Tuesday, November 14, 2017

embracing the holiday season

i can't believe it's already time for the holidays again.  seriously, where did 2017 go?  it seems like we just did this not too long ago.  but i do love the holiday season, and as much as i'm all about "respect the turkey!" i also know that the season goes by incredibly fast.  usually by the time i'm finally embracing it, it's almost over.  and so when the old lady announced so excitedly that one of our local radio stations was going to start playing the christmas music last friday, i decided that i wasn't gonna fight it like i typically do.  it only lasts for so long, so screw it!  bring it on!

disneyland kicked off their holiday season on the very same day.  the bean had the day off in celebration of veterans' day, and so as soon as her sister got home from work we hopped into the car and headed down to anaheim.  twitter told us that the parks were pretty busy, with all parking lots reporting in as completely full, so we were a little nervous as to what we'd find once we got there.  but as luck would have it, the structure was indeed open and we managed to find a spot pretty quickly.  those tweets must've scared people away, because we didn't have any trouble getting through security, onto a tram and into the gates of california adventure.



oh, and we even had time to stop at starbucks on the way down and take advantage of BOGO holiday coffee drinks.  here's my first caramel brûlée latte of the year:


i'd finally made myself a fun top using some leftover fabric from my birthday dress and a fun vinyl transfer i cut out on my trusty silhouette.  i wore it with my first pair of jogger-style pants that i sewed up out of some french terry i'd been hoarding, and although i kind of felt like i was wearing sweatpants out in public, i was warm and comfy and it was already dark outside so nobody would really notice anyway.


look at california adventure's giant christmas tree, right at the end of buena vista street:


our favorite part of disneyland holidays is the food & wine festival that highlights california-style cuisine as well as dishes from all around the world.


we picked up an annual passholder-exclusive "sip & savor pass," which gives us 8 tickets to use at the various food kiosks sprinkled throughout the park.  it's a pretty good deal, if you choose your dishes wisely.


of course, it doesn't work on alcohol.  the old lady was pretty excited to try the special michelada at the spicy celebrations kiosk:


and we hung out peoplewatching next to this guy as she sipped it happily.


because of veterans' day and the first day of the holiday decorations and festival and stuff, it was crazy busy and none of us really had the patience or desire to fight through the crowds to pick up the small plates at the kiosks.  and so instead we headed over to the pier and grabbed fresh sourdough bread bowls full of warm, creamy soup.  while we waited in line we were serenaded with live holiday music.


santa hangs out at the redwood creek trail instead of inside one of the shops on buena vista street now, and so that was our next stop.  but not before signing our names on the "nice" list:




we snagged a selfie in front of the big tree before crossing the esplanade into the disneyland side.


there's another giant tree right inside the main gates.


and it was even more crowded on that side than at california adventure, if you can believe that.


selfie time again!  never too many selfies when there are so many awesome photo ops to take advantage of.  too bad it was super dark and the picture didn't turn out that great.


the bean spent a little time in this shop, one of her favorites in the park.


and then i sent them into the candy shop to grab a treat while i saved us some spots on the street for the fireworks show.  i'd had a really delicious housemade peppermint patty last week and wanted another one, but for some reason they didn't have them.  i got to enjoy this festive rice krispy treat instead:


we didn't really have too long of a wait before the show started, but it was just long enough for SOME of us to get bored.  and the little white chocolate santa hat on my treat made for a funny photo prop.


the lights went down and the show started promptly at 9:30.  the castle was so pretty:


the fireworks were fantastic as always, and just as the grand finale wrapped up we looked up and the "snow" started falling.  so much fun!


when it was all over we fought our way through the crowds trying to make their way to the exit towards big thunder mountain to get at least one ride in.  too bad for us, it broke down right as we got there.  boo.  but we knew it was a terrible time to try to get out of there and onto a tram back to the parking structure, so we waited it out for a little while and timed our exit just before the "fantasmic" show started.  

one last look at the castle before we left:


and because they'd wised up and opened up all three of the tram loading areas, we were seated and on our way back to the car in no time, thank goodness.  it's always the worst part of a disneyland visit, waiting for the tram to arrive.  

we may not have been able to do much, but we managed to grab dinner, have a treat, watch fireworks and soak in some of that disney holiday magic in the span of just a few hours.  and now we can put together a game plan for our next visit.  and this time, we'll definitely use up those tickets on that "sip & savor" pass!

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