Disneyworld - Day 5

Last day in Orlando!

I woke up at 7am EST.  Not ideal but that is when my brain was done sleeping.  I decided to let Mason sleep in til 9 as he was pretty tired and we had a storm last night and I figured the weather might be less sunny which was not an incentive to rush out the door.

We left at 9:30am to head to breakfast.  I researched Google to find a restaurant that was not a chain but had pancakes, waffles etc.  I chose Dixie Belle's which was about a 20 min drive from our hotel.  I had to use up all that extra gas I bought my mistake.  It was a cute little restaurant, very USA themed:

Mason had french toast and I had 2 eggs, 2 bacon & 2 pancakes.  Nothing fancy.  Total was $22.17 USD inc tax & tip.

Next stop - Epcot.  Another 30 mins or so in the car.  Parking was the same price and close to the entrance, no shuttles needed.  I have heard of Epcot but had no idea what to expect.  I forgot we had reservations for 10:30am, we arrived just after 10:45pm so we missed that ride.

 As we got situated, I realized that it was themed.  Space/ Nature / Science & Food by country. The map of the property showed sprawling grounds so I expected a lot of steps today.  I will have to say I was disappointed by the Canada area.  It's theme was a totem pole and flannel.  Hardly a good representation of my country! 

Notice the smile isn't as bright lol

This place is great for foodies, there were a LOT of options.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on food we we bypassed most of it.  It was cute to watch Mason look at the foliage, birds and random bugs.  This park didn't have a lot of options for teen appropriate rides.  We selected three:

  1. Spaceship Earth
  2. Remi's Ratatouille Adventure.  This was our favourite 3D ride.  It was adorable and had special effects with wind and water.  

The other exhibits we visited were:

  1. Journey Into Imagination with Figment.  This was an oops.  The app says 'all ages' but it really should state 'recommended ages' and for this it should have said 5 years old.  Mason was glaring me the whole ride. 
  2. Living with the Land.  This was a float ride through the greenhouse of the Land Pavilion and you toured all of the edible flowers, veggies & fruit they were growing inside.  It was an impressive set up


Mason asked to buy a Mickey Mouse pen which cost $9.99 USD/ $14.89.  I told him he was probably going to lose it.  He is reimbursing me for it.  #noveltyitem.

I started to get hungry for lunch so we stopped by the food court that is inside of The Land.  There were three sections that had a few different food options.  I opted for a poke/noodle bowl.  It cost $13.89 USD / $18.32 CAD.  It was filling and somewhat yummy:

By 3:30pm we were pretty much walked/entertained out so we headed to the car.  Traffic was a bit slow heading back to the hotel, I guess we hit rush hour.  Back to the room, Mason is having a late late lunch and a nap.  We contemplated heading to the pool but the weather turned to overcast and the wind picked up.  I am anticipating another rainstorm tonight!

Legoland 2023 - Day 4

We purchased a 3 day Disneyworld pass but Mason also wanted to visit Legoland.  We did visit LL when we went to Disneyland.  I am hoping it's not a duplicate as it's an hour away.  I pre-purchased the tickets from Expedia as they were discounted from $220.45 USD / $300.68 to $173.00 CAD.  I am purchasing the parking now at $29.99 USD a day.

In researching on the Legoland website, they do have a DAS pass (Hero Pass) which appears to be provided onsite (unlike DW where you can request it pre-arrival).  

After a good sleep, we had a slower start as the weather looked nice and we didn't have to rush out the door to take advantage of the sun.

I wish I had printed out google maps to avoid the $12/day Roam like Home Fido plan.  In the car we go.  1 hour 9 minutes from the hotel.  I note that I am getting low on gas.

Mason was bored so he wanted to debate.  I tried to pick non politics questions as it's not my favourite topic, so we settled on:

1. Should we continue to bury people in caskets or stop because it's not great use of land and the boxes are not good for the environment.  Same question for cremation.  Do you want to be thrown in the dirt and come back as a tree?

2. Should transgendered people participate in the Olympics especially if they have a differently built body that could put them at an advantage

We arrive at Legoland and grab our printed passes (Since I bought them from Expedia, I couldn't add them to the app).  The parking was close to the entrance even though there was preferred parking at a higher cost.  Parking was $29.99 USD / $34.98 CAD.  First come, first serve.  There were no parking attendants (Disney had them) to direct you to a spot.  We make note of where we parked to avoid the mishap we had yesterday).

After being scanned in, we made our way to Guest Services to pick up our Hero Pass.  Which surprisingly was a paper card.  Very old school.  Mason announces he doesn't want to go on rides.  Sigh.  So we start walking.  I observe there aren't as many lego structures as there were in Disneyland.  He wants to head into a Build It center.  I say no, it's too early for him to play and me to just sit there.  We continue to walk through the sections.  Mason seems bored and not engaged.  We didn't purchase passes to the water park.  We look at some exhibits and take pictures.  About 15 mins later, he asks if we are done.  DONE? we just got here?!.  I ask him if he wants to go on rides, he says no.


I decide it's lunch time for me, so I head into a burger place.  It's self serve with a giant screen.  I choose a kids meal so we can get more water.  $9.99USD / $13.48 CAD for a cheeseburger and fries and a mini Dasani.  The burger was homemade and had white (cheddar cheese).  It was a bit bland but probably a good thing for a kid.  Fries weren't bad.

We start walking and I end up lecturing Mason explaining that no we can't just leave, he ASKED to come to this park knowing what it was like.  We ended up in another loop and realized after less than an hour, we saw the whole thing.  I am upset.  I spent close to $300CAD to come to this park and it was a total waste of time and money.  

We walk to the car in silence.  I explain that next time we plan an adventure for him, he needs to really want to go.

Another 1hr++ drive back to the hotel, we hit a lot of construction traffic.  People in Florida drive kinda crazy, they don't signal and are a bit aggressive.  We witnessed a close call accident when a driver in our lane moved to the right and didn't give enough space.  

 Back to the hotel to rest.  I want to go use up our free passes for the waterpark.  We get 4 days worth but we are leaving on Saturday.  Tomorrow is our last full day and we'll be at Epcot center.  

Mason wants to nap, so I figure we'll head out at 3pm.  3pm turns into 4 and by 4:45pm we are out the door with our beach gear.  We need to drive because the water park is at the front of the property and it's HUGE.  We get to the car and I forget the passes.  Back up to the room.  The key card doesn't work.  Back down to the car to get the other keycard.  Grab the passes, get in the car.  There is a mass exodus leaving the property and it's single file.   Finally get parked and head to the concierge desk.   He wants ID.  I didn't bring ID for the pool, Mason doesn't have his either.  We verify our identify with my phone # and 'zip code'.  Card is replaced.  I ask where the desk is to redeem our vouchers for the park passes.   He states the pool closes in less than an hour, I correct him and state the website says 7pm.  He says sorry, the desk is closed.  Please come back tomorrow.    There are a ZILLION 'desks' in the lobby and none of them can allow us in the waterpark?  No.   Man, am I not happy.  I tell Mason that we can go to the regular pool, it's still warm out.  He doesn't want to.  We both wanted to float in the lazy river.  It's one of the main reasons we picked this hotel.  

We drive back to the hotel.  Mason is now doing dishes and I'm eating my dinner from last night.  Rubbery microwaved steak. I doubt the rest of this day (T-4 hours until bedtime) is going to be exciting so I'll end this post now.  There are other attractions near the hotel like Ripley's Believe it or Not but Mason declined and if I've learned anything about parenting a teen, especially one with ADHD is that it is POINTLESS to drag them to something they don't want to go.  They will complain and it will cost me money.


I was wrong, there was more to post about.  It started DOWNPOURING at 5:45pm lol.  

Disneyworld 2023 - Day 3

After a good nights rest, we woke up normal EST time but in our heads it was 6:30am.   A bit hard for Mason to wake up at noon let alone prior to 7am.  I had breakfast on our balcony:


I made him breakfast and we were out the door headed back to DW.  I was excited to see Hollywood Studio as it would be a brand new experience for both of us.

We paid for parking and noted our lane in the giant parking lot.  For this area of Disney, no transport was needed to the gates.  Our passes were good for all three days so it was a quicker entry.  We had three rides noted down that were of interest to Mason but one was closed.   

We headed to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  The wait was quick and this ride was cool because we were in one ride with about 15 others.  I didn't do any research about each ride on purpose, so I couldn't back out.  Note: I've jumped out of an airplane and gone parasailing, so I'm not afraid of heights but in my old age I've had issues with my neck and I'm terrified of putting it out.  Especially on the other side of Canada nowhere near my Chiro.

The lights went out and we went up up up and then free fall.  OMG I screamed but I loved it.  I like that feeling when your stomach bottoms out.  As we were leaving, Mason informed me that was NOT a fun ride and he wouldn't be doing it again.

Now off to kill some time before Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.  We didn't have much interest in looking in the stores and the rest of the rides were either too young for Mason or he didn't have any interest.  My brain kept reminding me that the tickets and parking were almost $500 but I'm not going to force him into doing something he didn't enjoy.

We headed into the ride and it was similar to space mountain, long hallways and dark.  This ride was for 6 and we were at the front - steering.  The people behind us were shooting, I think.  I was going to give up my seat as I don't know how to fly a helicopter.  I decided to wing it.  The ride was okay, a lot of fast moving video and Mason going left and right and me listening to Mason scream "Pull UP! Pull UP! and Go DOWN DOWN!" lol.  I have no idea how we did.  

At that point, Mason wanted to leave.  We had only been there for a few hours but there wasn't much more for us to do and with the limited food items, eating there wasn't an option.  I packed my salad & snack box which was yummy.

So we left.   Mason stated he wanted to go back to the hotel but we have a rental car and I didn't want to go back quite yet.  He stated he wanted to see Alligators while we were in Florida.  Gator Land was only 20 mins away so after stopping to get a 10" cheese pizza ($10.68 USD), we were on our way.

Gator Land was $89.26 CAD for two of us, parking was free.  It was an outdoor animal sanctuary.  A nice walk in the jungles and seeing various animals:





By 2pm, we figured we'd head back and enjoy an hour of sun before the rain was predicted to come.  When we got in the hotel, Mason asked for a lay down.  I really wanted to go to the waterpark, we had free passes and I didn't want them to go to waste.  He's not sleeping but asked for me to lay down with him.  This is the part of motherhood that's hard.  He's not going to be with me forever and I might as well savour these times he wants to cuddle and forgo sunshine by the pool.

Fast forward to dinnertime, I started to get hungry and Mason ate leftover pizza.  Orlando is not devoid of restaurants but they aren't walking distance from our hotel.  Mason seemed hungry soI had to find a teen friendly restaurant that would have basic carb heavy foods (pasta, pizza or chicken fingers...not much else).  I settled on TGI Friday's as it was more like Boston Pizza back home.  The parking was full but the restaurant was half empty.   They had cool weird objects stuck to the walls:

I ordered chicken & steak fajitas and Mason wanted chicken fingers with mac & cheese but the waitress told us that they were out of mac and cheese so we opted for a caesar salad which is a rare thing for him to eat but I was glad he was eating a vegetable.   When the food arrived, the portions were HUGE.  I forgot we were in the US.  And it turns out they weren't out of mac & cheese so she gave him that two but in two small boats.  She didn't charge us extra for the salad.   Needless to say we didn't get through it and it was a meal for tomorrow.   Total cost with tip - $68.91 CAD.

Back to the hotel.  Driving in a new city wasn't stressful but I did notice their traffic lights are super long.  There is a lot of waiting.  We have also gone through 3/4 tank of gas jetting around.  Luckily I am driving a Toyota Corolla and so the gas bill won't be huge.  We were treated to a short lived lightening show when we got back.  

Disneyworld 2023 - Day 1 & 2

Okay so it's been a little while since I posted last. 

I think the last time Mason had a vacation with me was in Nov 2015 (not sure if I even blogged about it in here).  In 2019 I went solo to Belize and Guatemala and then the pandemic happened.  It's been a long three years without an overseas vacation.  I've done a few roadtrips with Mason but he's long overdue for a fun holiday.

I asked him if he wanted to go to another all inclusive but he mentioned Disneyworld and I thought, you know what? You've been through a lot and I've saved up enough money for us to go on a few trips (I am off to Indonesia solo in July and we are tentatively going to the DR in Nov).   

Off to Google to start vacation planning earlier this year.  For this trip, planning this vacation harder than all of my other trips and add in a 14 year old with ADHD.  So here we go.

I learned that Travel Agents no longer offer package deals for Disney (with some exceptions for Disneyland) and so I was on my own to figure out hotel & flights.  I chose to book through Expedia and I wanted to avoid major holidays as I knew it would be insanely busy.  I settled on end of April.

Here are the trip costs (all figures in CAD) for two of us:

Flights (Westjet & Air Canada) $1643.02
Hotel (Westgate).  Studio suite $1259.60
Resort Fee $133.90
Package Insurance (Cancellation) $239.66
Legoland (1 Day Pass) $173.76

Packing Essentials

  • Sunglasses
  • Poncho (it rains crazy amounts)
  • Flip flops (those who wore sneakers got drenched)
  • Hand Sanitizer (I didn't see one station)
  • Charging cables
  • Earplugs & eye mask

Pre Trip Planning

  1. If your child has any type of challenge, please check out the Disability Access Pass.  It's a free service and it allows you to join the 'Lightening Lane' (Previously called Fastpass?  You can preregister up to two (2) rides 2-30 days ahead of your visit.  You need to have a video call with one of their agents (with the child) and then you can pan.  Unfortunately the service didn't work for us and I learned upon arrival that you miss out on the super busy rides.  When you are onsite, you pick the rides you want to visit and it will tell you wait times.  You register and then show up after the designated time.  No meltdowns.  You can just wander near the ride and go in when you are ready.  LOVE THIS.
  2. Expedia incorrectly stated that our hotel had a shuttle.  HAD a shuttle, they stopped offering it.  I complained.  They said I could cancel my flight, I told them that rebooking would result in me paying a lot more for my hotel.  So they gave me a lousy $25 credit to use on a future purchase on Expedia.  Unlike Disneyland, the park is near freeways so even though it's 'close by', it's over an hour of walking, no thanks.  We also booked a day at Legoland which is 45 mins away so a car rental was a better option and also gave us more mobility to go get groceries & go to restaurants.  I booked a car rental through Expedia, the credit was not applied to my purchase.  They didn't care.  
  3. Park tickets are CRAZY expensive.  $1200 CAD for a 3 day pass for Mason and I.  I didn't prepay for parking and it was $25/day.
  4. Legoland was booked through Expedia, price was cheaper than buying direct.  I didn't prepay for parking

It took three flights to get to Orlando

  1. Vancouver Island to Edmonton
  2. Edmonton to Toronto
  3. Toronto to Orlando

I chose an overnight flight to spend less awake time in the air which I felt would be better for Mason.  The first flight was uneventful but when we got to Edmonton, our boarding pass didn't mention a gate and neither did the giant board.  There was no mention of an Edm to TO flight at all, I got nervous as it was almost midnight.  Luckily, a nice agent walked by and told us where to go.

When we got to Toronto, our uneventful trip got interesting. I could write a novel so I'll stick to bullet points for an easier read.

  • Plane was marshalled into the wrong gate and resulting us being delayed through customs.  The plan LEFT without us (and 5-6 others)
  • It was 7am, we were supposed to fly out at 7:30am.  There was hardly any restaurants open.  There was another flight out at 10:30am but it was FULL.  They said we were on the 2:30pm.   7 hours wait.  I found a Starbucks so I could get some caffeine and breakfast but Mason was another story.
  • Found a Mexican restaurant and asked them to make me a simple cheese quesadilla.  $12 CAD.  Med carton of milk for Mason $2.50
  • No nap pods in the area we were in :(.  Mason slept for 15mins at 1pm
  • Westjet sent me an email and a text with $60 in meal vouchers (which could be used at the snack stores) but they are one time use and expire the next day, when we are GONE.  This text came in after I spent $40 on two meals.  Starbucks & the restaurant were so lovely and processed a refund so I could use the two vouchers.  Very grateful.
  • I did put in a request to Westjet for monetary compensation for the flight delay.  7 hours = $700 each.  They have 30 days to respond. 
  • Flight finally arrived and we were back in the air.   Plane half empty.  Got into 2nd class (lots of leg room but no fancy meals)
  • Wasn't able to sleep on this flight, I've now only had 2 hours of a crappy plane sleep at this point.   Mason slept for two hours, he had his head on my shoulder, I was worried about him getting a stiff neck.  I spent most of the flight holding up his head


Plane arrives, now to find our bag.

  • Bag is on wrong carousel
  • Head outside to catch our shuttle to the rental car.  It was just driving away.  No big deal, another will come.  TWENTY minutes later.  Oh and it started to rain lol
  • Get to car rental, it's packed with people.  I rush the line.  I've got my credit card and driver's license.  They want PROOF of my policy.  I did see that there was a document attached to my credit card add on for insurance.  Guess what? It's not for the policy.  
  • Have to use data to log into my bank account because their 2FA/MFA is only sent by text/phone.  Activate Fido Roam like Home.  $12/day.  Le Sigh
  • After 15 mins, I finally prove I have a policy.  They tell me my bill is now $160 (Plus the $40 I prepaid).  It was supposed to be a $117 cost because I got insurance elsewhere BUT there are tolls everywhere in Florida.  I didn't bring much USD because I didn't want to pay a lot of extra fees to convert and I could use CC when needed.  After I agree to prepay tolls, she then tells me I pay a specific amount whether I go through the tolls or NOT.  WHAT?!? They just assume you do.  
  • Got a Toyota 4 door sedan, it felt really weird driving it as it was so low to the ground compared to my Jeep!
  • Mason navigates and we try to get to our hotel but he says he's hungry.  He spots an Olive Garden and wants breadsticks.  We order two dishes (Fettuccine Alfredo & chicken/broccoli (I took the lemons for my water, home), unlimited salad & breadsticks), no drinks.  It came to $63.00 CAD including tip. Ouchie

Okay now we are full but exhausted.  Time to get to our hotel.  

The Good:

  • Free parking - bonus
  • Get our package and head up to the room.  The room has a nice layout, on the second floor, view of the lake from a fully screened patio (mosquitos?)
  • And the best part? a JETTED tub in the bathroom!  The bathroom vanity had drawers, that was cool
  • It has a waterpark (slide and lazy river)

The bad

  • Front desk clerk is not friendly.  Didn't make for a great check-in experience
  • Waterpark cost $20each USD
  • It started pouring rain as soon as we settled in!  Check this video out.
  • My bedsheets were not clean, I found a live silverfish under the sheets and human hair. 

I named him Frank and put him in a cup to show Mason but I forgot about him and he died the next day.   RIP Frank, please tell your friends to stay outta my bed!

  • Clearly they made the bed but didn't change the sheets.  The sheets for the hideabed were ripped and dirty.  The housekeeper brought me new sheets but gave zero fucks about my complaint of dirty sheets in the first place
  • The shower wasn't cleaned
  • The hairdryer was missing (they brought me a brand new one (full size) later today)
  • The safe was broken (Maintenance fixed it quickly)

It gets worse...

  • After a VERY LONG day, we finally crash for the night.  The phone rang to let me know that our free breakfast/brunch was waiting with a presentation on the grounds amenities.  It is a huge resort.  We check in and I overhear them talking about packages so I figure they will try to upsell us on other amenities.  We are taken to the breakfast area which consists of eggs/sausages/potatoes, drinks, yogurt and cereal.   Free breakfast was appreciated until I realized I was in a TIME SHARE presentation.
  • OMG.  1 hour of my time and I will also receive a Visa gift card to use on site and free tickets to the water park.  I really didn't want to pay $40USD to go in a lazy river.  So we let the guy do his spiel.  He drives us around the property and then show us the suites.  They are gorgeous.  The timeshare makes sense for someone who is wealthy & travels a lot.  
  • An hour later, he tells me I have to decide in our chat if I want to give them $45,000USD (with $10k deposit) LOL.  I came here for a vacation, not to buy a timeshare in America.  I say no.  He says fine but you can tell he's annoyed.   He brings his Manager over to see how to get the cost down.  Still no.  I don't make decisions like this with high pressure.  He says I have to wait for my free passes.  Some lady sits down and asks me if I want to pay $700 for another week at the hotel at another time LOL.  NO! I don't think I'd come back to Florida or to this hotel.  She leaves
  • Finally I get a piece of paper to go to the welcome center to get my passes.  I go there, they tell me to go somewhere else.  Sigh.  The time is now noon and it's getting HOT out.  My $400 Disneyworld tickets are getting dusty.  Finally get to the Services center and I tell them I didn't have a great experience.  They end up giving me $100 USD cash, the voucher and another amenity voucher to use paid amenities at no cost.  This made up for the 1.5 hours of lost time.

I am VERY grateful I have a very patient child.  He didn't complain once.

Finally we are in the rental car and heading to DW.

  • Parking was easy and cost $25 USD / $34.77 CAD for the day
  • Shuttle to the monorail and we go to line up and I realize that my registration emails have NO pass in them.  I get locked out of my Disney account.  I get back in through the APP only to discover my passes are not linked to my account.  It's getting hotter out
  • Finally the check in lady finds them and we ask about our DAS pass.  She explains it's too late to book tomorrows rides and I can only book 2 for Friday.  That's the advantage of booking in advance, some rides are high volume and the times are already reserved.


  • Our first park is Magic Kingdom which seemed identical to DL.  We went on:
  1. Toy Story ride Buzz Lightyear shooting thing x 2 
  2. Space Mountain - Mason hated Space Mountain when he was 5 and I accidentally took him twice then.   As we were on this ride I said to him that the ride was WAY too fast for such a young child.  After it was over, we both agreed we did not like it lol
  3. Big Thunder - We liked that one!
  4. Haunted Mansion - When we got in the line, it started to downpour.  We did NOT bring ponchos or rain jackets.  I did bring a hat for me and Mason had a fan to sorta stay dry.  This is where the Lightning passes really come in handy.  The line up was covered!  Once the ride was over, it was raining less hard.
  5. By 4:30pm, it was a crazy downpour.  The streets started flooding.  We found cover before our next ride and it took a while inside before we got on the ride so essentially that kept us dry.  Video is here.
  • Food.  Hotdog & chips or an orange - $10.96 USD
  • I had 3 tacos $11.00USD.   It was quite yummy!
  • Water is $3.75USD for a bottle of Dasani

We decided after 4 hours that we saw everything we wanted to (weren't interested in going into all the little stores).  We opted for the ferry boat ride back to the parking lot shuttles:

Pic courtesy of DisneyLists.com

Pic I took during the float over.  

After searching for our rental car for 5 minutes, we head to Walmart to pick up some groceries as we have a mini fridge in our room and I want to avoid spending crazy money on food.  We grab:

  • Ponchos at $1.00USD
  • Water
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Mason's diet is very limited and we only have a toaster/microwave.  We opted for
    • Mr. Noodles
    • Eggos & maple syrup
    • Cucumbers
    • Milk
    • Krispy Kreme donuts 6 for $10 (splurge)
  • For me, I got yoghurt, salad bowl, fruit/nut bowl
  • Total bill was $73.98 / $103.37 CAD

I filled up our water bottles with ice from the hotel so we can keep our water cold tomorrow.

I had leftover Olive Garden for dinner.  Mason didn't eat because he felt sick (Hello Krispy Kreme)

Now it's time for a bath to soak my achy feet (15,000 steps today!) and head to bed.  It's only 7pm BC time but I am exhausted and we are hitting the park earlier tomorrow!

Hoping the weather doesn't look like this for the rest of the week...


*Prices shown in CAD also include exchange rate and any credit card fees.

Mason Turns Eight

Every year on Mason's birthday starting at age 3, I have asked him the same questions and see how his answers change over the years!

  • Age 3 is in Blue
  • Age 4 is in Grey
  • Age 6 is in Red
  • Age 7 is in Green
  • Age 8 is in Orange

1. What is your favorite color? Blue, Red & White, Pink, Pink, pink

2. What is your favorite toy? Garbage Truck, Bumblebee Transformer, Minecraft game, Nerf Guns, stuffies

3. What is your favorite fruit? Oranges, Oranges, Grapes, Cantelope, watermelon

4. What is your favorite cartoon? The Cat in the Hat, Octonauts, Minecraft, Bugs Bunny, beetlejuice

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Kraft Dinner, Kraft Dinner/Pizza, Macaroni & Cheese (White Spot), Bacon Pizza, cheese pizza

6. What is your favorite shirt? No Answer, Spiderman, Plaid, Star Wars, you had me at pizza

7. What is your favorite game? Going down a slide, Lego, Minecraft, Minecraft, Lego Dimensions

8. What is your favorite snack? Squigglers, Fruit gummies, Cheestrings, Popcorn, gummies

9. What is your favorite animal?Moo Cow, Tiger, Lion, Lion, seal

10. What is your favorite song? Bumble Bee, Transformers Theme Song, Break Free by Ariana Grande, Turn Down for What, what am i to you

11. What is your favorite book? Panda the Soldier by Oda Taro*, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura MurrayCaptain Underpants, Wormworld Saga, The series of unfortunate events

 12. Who is your best friend? Ryan, Fionn, Zoey, Natalia, Khafri

13. What is your favorite cereal?  Cheerios, Froot Loops, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? 'Mow' the lawn, Going hiking to see waterfalls with Daddy, Play, Play with Kindergarteners, Play Stuffies

15. What is your favorite drink? Milk,  Milk, Milk, Milk, Milk

16. What is your favorite holiday? Hallowee'n, Christmas, Hallowe'en, Christmas, My Bday

17. What friend do you like to take to bed with you at night? Baby (Cabbage Patch Doll), Mommy (lol), Mommy, Mommy, All my stuffies

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Toast & Honey, Toast & Honey, Toast & Honey, Toast & Honey, Froot Loops

19. What do you want for dinner? Pancakes, Pancakes, Mac & Cheese,  Pizza, Pizza

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Big Dinosaur, Fireman, Actor,  Police Officer, Stuffy Maker


Monster Jam 2014

When I saw the ad for Monster Jam in December, I thought that it might be a cool thing for Mason to experience.   I couldn't really recall whether I had been to one in my youth so I assumed not.

I had a choice of going to the show in Vancouver or try to align our Disneyland trip and Monster Jam when it was in Anaheim.  I figured we had enough to do on our vacation so I deferred to going until we were back in town. 

I invited everyone at work who had a little dude (not saying little girls wouldn't want to go but I figured it wasn't as big of a deal to them).  Soon we had over 6 families all wanting to go so it ended up being a corporate event but paid out of our own pockets.

The tickets ended up being $42.85 (per seat, no cost reduction per age).  My coworker was nice enough to lend us ear protection for Mason from their event last year.

So the day arrived today and I was surprised the show was so late (7pm start).  So I picked Mason up from his Dad's just before six and headed straight downtown.  I shouldn't have been surprised by all the traffic, there was an accident and a police incident so that slowed us down a bit.

From my last experience at going to Roger's Arena, I figured out parking before we left the house.   The lot I chose was fairly close to BC Place and a heckuva lot cheaper.  $6.30 vs $20.00.  [535 Richards].   

We quickly walked to BC Place (after I had to figure out where we were lol, it was dark and I lost my bearings).  Once we got on West Georgia, every man & woman with their child(ren) were walking in hoards to the stadium.

There were ticket scalpers everywhere offering tickets and ear protection.  I also stopped at Shoppers Drug Mart hours earlier to buy my own ear plugs.  (2 pairs for $3.99 to 30 decibels),

Once we got inside, a quick pee stop and off to our seats where my coworkers were already settled.  From the minute we got into the arena, the engine noise was overwhelming and I immediately put on Mason's earmuffs.  As soon as we were seated, I put mine in and handed the spare pair to my coworker who didn't bring anything for herself.  

The show was about to start!

 *Jigsy's photo editor is down so I can't add any pics at this time*

We headed to the concession for some water (I was going to bring some but I didn't think they'd let me bring a water bottle in for some reason).  I was instantly brought back to overpriced California!  $4.50 for a bottle of Dasani or Gaterade!  and $3.00 for a small bag of chips.  Yikes!

When an hour passed, Mason started to get restless and want to leave.  The trucks were in a competition and were racing around in circles more than anything, getting some air. I was thinking it was more of a 'crunch' old vehicles kind of show so I didn't blame him for being bored :(  Finally with about 1/2 hour to go, my team and I decided to leave and back home we went.  By the time we got home it was almost 10pm which is incredibly late for the little gaffers.  

All in all, it was a $104 night and we probably wouldn't go again.

Disneyland - Budget Review

I booked our flights on November 21st so I had exactly 2 months to plan & save for this trip.  My initial budget was based on pie in the sky #'s:

Here is a overview of the assumed costs:

  1. Flight & Hotel (best if you can get a package) $662.20 + est $1050
  2. Food etc $250
  3. Disneyland park tickets $550
  4. Souvenirs etc $100
  5. Transportation est $50
  6. Other excursions LegoLand $162.00 tickets only

Total Cost: $2824.00


  1. Flight  - $662.20
  2. VBRO - $850.00
  3. Food - $300.00
  4. DL Park Tix - $525.00
  5. Souvenirs & Extras- $300
  6. Transportation - $100

Total Cost $2732

Actual: (CDN)

  1. Flight  - $662.20
  2. VBRO - $850.00
  3. DL Tickets $525.00
  4. Groceries $138.61
  5. LegoLand Tickets - $107.06
  6. LegoLand Shuttle - $48.85 (Return for 1 person, Mason was free)
  7. Airport Shuttle - $82.64 (one way for 6 people)
  8. Notary Document -$32.48
  9. Wrist Bands - $12.08 (In case Mason went missing, they had his name and my phone # on them)
  10. Exchange Rate for $120 - $15.11
  11. Airport food (Breakfast & Snacks) - $19.00
  12. Cash Tips - $23.75
  13. Dining Out - $187.16
  14. Gifts - $116.89 (Including replacement sunglasses for me since I left mine at home, a caricature for Mason, etc)
  15. Park n Fly - $89.52 (1 week + 1 day)

Total Cost - $2940.97

Well there you have it, one week at Disneyland for just under $3k for Mason and I. Obviously this price was a bit lower because of my amazing budgeting skills and sharing a suite with our good friends, the Mennie's.  I only took $268 USD cash with me and overspent by $76.08CDN (which went on my MasterCard).   

We are home safe and sound and exhausted, no day off tomorrow.  Right back to work & school.

Disneyland Learning

We are now on day #5 and have used 3 out of 4 days of our Park Hopper passes.  We had a nice 'day in' yesterday which was a good move since it was a beautiful warm and sunny day.  The weather today took a dip and was on the chillier side.  I'd say watching the weather reports was completely useless since the temps have gone up and down day by day and aren't even close to being accurate.  Since we spent the day at Disneyland and did repeat rides, I thought I would dedicate this blog to sharing what I've learned if you are planning on a DL trip in the near future.

  • For the most part the park is non smoking but you see the odd (idiot) walking around smoking.  I also noticed 1 designed smoking section by the New Orleans area
  • Fast pass are a great idea for avoiding long lineups but should be acquired when you are first onsite to ensure you get a timestamp that is not too far off.  We haven't tried the Indiana Jones ride yet and when I got the FP at 3:30 the FP time is 6:50 to 7:50 so that's while to wait or go 'home' and come back
  • Avoid DL on the weekends.  You tend to lose track of time and obviously the weekend will be busier.  Our wait times went from 10+ mins tops to 30-50 minutes.  Ack!
  • Lunch @ Daisy's Diner (Toon Town).  The pizza''s are &7.49 but you get an entire pizza:.   The dough was nice but the pizza sauce was different.
  • Lunch @ Redd Rockett's Pizza Port (Tomorrowland).  You get one slice for $6.49 but the pizza was tasty.  Also, if you love mousse, I highly recommend the Chocolate Parfait.  It was pricey at $5.19 but it was delicious!!!

  • I'm not sure if it's a 'Canadian' thing but Californian's are not huge on recycling.  Sure you can deposit your bottles and cans but nothing else.  I just Googled this topic and it says they have recycling bins but I didn't see any (other than drink containers).  The site said that garbage is sorted but only for bottles and cans.  They should offer a lot more
  • As I learned during my first trip to Vegas, there is no dress code in Disneyland!  You can't help but spend hours people watching and the outfits did nothing less than surprise me.  You had 'barely there' ripped jeans or hot pants all the way to full winter parkas.  I was super confused. I initially scoffed at the hoodies and sweatshirts but realized this still is 'winter' here and the breeze does make it chilly.  Before you pack your puffy jacket, all you need is a long sleeve cover up or light jacket for the cool evenings.  You'd be surprised that a 26+ afternoon will quickly drop to 10 (exaggerated) within an hour or two (especially in shade) and some of the rides are a/c'd so even colder!
  • Avoid long lineups and use the Disneyland Apps that offer real time line ups etc.  There is NO Wifi in Disneyland Park (There are some hot spots in Downtown Disney however) so you'd need US cell service.  I did try to get service through Fido but they only offered 1 month plans at $40 and it was just too costly for one week
  • The condo we are staying at does not have a phone nor do we have phones to call long distance.  However if you are a Gmail user, you can call the US & Canada for ƒree!   Simply log into Gmail and start typing a phone # into the white text box 'name, email, number'


  • Don't forget your travel benefits documentation (and login to your benefits providers website).  If you have extended benefits, you will usually have travel insurance (unless you brought it separately).  An unexpected illness or accident will end up costing you time & money.  Ensure you have a credit card or extra cash for a cab ride to a clinic (some are 24 hrs) but aren't exactly near DL.  A $50 cab ride from our resort.  The clinic also charges upfront for the dr visit and then you are reimbursed by your benefits company when you return to Canada.  The visit will cost upwards of $130 + any medicine you need (another cab ride to a pharmacy
  • If you suffer from seasonal allergies, don't forget your allergy meds!
  • We discovered at the end of our trip that the complex we rented does not recycle.  Super disappointed that it will end up in the trash! Bad! Bad! Bad!

Well we are now done our little vacation, it's time to pack up and mosey on back to the airport! Hope you enjoyed the series of blogs and feel free to comment if you have any questions!


LEGOLAND California Park

Besides the wonderful world of Disney, I also wanted to plan a day trip for Mason and I to go on and after doing a bit of research I decided that LEGOLAND was the best option.  For those that aren't familiar with it, it is not in Anaheim but an hour a bit out in Carlsbad, CA.  

Before I bought the tickets, I first had to figure out how I was going to get there.  Two options:

  1. Rental Car
  2. Bus

Since I didn't really need a car aside from that one day, I opted to bus since it wasn't a long drive.  First stop, Greyline.  I opted to buy just transportation because I had a promo code for LEGOLAND admission. Unfortunately the deal I received (Kids admitted free) was a limited time offer but you can Google 'Legoland California promo code' or try http://www.retailmenot.com/ and other deal sites for codes.

  • Bus price $48.85
  • LL Admission $107.06 + Parkhopper ticket for SeaLife

There is a range of hotels to be picked up from so we just walked down the street to the Holiday Inn.  We had to be there for 8:25am so we left early.  The bus driver came in and loaded us onto the giant bus and we were the only ones on it!  We then drove to the depot where we waited for our main bus.  I guess by 9am it showed up and only 3 other families joined us.  Our Bus Driver introduced himself as a Mexican with an Italian name 'Guido' and had quite the sense of humour.  Mason and I opted to sit in the front to have a great view.   Mason was entertained with his Tablet and I chatted with the driver.

Once we arrived, we were told to be back for 5:30pm.  That's a long day! 

I took a zillion pictures, if you are a friend or family, you can see the album on Facebook. If not, you can uh Google images Legoland and check out the other tourist pictures lol.

As we entered the park, we walked past a Noodle house (Wok n Bowl Ramen) which was designated as my lunch.  Mason loved the water park and the water shooter guns and I had to pull him away to keep walking.  The large scale sculptures were amazing and made of over 200k pieces.  

Some of the highlights:

  • They had ample garbage & recycling bins
  • Complimentary tampons in the washrooms
  • LOTS of rides for Mason's age, some were parent accompanied others the kids could go on alone

There wasn't a lot of downsides but for the price of admission, I was surprised on the upkeep of the attractions, chipped/faded paint and the landscaping was atrocious.  You'd think they'd have a crew refreshing the park.  Maybe they are doing that later but I wasn't impressed.

When it came time to have lunch, I bought my main + chips & a drink for Mason.  Then we had to walk 8 mins in another direction to get his lunch (all the food kiosks are spread all over the resort, they aren't in the same place).  Cost - $16.36 and then off to Pizza Mania to get Mason a meal.  Well an individual pizza is just as expensive as the meal so he ended up getting more chips and apple juice (organic no less) at a cost of $9.96 CDN.  Oops.  

After we ate, we explored the rest of the park and went on the rides a few more times.  One note, I'm not sure if it's just the time of year but there were very little lineups for any ride during the first couple of hours.  The weather wasn't extremely warm so maybe that was a deterrent?  Oh, and there is NO wifi.  A lot of parents were complaining.  I would have PAID to have wifi since there were so many areas where kids could run around (playgrounds) etc and parents were just sitting and staring.  

By 2pm we were done and we still had SeaLife to go through.  So we exited out the front (not realizing that the two are joined) and headed over.  The building looks a lot smaller than it is.  It was set up the usual aquarium way and we wandered down pathways of fish & sea life.  We walked past a theatre which I forced Mason to sit through 3 showings because my feet were killing me (I'm sure his was too, I didn't bring the stroller!) and we had a TON of time to kill.  Next was a puppet show which Mason thoroughly enjoyed.  

Once we went through SeaLife twice..I was SO ready to go home.  It was only 2:30! wahh.  We were in the middle of nowhere so I wasn't able to leave.  We didn't get exit hand stamps but I pleaded with the cashier at LegoLand to let us back in which he obliged.  Now we had a ton of time to wander again and again and eventually it was time to head back to the bus.

I had quite the conversation with Guido on the way home, talking bout every topic possible.  He was quite the guy.   Mason was lucky enough to have battery power on his Tablet for about 90% of the way home.  We hit rush hour and it finally died but he was super patient.  We didn't get back to the townhouse until just after 7.  

I wavered back and forth to contemplate whether the trip to Legoland was worth it. I would probably do it again but drive so I and more flexibility on when to leave.  I'd say that any kid over the age of 7 may be bored so younger than that and over 36" would be perfect.  


Downtown Disney

Since we arrived late afternoon in Anaheim, we didm't want to use up a full Disneyland pass (My friends bought a 5 day, we had a 4 day park hopper) they suggested we take a walk through Downtown Disney.  Back in 1990, this didn't exist so it was a new experience for Mason and I.

We were thrilled to discover a double stroller in the closet so that was for our Friends' kids and we used their single stroller for Mason.  Mason hasn't had a stroller in years and I think even at 1.5 his Dad and I made him walk everywhere.  This environment is a different story.  It's not odd to see a large child in a stroller and no one judges!  The fact that you are literally walking for 8+ hrs as an adult is rough, let alone little peoples.

So we left our townhouse to walk to Disneyland.  This was one of the 'cons' of stating a bit further away than say the other hotels.  However where this group of townhouses is located, it's very close to the park.

8 minute walk!

The only downside is that there is not a cross walk across the 4 lane street.  There is a divider which makes it a bit more safe but you literally have to wait for all cars to pass (no one bothers to stop here..tsk tsk) and then cross to the median and then wait again.  

Once we walked down Magic way, there are two entrances to Downtown Disney, one via the Disneyland Hotel (we went through their lobby) or simply keep going straight and turn left on S West St.  

As you progress along, you first encounter the vendors on both sides of the path.  Selling anything from t-shirts, to face painting/caricatures, sunglasses (my first stop) to churro's/popcorn.  Then once you get into the 'downtown' you'll see more restaurants and then shops.

The Rainforest Cafe is the first restaurant we encountered and we decided to eat early.  The restaurant is an experience in itself.  It's decked out in jungle theme (although all the plant life appeared to be fake) there are robot monkey's in the trees that start squeaking prior to a 'rainfall' that occurs every 15-20 mins where the lights flicker and/ you can hear rain and thunder.  The kids enjoyed it.  We wandered their gift shop/store? while waiting for our name to be called which took up a lot of time.  Once we got seated, it was time to order. The menu was pretty extensive and reasonably priced.  By the time we were served, it was pretty much 5pm!  Perfect timing.

After dinner we continued to explore Downtown Disney and headed into the Lego Store.


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