Easy No-Sew Cindy Lou Who DIY for Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

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The Snowflake has landed in Universal Studios Hollywood and has brought back our friends from Who-ville, new and old!  “Grinchmas” is included with park admission and runs daily from November 28 through Sunday December 29.  To prepare, I made this super easy Cindy Lou Who headband.

Supplies:

  • Headband
  • Red and White pom poms
  • pipe cleaner for ribbons
  • White fleece or felt cut into 4 ovals
  • stuffing like cotton balls or fiberfill
  • glue gun

cindy lou who supplies

Measure a couple centimeters above the ear and mark with a pen.  Glue gun the circles together and stuff with stuffing.  Glue ovals to headband letting the bottom hang over the ears.  Glue the pom poms onto the headband.

Add as many ribbon details as you like!  I chose pipe cleaner so the bow will stand up.

cindy lou who headband

I pieced together the Cindy Lou Who costume with a red gingham dress and a red half circle cape.  You can even use a red tree skirt and attach ribbons to the collar!

 

The Martha May Santa costume was purchased from Target.  It’s super sparkly and over the top, just like Martha May Whovier!

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What’s New at Grinchmas Universal Studios Hollywood

New this year is the all-new, state-of-the-art, topsy-turvy “Grinchmas” tree that twists and turns over 55 feet in height. The custom-made tree is adorned with hundreds of ornaments and thousands of sparkling LED lights and choreographed to music to brighten the merry “Grinchmas” Who-lebration.

Dazzling “Grinchmas” tree lighting ceremonies that take place every evening, accompanied by a snowfall flurry, bring this annual favorite to life, creating a festival of fun fit for The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Who-ville Whos (Pro tip:  Line up at the main Whoville entry gate a half hour before the tree lighting to enter.  First tree lighting happens at 5:30 and occurs every half hour).  There are some new Whos visiting Hollywood for the first time!

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Tips on Meeting Characters

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Of course, meeting the Grinch himself is a must-do if you visit Whoville.  Lines can be extremely long, especially during peak season, but there are several things to do with minimal lines or no lines at all!

  • Meet Max the Dog–he’s a real animal actor!

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  • Many Whos roam around and do not have lines.  Be prepared to play!  We also met Cindy Lou Who who was roaming around and did not have a line.
  • Check out the cute Grinch decor like this Grinch snowman

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  • Write ways how your heart grew 3 sizes

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  • Eat all the Who Foods!  This Grinch Donut was available in the Whoville area and was a steal at only $7.99.  The Whoville Who Hash (tator tots, corned beef, cream of mushroom soup, onions and peppers) was found at the quick service restaurant “Hollwood and Dime” for around $10 and came with the take home can.

 

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will also transform for the Holiday season.

Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

  • Seasonal decor to each storefront and a light projection spectacular to bring the the iconic Hogwarts™ castle to life.
  • As night falls on Hogsmeade village, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle” illuminates Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with colorful imagery and impressive dimensional animations that dance across Hogwarts castle in tandem to a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies.
  • Holiday themed songs from the a cappella Frog Choir
  • A wide selection of custom-made Christmas ornaments created especially for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will be available. Collectibles include a decorative Hogwarts castle snow globe, Hogwarts crest and mascot ornaments representing each of the four houses, wizard card ornaments, unique tree topper and house pennant garland.
  • Holiday-themed fare and hot Butterbeer further complement the overall experience.

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, the California Neighbor Pass makes the perfect holiday gift, providing guests with the opportunity to experience 175 days of fun for $149 when purchased online. Visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details. Blackout dates and restrictions apply.

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More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

Admission to Universal CityWalk is free. More information available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com.

Blue Man Group is Coming to Orange County Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Kids can go for FREE on Select Days

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BLUE MAN GROUP is making it’s way to Segerstrom Center of the Arts in Orange County January 7 – 12, 2020!  This would make an excellent Holiday gift especially for families who are focusing more on experience based gifts instead of physical gifts.

Kids Night on Broadway–Kids ticket for FREE!

A special Kids Night on Broadway discount will be offered for two performances January 7 and 8. With the purchase of one full-price ticket, parents can receive a second ticket FREE for children. Ticket prices start at $26. Use code BLUEKID when purchasing. Children and families are also encouraged to arrive early and enjoy pre-show activities in the Segerstrom Hall lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m., including coloring stations, crafts, activities, photo opportunities and more!

Blue Man Group

More than 35 million people around the world have experienced the smash hit phenomenon that is BLUE MAN GROUP, and the world renowned bald and blue trio are back on the road in a new North American tour. Under the helm of visionary director Jenny Koons, in her first-time collaboration with BLUE MAN GROUP, the tour features everything audiences know and love about BLUE MAN GROUP—signature drumming, colorful moments of creativity and quirky comedy—the men are still blue, but the rest is all new! Including pulsing, original music, custom-made instruments, surprise audience interaction and hilarious absurdity, audiences join the Blue Men in a joyful experience that unites audiences of all ages.

Tickets to BLUE MAN GROUP start at $26 and can be purchased at SCFTA.org, by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. To take advantage of the Kids Night opportunity, use promo code BLUEKID. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The 2:00 p.m. performance on Saturday, January 11 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation. The Center offers many services for patrons with disabilities including removable wheelchair locations, binoculars and assistive listening devices. To learn more visit SCFTA.org/accessibilityinformation.

Fans can keep up with the Blue Man Group Tour through:

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/bluemangroup
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/bluemangroup
Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/bluemangroup/
YouTube:     https://www.youtube.com/bluemangroup

Knott’s Merry Farm Season Eats and Treats: What’s on the Meal Plan?

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It’s the Merriest–and the yummiest–time of the year at Knott’s Berry Farm!  The limited time holiday foods are some of my favorites, especially since I have a soft spot for anything that is Thanksgiving Dinner themed!  They have expanded the offerings for 2019 and many of the items are meal plan eligible!

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Upon entry, you can pick up a Merry Farm Event Guide.  Merry Farm happens daily from November 22 through January 5 with select days featuring special holiday entertainment.  Food and treats are available every day inside and outside the park at the California Marketplace.

Wagon Wheel Pizza (located near Ghostrider)

mac n cheese lorraine

  • Mac Lorraine and Plain Mac n Cheese:  Macaroni with a white cheese sauce, bacon and chives served in a Naan bread cone.  Meal Plan Eligible.

Calico Fry Co. (located near Wagon Camp Stunt Show)

Fried Green Beans - Calico Fry

  • Fried Green Beans served with mushroom soup dip.  Meal Plan Eligible

Sutters Pizza (located next to Calico Fry Co.)

  • Apple Pie Dessert Pizza:  topped with apple pie filling, brown sugar crumble, and a cream cheese icing  Meal Plan Eligible

Beachy Keen’s Pizza (located near Charles M. Schulz Theater, Snoopy on Ice)

holiday pizzas

  • White Christmas Pizza:  white cheese sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheese, garlic, chicken and chives.  Meal Plan Eligible.
  • Apple Pie Dessert Pizza.  Meal Plan Eligible.

Coasters Diner (located near Xcellerator)

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  • Turkey Dinner Burger:  Turkey patty, cranberry mayo, apple sage stuffing on a pretzel bun.  Meal Plan Eligible.
  • Holiday Shakes:  Peppermint or Eggnog (around $6)

Boardwalk BBQ

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  • Turkey Dinner Sandwich:  Carved turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce ona  french roll.  Meal Plan Eligible.

Fiesta Dogs (located in Fiesta Village)

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  • Christmas Chicago Dog:  Vienna hot dog, dill pickle, tomato slices, relish, mustard, sport peppers on a green bun.  Meal Plan Eligible.

Papa Loca (located in Fiesta Village)

Holiday Poutine - Papa Loca

  • Holiday Poutine:  sweet potato fries, cheese curds, cranberries, turkey and gravy.  Meal Plan Eligible

Grizzly Creek Lodge (located in Camp Snoopy)

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  • Stromboli:  Ham, cheese and marinara sauce in pizza dough.  Meal Plan Eligible

Ghost Town Grill (sit down restaurant in Ghost Town)

  • Turkey Pasty:  turkey breast, wild mushrooms, cream, potatoes, cranberries, and spinach served in a pie crust pocket
  • Classic Turkey Dinner:  Turkey breast, apple sage stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce

Ghost Town Bakery (located near Ghostrider and First Aid)

cheesecake on a stick

  • Mini Christmas Ornament Chocolate Candy Apples
  • Christmas Bark:  Milk chocolate English Toffee, peppermint white chocolate, and pistachio cranberry dark chocolate

Santa’s Christmas Cabin (located in the Wilderness Dance Hall behind the School House in Ghost Town.  You can also meet Santa!)

Turkey Bites- Santa's Christmas Cabin

  • Holiday Turkey Balls
  • Holiday Turkey Eggrolls
  • Cookie Shots:  chocolate chip and red velvet
  • Cranberry-Apricot Wild Boar Sausage:  with caramelized onions, spicy mustard on a hoagie bun
  • Belgium Waffles
  • Warm chocolate chip cookies and milk

Seasonal Funnel Cakes:  All funnel cakes can be found outside the park at Cable Car Kitchen (S’mores, Maple Pecan, Horchata and Peppermint).  They can be served with scooped ice cream at Cable Car Kitchen whereas they only have vanilla soft serve inside the park.

  • S’mores Funnel Cake:  at Sutter’s Funnel Cake near Sutter’s quick service restaurant
  • Maple Pecan Funnel Cake:  at Ghost Town Grub (in Ghost Town near Firemen’s).  They also have the fried Christmas Cookie Dough Bites here
  • Horchata Funnel Cake:  at Log Ride Funnel Cake

California Marketplace:  shops and restaurants outside the park before you go through security

  • Cable Car Kitchen:  variety of funnel cake, churro sundaes, cookie sundaes, and a $15 holiday milkshake served with a donut
  • DoughKnotts:  Holiday stuffed donuts

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  • The Farm Bakery:  Winter Mint Macaron Snowmen, baklava, eggnog Christmas Tree Cheesecake on a Stick
  • Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant:  holiday menu includes chicken parmasan, meat pie popovers, and more

Dining Tips and Tricks

  • With the Knott’s Berry Farm meal plan, you are allowed 2 meals per visit, 4 hours apart.  Regular year-round options are also available during this time.
  • If you don’t have a meal plan on your pass, you can buy a single day All Day Dining wristband for $32.99.  This way, you can try any meal plan eligible item every 90 minutes.
  • The fastest place to grab Meal Plan Food is Boardwalk BBQ
  • Don’t have a park admission ticket?  No problem!  Enjoy seasonal eats outside the park at the California Marketplace at The Farm Bakery, Doughknotts, and Cable Car Kitchen.  Don’t forget about the world’s famous Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.
  • If you run into a situation where an employee says that a food item is not on the meal plan, you can politely ask them to try to see if it will go through.  It’s not a guarantee, but it’s worth a shot!

merry farm littlegraythread

For more of our family adventures, find us on Instagram @littlegraythread.

 

 

How to Enjoy Knott’s Merry Farm for FREE–the Christmas Crafts Village

That’s right.  You you read it.  You can get into Knott’s Berry Farm for FREE on select days to experience the Christmas Crafts Village in Ghost Town.  This is one of the best kept secrets and it’s actually how I first started visiting Knott’s 5 years ago before I had a pass.  The dates for FREE Ghost Town Admission for 2019 are December 2-5 and December 9-12.

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The Christmas Crafts Village is a shopping wonderland where local artisans sell their unique gifts in pop up kiosks in the Ghost Town section of Knott’s Berry Farm.  Many of these artist have been part of the Christmas Crafts Village for years and it has become part of our family traditions to peruse their shops.  The girls love the handmade beaded necklaces and sand dragons, and we always make a point to stop to say hi to Miss Doolittle and “Mama” (they are set up right outside of the saloon, so be sure to stop by!).

Admission is FREE to visit the Ghost Town area, which also means you have free access to everything within Calico.  This also encompasses Santa’s cottage where you can meet Santa, take your own photos with him or purchase a photo package, and indulge in some of the Holiday food offerings.

Here are some of my favorite attractions in Calico (show times are subject to change):

  • Calico Carolers Bell Ringers (sets are 12:30, 1:30, 3:00, 4:00)
  • Calico Saloon Show (11, 12:30, 2, 3:30, 4:30)
  • Wild West Stunt Show (12:30, 2, 4)
  • Snow and Glow (6:30, 7:30, 8:30)
  • Tree Lighting (5:15)–this happens just beyond the gates of Calico, but you can still see it!
  • Visit the School House
  • Cookie Decorating near Santa’s Cabin (extra fee)
  • Paint and Take Pottery (extra fee)

Foods and Restaurants:  Definitely take advantage of the Holiday food offerings right outside of Santa’s Cabin (I wrote an entire article just about food)–the turkey dinner bites are my favorite and are a steal at 2 for $5.99.  When you visit Santa, you’ll be greeted by the smell of a freshly baked cookie, which is served with milk for $3.50.  Other seasonal food items are the fried green beans from Calico Fry Company (by the Stunt Show), Mac n Cheese Lorraine from Wagon Wheel Pizza (by Ghostrider exit) and the Holiday White Pizza and Apple Dessert Pizza Beachy Keen’s and Wagon Wheel Pizza.

Outside the park, you can pick up a gourmet Dough-Knott from the bakery right before the security clearance.  Right next door at Cable Car Kitchen, you can get all FOUR seasonal funnel cakes with scooped ice cream (side note:  this is the only place you can get scooped ice cream–all the other vendors inside the park are soft serve).  You can also take home Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken at Chicken to Go, or make reservations at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner restaurant for a sit-down experience.

Christmas Craft Village free entry days are Monday through Thursday, December 2-5 and December 9-12.  Admission is required for all other days.  To enter, go to the side of the entrance near the Starbucks.  On-site parking is available for $20, or short term MarketPlace parking is complimentary for up to 1 hour.  Each additional half hour or portion is $10 each with a maximum daily charge of $30. All lost tickets will be charged $30. An additional 2 hours of free parking is available with a validated ticket and receipt showing a $19 or more minimum purchase from any California MarketPlace restaurant or shop.  In sum, you can enjoy 3 hours of free MarketPlace parking if you spend $19 at one of the shops or restaurantsMore information about the Christmas Craft Village can be found here.  You can also view a highlight reel of our Knotts adventures on Instagram @littlegraythread.

Winter Fest OC Returns to the Oc Fairgrounds December 19 through January 5

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Winter Fest OC, Southern California’s favorite annual holiday tradition, returns to the OC Fair & Event Center, December 19th through January 5th. Featuring more attractions and live entertainment than before, the Orange County Fairgrounds transforms into a massive winter wonderland offering fun for all ages. This year, Winter Fest OC will feature the “World’s Largest Candy Maze”, all-new Winter Fest Racing Pigs, skating under the stars in a reimagined ice rink with two interactive islands, a new 50-foot walk-through Tree of Dreams Christmas tree, expanded daily entertainment from popular children’s cartoon characters to the all-new Winter Fest after Dark nightly series with tribute bands and DJs, plus new party and event suites available for private rental.

What’s New for 2019

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World’s Largest Candy Maze inside Yowie’s Sweet Shoppe  Featuring more sweets than a chocolate factory, navigate through the World’s Largest Candy Maze, filling your basket with nostalgic candy from decades ago to today’s favorites!

Winter Fest Racing Pigs  Nothing is more jolly than cheering on your favorite baby piglet as they race to the finish line wearing holiday sweaters. Get your seat early in the all-new Winter Fest Racing Pig stadium with shows daily.

Outdoor Ice Skating – Enjoy skating under the stars in the center of a winter wonderland on the redesigned ice rink with two interactive islands, surrounded by winter décor and lights, adjacent to the new 50-foot Tree of Dreams walk-through Christmas tree.

Winter Fest After Dark: Hussong’s Cantina & Restaurant – Each night at 6 p.m., the all new Winter Fest After Dark comes alive with live music, dancing, drink specials and more. Guests can dance into the night with the same popular bands as the annual OC Fair in the Hussong’s Cantina & Restaurant with live performances by DJ Manny Fresco and the La Nueva Deligencia.

Winter Fest After Dark: Hangar Stage – Each night at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., many of Southern California’s most popular live tribute bands will take the stage. Performances include tribute bands such as Escape, a tribute to Journey; Queen Nation, a tribute to Queen; Rumours, a tribute to Fleetwood Mac; Fast Times and Flashback Heart Attack, 80’s cover bands; Earth to Mars, a tribute to Bruno Mars, and so many more. Plus, the Morgan Leigh Band will be bringing country music favorites and additional bands will be announced soon. An Elton John tribute show featuring “Kenny Metcalf as Elton” and a tribute to ABBA by ABBA LA will ring in 2020 during Winter Fest OC’s New Year’s Eve celebrations at both 6 p.m. and midnight.

Tree Lighting Ceremony – Winter Fest OC will unveil an all-new 50-foot Tree of Dreams Christmas tree, and a new nightly celebration with fireworks and snow flurries, illuminating the holiday spirit at 5:30 p.m. daily.

Live Cartoon Character Shows and Meet & Greets – Offering fun for all ages, guests can experience live cartoon character shows with meet & greets from Thomas the Train, Paw Patrol, PJ Mask, Peppa Pig and many more.

SoCal Dickens LondonTowne – All the best of Victorian England is brought to life in SoCal Dickens LondonTowne where historical figures and fictional characters walk side by side. Mr. Charles Dickens can be seen in the High Street shops, where artisanal and one of a kind gifts abound. A little girl named Alice, hurries to have afternoon tea at the Tea Shoppe, while Mr. Scrooge glares cynically at the actors and musicians performing authentic Victorian entertainment. The delicious smell of Victorian fare, such as fish and chips, meat pies, rum cakes, and sticky pudding tempt patrons to linger, while the elite come out nightly to dance and sample fine absinthe or enjoy an authentic British style beer. London of old is calling… bring your imagination and partake in the festivities!

Expanded Private Party Suites – Yowie’s Sweet Shoppe Party Room and the Hangar Stage VIP Suites feature all-new private party spaces, where guests can host their ultimate winter wonderland themed celebrations. Ideal for birthday parties, company gatherings and much more, suites and party spaces can accommodate up to 200 people and start at only $199.

Tickets and Passes

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Winter Fest OC tickets are available now at WinterFestOC.com, including general admission tickets starting at only $10, platinum passes starting at $40, and early bird season passes valid for all 18 days starting at $18 for a limited time. Plus, reserve your private party space now, while dates and times last.

Buy your tickets ahead of time at WinterFestOC.com because prices are higher at the gate.

  • Weekdays:  Child (3-12) $13 online, $20 onsite; Adults $18 online, $25 onsite
  • Weekends and Holidays:  Child (3-12) $15 online, $20 onsite; Adults $19 online, $25 onsite
  • Opening Hours Deals:  $10 tickets available online, must enter within first operating hour of the day
  • Extras:
    • Snowflake Summit Ice Tubing Pass:  $10 online ($15 onsite)
    • Ice Skating 45 minute session:  $15
    • Unlimited Ride wristband:  $20 ($25 onsite)

Discounts will be offered on select days to honor our community heroes; First Responders, Nurses, Teachers, and Military/Veterans with proof of ID.  Group discounts are also available for groups of 4 or more.

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For more information on Winter Fest OC, visit www.WinterFestOC.com and for the latest updates on ticket promotions, entertainment, food and fun, follow us on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, and YouTube or with #WinterFestOC.

The Magical Chinese Lantern Festival Returns to Light the Night at the Pomona Fairplex

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This November, the Chinese Lantern Festival returns for the holiday season to the Pomona Fairplex with its brand-new illuminated production themed “Blooming Seasons”.  Bigger and brighter stunning lanterns, up to 30 feet high, include an 85-foot-wide lantern arch, 100-yard-long breathtaking Ceramic Chinese Dragon, along with ridable “mythical creatures” children’s rides — all  on display from the Glade to Lagoon at Fairplex Pomona (1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768) from Thursday, November 21 – Sunday, January 5, 2020. 

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“New for this year, guests will experience a unique light display inspired by nature,” says George Zhao, producer of the Chinese Lantern Festival. “Guests will journey deep into a vast wonderland from exotic flowers, trees, plants, insects, mammals to reptiles. It’s the four seasons of nature, plus an assortment of animals that correspond to their given environment.”

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Inspired by the art of Chinese lantern making, dating back 2,000 years ago, guests will experience a vibrant light show with mixed-media lanterns. Throughout the hillside, brilliant lanterns depicting the Amazon Jungle, fruit tree groves, peach blossoms, maple leaves, poppies, cactuses, squirrels, foxes, and more.  

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Each lantern is made of modern materials and eco-friendly technology with brilliantly-lit colored LED lightbulbs, musical enhancements and sound effects, plus visual moving parts to create larger-than-life imaginative shapes.  

The Magical Chinese Lantern Festival will also feature:

  • Mythical creature rides for children 
  • Food and concessions 
  • Authentic live Chinese folk musical concert and traditional dance show  
  • Holiday displays, including your photo taken with lantern Santa Claus
  • Folk art souvenir booths

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Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate at www.ChineseLanternFestival.com for $13-$27. 

Gates open from 5:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. with the last admission at 9:20 p.m.  Fairplex parking is $12. Follow along at @ChineseLanternFest on Instagram, Facebook.com/chineselanternfestival and #ChineseLanternFestival

 

Magical Chinese Lantern Festival by Hanart Culture
Thursdays – Sundays from November 21- December 15, 2019 

Nightly December 19, 2019 -January 5, 2020, Including Holidays
5:30pm-10:00pm 

Fairplex at Pomona – 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768

Tickets $13-$21
https://www.chineselanternfestival.com/ 

 

Disney on Ice Mickey’s Search Party: Coming soon to Los Angeles and Orange County

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Create unforgettable memories and become part of the story when Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party comes to Southern California this holiday season!  This brand-new immersive ice skating experience brings the magic closer to fans than ever before through engaging elements that take place on the ice, in the air and in the seats, as performer athleticism mixes with acrobatic and aerial stunts to bring skating skills to new heights.  An exciting participatory adventure told through multi-leveled performances that immerse fans into the fantastic worlds of Disney-Pixar’s Coco, Frozen, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid, this all-new show will be skating into the Southland playing L.A, Anaheim, Long Beach and Ontario from December 12th – January 5th!

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In Mickey’s Search Party, you will see seven main stories:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Toy Story
  • Moana
  • Coco
  • Aladdin
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Frozen

There is a brief 20 minute intermission in between Coco and Aladdin.  In between main numbers, you’ll see Mickey and friends on a quest with the Neverland Pirates and Captain Hook!

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Embark on a quest with Mickey Mouse and pals as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map for clues to find Tinker Bell after he attempts to capture her magic.  Journey across the Marigold Bridge with Miguel from DisneyPixar’s Coco into the magnificent and mystical Land of the Dead and discover a vibrantly colorful performance with skeletons atop sway poles dancing over the audience in a beautiful cultural celebration of family.  Travel to the wintry world of Arendelle and sing along with Elsa as video projection creates a kaleidoscope of crystals to help build her ice palace. Witness Belle lift into the sky as the enchanted chandelier comes to life high over the ice for onlookers seated above and below.  Board the Jolly Roger and laugh hysterically as the hilarious pirates flip, tumble, and twist on air tracks, stilts and more in an effort to showcase their talents for Captain Hook. Sail away with Moana on her daring voyage across the ocean and bravely encounter the fiery wrath of Te Ka.   And make memories with your whole family during Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid as the search party becomes an all-out magical celebration!

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Know Before You Go

Many venues have adopted Clear Bag Policies.  Here are the new Clear Bag Regulations for the Honda Center.

Honda Center Bag Policy

Merch Alert!  Disney on Ice is known for the iconic light up toys and souvenir snow cone cups.  Here are a couple options so you can plan accordingly.  They also have vendors walk around so you can purchase them at your seat, but these vendors are cash only.  You can use a credit card if you visit the merchandise booths.

L O S   A N G E L E S

WHEN: Thursday, December 12 – Sunday, December 15

    • Thursday, December 12 7:30 PM
    • Friday, December 13 7:30 PM
    • Saturday, December 14 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 15 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

WHERE: STAPLES Center 1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at AXS.com, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

A N A H E I M

WHEN: Thursday, December 19 – Monday, December 23

    • Thursday, December 19 7:00 PM
    • Friday, December 20 11:00 AM & 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, December 21 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 22 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Monday, December 23 11:00 AM & 7:00 PM

WHERE: Honda Center – 2695 E. Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

L O N G   B E A C H

WHEN: Thursday, December 26 – Monday, December 30

    • Thursday, December 26 7:00 PM
    • Friday, December 27 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, December 28 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 29 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Monday, December 30 7:00 PM

WHERE: Long Beach Arena 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

O N T A R I O

WHEN: Wednesday, January 1 – Sunday, January 5

    • Wednesday, January 1 7:00 PM
    • Thursday, January 2 7:00 PM
    • Friday, January 3 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, January 4 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, January 5 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

WHERE: Toyota Arena4000 Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764

(formerly Citizens Business Bank Arena)

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Disney on Ice 2019 LittleGrayThread

To discover more about Disney On Ice, visit www.DisneyOnIce.com or follow on these social media platforms:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce

Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #MickeysSearchParty

YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce

Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

 

Holiday Shows coming to Segerstrom Center of the Arts

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Can you believe the Holidays are right around the corner?  It doesn’t feel like Christmas without taking in a live performance like the Nutcracker or Mannheim Steamroller.  I’m a huge fan of gifting experiences instead of physical presents, so tickets to a Holiday show at Segerstrom Center of the Arts is a great idea!  I love creating new family traditions and the kids look forward to revisiting things year after year.  There are so many options for Holiday shows right in our backyard!

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is pleased to announce a thrilling roster of performances and events that celebrate the holiday season.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
December 1, 2019 | Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Segerstrom Hall. Tickets start at $59.

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Join the celebration as Mannheim Steamroller makes history again – celebrating 35 years of holiday magic as they bring their annual holiday tour to fans throughout the country. Experience the performance of the #1 Christmas music artist in history and, for the first time ever, hear the entire album that started it all, LIVE – “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas!”

Dixie’s Tupperware Party
December 4 – 8, 2019 | Wednesday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.; Sunday at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Samueli Theater. Tickets start at $39.

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Lift your spirits and perhaps even get some holiday shopping done with Dixie’s Tupperware Party. Dixie Longate, the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, returns for good ol’-fashioned Tupperware parties filled with outrageously funny tales, FREE giveaways and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage!

American Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker
December 13 – 22, 2019 | Wednesday – Friday at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.; Sunday at 12:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Segerstrom Hall. Tickets start at $29.

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American Ballet Theatre’s sumptuous production of The Nutcracker is Orange County’s must-see holiday tradition. Once again, audiences will be thrilled by ABT’s incomparable dancers and delighted with Alexei Ratmansky’s “cinematic creation” (Orange County Register). As the ballet unfolds to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, accomplished young students from Segerstrom Center’s American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School appear alongside ABT’s internationally acclaimed dancers to tell this family favorite tale.

Fiesta Navidad Mariachi Los Camperos
December 19, 2019 | Thursday at 8:00 p.m.
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets start at $29.

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Join us for one of Orange County’s most beloved annual holiday traditions as the Grammy Award®-winning Mariachi Los Camperos returns to Segerstrom Center with Fiesta Navidad. Filled with music and dance, this colorful celebration of Mexican holiday traditions is perfect for the whole family.

Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Salsa Navidad
December 21, 2019 | Saturday at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Samueli Theater. Tickets start at $39.

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Celebrate the winter holidays with the Segerstrom Center debut of the two-time Grammy®-winning Salsa and Latin Jazz band that will make you want to stand up and dance. It simply doesn’t get any better when this Latin jazz powerhouse exudes energy on stage with musical precision that captivates audiences until the last note is played.

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert
December 28, 2019 | Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets start at $49.

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Ring in the New Year with a glittery celebration of singing and dancing that will delight the senses. Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert recreates the beauty of Vienna’s golden era and its elegance charms audiences of every age. This year’s concert will feature a brilliant new program of Strauss Waltzes and sweeping melodies from beloved operettas performed by acclaimed European singers, champion ballroom dancers, the National Ballet of Hungary and the Strauss Symphony of America.

Tickets and Gift Certificates

To help take the stress out of year-round gift giving, the Center offers gift certificates that can be used for any of the many wonderful shows and performances. Gift certificates can be purchased through the Center’s website at www.SCFTA.org or by visiting or calling the Box Office.

Tickets are available for purchase online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings of 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

All images courtesy of Segerstrom Center of the Arts.

10 Things to do with your Kids in Orange County over Winter Break

Ah.  The love/hate relationship with Winter Break.  Two glorious weeks off where you don’t have to wake up early for school, but your kids are looking at you at 7am anyway with those dreaded words:  “I’m bored.”

I’ve rounded up 10 of my favorite things to do in Orange County to keep the Holiday Season alive.

1.  Visit the Holiday decorated hotels at the Disneyland Resort

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Disney passes blocked out?  Don’t worry, you wouldn’t want to be in that crowded mess anyway.  If your heart has a Mickey sized hole in it, load up the kids, grab lunch in Downtown Disney (to validate parking!) and catch a glimpse of the Grand Californian Gingerbread house while you’re at it.  Read my full review here.

2.  Winter Fest OC at the OC Fairgrounds

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This was our favorite local Holiday event.  Where else can you play in the snow and ride carnival rides at the same time?  Read my full review here to find out what ticket option is best for you.

3.  Skypark Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead

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Missing Santa?  Don’t worry, he’s still meeting people in Santa’s Village!  You can pay him a visit and thank him for all the wonderful Christmas presents.  This option is pricey but it was our family pick for our favorite “splurge getaway”.  Read my full review here.

4.  Disney on Ice

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Looking for a last minute present for your niece or nephew?  Take them to Disney on Ice!  Win ultimate cool auntie and uncle points and immerse yourself in the magic.  Read here on where they are touring through January 6.

5.  South Coast Plaza

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There’s a reason why tourist buses make stops at the largest mall on the west coast.  South Coast Plaza is beautifully decorated for the Holidays with a ton of great eating options (the new Barilla quick service restaurant is a new fav, or there’s always the tried and true Din Tai Fung for xia long bao soup dumplings…mmmm…).  Be sure to grab a $1 ride on the reindeer carousel before it transforms back.  Read more about the options here.

6.  OC Bubble Pop

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If you’re looking for a fun new indoor playground, OC Bubble Pop is going to be your new BFF.  Located conveniently in the Tustin District, you and your kids can literally spend all day playing in the bubble attractions.  This place is new, modern, and ridiculously clean (I mean, it is bubbles).  Your admission is good all day so you can go in the morning, grab lunch and a nap, and return later until they close at 8pm.  We will be going on January 3–mention “LittleGrayThread” for reduced admission and enter for a chance to win a 2 pack of tickets for a future visit.

7.  Zoomars

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If you’ve never been to this quaint little petting zoo in San Juan Capistrano, you’re missing out!  We have been coming to Zoomars since the girls were babies.  They love holding the guinea pigs and riding the big pony.  Read all about it here and see what else you can experience in the area.

8.  Visit the Lion Guard Exhibit at the Discovery Cube

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The Discovery Cube is the huge black cube you see off the 5 in Santa Ana.  It’s a wonderful hands-on science museum that is fun for all ages.  The Lion Guard Exhibit is only on display until January 13 and is included with General Admission.  Family passes are an exceptionally great value and is definitely something to consider if you live in the area.

9.  Bricks and Minifigs LEGO Shopping

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This cute little store is located super close to Knotts Berry Farm.  You could spend hours perusing the new and vintage LEGO sets, put together your own minifig, or take home a bulk collection of LEGO pieces.  When we went, LittleGray took home an entire box of just plant pieces to create a wookie village at home.  Be sure to follow them on Instagram to find out if they are having any daily deals.

10.  Buy Season Passes to Knotts Berry Farm

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I saved the very best for last.  Consider buying Season Passes to Knotts Berry Farm.  Season passes are the lowest price at the beginning of the year (seriously they get MORE expensive as the year goes on and all the passes expire on December 31, 2019).  Season passes are $95 and have ZERO BLACKOUTDATES.  This low pricing ends on January 6, and if you buy before 2019, you also get one free admission in 2018 (hello NYE!).  I highly recommend getting the meal plan where you get two meals every single day.  The cost of the pass is not much more than a single day visit ticket, and you’ll be able to return for the extended Peanuts Celebration, springtime Boysenberry Festival, Summer Ghost Town Alive (my heart), Halloween Spooky Farm, and Christmas Merry Farm.  You can find out more information about pass pricing and payment plans on their website.

Kids Guide to Winter Fest OC 2018

Did you know that you can play in snow and go tubing/sledding in Orange County without having to drive up that big mountain?  This is Winter Fest OC‘s 3rd year at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.  If you’re looking for something to do during Christmas break, this is it!  Winter Fest OC is open through Sunday, January 6.  Opening time depends on the day of the week, but it is generally 2:00 on weekdays and 12:00 on weekends and Holidays.  You can find a detailed operational schedule on their ticket website.

Featuring ice tubing down an 8 lane, 150 foot mountain, massive snow play and slide area with separate areas for toddlers and kids with fresh snow blown in daily, ice skating on SoCal’s largest outdoor ice rink under the stars in the middle of Winter Fest OC, nightly Christmas tree lighting celebration with a parade of the Winter Fest OC characters, fireworks and snow flurries, plus a not to be missed experience with Santa and his reindeer flying over the fairgrounds through Christmas Eve, an all new Alpine Village with a new light maze and new wintery attractions, over 20 carnival rides and attractions, festive entertainment, seasonal eateries, visits with Santa and so much more.

What’s Included with General Admission

General admission for children 3-17 is $12 if bought online ($17-$19 at the door) and adults are $17 online ($22-$25 at the door).  If you can get there within the first hour of opening, online tickets are $10.  Children under 3 are free.

  • SoCal Dickens experience–think RenFaire, but in the Dickens Time period.  This is located in building to the right by the big light up white bear.  The strolling characters were amazing and the girls loved interacting with them.  Alice in Wonderland even hosts storytime and a dance party!  Be forewarned that all of the kiosks inside are for-profit shops.  There were several times that the shop owners tried to lure my daughters into doing a craft or picking something out only to find out that it was an $18 souvenir.

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  • Alpine Village–the main event!  The Penny’s Snow Play area features freshly blown in snow, free sled hill, crafts, and free inflatable jumpers and slides.   This is also where the Festival of Lights (opens at 5:00) is located which features a gorgeous walk through display of Christmas Lights.  Santa’s Petting zoo is also free to enter, and you can pay $2 for a scoop of food.  To get to Alpine Village, turn right at the Hanger.
  • Model Train Exhibit–if you have a train lover, this is a must see.  It is located inside the Hanger.
  • Snowflake Summit–intertube slide!  This is located to the right near the entrance, right next to the OC Dickens hall.  You do have to be 42″ and no lap sitting.  You can purchase a Fast Lane Pass for $15 (entrance on the left) or wait in the right line to tube down for free.  Definitely check out the line situation before you spend the $15 because the Fast Lane was just as long as the regular line when we went.

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  • World’s Largest Rocking Horse–you can’t miss this!  It is located to the left of the entrance of the Hanger.  All ages can ride, but it can be super scary for kids (and some adults) to enter and exit the horse.  The horse is easily 2 stories up and there’s a gap over a foot wide to get in the horse.  I had to carry the girls in and out of the horse but they were super secure once up there.

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  • Nightly live entertainment–various bands and acts perform in the Hanger all day.  The girls particularly loved the magician!  There is a character parade at 5:30 with all of the strolling characters and nightly tree lighting with fireworks at 6:30.  Keep your eyes above the Hanger because Santa makes an appearance flying over with his reindeer.

Add-on Experiences that cost a little extra

  • Ice Skating–$15 for a 45 minute session (no option to buy online at a discount).  You can also rent a “skating walker” for $5 that you can hold on to while you skate.  To sign up for ice skating, go to the kiosk to the left of the entrance before the ice skating arena.  It is located near the carousel.  The line to get skates is extremely long and takes almost a half hour to get through.  With that being said, both my husband and LittleGray were done after about 15-20 minutes of skating.  I would recommend getting in line 20-30 minutes after the session starts so you’re not just standing in line.
  • Carnival games–you can’t go to the fairgrounds without playing some games!  These are the same classic games that you’ll find during the summer.

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  • Candy Cane Carnival–if you turn left at the Hanger, you’ll enter the Candy Cane Carnival area.  Each ride is about 3-4 tickets, and each ticket is $1.  You can buy a package of tickets at a discount (16 tickets for $15 or 32 tickets for $28) or plan ahead and buy the unlimited ride wristband for $20 online ($25 at the door).  The wristbands are good all evening until closing time at 10:00, so it is an exceptionally good value.  We ended up closing the park running from ride to ride as a family until they turned the lights off at 10:00.  The lines were nonexistant and it was such a fun feeling being able to ride unlimited rides.
  • Snowflake Summit Ice Tubing Fast Lane pass: $15 ($10 if bought online), but as mentioned above, you can still tube for free without buying the Fast Lane pass.  Don’t forget that there’s a smaller sled area in the snow play area for kids of all heights.
  • Trackless Train:  3 tickets ($3).  This cute train takes you on a loop from the entrance through the Festival of Lights and back.  Sure, you could walk the same path on foot (and you probably will anyway), but it was SUPER fun for LittleSage.  She was singing along to jingle bells at the top of her lungs.  If you have the unlimited carnival ride wristband, it also works for the train.  The train entrance is directly to the right of the main entrance.

What’s the Best Value?

If you live in the area and have nothing to do over Christmas break, consider buying the Season Pass ($25 online for kids, $35 online for adults).  We could have spent hours playing in the snow or jumping on the inflatables.  If you only have one day, definitely buy your tickets online.  There are substantial savings compared to prices at the gate.  If you are going with a group of 10 or more people (yay playdate!), you can purchase tickets online at a group rate of $6 per kid and $12 per adult.

Online Value Pack:  Admission and Snowflake Summit Fast Lane Pass for $65 (remember that the Snowflake Summit has a height limit of 42″ so if you have small kids, this is not the package for you).

Online Platinum Ice Pass:  Admission + 1 round of ice skating + Unlimited Carnival Ride wristband  + Snowflake Summit Fast Lane Pass — 38 online ($45-55 at the door).  If you break it down, admission is about $12, carnival ride wristband is $20, ice skating is $15, fast lane is $10, this is a value of almost $60.  Even if you just want to get the carnival wristband and admission, you’re looking at around $32.  It might be worth the extra $6 for the ice skating session and the Snowflake Summit Fast Lane Pass, just so you have it.

However, if you have a kid who doesn’t want to ice skate (like Salty Pineapple LittleSage) and is too small for tubing (also LittleSage), I would stick to buying the early bird admission and carnival wristband online.  Use that $6 to buy a snack when you get there!

Know Before you Go

Onsite parking is available for $8.  Enter off Fair Drive and Civic Center.  You’ll be playing in snow, so dress accordingly!  We brought our snow gloves and snow boots, but the girls still managed to get cold and wet.  You might want to pack a change of clothes and shoes so you can explore the rest of the place in comfort.  We brought our water bottles in, and there is a variety of fun fair food available.  There are stands for Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, Dickens meat pies, and the classic fair BBQ.

Is it Worth It?

YES.  It was so much fun and something so unique right in the middle of Orange County.  The girls really wanted to play in snow, but it’s a lot of effort to pack up everything and drive up the mountain.  The snow play area was perfect for them, and they even got to make a little snowman (which LittleSage kicked over).  The sled area was great for beginners and I loved how it was all included.  Definitely get the unlimited ride wristband because this is your only chance to ride carnival rides without the blazing hot summer sun on your back.  Also, the OC Fair also offers an unlimited ride wristband, but it always ends in the middle of the day.  This is the only time you can get the unlimited ride wristband and have a fun family night until the bitter end.  No New Years Eve plans?  Celebrate at Winter Fest OC with a family friendly celebration!

Our family had the best time and it felt good to have a “yes” day with the girls.  Thank you Winter Fest OC for hosting us!  You can find out more information about Winter Fest on their website, Twitter, facebook, or Instagram.