Friday, June 22, 2018

Jackson's Disney birthday extravaganza


Your baby only turns one once, right?! Now throw in the fact that it's your first boy after two girls and you're bound to go a little overboard in the celebration department! You all know our love for Disneyland, so Jacks has practically grown up there and he LOVES it too! So we knew it was a must for his birthday. We also knew we wanted to continue the "breakfast with Disney characters" tradition (we've done it for all of Jules and Kourt's birthdays), plus Jules has been begging us to spend the night at Disneyland...and so Jackson's birthday extravaganza began! 

We live about 25 minutes from Disneyland so we've never had a reason to stay at any of the hotels nearby, but we always drive by the Howard Johnson Anaheim (aka the water park hotel) and think it's so cool, so we looked that one up first! The price was a steal, the new renovated rooms were so cute, it's a short walk to Disneyland and that water park sold us all! 
Here are a few reasons why we loved the Howard Johnson:

1. It's kid friendly! With three kids 5 and under that is important. They have a convenience store by the lobby full of everything you can think of from sunblock and floats for the pool, to snacks and Disney baby clothes! The rooms are fun and colorful, my kiddos loved the Disney feel. They also have Netflix! There's even a little arcade where the kiddos can go wild. Plus, they have a mini water park!

2. Castaway Cove! AMAZING! This is that mini water park we had driven by all these years. Let me just say that my kids were obsessed! It is made for littles. Kourt walked in, splashed into the toddler pool and swore she could swim. We couldn't get either of them out of there. My super cautious, "don't splash my face," Jules, was riding all the slides, splashing in the water fountain and dunking her face into the pool! Even Jacks had a blast in the toddler pool. It has a beach style entry so he was crawling in and out on his own. They loved it so much they begged to leave Disneyland early just so they could spend more than half the day in the pool! Jason and I loved how kid accessible it was. My girls had no problem climbing up the stairs to get on the water slides. They were able to do everything on their own without our help and they loved that! We may just skip Disneyland next time and go back just for Castaway Cove.

3. Food and fun. You can basically say that they have Mc.Donalds and Panera Bread on site. They are walking distance from the hotel and came in handy with the kiddos. There's also a themed buffet down the street that looked fun. Downtown Disney is also a short walk away and full of so many places to visit. One of our favorite places is Tortilla Joes. The kids love going there because there is a balloon artist that walks table to table. There's also a Starbucks, a few fun shops, live entertainment and a movie theater. Anaheim GardenWalk is also close by, not walking distance but worth the super short drive. We love P.F.Changs so we went there one night. Theres a super cool shaved ice place called, Snowopolis. SO FUN! They have shakes (look here) and so much more yumminess. 

4. Convenient and budget friendly. As a family of five this is another important thing we look for when traveling. You can't beat the price or location of the Howard Johnson. It is literally across the street form Disneyland. The walk is eight minutes. Eight! That is less time than it usually takes us to walk or take the tram to Disneyland from the Disneyland parking structure. We were so shocked at how quick we got there. Plus with all the food spots close by it was easy to walk and grab a quick bite before heading into the park. My kids couldn't hang for fireworks so we watched them from our hotel balcony with Coco playing on Netflix in the background. 

They made sure our time spent there was special. When we first walked into our room, we were greeted with the cutest little setup for Jackson's birthday! It was the perfect way to kick off his birthday weekend, full of fireworks, mickey magic + splashing!

I got a lot of questions about Jacksons's character breakfast. And to be honest, part of me is hesitant to share this because one of the things I love about it is that it's less crowded than the others. Ha! We used to do Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel but it was always crowded and booked, then we stumbled upon, Surfs Up! It is in the Paradise Pier Hotel and I swear it's 100x better than any of the other character dining experiences. My kids love the main characters like Mickey, Minnie and Daisy and we always get to see them here. I found that Goofy's Kitchen didn't always have Daisy and most of time, had characters that my kids didn't really care for. Plus, the vibe here is just more fun. They have a little dance party with all the kids and since it's less crowded the characters interact more with the kids. The last time we were there my kids brought their own Mickey and Donald toy cars and both Daisy and Mickey loved it so much that they took extra time to play with them! My kids loved that and they are still talking about it.

Now for the huge birthday photo dump... enjoy!






































s h o p  t h i s  p o s t   h e r e :



Mickey Mouse pacifier clip / disney bows / yellow bow socks / black and white outfits / similar mickey tee 



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