#TravelResponsibly: A Safe Vacation Trip to AutoCamp Russian River

Travel

After several months of sheltering in place, it’s a huge understatement to say that I miss traveling. And I’m sure many of you feel the same way. When September rolled around and restrictions finally seemed to lighten up a bit, I was determined to find a way to #TravelResponsibly.

When I started researching, I knew I didn’t want to stay in a hotel where there were lots of shared spaces. And as much as I love the cottagecore aesthetic, I knew I’d get restless staying in an isolated cabin out in the woods. After looking at tons of standalone suites and small villas, I finally stumbled upon AutoCamp. A glamping escape that was less than two hours away from San Francisco and filled with the promise of endless s’mores.

So we set off on our short drive to Russian River. When it was time to check in, we were notified via text and also given the gate code to enter the lot, airstream suite number, and airstream door code. Since our parking pass was left inside our suite, the whole check-in process was basically contactless. But if you prefer to chat with a real person, there are front desk attendants at the Clubhouse. AutoCamp also texts a link to a digital map so you can easily find the location of your airstream. The airstreams sit about 12 feet apart from each other, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but the layout prevents you from encountering any shared spaces with your neighbors aside from the gravel walkways. Noticing that our airstream was on the further end of the lot, I definitely didn’t pass up the opportunity to use the iconic Radio Flyer Red Wagons.

Before dinner, we decided to quickly take a look around the AutoCamp site. It was smaller than I expected, but never felt crowded. In the center was a small grass field with a huge communal fire pit. And next to the firepit were some picnic tables led up to the clubhouse. The clubhouse houses the communal bathrooms, front desk attendants, a small sundries and souvenir shop, and a small open flame fireplace. The communal bathrooms are spacious and modern and if we weren’t still in a pandemic, I would’ve enjoyed the private shower rooms. And the shop conveniently stocks “heat and eat” meals, s’mores kits, and souvenirs. All of which could be ordered by text!

So now that we’ve gotten through some of the basics of AutoCamp, let’s answer some of your questions!

What’s the difference between the tents and airstreams?

The main differences between the tents and airstreams are that the airstreams are equipped with private bathrooms and a small kitchenette that includes a sink and minifridge. Guests that stay in luxury tents must use the communal bathrooms in the Clubhouse and have an icebox and basic cookware like a pan, cutting board, and cooking utensils. Airstreams also have a fan and heater system while the tents are equipped with an electric blanket. For hotter days, guests staying in tents can request a fan. However, all tents and airstreams are given their own private fire pit area, which includes two chairs. This is great for people looking to lounge outside their rooms, but not have to use shared spaces.

What does the airstream look like inside?

The design of the airstreams is super modern and minimalist. And the efficient use of small space reminds me of an Ikea store. On one end of the airstream is the bedroom, which includes a wall mounted TV with lots of cable channels. Right outside the room is the kitchenette and some storage cabinets. And on the other side of the airstream is a full bathroom — sink, toilet, and shower. The airstream also includes a small futon if you happen to need more than one bed. I’m sure the dogs that visit AutoCamp probably love the futon. It’s a vacation for them too afterall!

Is it clean? How’s the bug situation?

Yes! Our airstream was clean and tidy. However, if you plan on using the futon, bring a fitted sheet since futons are tough to clean in general. There were no bugs in our airstream unless we left the door open and food out on the counter, which attracted some fruit flies. We also bought a huge citronella candle and I kept that candle lit throughout the evening to also help ward off unwanted bugs.

Did you bring your own food or do you have to buy it from AutoCamp?

We bought our own food from the Safeway that was less than five minutes away from us. However, you can also buy food from the front desk shop, like eggs and heat and eat foods. We also bought our own supplies for s’mores, but AutoCamp was gracious enough to provide us roasting sticks when we failed at finding our own s’more worthy tree branches. We also bought our own fire logs and coal, but AutoCamp sells these items as well.

I read some reviews saying they are providing single use plates and utensils. Is that still the case?

Yes! To minimize the amount of shared tools, AutoCamp is providing prepackaged recyclable plates and utensils to guests. They leave four sets of plates and utensils in your suite, but if you require more, simply send them a text or pop by their front desk to pick it up.

Are you in the middle of nowhere? I watch too many horror movies to be alone in the woods.

For the Russian River location, you are definitely near civilization! In fact, the Russian River location is actually located within a residential area. So right outside our gate were peoples’ houses and cabins. We were also less than five minutes away from Guernville’s main street which had lots of cute shops and restaurants. We definitely felt safe, yet still felt like we were camping.

Is there security? Am I going to get murdered?

It feels very secure. There’s a gate to enter the AutoCamp lot that requires a code and for the Russian River location specifically, you are in a populated area that is not super secluded. We even heard the neighbors walking their dogs across the street from the back of our airstream. Additionally, the airstreams each have keypads and after using the initial code to check in, guests can change it to a number they’re familiar with.

What kind of stuff can you do at AutoCamp?

Aside from the private fire pits, which I enjoyed for hours, you can also rent out AutoCamp bikes! These adorable cruiser bikes aren’t anything fancy, but it’s a fun way to get around the neighborhood. AutoCamp also currently provides access to pre-recorded activities like yoga classes, meditations, and “fireside chats.” Borrow a yoga mat from the Clubhouse or bring your own to use on your airstream deck or out in the communal areas!

If you’re looking to #TravelResponsibly, AutoCamp is definitely one of the best options out there. And not gonna lie, it’s definitely a little pricey, but for me it was worth it to have a minimal contact, socially distant, and unique traveling experience. I was never in the Girls Scouts, but if I were, I definitely would’ve been part of Troop Beverly Hills. I’m no wilderness girl, so AutoCamp was a great compromise between the comfort of a hotel and the grit of camping. However, we’re definitely hoping to experience the Yosemite site if we ever head back to AutoCamp. After doing a little research, it definitely seems like that site is further out in nature. And this glamper is ready to rough it! With a side of s’mores of course. 😉

AutoCamp glamping, what a thrill!

#CityDisneyStyle: 5 Easy DisneyBounds!

Disney Style, Style

I remember when I first stumbled upon the DisneyBound tumblr almost seven years ago.  I was immediately obsessed and scrolled through page after page of these creative and colorful outfits.  My first DisneyBound was a dapper Elsa for Dapper Day and I racked my brain for weeks leading up to my trip trying to put together the perfect “clever” outfit.😆  Looking back, it wasn’t even anything crazy!  I wore a light blue dress that had clear beads on the neckline, clear jelly pointed flats, a silver belt, and white gloves and clutch.  But putting together a DisneyBound doesn’t have to be a chore!

With the March Disneybound Challenge well underway, and with everyone practicing social distancing, I thought it would be great to do a round up of incredibly easy DisneyBounds!  And participating in the March DisneyBound challenge is a great way to keep the magic alive while you’re at home and the parks are closed.  So here are the outfit formulas for 5 super easy DisneyBound outfits!

1. Ballgown Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Outfit Formula: yellow dress + rose accessories

Belle’s yellow ballgown outfit is one of the easiest DisneyBounds out there.  Find any yellow dress, add a rose accessory, and you’re ready to dance with your Beast!🌹  To top it off, style your hair into a half-up topknot!  For shoes, there are a few options.  I opted to wear yellow shoes, but white would also be a fun option to mimic the petticoat under her dress.  A nude sandal would work just as well!

 

2. Benjamin Clawhauser from Zootopia

Outfit Formula: denim on denim + cheetah accessories

“Oh em goodness!” I love this DisneyBound because it’s basically an easy, polished weekend outfit.  A denim jumpsuit would also be great for this DisneyBound, but I decided to go with a Canadian tuxedo because it’s what I already had in my closet.👍  Add in a bunch of cheetah print accessories and your DisneyBound is complete!  And I’m sure Clawhauser would appreciate any donut accessories, like a bag charm or earrings.🍩

 

3. Gord from Ralph Breaks the Internet

Outfit Formula: brown sweater + black or brown pants + loafers or oxfords

Who knew that a bug-eyed assistant would wear one of the most timeless outfit combos; pants and a cozy sweater.  I decided to pair my brown mock neck sweater with black denim, but dark brown trousers would work just as well.  Add some polished shoes like loafers or oxfords and you have your Gord DisneyBound!  But to mimic his peculiar buggy face, I added white oval sunglasses and a pink hair accessory.

 

4. Audrey Ramirez from Atlantis

Outfit Formula: denim overalls + fiddler hat + black shoes

Probably the toughest female engineer is Disney animation is Audrey Ramirez.  Audrey can fix some of the most complicated machines, but putting together this DisneyBound is simpler than ever.  Start off with a medium blue denim overalls and throw a white shirt underneath.  Then wear a black or blue fiddler hat with black shoes or boots and you’re ready to explore The Lost Empire!🌊

 

Lizzie McGuire Movie Disneybound Trevi Fountain Italy

lizzie mcguire movie hilary duff trevi fountain5. Lizzie at Trevi Fountain from The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Outfit Formula: blue pinstripe shirt + chunky pendant necklace

If you have plans to visit Rome, definitely channel Lizzie McGuire and wear a pinstripe top to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain!💧  Lizzie’s style in The Lizzie McGuire Movie is definitely reminiscent of the early aughts.  But the blue and white pinstripe shirt she wears to the Trevi Fountain is a timeless pattern that you can easily find in stores, especially during spring!  Add a chunky pendant necklace and patiently wait for Paolo to whisk you away on an Italian adventure.🛵

I hope you found these easy DisneyBounds helpful!  DisneyBounding is what propelled me into this vast Disney communitiy, so I’m glad I was finally able to write a post about it.  It’s the perfect way to combine my love of Disney with fashion!  If you’d like to see more of my DisneyBounds, follow me on Pinterest or Instagram!

#CityDisneyStyle: 3 Tips to Finding the Perfect Dressy Disney Bag

Disney Style, Style

With the holidays upon us, so to are the numerous dressy parties and gatherings.  And adding a touch of Disney flair to your dressier outfits is a piece of cake with a Disney bag!👜  It’s just another way to bring Disney magic out of the parks and I love how it adds that unexpected touch of magic.✨

Here are some tips on choosing the right bag to compliment your dressy, festive outfit!

Tip 1: Find a bag that can be carried as a tophandle or clutch!  These kinds of bags tend to be dressier than a backpack, fannypack, or crossbody since they don’t obstruct your beautiful outfit that you worked so hard to put together!  Conversly, if you feel like your outfit looks too fancy and needs a little edge, try adding a more casual bag!

Tip 2: Try to veer away from bags that use more casual materials, such as canvas, and go for something that looks a little luxe, like faux leather or faux fur!  Hard case bags, like this Pixar tophandle ball, also tend to look dressier because it has structure.  And nice, quality hardware also help elevate the overall look of the bag.

Tip 3: A more “basic” Disney bag can easily pair with fun prints!  Because let’s face it, you probably have some fun prints in your closet and it can be hard to find that bag pairing.  I always have difficulty mixing prints and patterns, so my default is to carry a solid bag!  Preferably in black.🖤😆

Now that you have some tips on what Disney bags can complete your dressy outfits, go out and be your fanciest, festive Disney Style self!

 

 

13 Halloween Shows & Movies that Pass the Bechdel Test

Musings, Spotlight

And the countdown begins! We’re only 13 days away from Halloween! And we all have our favorite Halloween movies on repeat, but how many of those movies can actually pass the Bechdel Test?!🤔

This Halloween season, I’ve been proactive about watching movies and shows that pass the Bechdel Test. And honestly, some of these barely pass. I used the most basic measurements which are 1. Incorporating at least two female characters, 2. Two female characters must talk to one another, 3. They must talk about something other than a male. Some uses of the Bechdel Test require the female characters to have names, but I chose not to include that as a requirement for this list.

So in no particular order, let the binging begin!

1. Maleficent: For all the misunderstood, fairy witch queens out there, Maleficent is an obvious movie choice for Halloween.  And even more exciting, the sequel is out now!🖤🧚🏼‍♀️💜👑

2. Us: One of the best horror movies from this year!✂️

3. Get Out: Everyone knows you won’t get out of your seat while watching this first Jordan Peele thriller.☕️🥄

4. Stranger Things (2 & 3): Season 1, I dump your ass!  To be inspired by determined female characters, travel to the upside down in seasons 2 & 3!🍦

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service: Studio Ghibli is known for producing movies with strong female leads.  Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception.🐱🥖

6. Halloweentown: Because Halloween is cool and being normal is vastly overrated.Image result for halloween is cool halloweentown gif

7. Practical Magic: It’s hard to not love witchy sisters that always have each others’ backs.  And midnight margaritas.🍹

8. American Horror Story: While Ryan Murphy has given us numerous intriguing female characters, I’m especially bewitched by the witches in CovenApocalypse.🔮

9. Hocus Pocus: This classic Disney Halloween movie puts a spell on everyone.👁🕯

10. Addams Family: Because Christina Ricci as Wednesday is just to die for. *duh duh dun dun, 👌🏼👌🏼*

11. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: I admit, I didn’t watch the series until this year.  But it’s so wickedly addicting.😈🐗

12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: This is one of the only HP movies that passes the Bechdel Test.  And it only passes by a werewolf’s hair!  But the shift to a darker mood in the series is…well, A MOOD.🐺

13. Ghostbusters (2016): The power of Patty compels you!…To love this witty re-make with smart female leads!👻

And that’s 13!🙌🏼 How many of these shows and movies have you seen?! To help you keep track, use the template list below to check off what you’ve binged so far this season and then share it in your stories on instagram so I can see it too!👀  If you have other movies and/or shows that you love to watch for Halloween and pass the Bechdel Test, let me know and I’ll add them to the Honorable Mention list below!🏅Halloween Watch List (1).jpg

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Freaky Friday (2003): I actually really love the songs from this movie!🤘🏼

The Labyrinth: This also barely passes the Bechdel Test, but who can deny the babe with the power?💁🏻‍♀️🔮

Twitches: Another Halloween DCOM, but vastly underrated.  This made for tv movie also deserves bonus points since it’s lead characters are WOC!✊🏾 The only reason this isn’t on the official list is because I haven’t seen it in ages.😅

The Craft: Because we’re all weirdos.😎

 

 

 

 

 

#CityDisneyStyle: NYFW

Disney Style, Style

Disney Style New York NYFW H&MxMoschino gold sequin parka Forever 21 Mickey sweater Pixar purse

Snowy hair, don’t care.

For February’s #CityDisneyStyle post, I was originally planning to share how I style a Disney sweater multiple ways.  But when I found out I was able to get small peak of NYFW during my trip to New York, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to put together a Disney Style outfit that was a little more…extra than usual.😆  And speaking of extra, can we just take a minute to appreciate the hilarity of these “smoke” photos?!☁️🤣

So let’s jump right in and break down this outfit.  And we’ll start with the most obvious piece — this crazy H&MxMoschino gold sequin parka!  I’ve been meaning to break out this bad boy for the perfect occasion.  So when I was packing for New York, I knew it would be the item that I built my outfit around.  PLUS, it’s a padded parka that was perfect for the cold weather.

But what to wear that would simultaneously compliment, but not compete with the gloriousness of the jacket? 🤔  With Ilana‘s advice to wear a Mickey sweater, I knew this cropped Forever 21 sweater featuring a dazed Mickey would be perfect. I love that the graphic stands out from the jacket, but isn’t too busy to compete with it.  And the yellow stars were such a fun way to play up the shimmer of the jacket.

Disney Style NYFW Moschino H&M gold sequin jacket parka Mickey Forever 21 F21 Pixar bagFor pants and shoes, I wanted to wear more “basic” items.  But as I mentioned in last month’s #citydisneystyle post, I like to choose interesting basics to help keep my outfits from looking too boring.  Instead of just wearing any pair of black pants and shoes, I wore these wide leg, velvet burnout pants and chunky velvet sneakers.  The patterned pants are subtle enough to not overpower the outfit, but still add texture and interest.  And the platform soles on these Supergas help give the whole outfit a more street style vibe.👟

Disney Style New York NYFW H&MxMoschino gold sequin jacket Forever21 Mickey sweater Pixar ball purseAnd of course to complete the look, I chose a fun, graphic bag!  For the shows, I actually decided to carry my Cakeworthy Mickey hand bag, but I also like how my new Pixar hard case bag looks with this outfit too!  I especially like how the star plays off of Mickey’s dazed stars.  And the tophandle came handy since the parka is so puffy.  Have you ever tried throwing a bag strap over a puffy jacket before? Not. Easy.

And as a BONUS, here’s one other way I wore this crazy sequin parka with some Disney Style flair!  After picking up this black and gold Mickey bag from the Shanghai Disney store, I knew it would look amazing with my gold parka and a sleek black outfit.  And for an extra touch of Mickey, I wore these gold Mickey stud earrings I picked up from the parks a year ago.  It was the perfect outfit for a late night dinner out in New York and SO easy to put together!

Since I didn’t get to share the original #citydisneystyle outfit I wanted to post for February, keep an eye out for it next month!  I’m going to share the different ways I like to style a Minnie sweater!🐭🎀 And since February is already over, I promise you won’t need to wait long.😉

ABW

#CityDisneyStyle: Rock The Dots!

Disney Style, Style

dsc08653Happy National Polka Dot Day!  And say hello to the first #citydisneystyle post!🙌🏼  If you follow me on instagram, then you already know that this series is an idea I’ve been toying around with for the past month.  After getting all your great feedback, I’m finally pulling the trigger!

I hope that each month I can tell you more about how to put together a Disney Style outfit that suits your city life.  Instead of following one format, I’ve decided to focus on one topic each month. I’m planning to write up step by step guides, how to style one item multiple ways, and hopefully showing you how to easily transition at-home Disney loungewear clothes into a pulled-together errand outfit!🏃🏻‍♀️

This month, I decided to provide three tips on how to wear one of the most timeless prints around — Minnie polka dots!🔴⚪️⚫️🔴⚪️⚫️

dsc08665Tip 1: Choose interesting basics to pair with your dots.

I love a good pattern mix, but for easy city dressing, I usually pair a pattern or print back to interesting basics.  What do I mean by interesting basics?🤔 It sounds like such a contradiction, Alisa. Well, I’m talking about basic pieces with an unexpected point of interest.  Basics with an intriguing detail that makes them NOT so basic.

Notice in this outfit, that the points of interest in my black coat are the longer streamlined silhouette, slim collars, and distinct pocket details.  For my bag, the mixed metal buckle feels unexpected. And blue tinted aviators actually pick up on the blue in Donald’s hat. These kind of small details help to elevate your basics from literal “basic clothes” to stylish staples that stand the test of time.

dsc08659Tip 2: Mix different styles into your outfit.

Mixing different styles is something I often think about when putting together a #citydisneystyle outfit.  As much as I prefer to have a predictable life and schedule🙄, I try to go for an unexpected mix in my outfits.  And when it comes to styling Disney pieces, mixing fun and bright with more refined items easily transforms Disney clothes into city clothes.

Since I based this outfit on my flouncy Cath Kidston dot skirt, I decided to pair it with more structured items to get that nice mix of feminine and sleek.  Again, my black jacket instantly adds polish with its sharp silhouette and my earrings are minimalistic and streamlined. Both give a nice contrast to a flowy skirt and that contrast is what taps into that “je ne sais quoi” cool city girl mood.

dsc08697.jpgTip 3: Tuck it in!

It’s such a simple styling “hack,” but it has so much pay off.  For skirts or pants that sit at your waist, try to tuck in your top.  Not only does it help keep the shape of your outfit, but doing a French or half tuck will also help you channel that cool Parisian city vibe.  I mean, it’s called a French tuck for a reason!👩🏻‍🎨  Tucking your shirt in ever so slightly will instantly read as effortless and more polished.

Minnie dots are such a playful and timeless print to wear and I hope these three tips will help you wear them with confidence around the city!  Minnie may be girlie and sweet, but she’s also strong and independent. So to style an outfit that speaks to different sides of Minnie’s character was fun and meaningful for me.  And to share this outfit and these tips on National Polka Dot Day is just the icing on the cake!🎂

How do you like to wear your Minnie dots?  Let me know here or over on instagram!

A Holiday Outfit with Disney Flair

Disney Style, Style

DSC08525We’re a week out from Christmas, so trees, lights, and festive holiday outfits are in full swing!  In past years, I would wear the usual lace or sparkles, but this year, 🎶to save me from tears, I’ll give ‘fits some Disney style!🎶

What I’m trying to say with my horribly forced Christmas pun is that this year, I thought I would add some Disney flair into some of my holiday outfits.  I figured that would be a good way to help get me into the Christmas spirit, since I’m usually more of a Halloween ghoul.👻😆 I mourn the loss of fall weather and Halloween candy for a month.

DSC08534Since most of my Disney pieces are casual, I decided to pair a casual shirt with a satin, silky skirt to dress it up.  The mix of casual and dressy gives that cool, city girl vibe that I love.  But part of the fun in dressing for the holidays is also being a little kitschy.  Enter adorable Christmas light earrings!🎄  And since I have two ear piercings, I obviously had to capitalize on the opportunity and wear two pairs.😏  For this outfit, the green and gold pairs were the perfect accent colors.  BONUS: The earrings are less than $5 on Kmart right now!

DSC08543And even though I only intended to wear one piece of Disney apparel, I ended up wearing three.😅  Since the weather was gloomy, as it usually is during this time of year in San Francisco, I threw on my favorite oversized camel coat, which conveniently, features Mickey.  And to carry my essentials, I opted for my small Minnie Coach bag; also adding that perfect dash of Minnie style.🎀🐭❤️

DSC08527All in all, this was a perfect outfit for my afternoon work holiday party last week.  Dressy enough to be party appropriate, yet still laid back, fun, and festive!  And another bonus for ya…it’s an easy, comfortable, and cute outfit to wear for a visit to the Union Square tree!🙌🏼

I love that I was able to incorporate some Disney flair into my holiday outfit this year.  My usual holiday go-to’s are red, black, lace, or a dress of some sort, so it was fun to think out the box and incorporate some of my favorite mouses.🐭🎀🐭

What do you like to wear for holiday parties? Comment below what you’re going to wear for your holiday festivities or let me know over on instagram!

ABW

Tokyo Disney Resort Travel Guide: Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea

Musings, Travel

Tokyo disney resort disneyland disneysea style travel outfit mickey international

In 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to visit all 6 Disney parks within a year thanks to a close friend who encouraged me to do it with her.  And even though it’s been a quick (read “LONG”) minute, I’ve heard your cries on Instagram and am finally writing up reviews of each international park and hopefully answering your questions on accommodations, transportation, food, and more!  To kick it off, I’m starting with Tokyo Disney Resort!

japan tokyo disney resort mickey mouse disney style

Transporation

Transportation to the parks from on property and nearby hotels is easy and convenient.  Many hotels provide a shuttle that will either take you to the park or take to your closest monorail station. Disney-sanctioned hotels will even have the cute Mickey shuttle buses!

The monorail, unlike Disney World’s monorail, charges a fee.  But tickets are fairly cheap and if you know how many days you will be using the monorail, then you can buy multi-day passes which are a better value.  The monorail tickets can be bought at kiosks at the monorail station and they usually have cute seasonal Disney designs!

If traveling to the parks from Tokyo, you can take the metro (called the JR or Japan Railway).  It usually takes an hour to travel to the resort depending on where you are staying in the city and how many transfers you need to make.  But find the Keiyo Line or the Musashino Line, which both lead to Maihama Station.  Maihama Station lets you off at Ikspiari, which is like Downtown Disney or Disney Springs.  You can then board the resort monorail that takes you to the parks!

More info here: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tdr/access.html

tokyo disney resort celebration hotel alice in wonderland disney style japan

Where to Stay

I’ve stayed both on and off resort and depending on how you want to spend your time in Tokyo, that is how you should plan where to stay.  If you are planning on visiting the parks for three days, I would suggest finding a hotel “on property.”  And I say that with quotes because similar to other Disney resorts, there are hotels within the vicinity of the parks, but aren’t necessarily associated with Disney. And these are great for those looking for cheaper rooms! But if you only have one chance to visit, I would recommend the Celebration Hotel! It’s one of the more affordable Disney hotels if you’re able to split the costs with a few people. I LOVED it! There are so many cute decor details (like bread and butterfly decals outside the room doors) and our room had the Joey Chou Alice in Wonderland mural along the wall.  SO MANY PHOTO SPOTS!

If you plan on visiting the parks for only one or two days and seeing Tokyo the remainder of your stay, then I would suggest finding a place in the city.  Even better, if you can find a hotel or airbnb near the Keiyo or Musashino JR Lines, it will cut down the number of transfers you have to make and get you to the magic that much faster.😉

japan tokyo disneyland resort mickey mouse disney food eats style cape cod

Food

TDR food is on another level.  Most, if not all, things are adorably cute.  However, I will say some of the food tastes a little processed.  Whether that’s good or bad is a different question, but do not expect to find fresh sashimi.  It still is after all, a theme park.

One of the more famed restaurants that is unique to TDR is the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall.  It is a cafeteria style restaurant that surrounds diners with the intricacies of Wonderland.  The signature dish is the Queen of Hearts hamburger patty, which is a fun heart shaped patty topped with a cheese crown.  However, since beef isn’t a super common meat in Japan, unlike the US, don’t be surprised if it tastes more like meatloaf.

japan tokyo disneyland resort sea disney style food eats stitch lilo hawaii curry popcornSome of my favorite TDR foods include the Mickey hand bun (Disneyland, Toontown), chandu tailchandu tail (Disney Sea, Arabian Coast), and Mickey chicken nuggets (DL, Tomorrowland Terrace but I like getting them in DS at Cape Cod Cookoff in American Water).  Other TDR foods that guests love are the different flavored popcorn and the Mickey shaped churro!  PS: Disney Sea has wine at Cafe Portofino in the Mediterranean Harbor area.🍷 Gotta thank the Nakajima sisters (Ayano & Natsuki) for helping us tourists with that one!😉

jack skellington disney sea style merch japan tokyo disneyland nailart nail art nightmare before christmas
Merchandise

I feel like there really isn’t much to say here because I think most Disney fans know that TDR merch is THE BEST.  Everything they sell is so much better than any other Disney park.  But aside from the ears, sunglasses, and apparel, I also really love TDR’s snack souvenirs!

Japan loves little packaged snacks.  And at both TDR parks, you’ll find whole sections of stores devoted to snacks and candies.  Even better, many of the snacks are cased in souvenir tins or containers.  So after you’ve eaten everything, you still get a fun case or tin as a souvenir!  I personally like bringing back the snack souvenirs as gifts for friends and coworkers.  But I always buy some for myself because it reminds me of my childhood.  My family was frequently in SF’s Japantown.  Preschool, summer camp, basketball leagues, piano lessons…it was all in Japantown for us. So growing up, we loved going to the Japanese markets to pick out whatever snack we wanted as our afternoon treat.  And now seeing some of my favorite childhood snacks wrapped up in fun Disney packaging just makes the child in me scream with joy!

japan tokyo disney sea resort disneyland disneybound disney style
People

Part of the reason why this one of my top Disney resorts is because of the people.  Guests and visitors are not only polite and nice, but they’re trustworthy.  Japan in general has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and it’s because everyone respects one another.  Not saying you should leave your stuff around willy nilly, but if for some reason you left something behind, you have a good chance of getting it back.  Granted, there’s probably not much crime or theft that happens in Disney parks, you just get that extra reassurance that your belongings won’t be lost forever.

Tokyo DisneySea Disneyland Disney Resort Disneybound

Natsuki (left) & Ayano (right) 💖

Not many people there speak English.  So if you’re not knowledgeable in Japanese, be ready to charade your way through a conversation.  There are English maps and most signs have English translations.  Worst case scenario, have your map handy and point to what you’re looking for.  And better yet, also have a Japanese map with you so the cast member can read it in their own language instead of having to try to guess what the English map says.  But at least know “hello” (kon’nichiwa) and “thank you” (arigato).

japan tokyo disneyland sea resort disney style monsters inc university pixar

Unique Rides/Attractions 

Tokyo Disneyland is pretty similar to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. But they do have some rides and attractions that are unique to Tokyo! And of course, DisneySea is a completely different park, so everything they have can’t be found at any other Disney park. But if you only have a limited time, here’s what I would strongly suggest you try to ride in each park!

Disneyland park: Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek

DisneySea: Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage, Magic Lamp Theater, Aquatopia, Nemo & Friends SeaRider

japan tokyo disneyland disney style park sea resort walt mickey mouse international park

Overall Thoughts & Suggestions

TDR is by far one of my favorite Disney parks.  I love the mix of Japanese culture and Disney magic, but overall it’s just a well-rounded resort.  Fun rides, easy transportation, various hotels, instagrammable food, and of course amazing merch.  But what really captures my heart are all the small details in the park.  The soap in the bathrooms are dispensed as mickey shaped foam, ramen egg yolks are also mickey shaped, and one time we swore the camel statue in Arabian Coast smelled like actual camel poop smell. They’re THAT dedicated to details.

To fully experience the parks, I would suggest a three day stay.  However, two days will still allow you to enjoy most of what the parks offer.  And I would probably spend a little more time in DisneySea versus Disneyland.  Only because DisneySea is completely different from any other Disney park.

If you’ve been to TDR, let me know what you love most about it! Or if you have extra tips, leave them here to so others can learn more too! And stay tuned for the next international international Disney park travel guide!🐭✈️

ABW

There is a place in New Orleans – AHS Coven Tour

Musings, Spotlight, Travel

New Orleans walking tour american horror story coven LaLaurie Mansion American Horror Story Coven Witch

Who’s the baddest witch in town?

New Orleans.  Food, jazz music, Mardi Gras celebrations…but I came for the AHS filming locations.😆  American Horror Story: Coven, the third season from the American Horror Story franchise, was actually the first season I ever watched.  I remember seeing commercials for season one and definitely thought it was way too scary for me.  But when commercials for Season 3 started airing, I was strangely drawn to it.  Some AHS fans felt season 3 was too “housewife-y,” but I honestly thought it was great to see a story focused around women and their relationships with each other within the “horror” genre.  I especially loved the show’s focus on the temperamental mother-daughter relationship.  And THANK GOODNESS we also get to see how race, class, and age play a role in those relationships. Like…yes, Ryan Murphy, YES.👏🏼

After doing some research, I found a gem of a walking tour — the unofficial American Horror Story Tour.  Mostly in the French Quarter, the tour is the perfect mix of AHS fandom and historical facts.  Bea, the tour guide, is also just amazing.  She is super knowledgeable about what parts of the show are based on New Orleans history and what parts were embellished or fictional.  And to my surprise, she knew those prime instagram spots AND was willing to help us stop to take photos.  What more could you ask for?! Thank you, Bea!!

New Orleans French Quarter LaLaurie mansionOur first stop was the LaLaurie house.  Not only infamous for being the residence of Madame LaLaurie in the show, but a bonafide haunted mansion and the site of LaLaurie’s torture “chamber.”  In Coven, we are slowly introduced to Madame LaLaurie’s fascination with blood and the human body.  She was filled with “childlike curiosity.”  And that was not a far departure from the truth.  Bea explained how Madame LaLaurie was accused of over-punishing her slaves, but since she had friends that were city officials, she was able to escape any serious charges.  But one time, the evidence was undeniable.

While hosting a party, the kitchen, which was in a separate back annex of the house, caught fire.  After rescuers extinguished the fire, they found a 70-year-old woman chained to the stove.  She later revealed that she started the fire to escape Madame LaLaurie’s torture and then led authorities to the attic where other slaves were imprisoned and tortured.  The evidence and testimonials were overwhelming.  So much so that her and her husband fled New Orleans shortly afterwards.  However, in Coven, the family’s disappearance is due to Marie Laveau’s revenge against LaLaurie. Below is the green iron gate where Madame LaLaurie and Marie Laveau first meet and Laveau’s plan for retaliation is set into motion.  In the show, it is shown as the front gate to the LaLaurie house, but is actually part of the neighboring building.

American Horror Story Coven LaLaurie Laveau Voodoo Kathy Bates Angela Bassett

New Orleans French Quarter American Horror Story Coven Witch

Even though the two women never met IRL, they lived within walking distance of each other in the French Quarter.  Marie Laveau, aka the Voodoo Queen, was renowned in New Orleans and obviously was included as a character in Coven.  She was the first practitioner to popularize Louisiana voodoo.  And honestly, learning more about Marie Laveau was probably my favorite part about this tour.  In the show, Marie is almost positioned as a villain against not only the Coven’s Supreme, but also Madame LaLaurie.  Both white women.  But hearing about Laveau’s real story, I was amazed to learn that not only was she a healer in the community, but she was also devilishly smart.

Accurately shown in AHS, Laveau was a hairdresser.  And she would occasionally offer her healing “powers” to clients.  Afterwards, she would simply tell clients to pay what they felt her help was worth.  She knew satisfied patrons would usually overpay because they were so grateful for her services.  Slightly Godfather-ish, but so admirable for a woman of that time to be so business savvy.  And though it’s not thoroughly shown in the series, we do see glimpses of Laveau’s business acumen.

When Laveau had daughters, she would give them her name, Marie Laveau, with different middle names.  The daughters looked just like their mother, so when the daughters were out, Laveau ensured that they were in different parts of town.  When townspeople asked who they were, the daughters of course replied “Marie Laveau.”  Baffled, people began to believe that Marie Laveau was actually getting younger!  And since Laveau and her daughters were never in the same place at the same time, no one knew otherwise.  This urban myth is also written into the show as LaLaurie and the Supreme meet Laveau in the hopes of obtaining her secret to “everlasting life.”

For Marie Laveau to build such a reputation during that time in history is impressive and inspiring.  Complete #girlboss behavior.  Granted she benefited greatly from the Code Noir, Marie Laveau found a way to make herself a legend.  If I ever have to answer that icebreaker question about the one person I’d like to meet or have dinner with, Laveau would definitely be at the top of my list.

New Orleans Saint Louis cemetery Marie Laveau American Horror Story Coven

Saint Louis Cemetery

Our walking tour also took us to the Saint Louis Cemetary.  Not only the site of Nicolas Cage’s semi-outrageous pyramid-shaped tomb, it is also home to Laveua’s tomb.  Upon visiting her tomb, it’s evident how influential Laveau was.  To this day, people still visit her tomb to make a wish.  If the wish was granted, they revisit her grave and mark a triple X as proof.  And if you see a lonely hair-tie or bobby pins, do not take them.  Those are gifts left for the hairdresser, Laveau.

Our last stop was the street where the infamous witch’s walk takes place.  It definitely didn’t feel as eerie as it seemed on the show since there were tons of tourists and cars around, but I made the most of it and strutted my witchy self up and down the sidewalk a couple of times.  And now I understand why all the girls of Miss Robichaux’s Academy For Exceptional Young Ladies complained so much about the heat.  Yeah, it’s hot and humid, but wearing an all black and mostly covered ensemble IN the heat is an entirely different story.

New Orleans French Quarter walking tour American Horror Story Coven Witches walk

If you haven’t watched AHS: Coven, please set up a fort in your house and watch it ASAP.  I personally love that it’s rooted in New Orleans history and shows the relationships, successes, and struggles of powerful women and women of color.  It is a treasure trove for exploring the intersecting identities of women.  And if you ever find yourself in New Orleans, please book this tour!  You get to learn more about one of the most kickass women in New Orleans history and grab yourself a few insta worthy shots…there’s really nothing to say “no” to here, ladies and gents.😏

ABW

Styling the Target x Mickey Mouse Collection

Disney Style, Style

Disney Style Mickey Mouse True Original 90 Birthday Target DisneylandAs we all know, Target released a Mickey Mouse summer collection a couple months back and I’m sure thousands of Disney fans raced to their closest Target.  I, of course, was one of those people because I am always SO thirsty for all the cute Disney merch!😆  The one item that I absolutely needed, and prompted my last minute evening Target run, were these white Mickey Mouse sunnies!  But alas, you never visit Target and leave with only one item.

Disneyland Disney Style Mickey Mouse 90 Birthday Target CollectionThe first apparel item I  reached for at the store was these lightweight chambray embroidered Mickey pants.  Fun and “less conventional” pants have been everywhere this past year and for good reason.  I love that these pants have an elastic waist.  (Hello, Jack Jack cookie num nums!🍪)  And to maximize the comfort factor, these pants are more of a straight leg cut, which gives you a little extra wiggle room for running to that FastPass station.

Disneyland Target Collection Disney Style Mickey Mouse Cath KidstonPants, sunglasses, and handkerchief: Target, Bag and bag strap: Cath Kidston, Shirt: H&M, Shoes: Superga

I love pairing light blue chambray with white and ivory, so I dug up an old white H&M scallop edge top and tucked it in for a defined waist.  And accessorizing is a breeze when you end up buying all the coordinating accessories from the collection.😅  The white Mickey sunnies add that element of fun to an otherwise more proper-looking outfit, and the red Mickey handkerchief brings attention to my face.  The Cath Kidston bag originally came with a navy strap, but for that extra punch of fun, I switched it out for the alternate red striped one.  And to tie it all together, I wore my red Superga 2750 classics.  (Bonus: California residents can get 10% off Superga shoes with the code “abitwong10”!)

pixar California Adventure cars land radiator springs target disney style disneyland mickey mouse 90 birthdayAnother clothing item from the Target collection is this rainbow “Good Times” Mickey shirt.  I love that it’s a basic tee with a twist.  Rather than a blank white shirt, a simple rainbow graphic brings more character to an outfit.  And instead of just pairing it with my usual skinny jeans, I decided to try something more fun!  These coral linen pants are colorful and breezy, but beware… linen = wrinkles galore.😩

california adventure cars land route 66 disney style target mickey mouse 90 birthday pixarI also picked up this girls😅 straw drawstring backpack from the Target collection.  It has a frickin’ hidden mickey on it made out of pom poms.  How does one not buy it?  And this particular backpack carries so much stuff!  Aside from my denim jacket, which I brought along for the chillier pre-summer evenings, I also fit my DSLR, water bottle, and polaroid camera — and I still had room for extra souvenirs.😆

If weather permits, I also like to wear a denim jacket because it’s a great way to “tone down” an outfit.  These coral pants are definitely loud and a little different than what I’m used to wearing.  So if I ever felt self-conscious, I just threw on my denim jacket.  And being a jacket fiend, I just love the way it completes an outfit.  But we all know that the real outfit completer are shoes.  These Vans Winnie the Pooh shoes perfectly picked up colors from the rest of my outfit and it’s always fun to add a little extra whimsy to your feet!

california adventure cars land pixar disney style target mickey mouse 90 birthdayShirt and backpack: Target, Pants: Sears, Shoes: Vans, Jacket: Forever 21

Yes, I did pick up more stuff from the Target x Mickey Mouse collab, but I’ll spare you for now.😆  And even though we’re still a few months out from Mickey AND Minnie’s 90th Birthday, I’m so excited that Target and other big retailers are already releasing Disney Style pieces!  I actually heard that Forever 21 is dropping some new fall Disney Style pieces, so….I’m going to go online shopping now.🛍🙈

ABW