Chris and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Taiwan again together this past April, and the trip was (as expected) wonderful.
We are in the process of editing some footage of the trip to upload to our YouTube channel, but I wanted to include some photos here in this post so you can see a bit of what we did. Most of the trip is documented on video, but here’s a glimpse into our Taipei life this past April.
We visited the Northeast coast of Taiwan, ate a few green onion pancakes (my absolute fave food ever….no lie), went to 7-11 at least once a day, and marveled at the sight of Taipei 101 every morning when we left our little Airbnb. It was another unforgettable trip seeing the country that means so much to my boyfriend’s family, and after visiting for a second time, I am more than confident that we’ll make it back to Taiwan again and again.
In the beginning of February, I went on a weekend staycation with a couple of my college friends who were visiting from SoCal. This weekend in San Francisco was an absolute dream, and I’ve been itching to document it on the blog.
Sabrina is my first and best college friend from UCSB. We met on the first night living in the dorms, and we’ve been friends ever since. Our friend and past roommate Wanying flew up to SF with Sabrina, and the three of us stayed in a humble hotel right near Union Square and Chinatown. We had so much fun reconnecting and sightseeing together!
I went my entire childhood without visiting San Francisco, so when I finally got to see the city for the first time when I was 19, I fell head over heels in love. From its breathtaking waterfronts to amazing food to historic sites, this city is something else. And since visiting for the first time, I have barely made a dent in my SF “bucket list.” There is so much to do and explore, and the girls and I could hardly do everything in just one weekend. But our little adventurous selves kept busy and still found some time to relax and take everything in.
We visited Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39. This was only my second time visiting these SF landmarks, but this area holds a special place in my heart. David, Chris, and I visited here during my first ever trip to SF, so I was so excited to make new memories here with my girlfriends, too!
We went to Le Marais Cafe & Bakery, my favorite breakfast place in all of the Bay. I absolutely love their food, and my friends did, too!
We loved visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park! It was a first for all three of us, and it was totally worth the $9 admission. The garden is peaceful and stunning, and it is just lovely to walk around on a sunny day. I can’t wait to come back and visit more areas of Golden Gate Park!
We ate some delicious green tea cheesecake and mochi…SO sweet, but a lovely little snack before lunch.
And the Palace of Fine Arts is beautiful! Such a sweet stop along the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
I hope you enjoyed catching a glimpse of our weekend in SF! We did so much and I took so many pictures, but there were also many moments of relaxation, laughter, and love, when I felt so immersed in our time that I forgot to document it. But I suppose that’s what memories are for 🙂
One year ago, when we were originally planning our first WDW vacation, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that Magic Kingdom is similar to Disneyland in California, Epcot is a world-traveler’s dream, and Hollywood Studios may not have much going on at the moment, with all the closures and construction. But Animal Kingdom? That park seemed like a wildcard.
For a while, I assumed that Animal Kingdom would be a lot like a giant zoo. Though I’d never been, San Diego’s Wild Animal Park seemed to be a pretty close comparison. I knew there would be a ton of animals, but that was pretty much it. As I did more and more research, however, I learned more and more about the park, and I began to have this sneaky feeling that it would end up being my favorite.
And I was right.
Animal Kingdom is, in my opinion, the most beautiful park in all of Walt Disney World. From its sprawling landscapes to its lush foliage to the impeccable theming, there’s no denying that the scenes of this park can take your breath away. Every inch of the place contains beauty and magic. Even the often-rejected Dinoland U.S.A. is an eyesore but still adorable in its own kitschy way.
One of my absolute favorite moments during our first impression of Animal Kingdom was the Kilimanjaro Safaris. It was so awesome to be able to learn about how the animal caretakers and conservationists at Disney care for the animals. I love hearing fun facts and trivia, so our driver’s narration during the safari made the experience even more enjoyable.
And don’t even get me started on Pandora! Pandora: The World of Avatar is DAK’s newest land, and it doesn’t disappoint. This remarkable area definitely lives up to the hype, and even those who aren’t fans of Avatar (the only Avatar I love is an airbender 😉 can enjoy this place.
The unique interplanetary sounds, breathtaking waterfalls, weird plants, and AMAZING rides (namely Flight of Passage—so pumped we Fastpassed this one) make this land one of my absolute favorites in the whole WDW resort. I truly felt immersed in another world.
Even the Tree of Life, the iconic image of DAK, has its own hidden beauties throughout its trunk and surrounding garden area. If you look closely, you can catch a glimpse of the hundreds of animal carvings upon the tree and its roots.
These stylistic murals make DAK even more special and immersive.
We even saw a silver-back gorilla while hiking through Gorilla Falls! It’s unbelievable how close you can get to the animals in this place. Chris and I were dumbfounded.
DAK also has our favorite ride in the whole resort: Expedition Everest. We went on it twice, but that wasn’t nearly enough.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into our experience at Animal Kingdom! It is by far my favorite WDW park. I love the sights, sounds, and smells of it all, and I can’t wait to go back in 2019.
Chris and I were driving home from work last week and as always, the topic of Disney came up in conversation. Chris mentioned that he was wondering the cost of a Disney vacation compared to any other vacation, and we started talking about what a trip to Europe, for example, would cost compared to what we paid to go to Disney World (and what we project we’ll be paying for another upcoming trip to another Disney destination;)).
Here’s the deal: Disney is expensive. There’s no doubt about it. From the hotels to the food to the park tickets, everything adds up very quickly, and you can easily feel shocked by the price tags. It’s almost inevitable to gasp every time you see the total estimated cost for a Disney trip.
But when Chris and I spoke about the cost comparison of Disney trips and others, a very important point was made: with Disney, you are getting a lot out of what you pay for. Sure, the park tickets are undoubtedly expensive. But when you enter the park gates every day, you know that every activity has already been paid for.
Chances are, if you’re planning a European vacation, you are going to participate in tours, go on excursions, visit museums, watch shows, etc. And each of these things will likely cost you money and a separate ticket…see where I’m getting at?
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. So here are some definitive reasons why we love and value Disney vacations.
Nearly all of your heart’s desires are included in your park tickets
As I mentioned above, when vacationing around the world, you’re most likely going to want to participate in excursions, visit museums, tour monuments and capitols…and, well, these things cost money.
And while Disney park tickets are quite expensive, they include so much more than unlimited rides. From fireworks displays and castle shows to water pageants and parades, almost everything you could ever want to do or see in a Disney park is included in your park ticket. The California and Florida parks offer so much to park guests, so be sure to take advantage of both the rides and everything else when you visit! Whether you’re visiting for one day or one week, there is a ton to see and do.
Your vacation can have that all-inclusive feel you’ve always wanted
With the Disney Dining Plan, you can pay for your meal costs up front and eliminate the stress of meal costs before your trip even starts.
Side note: Disney is very flexible when it comes to paying off your trip—all you have to do is pay a deposit when booking your vacation and pay off your entire vacation by the month before your trip (although policies on this may vary depending on which Disney destination you are vacationing to).
Disney World offers three Dining Plan options: the Quick Service Dining Plan (which includes two quick service meals and two snacks per day), the Disney Dining Plan (which includes one quick service meal, one table service meal, and two snacks per day), and the Deluxe Dining Plan (which includes one quick service meal, two table service meals, and two snacks per day). These plans can be a great option for those who want to pay for their entire trip before even setting foot on Walt Disney World Property.
Plus, Disney World often releases free dining promotions for those staying in a Disney resort, so be on the lookout for when those are released! Christopher and I, for example, took advantage of this free dining promotion by accepting the Quick Service Dining Plan for free and paying the difference of upgrading to the Disney Dining plan. We only paid a total of approximately $125 per person for an entire week of dining!
Disney isn’t just for kids
Disney is something that many people don’t fully understand unless they love Disney. And when you’re an adult couple without any kids, finding people who understand why you would vacation to kid paradise is pretty rare.
But Disney isn’t just a vacation destination for kids and families. Disney parks and resorts are some of the most romantic and thrilling places to be! There were several instances on our WDW vacation last fall that were so romantic and lovely. The entire vacation was purely blissful and magical. While we are definitely kids at heart, I think a lot of the magic came from the little romantic moments during our trip, from holding hands while watching a beautiful fireworks display to dining by a window in Cinderella Castle overlooking Fantasyland.
Disney has some of the most fantastic restaurants and ambiance imaginable, amazing food festivals, and entertainment that people of all ages can enjoy. I even believe that I love Disney parks even more as an adult than I ever did as a child!
Thanks so much for reading! If you love Disney vacations or if you have a destination that is your favorite place to travel to, let me know in the comments! 🙂
Disneyland—the Happiest Place on Earth—has always held a special place in our hearts.
I grew up going to the California Disney parks, and Disney was a huge part of my childhood—but that’s another story. It wasn’t until Chris and I began dating when I realized the magic that Disney can and does have on adults. Sure, Disneyland was absolutely magical when I was a kid. But when Chris and I started going to Disney together, that magic transformed for me, and I realized just how special the parks truly are.
So here it is: my blog post with my best advice for your first-ever trip to the Disneyland Resort. The best part about DLR is that there is always something new to see—especially for a first-timer! So grab a cup of coffee and read on as I share my tips for your first visit to Disneyland.
If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, you already know that it is the Happiest Place on Earth. The parks are magically filled with hundreds of beautiful sights, smells, and sensations, and there is no way that you could possibly see everything in only one day.
Relax! That’s how it’s supposed to be. If the magic of Disneyland could be summed up in 12 hours, there’s no way people would visit as often as they do. So enjoy yourself! Don’t rush it. Breathe in the churro-scented air, gaze up at the windows on Main Street, U.S.A., chat with the cast members as you stand in every ride queue, and realize where you are. Grab a “First Visit!” button from City Hall and smile!
Have a General Idea of What You Want to Do
You do not by any means need to plan out your entire day(s). I remember when Chris and I were planning our WDW trip, everyone said that you need an itinerary for every day: fast passes, dining reservations, parade times, and fireworks seating all had to practically be memorized!
Disneyland isn’t like that. With around 70% of attendees being Annual Passholders or locals, there’s no way the parks could require us to have each day planned out every time we visit.
However, it is a good idea to have a general idea of what you want to do. Want to eat at a specific restaurant, like Carnation Cafe on Main Street or Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square? You should make a reservation 2-8 weeks ahead of time, just to be sure. But when it comes to what to ride or watch, just have an idea of which lands you want to conquer and go through your day accordingly. Grab your fast passes for Space Mountain and Indiana Jones when they’re available, utilize the single rider lines if you want to, and know what time the parade will come through.
Having a general plan for your day will help you worry less so you can have way more fun! But don’t forget that this is your time to escape reality, so take advantage of strolling through the park in the evening and people watching on a bench in the afternoon.
Don’t Miss the Hidden Gems
There are so many hidden gems throughout the Disneyland Resort, and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for them!
There are hidden Mickeys everywhere, names of notable Disney Imagineers and Legends on the windows on the second story of Main Street buildings, and fun Easter Eggs (references to things in the Disney universe) throughout rides and attractions. So grab a caramel apple, take a seat somewhere, and look and listen. You never know what you’ll see or hear!
Some experiences we love include
Watching the neon lights turn on one-by-one in Cars Land while listening to “Life Could Be a Dream.”
Sitting on the corner of Main Street and counting how many “family reunion” t-shirt groups we can see
Strolling through New Orleans Square and gazing longingly at the entrance to Club 33
Buying a caramel apple at the Candy Palace and eating it while watching a nighttime parade
Ride Dumbo at night to take in all of the Fantasyland lights from a new perspective
Grab a gingerbread cookie and hot cocoa from the Grand Californian during Christmastime
Decide When You Want to Visit
Are you planning a trip for the middle of summer, or are you visiting during the holiday season? Are you a Halloween or Christmas fan? Do you want to go for Mickey’s birthday or Disneyland’s anniversary? Is Easter or Spring Break your scene?
Take a look at the average weather for Anaheim during the time you’re planning to visit. Chris and I have gone in the middle of summer during Disneyland’s July heat, and we’ve visited in the winter on rainy days. It all depends on what you want to see while you’re there (and when you can fit the trip into your schedule).
For a first-time trip, I suggest getting a two day, one-park-per-day ticket. If you can swing it, go for three days with the park hopper option. But ultimately, do what is in your budget and best for you.
And that’s it! That is my advice for any Disneyland newbie. And just for fun, here are a few things I always love to eat, ride, and do 🙂
Try a Monte Cristo sandwich at least once.
Ride Space Mountain at least TWICE.
Be surprised at the boulder every time you ride Indiana Jones (it always gets me!!)
Thank and compliment cast members who are simply sweet or go the extra mile.
Tell every dressed-up little girl she is a beautiful princess!
Meet characters (and show them you’re excited!): bow at the Queen of Hearts, address Dr. Facilier properly, and tell Tinker Bell you know the water fairies where you’re from.
Welcome to another WDW blog post! This time, I’m taking you along with us to EPCOT!
EPCOT was absolutely stunning. From the moment we walked into this park, I knew it would be a favorite. Who am I kidding, I knew I would love it even before we got on the plane! EPCOT is a breathtaking park with so much going on: from Future World to the World Showcase, every section of this park is a different vibe. If this day wasn’t incredibly hot and humid, we would have been strolling through at a much slower pace. This is definitely a park I can’t wait to revisit again.
At the time of our visit, the Food and Wine Festival was going on, and you bet Chris and I tried as much food as possible! We vlogged our whole experience (and EVERYTHING we ate) so check it out here.
This day was by far a vlog-more-photograph-less day, meaning most of what we did is documented in our video. But here are some of the photos we took!
Hey everyone! It has been too long since we got back from our epic adventure in Walt Disney World. Here is my second post about the trip!
I have included SO many photos of the trip in this post, from our gray stuff at Be Our Guest to our lovely encounter with the princess herself at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We rode every ride we wanted, ate every snack we wanted, and saw every show we wanted on this beautiful (yet SUPER HOT AND HUMID) summer day in Disney World.
Here is a link to our vlog of this day, and below are our photos. I can’t wait to share more! I want to do a reflective post of the whole trip in which Chris and I recap our tips and tricks for WDW first-timers! Let me know what you think 🙂
Today I’m starting to share some pictures and a video of our first day in Walt Disney World! We had so much fun on this day. Traveling from CA to FL was no joke. It took us 9 hours with a layover, and we were totally exhausted when we arrived, but we were so hyped to be there that none of it mattered.
I only have a few pictures from this day, as well as our first WDW vlog of the trip! Let me know what you think! 🙂
Woohoo! Next month, Chris and I will be in Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL! This will be each of our first times visiting the Florida Disney parks, and we’re so excited to be doing it together!
We have been working with a Disney travel agent who has booked our dining reservations and fast passes for us. So awesome! Some of the things we are most excited for are
Eating lunch at Be Our Guest, a restaurant modeled after Beast’s castle
Riding Rock n Rollercoaster (okay, this one’s allllll Chris)
Walking around the Epcot World Showcase and dreaming about all the countries we want to visit together
Taking in Liberty Square (we don’t have it in CA!)
Going on a safari!!!!! (I CAN’T WAIT)
Watching the Star Wars fireworks
We’re also so happy to be visiting Disney World during the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. We have never attended the festival at California Adventure, so we’re stoked to be going to WDW during this time at Epcot!! Chris already has his heart set on a Le Cellier steak from one of the booths. This event might be one of the things we are most excited for—we got park hopper tickets so that we could take full advantage of it during as many days as possible!
While planning our trip, we watched a TON of Disney vlogs (shout out to Disney For 2 for being the best out there!!), read all the Disney Tourist Blog posts we could find, and poured over every restaurant menu. We wanted to make sure we made the absolute best out of our trip! We’ll be there for one week (Chris thinks it’s plenty of time, while I’m still begging to extend our trip).
This trip is especially magical for us because Disneyland is where Chris and I truly bloomed as a couple. We visited for the first time together during the first few months of our relationship, and ever since we have held Disneyland in a special place in our hearts. it is so wonderful to get to experience WDW as first-timers together, taking every inch of the parks in through fresh eyes. We’re itching to go!!!
I’m already planning my outfits, we got some new comfortable sandals, and Chris keeps asking when our Magic Bands will come in the mail. Are we eager, or what?
Thanks for reading! If you have any tips or tricks for navigating the parks, or if you want to share your favorite Disney World memories, send them our way!
You can’t tell much from these pictures, but this tea place in San Jose was totally adorable. There were tree stump stools and tables, chalk board menus, and succulents everywhere. Too. cute.
One of our favorite things to do is explore new places to eat. So we decided to get out of the house on Saturday (well actually, I was in a bit of a funky mood and Chris agreed to take me out hehehe) and try a tea place we hadn’t ever heard of: Tea Lyfe.
Settled in Vietnam Town in East San Jose, this place is super cute and definitely a hidden gem, in my opinion. I got the Matcha Sensation, and at 80% sweetness, this was definitely my cup of tea (lol). Chris got the Mango Rose, which wasn’t his taste, unfortunately, but we both think he should stick to what he likes, more often than not. If this wasn’t so out of our way, I’d definitely go back sometime soon (okay it’s really not that far, but I mean who would say no to Share Tea?!).
Life lately has had its ups and downs. I’ve definitely gotten waves of homesickness since moving to the Bay, but keeping myself busy definitely helps a ton. I think just taking time to do new things with Chris helps me recenter myself and feel great. We started volunteering weekly together, and today he went to yoga with me. It made my heart so happy!
I’ve also been looking into grad school more and more lately. I just miss school so much already, and I only graduated two months ago! Learning is just my favorite. I’ve been reading a lot of articles and blog posts lately to feel inspired, and this book I’m reading has also been keeping me from getting into a grub life slump.