotels that are on the Disneyland property.

Oh, and don't worry about the inevitable bathroom breaks that come along with chugging back water. There are lots of bathrooms distributed around Disneyland, and I rarely had to wait in much of a line - even during peak park hours. If you're worried about finding a bathroom, consult the map portion of the Disneyland app.

Take Breaks, Stay At A Hotel On-Site

Taking breaks is key when navigating Disneyland while pregnant. As much as you feel as though you want to hit the ground running and keep that pace up the entire day, its important to recognize that the key to making it to the fireworks at night is to take plenty of breaks. Be it a park bench, sitting down for lunch or even having a seat on a curb while watching the parade: breaks are absolutely necessary to avoid burning through all of your energy too early on in the day.

I'll even take it a step further and say that one of the absolute best things that you can do while visiting Disneyland pregnant is to stay at one of their Disney Resort Hotels. Our stay at Disney California Adventure Park was absolutely incredible; not only for being a great hotel with amazing service, but also for helping me pace myself throughout our trip to Disneyland. There were certain parts of the day where a break on a bench simply wouldn't do. I was so grateful to be able to walk back to a room at Disney California Adventure Park and have a quick nap, or even just be able to lie down and unwind for an hour. I would even take disco naps right after dinner so that I was able to make it to the night time shows that Disneyland has to offer.

Staying on-site when visiting Disneyland can definitely be an investment, but goes such a long way for making your stay comfortable and maximizing your time while pregnant.

Be Mindful Of Rides

While most of the thrill rides at Disneyland are off-limits to pregnant women, the good news is that there are still plenty of rides that can be enjoyed! In fact, I was comforted to know that the list of rides that pregnant ladies can enjoy safely at Disneyland is much larger than the one of those off-limits.

I actually really enjoyed the rides available for pregnant ladies at Disneyland. Each ride was so entertaining, and served as another way for me to get a break in since you're typically sitting!

Visit In The Winter

I know this isn't often something that you're able to plan, but if you manage to visit Disneyland during their low-season of winter then it certainly yields a more comfortable experience for expectant mothers. I really appreciated the sunshine that comes along with a Californian climate, but loved the mild temperatures that California experiences in the winter. Being able to wear bare legs, sneakers and sock comfortably and a thick sweater is the perfect combination for a pregnant lady. Plus the added benefits of decreased chances of heat exhaustion and heat-related swelling are music to an expectant mother's ears.

Some Basic Tips

  • Make sure to pack lots of snacks, or pick up some small treats in the park to eat throughout the day. I made sure to eat a little something every few hours and it made a huge difference with my energy.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. I wore my trusty tennis shoes with a pair of socks the entire trip and, while not the most fashionable, they did my poor pregnant feet good. If you struggle with swelling during your pregnancy, consider opting for compression socks under a long skirt.

  • I've been experiencing back pain during my pregnancy, so it was important for me to pack a light backpack to wear for our trip to Disneyland. The Fjallraven Mini Pink backpack is what I brought and I was very happy to have it.

Don't forget to check out my video that highlights a day at Disneyland, and some more tips on concurring the park while pregnant.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Have you visited Disneyland while pregnant? What are you best pregnancy-related travel tips? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Thank you so much to the team at Disneyland for partnering with us for this amazing experience. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Shoppers Drug Mart New & So You

With the new season of Spring coming up, and a new season of life on the horizon for me, I couldn't think of a better time to switch up my routine and start incorporating some new products. Coupled with the fact that there's definite changes happening with my body, and I have a whole new set of concerns to address when it comes to my beauty and hygiene routine. This year, the season of change has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to visit the Shoppers Drug Mart New & So You activation which took place at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. If you watched my Instagram stories, you'll be familiar with how cool of a concept this is, but let me explain for those who missed it. Essentially I visited this beautiful, spring-like activation right in CF Toronto Eaton Centre and was greeted with a smile. I was then led through an online quiz that asks questions to get a better sense of what your personal preferences and needs are when it comes to personal beauty and care. There's no wrong answers there - the questions are all designed to curate a personalized product list that's especially for you and your unique lifestyle. From your answers, a personalized list of four different products reveals itself and each free full-sized product appeared from the activation booth down a conveyor belt. And they were all mine to take home! So fun!

With this new season of life for me, I find that my skin has been extra dry. Coupled with always being thirsty, and I'm often left self-conscious that my breath is less-than-fresh. My salon-blonde hair seems to also be a little lacklustre lately, and less mobility from my changing body is making it more difficult to maneuver in the shower to keep my legs smooth. So fun for me, right? Haha.

Based on my personal preferences and lifestyle changes, I was presented with four free full-sized products to directly address all of my new concerns for this new season. My personal selections were:

  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream: a deeply moisturizing body cream that contains hyaluronic acid and is fragrance-free. Perfect for my dry, super sensitive skin!
  • Listerine Go Tabs: chewable tablets that are both sugar and alcohol free and give an immediate freshness to your breath. I've been carrying these bad boys around in my purse for meetings - total game changer, and really help to make me less self-conscious of my dry mouth.
  • John Frieda Go Blonder Lemon Miracle Masque: a hair mask to strengthen fragile hair before and after being colour treated. This will come in handy for my bi monthly trips to the salon.
  • Nair Leg Mask: This leg mask not only removes unwanted hair, but also helps to exfoliate and keep your legs nice and smooth.

Pretty bang-on matches, no? I certainly left very impressed, and couldn't believe that I had four full-sized products to play with! The best way to spend a morning in the city.

If you weren't able to make it to the Shoppers Drug Mart New & So You activation at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, don't fret - there's actually an opportunity to take that same quiz online where you can find some new products that work with your personal lifestyle and have a chance to win 1 of 10 prizes of 1 million PC Optimum Points! If that wasn't sweet enough, you can also get 10 times the PC Optimum Points until March 22 on participating new products. Make sure you take the quiz so you can find out what’s perfect for you and head in store to purchase these amazing products.

There really isn't a better time to get a new routine going for a new season.

If you're disappointed to have missed the Shoppers Drug Mart New & So You Activation at CF Eaton Centre, don't worry - it's headed to Vaughan Mills and will be on from March 12th to 17th. See you there?

What does a new season look like for you? Have you been tempted to try out some new products and switch up your routine? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Thank you Shoppers Drug Mart for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.


Friday 8 March 2019

3 Days At Disneyland - A Complete Overview

For as long as I can remember, I've known one thing  - that Disneyland is touted as the happiest place on earth. Well, I waited until I was well into my thirties and pregnant to visit for the first time, but I figured better late than never - besides, I've always wanted to experience the magic for myself.

Well friends, the magic is REAL! It only took a few short moments after stepping out of our hotel and into the Disneyland parks to feel the stress of my everyday adult life melt away, and this excited feeling take over - I could only describe it as a giddy glee. They say that the magic of Disneyland makes even us adults feel like kids again, and judging by the fact that Brian and I ran around the parks for three days laughing and with awe and amazement - it's totally true!

Our plan for the trip was to be in Disneyland for a total of three days. The first day on the itinerary being a travel day so likely to be taken at a slower pace, followed by three full days to fully explore everything that the parks had to offer, and then leaving early in the morning on our fifth day to continue our trip to Los Angeles. Looking back, I think that this was the perfect amount of time spent at Disneyland; we were able to take the parks at our own pace, and I didn't feel as though I was compromising anything on my long must-do list.

Here's a breakdown of how we spent our three days at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and everything that we learned along the way to get that quintessential Disney magic experience.

Getting To Disneyland

Although there are multiple Disney parks worldwide, for our first trip Brian and I visited Disneyland which is located in Anaheim, California.

We flew direct from Toronto Pearson Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. There are multiple direct flights from Toronto to Los Angeles per day, with ample choice when it comes to times. We chose to leave early in the morning, making sure to arrive into California early to be able to fully maximize our time for our trip.

Once we landed in in Los Angeles, it's about a 35 minute drive to Anaheim - traffic permitting. There are a few different ways to get to Disneyland from LAX:

  • Rent a Car: depending on the number of people in your party, and if you'll be staying away from the parks, renting a car may be the best and most cost-effective option. Brian and I have rented cars every time we visit Los Angeles and the process is quick and easy from the Airport

  • There's a Disneyland Shuttle Bus that leaves from the Los Angeles airport and takes you directly to the Disneyland parks. Prices vary depending on if you choose a one-way or round trip, and the number of people in your party. There is child pricing available for children ages 3 - 11.

  • Take an Uber. If you're staying within the parks, it may be more cost-effective to use a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft to get you to Disneyland. Prices will vary depending on the amount of traffic, and number of people in your party. Also make sure to be mindful of the amount of luggage that you're carrying. If you're a party that likes to travel with multiple pieces of large luggage, it may be worth it to consider the shuttle rather than running the risk of playing an unsuccessful game of Tetris once your car arrives.

Staying At Disneyland

Disneyland offers three different hotels on their property, and we stayed at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. What a property! Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa offers everything you would expect from a premium accommodation, with that added Disney whimsey and service. Honestly, Brian and I agreed that we have never experienced such friendly, thoughtful and helpful service from any hotel that we have ever stayed at - and between the two of us, we're talking dozens of hotels per year! Everyone that we came into contact with went above and beyond, and to see how this sentiment extended especially to families with children made us agree that we will be staying here for all future trips to Disneyland.

Aside from being a beautiful hotel and spa, there's many benefits to staying at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, or at any of the accommodations found at Disneyland:

  • Private entrance to the park: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is located right on the Disney California Adventure Park grounds, so there's the added benefit of having quick-access to the park and with little-to-no lineup. The most either of us ever waited in line was 5 minutes - pretty incredible if you ask me

  • Magic Hour: Coupled with your park tickets, hotel guests get to enjoy entrance an hour earlier than the public to one of the two parks per day. Each day is a different park. Considering how busy the parks may get during peak hours, this is worth its weight in gold.

  • Onsite Amenities: Between the resort pools, the on-site dinning options and the spa in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa it just takes the convenience factor to the next level.  I was 16 weeks pregnant while visiting Disneyland, so while I was pretty good energy-wise, I got hungry real fast. There were times that I needed a quick dinner before heading up to sleep in the room or to grab a snack before a nap. Staying on-resort with so many dinning options also meant that I was able to go right downstairs to grab a quick breakfast to bring back to the room before the day began; let me tell you, this pregnant lady wakes up hungry. I also took advantage of the pool area to lay out on a sunny afternoon and rest while Brian powered through all of the rides on his list.

Staying at one of the hotels on the Disneyland resort proved to be one of the best decisions that we could possibly make, and will likely be even more beneficial when we have a little one in tow. It's definitely an investment, but keep your eye out for Disneyland Special Offers before you book - you may find discounts on park tickets and hotel accommodations!

Disney California Adventure Park

After checking into our hotel room, and spending the balance of our travel day wandering the parks to get ourselves oriented, Brian and I felt ready to maximize our time at Disneyland. For our first full day, we chose to spend all of our time at Disney California Adventure Park.  Definitely the more "grown up" of the two parks, Disney California Adventure Park boasts some of the newest and daring rides, delicious dinning options that include alcoholic beverages and stunning shows are the appropriate for big and small kids alike!

There is just so much to see and do at this park, and I feel like every individual and family can craft their own unique itineraries from the rides, eateries and shows at Disney California Adventure Park. For me, here's a few of my favourite moments from our day at Disney California Adventure Park.

  • Pixar Pier is absolutely incredible. It reminds me of of a mix between Pier 39 in San Francisco and the Santa Monica Pier - both of which I have great memories from! I enjoyed all of the delicious places to eat; it's here where I found my coveted Mickey-shaped pretzel (with cheese dipping sauce, of course) and had delicious mocktails and appetizers at Lamplight Lounge. Brian enjoyed the Incredicoaster, a rollercoaster set to the theme of The Incredibles! Very cool.

  • I also really enjoyed Cars Land - both Brian and I have always wanted to take a road trip through Utah, and the landscape and retro feel of this part of the park totally caught the vibe. I mean look at the attention to detail! Even the music shifts as you move through the park to make it seem as though you're entering a different time period, a whole different world. 

  • Hands down, my favourite ride of the entire trip can be found in Disney California Adventure Park. Not only is Soarin' Around The World pregnant lady friendly (yay!) it's also one of the most amazing rides experiences that I've ever had in my life. I only wish that we had done it twice! I honestly believe that the experience is amplified if you go into it without knowing a heck of a lot about the ride itself, but I will give you one clue: you may be a bit squeamish if you have a fear of heights! 

  • We were so fortunate to be visiting Disneyland for the premier night of World Of Color, an absolutely unbelievable show that uses over 1000 water jets, colours, lights, music, you name it to bring Disney classics to life right in front of your eyes! It's hard for me to truly articulate just how incredible this show is, but I am not ashamed to tell you that I cried. Yes, as someone who rarely shows any emotion, I was so overcome with feeling watching this show that I cried real tears. This is a popular show, so head over to Pixar Pier early with a snack or two to make sure that you get a great spot to watch it.

Disneyland Park

On our second full day exploring Disneyland resort, we spent the entire day at Disneyland Park. To me, this park is quintessential Disney. This is the park that I dreamed about as a child, and it's even more magical to appreciate it as an adult. True to all things at the Disneyland Resort, the attention to detail is unparalleled and it's in this park where you will find all of the Disney classics. Think It's A Small World, Haunted Mansion, Mad Hatter's Tea Cups - all of the classics. This is also a park that is most appropriate for small children, so you will be hard pressed to find a restaurant that serves alcohol. Fine for this pregnant lady! Because there were so many children-friendly rides, shows and things-to-do that were safe during pregnancy I actually found myself falling in love with Disneyland Park, while thrill-ride loving Brian preferred Disney California Adventure Park. I loved this park so much that I spent the majority of our third day exploring Disneyland Park while Brian was recovering from a cold. Again with so much variety, each individual's itinerary for the park will look totally different. Here are a few of my favourites from the day.

  • Call me a granny but one of my favourite ways to get around Disneyland Park, and just as a ride in general, is the Disneyland Railroad. Guests are able to take a comfortable seat on a genuine steam-powered train and enjoy the view as the train transports them in time, making multiple stops around the park. 

  • We were able to enjoy an afternoon watching Mickey's Soundsational Parade. If you're planning on visiting Disneyland Resort with little ones, this parade is definitely not to be missed. Everyone's favourite Disney characters and Princesses come out and dance, wave and preform to classic Disney tunes. Little and big kids alike will experience the Disney magic during this fun parade, and will be able to check off any special Disney Character that they wanted to see during their visit.

  • I had an absolute blast visiting Mickey's Toon Town. It's exactly as the name describes, and for me it meant being transported into the cartoons that I watched growing up. We were also super lucky to be able to actually meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse right in Toon Town and get our photos - such a magical moment, and totally brought out the kids in all of us!

  • My favourite area in all of Disneyland Park is New Orleans Square. The detail!! I've never been to New Orleans, but I feel as though I have now after spending so much time in this area. I also finally got to ride the Haunted Mansion, a ride I've been wanting to-do since I was a kid! I spend almost an entire day in this area while exploring on my own, whether it be eating treats to simply people watching and taking the whole scene in. 

  • You can't speak about Disneyland Park without mentioning the fireworks. Everyone of my friends who had visited a Disney Park, as a child or as an adult, raved about the fireworks. The show is incredible. Not only are the fireworks themselves just fantastic, but the overall energy and vibe of the show is what truly left a mark on me. Leave it to Disney to have parents and kids alike all dancing to classic Disney tunes while being entertained by a laser show and world-class fireworks. They even made it snow at one point. Snow - in Southern California! I'm so glad that we were able to experience this beautiful show.  

Wait Times and Ride Times

It's no secret that when visiting a Disney Park, there will be the inevitable wait times. Thankfully we were able to avoid most wait times to get into the parks themselves, thanks to staying at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa - it really is a game-changer! The real wait times come into play when you start to plan out your rides. At peak times, some rides can have a wait time of over an hour. Thankfully, there are several options for maximizing your time and making sure that you spent the least amount of time waiting for rides.

  • Fast Pass is a concept that I had vaguely heard of before, but had not experienced until first visiting Disneyland. Essentially what it does is allow you to walk up to some of Disneyland's most popular rides, scan your park ticket and retrieve a Fast Pass ticket that has a time period listed on when to come back. You're then able to use the Fast Pass line during your allotted time slot and the wait is much, much quicker. There's only a certain number of Fast Passes given out per ride, per day so make sure to visit your favourite rides early on!

  • There's also the option of Max Pass, which is an additional $10 USD per day on top of your Fast Pass. The major benefit of having a Max Pass is that you're able to select your Fast Pass options all from the Disneyland App on your phone. It sounds like such a small detail, but honestly it makes all of the difference when trying to maximize your time with rides. In my opinion, if you want to focus on rides for your trip to Disneyland it is so worth it to upgrade to a Max Pass. 

  • You can actually track ride wait-times on the Disneyland App itself, so it makes it easy to try and plan out your day based on how long the wait will be on your favourite rides. We used this feature a lot at night when trying to decide which rides to-do before the Fireworks show started.

A Few Tips

  • Download the Disneyland App. It's truly a wonderful resource when navigating both Disneyland Resort parks. I found that I was using it almost hourly, whether it was to navigate through the park with the map, book our Max Pass rides, pre-order food to save time in lines (this is an amazing feature) and book restaurant reservations. 

  • Consider visiting in the winter. While you won't get those hot California days, there's still plenty of sunshine! I actually preferred a more mild temperature for our visit - February meant that we did have to pack a sweater and jacket during the early mornings and evenings, but it was nice and warm during the afternoon without ever getting too hot.

  • It's no secret that the food at Disneyland is incredible - Brian and I ate like a king and queen! We did have a few restaurants that we really wanted to visit during our stay, and we learned quick that reservations are almost necessary - especially for dinner time! Not to worry though, since you can make all of your reservations either in advance online (I would recommend this) or by using the Disneyland App.

Before we knew it, our incredible trip to Disneyland had come to an end, and we were off in our rental car, listening to a playlist of classic Disney songs, driving to LA. I had such an amazing time, and feel so fortunate to have been able to visit. It was so special to experience the magic of Disney with Brian, and it was made even more special to know that the next time we would be visiting is with a little one of our own. How wild!

Stay tuned for a few more Disney-related posts; specifically what to eat at Disneyland and tips for visiting Disneyland while pregnant.

Let me know your own Disneyland experiences! Have you ever visited a Disney Park? What are some of your favourite Disney memories? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Thank you so much to the team at Disneyland for partnering with us for this amazing experience. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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