Going all in on a Disneyland weekend

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Disneybound. Disneyland, California. November 2017.

Having grown up in LA and with a mom who worked for Disney during that time, Disneyland has always felt like an extension of my backyard. This has shaped the way I look at the park as well as how I tackle the challenges from ride closures to long lines.

However, my normal pattern was thrown off completely the last time I visited the park with Ryan. As an active member of the military, Ryan was able to get me a three day pass (which let us finish his last two days) for less than a regular park hopper. This meant we didn’t feel all the time constraints that come with the high price tag associated with a family trip to these one of a kind parks.

We don’t live too far from the park – about a 45 minute trip through LA – but because we were going to go two days in a row, we decided to look at hotels near the park. Now, I for one have not researched Disney hotels recently but, my goodness, unless you are willing to sell body parts, I don’t suggest these despite all the perks that can come with these packages.

Instead, we stayed at the Majestic, a hotel shaped like a castle a tiny jump away from the park. With the military discount, we got a deal for a double queen sized room, with free parking and a free shuttle to and from the parks, all for $90, but even without them, this place is beautiful and a steal! I am in love with this hotel and will be going into that more next week because there is so much to talk about.

A small insider tip and a huge trend at Disney that I have been playing with, but is so much fun with someone to dress up with, is Disneybound. The big trouble I have with this is that some people go too far – they end up more in the costume realm than the impression of a character. We did Flynn and Rapunzel one day and Peter and Wendy the next. This involved analyzing shapes and colors and then matching up details so that when you stand together, people can tell based on your joint appearance. Ryan got the best reaction to his detail – a thimble necklace – because cast members loved the attention to classic story details.

The other newer experience I had was taking my time – something I only recommend if you can spend multiple days here. We explored the newly opened Pirates’ Island – old Tom Sawyers Island with a face lift – and had the best time. I’d love to get a group in Peter Pan and the Lost Boys Disneybound to play sardines all over the island – again, the kind of things you can do when you aren’t worried about hitting every ride in the park.

Disneyland is changing all the time whether in big renovations or by the season and while the price tag is steep, there is something special as wither a visitor or local, walking though the gates.

But back to one of those tips: if you are worried about crowds and long lines but feel like you need to do more than just prioritize, consider how you feel about face characters. The busier the park is, the more characters you will see wandering the park and watching them is it’s own kind of fun.

I have other news that and connections to this park, but that’ll be coming out in the next couple of weeks. Until then,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Going all in on a Disneyland weekend

Travel Dating: Embrace Every Moment.

The weird thing about dating for me has been the fact that the majority of the time I have been able to spend with my boyfriend has been while traveling and one-fifth of that time was in a car.

For some, traveling with a significant other can break a relationship – it can quickly point all your partners flaws or quirks that tick you off as well as highlight all the ways your personalities don’t fit. On the other hand, traveling together can strengthen your relationship as you have to figure out how to work together to overcome all those obstacles that traveling can put in your way.

For me, as a traveler, I don’t mind playing it by ears up to a point – let’s be honest I plan what I can with a little room to switch up activities where need be – but Ryan had little bits planned and everything else was played completely by ear, seizing every opportunity.

As I have outlined before now in my other posts about Kansas, we made everything into a date or into a game and embraced every activity we could come up with, even if it meant that we didn’t do all the traditional travel things I normally would.

Whether you are trying to embrace every moment – like me! – because you are trying to get all the time with your significant other that you can, or if you are trying to get everything out of a vacation that happens to be with your significant other, keeping communication with them and balancing what you want to do is key.

This gets crazier for me because I am aware that this is is going to be my life for the next three years when Ryan is living in Germany and any trip out here or there is going to involve a mix of traveling and dating – so yes, this is a motto I will be absolutely living by.

Therefore, to end this post: if you have any advice on how to make this work and keep embracing every moment, feel free to sound off below!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Travel Dating: Embrace Every Moment.

Palling Around Wichita

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Between here and there, Kansas. July 2017.

Sometimes when you are running the line between local-staycationing, dating, and travel, you come across a day that is an odd mixture of all of the above – for Ryan and I, Wichita was the near-perfect example of this. On the most basic level, the day consisted of lunch, a bookstore date, and a more traditional date – a few hours in an entertainment center.

First up, The Redrock Canyon Grill. Ryan and I decided to try something food-wise that was more local (or at least the we had never tried) and when we did an area search, Redrock popped up near the top places to try. And after our time here, I understand why. The food and service was great. The atmosphere made us feel a little bit under-dressed in t-shirts and jeans but there were a few parties dressed similarly so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I thought the prices were a bit high at first but the portions are huge, so they are actually fitting for what you get.

Our server was amazing, very sweet and, since we weren’t there at a rush, stayed by the table for a while and talked to us about our trip as well as food recommendations while we were ordering. What I loved the most, however, was a small gesture I’d never thought to ask about: when she asked if Ryan wanted his leftovers packaged, we said that we were road-tripping so couldn’t take them. Instead, she brought us ice water in to-go cups because it was hot and she knew it was a long drive ahead of us.

Again, between the food, the service, and this kind gesture, I totally recommend the Redrock Canyon Grill.

The next stop was Barnes and Nobles – in no way a local hot spot. To start, Ryan and I are both big book nerds so whenever we get a chance to hit a bookstore, we will. And, as a book nerd, I love seeing the variations even in these big chain book stores. For me, this is a great line between travel and staycations – it’s not near home, however, it’s like home but different enough to want to run around and explore.

Finally, we wanted to do something very traditionally date-like but also new, so we looked for an open escape room that would be available early enough that we could still hit the road in time to get to Fort Riley before nightfall. This was impossible since these book up pretty far in advance, but we quickly discovered Glow Golf instead. Again, this isn’t an experience you can only get in Wichita – these kind of entertainment zones are popping up all over the country.

This particular location has a lot of choices, and while not expensive, each thing costs you a little and they add up. First off, everything is black light so if this messes with your eyes, you may want to skip out; if not, jump on it! We played golf (two games for the price of one), the laser maze (a thief-type game that we played over and over again), ping-pong, and cornhole with light-up bean bags. Dating with some fun competition thrown in? Yes, please! Especially to break up a long drive day.


Again, none of these activities really scream ‘exploring Wichita’ because they weren’t for that. Sometimes in travel, you need a slacking off day, and I loved our day slacking off in Wichita and wouldn’t take it back for all the explorations we could have done, especially on our time table. But more of that to come as we continue to explore Kansas.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Palling Around Wichita

To Pack and Pack Again.

Continuing along the epic saga of summer travel, today I finally settled down to pack for the two trips I have covering just over a week. Both of these trips are very different and require very different perimeters when packing. Luckily, this allowed me to pack for both trips at once while also having what I need for both trips available.

First (as in tomorrow), I leave to caravan up to Fresno to help my sister pack her apartment up and move back to the valley. With an easy there and back, two day trip whose main features are driving, cleaning, and carrying  heavy items, packing is pretty much throwing in some extra underclothes, a shirt, and PJs; it’s easy to reuse heavy duty jeans the whole trip. Add in toiletries and an ipod play list for the drive and you’ve got the whole trip more or less squared away.

This is almost the opposite of packing for Kansas.

While Kansas – as I have spent the last few weeks explaining – doesn’t have very much going on, my wardrobe for Kansas is extremely varied. There are two reasons for this kind of packing (one of which I have encountered before and the other I haven’t) : One – it’s a short trip. Six days if you count the evening I fly in; and Two – this whole trip is basically back to back dates that consist of everything from a fancy dinner and a show, to a stadium musical, to zip lining, to fourth of July fireworks.

The first means that I will over-pack. Even with all of my experience, I almost always pack more per day traveling short term than I do long term. Why is this? well, even with wearing pieces that can work well together without making it look like you haven;t changed clothes in 5 days, the shorter the trip the more the similarities bother – after all, as much as I like the ease of travel, I also like fashion.

The second means that I have to account for day activities and night activities that very well may require costume changes. Alongside leaving room for choice while on the road, this means packing even more.  Then there are toiletries, makeup, hair stuff, shoes, and entertainment for the plane. And of course, my camera. All in all, that is a lot of stuff for less than a week out there.

But what am I packing? A few dresses fit for different kinds of activities – from a fancy dinner to running around town; some rugged jeans and a basic shirt for zip lining; and then some basic running around clothes like a skirt and jeans paired with a wide selection of top options.

So it will be a long week but I can’t wait to get underway. Until next time:

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

To Pack and Pack Again.