Participating in “The Disney Swap”

I follow a lot of Disney peeps on instagram. I don’t recall who, but someone posted that they were participating in “The Disney Swap”. The swap was closed at the time and they had just received their package. It looked interesting! So I added them on instagram and waited until the swap opened again. 

A few months ago, it finally opened. The ask you for your favorite Disney characters, colors and shirt sizes, plus other general info like your name, instagram handle, email address and mailing address. The swap only accepts so many people at a time, it was filled up within a few days. It took about a week after that to get assigned my partner.

The way it works is that you’re assigned to a person but they are assigned to someone else. So, the person you send a box to is not the one sending you a box. The boxes value has to be around $30 but you can fill it with whatever Disney goodies you think your partner will enjoy. The swap facilitators send you the form that the other person filled out and it gives you a pretty good idea of what that person might enjoy. You have a swap deadline, your package should be sent by that date. 

My swap experience was AMAZING. I had the sweetest partner that informed me they had ordered me some items from Japan so they might be shipping past the deadline. JAPAN?! Oh-em-gee, of course I didn’t mind if it was going to be past deadline! She kept me very informed and I was never worried that I was “forgotten”.

The date to send really snuck up on me, so around the deadline I emailed my own swap partner and told her I’d be sending a bit late as well. I had ordered her something and it came while I was at Walt Disney World. She was also very nice about it, she just received her package today in fact…I hope she liked it!

I loved everything my partner sent me, she totally “got me”. That is what is picture above, Mermaid Monday indeed!!

The only con about the swap is that there is always the possibility that the person sending to you won’t send anything. The swap facilitators say that they block people who do this. The person who sent me my package hadn’t received one from their partner. I feel so bad! She did such an amazing job and didn’t get anything from whomever her partner was. They do have “swap angels”. People that will send packages to those that didn’t receive one. But it is not guaranteed you will get a swap angel if you do not get a package.

I think it would be better if the swap was mutual. Meaning that you sent the person a box that sends you your box. I think this would add more accountability in sending. Though, I cannot speak to the percentage of people that didn’t receive boxes because I don’t know how many total participants there were. I would be pretty bummed out if I got burned though.

Would I recommend it? Yes of course, I had a wonderful experience! I believe most people are generally honest and you can’t let the bad ones keep you from trying something new. I think I would participate again if the swap partners were mutual. 

To check out the swap and try and get on board with the next one visit:
https://www.instagram.com/thedisneyswap/

Oh how I missed you DLR!

We returned from Walt Disney world October 5th. It was amazing, it was awesome and YES I will write about it. Currently it’s a logistics issue, I need to get all the pics Adam took on his iphone, he took the bulk of the “regular” pics and I have all the photopass pics.

Anyway, every since we got back I’ve been wanting to go to Disneyland/California Adventure. As I told Adam, it felt like I cheated on my home park. *mentally hugs DLR tight*. Now, WDW is freakin’ AWESOME but Disneyland/Cali Adventure will always be my fave.

I got a terrible cold my last few days in Florida, then Adam caught it. With other engagements we hadn’t been able to make it to the parks. So early last week I told him we HAD to go before Halloween was over. I have a feeling the weekend before Halloween was going to be very crowded so we decided on this weekend.

We renewed our passes shortly after we returned from WDW. I decided to upgrade and went for the “Signature” pass. I really think it will be worth the extra money. We previously had the Southern California passport. But, since I’ve switch to a job with regular days off (sat-sun) we’ve found it to be a lot more challenging to go. PLUS, being blocked all summer SUCKS!!! I wanted the parking, photopass pics and the higher discounts. I tend to spend more money on “stuff” including photo pass pics for races. (Even though there won’t be any more races in 2018, due to construction BOOO!)

So I went for the “signature” and convinced Adam to go for the “deluxe”. You don’t get that many more days with the signature, deluxe passports can still go in summer too! We both don’t need parking and higher discounts…so I think it’s going to work out really well! This upgrade is why we were able to go on SATURDAY for once. *Toy Story alien style, “oooooh”* Hey, when you’ve been So. Cal Select and So. Cal for 3 years, it feels like a real treat to go on Saturday. =p

We got to DLR around 3pm. One thing I will say about WDW is it has made me appreciate how easy it is to navigate DLR! One tiny little tram ride and your there, one quick walk and you can park hop. There is no such thing as “quick” in WDW! It’s cool because you feel like you truly are in a Disney WORLD though.

img_4747
Obligatory tram selfie

Unlike most Disney trips, I had two agendas. 1. See Cars land “Haul-o-ween” and 2. Go to Cove bar and have a “Sea Witch” cocktail. But first things first, we were both STARVING. Adam wanted to go to Rancho del zocalo in Disneyland (his favorite place to eat)…but I told him all my objectives for the day were in DCA. After a quick magic shot with the headless horseman we were on our way to find lunch.

First we thought about having lunch at Cove Bar, but that was quickly squashed when I saw the line. We were way too hungry to wait. So then I compromised and said we could have the mexican food at Cocina Cucamonga. The food is really similar with a few key differences.

  • Cocina Cucamonga does NOT have free drink refills like Rancho del zocalo
  • It also doesn’t have enchiladas OR chips
  • The beans are better at Cocina Cucamonga though, imo

I also noticed they installed the same readers they have in WDW for the magic bands. I hope they bring magic bands to DLR!!!

Adam had to go vape after he ate so I took that time to go to The Little Mermaid store, of course I found a pin to buy. I also was ogling all the new TLM housewares! Soon maybe…

Then it was off to cars land. OMG it was so cute. And though the Cozy Cone had already sold out of the macaroon I wanted *sniff* we still thoroughly enjoyed it. My favorite thing was the day of the dead car and altar for Doc Hudson…love seeing my culture represented in such a cute manner! I made Adam wait forever for the “Haul-o-ween” photopass pic because it was going to be our only chance to take it!

img_4736

img_4749

img_4744

img_4748

img_4735

img_4740
This thing was actually scary and made terrifying noises!

After our little cars land adventure we decided it was time to go to Cove Bar. Knowing that we were going to have to wait Adam went to the Karl Strauss truck and got a beer. I got one too…but I don’t like beer. I probably drank 1/4th of it and Adam finished the rest.

We waited about 40min at Cove Bar which wasn’t bad at all. By the time we  got to the front however the line was MASSIVE, I think because it was dinnertime(??) Either way we timed it perfectly.

img_4739
My favorite ride in DCA..

We got in and our server was a little slow to begin with. After our first drink came out she was on top of everything though. Either that or we stopped noticing. I tried a “Zombie” which was a lot of rums with a 151 floater. It was good but the winner was definitely “The sea witch”. We drank those for the rest of our time there and ended up ordering tri-tip nachos and fajita rolls. (That ended up being our dinner as it was already 7pm.)

img_4738

One of the biggest perks of being a passholder is being able to spend 2 hours of your day at Cove Bar and not even feeling slightly guilty about wasting time. It’s my favorite place to sit and relax! I wish we could have done that at WDW but we had to keep it moving to see as much as possible.

After Cove Bar we went on The Little Mermaid Ride then headed back to cars land to see it at night!!! I love the way they have the Cadillac range lit up and also the eyes on the firehouse.

img_4737img_4741img_4745img_4742

After Cars land we headed to Hollywood and got some moonlight margaritas. Yay, more glow cubes! lol We could have a dinner party with glow cubes!

img_4750

I did some shopping before we left DCA at Elias & Co. I had to get the new 90’s Mickey Mouse stuff! I will post my purchases later though.

We park-hopped to Disneyland right at 11pm, apparently with everyone else that was in DCA. We only had time to get on one ride, but it was a good one, Thunder Mountain. We stopped at the pin store in Frontierland and I bought some more pins…then the park was closed.

I’m so glad we got to see Haul-o-ween!! If you can make it to the parks before they get rid of it, do it!

Escape to Trader Sam’s

Saturday August 5th

All week I had been seeing posts for the “Who’s its and Whats it’s” pop-up shop at the Anaheim Gardenwalk. I love supporting “small shops” that make their own Disney merch so I was really excited to go check it out.

I’ve been to the Gardenwalk several times, usually to eat dinner at P.F. Chang’s. We did exactly that first and foremost. I was hungry from doing that dreaded Saturday cleaning. P.F. Chang’s was delicious as usual. While their I asked Adam if he’d be down to go to Trader Sam’s/Downtown Disney to kill some more time, he said sure.

After dinner we made a beeline to the pop-up shop which was only a few doors down from P.F. Chang’s. They had SO MANY cute things. Unfortunately for me a lot of people went the opening day (Friday the 4th) and snagged most of the stuff in my size. 😦 It was probably all for the best because I would have spent WAY too much money in there!

img_3087
I did manage to snag this cute Little Mermaid Shirt


We walked around a bit more…

img_3088

Then it was off to Downtown Disney!

We made a another beeline for Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel. If you have never been there, YOU MUST. It’s probably my favorite bar, ever! The atmosphere is a Disney-infused Jungle Cruise themed Tiki Bar and the drinks are amazing!

 

Trader Sam’s is always jampacked with people, especially on a Saturday. We were trying to find a place to stand near the bar when I felt a tap on my hand. I turned around and this young couple asked if we wanted to sit at their table with them. I jumped at the chance for a seat!

img_3066
Trader Sam’s is covered in fun decor

They actually turned out to be super nice. The guy was originally from Cali but they were both located in Orlando now and both worked for the theme parks. (He worked for Universal and she worked for Disney.) They were major Disney fans like Adam and I so we had a blast trading “insider” tips to the parks. They really helped point us to some “can’t miss” places at Walt Disney World and I was so grateful! WDW is VERY overwhelming when you’re trying to plan and you’ve never been before. 

I should have really got their full names or at least added them on a social media site. Too many drinks and too much fun and I wasn’t thinking straight. I hope, somehow, we run into them when we go to WDW.

After 3 drinks we threw in the towel at Sam’s (mostly because we were getting close to our free parking limit..) and walked around Downtown Disney. Amazingly I managed to only buy one thing!

Adam went to use the restroom and I gingerly wandered into Marceline’s Confectionary. (a place with so much delicious stuff I try to avoid it at all cost). But my drinks had me in a, “treat yo self” mode so off i went. 

I ended up getting a s’mores on a stick which is funny because today is National S’mores Day! I just celebrated a few days early. 😉 After I devoured the chocolatey-marshmallowy goodness we headed back to my place. 

 

This week they announced changes to the Downtown Disney parking. Though we rarely go to Downtown Disney and not eat at a sit-down place, so it won’t affect us too much. I think it’s pretty easy to spend $20 there but it still sucks that it’s not “free” anymore. Glad we got to take advantage of the free parking one last time!

Michelle Branch at the El Rey

As I’ve mentioned I’m a huge music fan. One of my favorite hobbies is seeing my favorite artists live. I touched upon that in my post, “My thoughts on Manchester”. Music means A LOT to me.

Michelle Branch at the El Rey 7/25/17

Michelle was probably the first artist I was ever completely obsessed with. I know she wasn’t the first singer-songwriter but she was the first one that really caught my attention. I’d never seen a female, my own age, write their own songs, sing and play guitar.

I remember being in high school and wanting to buy a guitar SO BAD after Michelle came on the scene. But I never did, not until over 10 years later. She was also the first artist I ever saw live. I remember I was just in awe of her. I saw her at the House of Blues on Sunset when she was touring for “Hotel Paper”. Everything about that experience was a novelty. “I’m going to HOLLYWOOD to a CLUB to SEE my favorite artist!!! Wow!” This was long before the smart phone, so the memory just lives in my brain.

When I saw her at the EL Rey in Los Angeles she was still super talented, amazing and had me in awe. I was such a different person when I last saw her on so many levels. I couldn’t have even imagined all the twist and turns I’d be in for in life. So the juxtapositon of those two versions of myself (old and current) was really eye opening for me.

In my own musical pursuits I have been trying to get back to the mental space of my youth (i.e. grade school). Before all the major hurts and doubts that gave me my, “art scars”. But the strange thing is that seeing her live REMINDED me why I fell in love with all of it in the first place. WHY I wanted to do it so bad so long ago. The clarity in that got really lost and muddled in adulthood. But seeing her again transported me back to my young 20-something self and it all became a little clearer.

Seeing her took me back into that same place I was at the House of Blues. It was like I remembered the primary reason why I wanted to create. I love how she can express her innermost feelings through song. That’s what I love about music as a whole. But this was the first person I saw, that I really admired, do it live and I think that’s why it was so powerful for me, then and now. As I wrote on Instagram it was a complete, “Simba, remember who you are..” moment. Except the voice was telling me, “Remember….!”

mufasa

I’ve never truly pursued music because of fear. My anxieties are endless but my desire to express this part of me is endless as well. My inclination to follow this path doesn’t go away.  It’s been with me as long as I can remember and no matter how much I try to ignore it, it persists. Maybe this reminder will finally help me get my ass in gear.