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A Guide to Your Best Memorial Day BBQ

Memorial Day guide

Memorial Day weekend is a popular weekend to camp or go to the beach, but that also means crowds and traffic.  Hosting a Memorial Day BBQ in your own backyard is a great way to seize the three day weekend without dealing with the crowds.  Below is a guide to your best Memorial Day BBQ.

Set the Tone

When imagining the sounds of a relaxing Memorial Day BBQ, the sizzle of the grill is often accompanied by good music.  Much like the food itself, music will set the tone for your at-home get together. If you want your guests to lounge, some easy listening stations on Pandora Radio such as John Mayer, Frank Ocean, or Erykah Badu will soften the space.  To encourage a more lively atmosphere at your Memorial Day soirette, upbeat and kid-friendly artists like Imagine Dragons, P!nk, or Kelly Clarkson may be preferable. Think about what kind of mood you want to set for your guests and let the music work its magic.

Gourmet Grill Master

Bar-b-que food is a staple of Memorial Day traditions, but it doesn’t have to be the same old hot dogs and hamburgers.  If you want some more complex flavors to delight your palate, a personal chef might actually be the grill master you’re looking for. Don’t get stuck behind the grill. Hang out with your guests, enjoy the music, and participate in the fun!  Let your personal chef take care of the menu planning, shopping and cooking.

In Good Company

What matters most, of course, is good company.  Surrounded by friends and family, everyone is sure to make some meaningful Memorial Day memories.  Casual get-togethers like these are also great opportunities to invite people you’d like to get to know better.  If there’s some of your kid’s friends’ parents, newcomers at church, or new neighbors you would like to know, invite them!  Creating a Facebook event is a great way to see who’s interested.  BBQ food can be a good crowd-pleaser, no matter who is invited.  

Skip the beach and campground crowds.  Stay home this year and have a stress-free Memorial Day BBQ in your own backyard.  Kick-back, relax, and enjoy your three day weekend!

7 Foods and Supplements for a Healthier Liver

The liver is the most metabolically active organ in the human body. It is often thought of as a detox organ, but it has many other functions like storage of energy and nutrients, hormone production, and immune modulation. Two of the most common causes of fatty liver disease are obesity and alcohol. However, many people have fatty liver and are not obese nor do they drink alcohol.

This is because things such as high fructose corn syrup, hormone imbalance, and an unhealthy gut can all alter metabolic activity in the liver and generate fat production. Yes, you read that right: having an unhealthy gut can affect the liver.

Fortunately, this condition can often be easily turned around with–you guessed it–a healthy diet. Foods and supplements, such as vitamin E, probiotics, and polyphenols play a critical role. Get rid of that fatty liver with this list of seven foods and supplements for a healthier you.

Probiotics

Probiotics have been shown to slow the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and are highly recommended. They help by reducing the bad bacteria in the gut thereby reducing the endotoxins that can damage liver metabolism.  Here is a guide to the top-rated probiotics of 2017.

 

Leafy greens

Leafy greens contain the most bio-active forms of methyl-folate, important for liver heath and detoxification. Methylation is used by the liver to help clear toxins and unwanted hormones and leafy greens have plenty.

 

Polyphenols

Berries contain good amounts ofpolyphenols which not only act as anti-oxidants, but also promote the growth of good gut bacteria. This helps to crowd out the bad bacteria. Elderberries have some of the highest concentrations of polyphenols and are a great option for anyone threatened with fatty liver disease.

 

Vitamin E

This supplement has been shown to be protective in healing fatty liver, due to its antioxidant properties. Be sure to supplement with a complete vitamin E like this one from Life Extension, instead of the typical form. In this case, something is better than nothing. Any form of vitamin E will have some good gut benefits.  Pick foods high in Vitamin E, such as spinach, tomato paste, nuts and seeds, eggs, and avocados.

 

Antioxidant Rich Foods

People with fatty liver will likely have a low antioxidant status in their body. This leaves the liver unprotected from free radical damage like toxins, metabolic activity, etc.  Here is a list of 7 Super Antioxidant Rich Foods that can improve any diet.

 

Turmeric

Turmeric is every nutritionist’s favorite spice. It is a very liver protective compound. Incorporate it into meals for a healthier you.

 

Beets

Nutrient dense and full of antioxidants as well as methyl donors. This amazing food is very liver protective and also promotes good digestion by supporting the gallbladder.

 

Fatty liver affects many Americans. You can reduce your risk with foods and supplements from this list. Reducing excess starchy carbohydrate consumption will also improve liver function. Need help with a diet change? A personal chef can make delicious and healthy meals, perfect for healing your liver and metabolism. Also, check out my Gut Healing Program of my Detox Program for more tips.

 

Aaron Slotkin is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist and licensed Pharmacist. He has seen numerous clients suffering with various health-related problems. Using a holistic approach of customized diet and lifestyle interventions, targeted supplements, and laboratory testing, he has been very successful helping clients achieve their optimal weight and health.  You can follow him on Facebook.

6 Hidden Gems to see When Visiting Los Angeles

Visiting Los Angeles

The Hollywood Sign. The Santa Monica Pier. The Rose Bowl.  You’ve probably heard of, seen pictures of, or maybe even been to all of those famous Los Angeles attractions.  If you’d like to add a little more excitement to your vacation, check out these six hidden gems to see when visiting Los Angeles.

Eagle Rock Canyon

If you’re looking for something free, leisurely, and beautiful, look no further than Eagle Rock Canyon.  Located near Pasadena, Eagle Rock Canyon offers an easy, fairly low elevation hike and gorgeous views.  It has a clearly defined trail where you can hike to the top and picnic or simply take in the view.  There are tons of hikes to find in LA, but if you’re looking for a lesser-known hike when visiting Los Angeles, Eagle Rock is definitely a hidden gem you don’t want to miss.  

 

Sunken City

This gem looks and feels post-apocalyptic because, well…it sort of is.  Traveling to this cliff-side 1920s neighborhood in the community of San Pedro is worth the trip. It was devastated by erosion and slid into the ocean in 1929.  The remains of the neighborhood are still around.  Although technically off-limits to the public, these remains are still explored by many today.  If you don’t mind a little adventure on your visit to Los Angeles, definitely check out the Sunken City.

 

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel is located just north of the Sunken City in beautiful Palos Verdes.  It sits atop a hill with beautiful ocean views.  The drive up to the chapel alone will take your breath away with stunning landscapes.  The Wayfarer’s Chapel website describes it best as “The natural sanctuary of Palos Verdes [that] sits nestled in a grove of towering redwoods on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Designed by renowned organic architect Lloyd Wright, the stone and glass structure gives unique expression to the sacred space that welcomes all Wayfarers along life’s path.”  

 

Ojai

Ojai is just a couple of hours outside of LA proper, but it is nothing short of relaxing in luxury.  With stunning landscapes and endless activities, Ojai is a vacation (or staycation) you’ll never want to end!  Eric Stoen from Travel Babbo says, “There are plenty of places to stay. Our favorites (very different but both family-friendly) are the hip Caravan Outpost and the luxe Ojai Valley Inn and Spa.”  If you’re looking for a perfect family vacation, Ojai is great for kids!  Stoen goes on to say, “We love Ojai for nearby family getaways…every restaurant in town is kid-friendly. For activities you can go horseback riding, hiking or cycling, and the playground right in the middle of town is a great place to relax while your kids play.” For more on what Ojai has to offer see the Top 3 Ways to Relax When Visiting Ojai.

 

Solstice Canyon

If you are an outdoorsy type, there are more challenging hikes than Eagle Rock Canyon.  Take a hike up Solstice Canyon when visiting Los Angeles for a more physical workout.  Located in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu, Solstice Canyon has tons of trails for all levels of hikers as well as landmarks to see along the way.  Of course almost nothing can surpass the beauty of Malibu. So, you’re sure to see nothing but scenic beauty on your upward journey.  

 

Arena Cinelounge

When in the holy mecca of cinema, what kind of article would this be without mentioning one of LA’s many theatres?  Arena Cinelounge supports independent film makers by screening them exclusively.  Located in the heart of Hollywood it doesn’t get more LA, or more hipster, than that.  With its cool exterior, smooth interior, and heart-centered support for the arts, Arena Cinelounge is a must-see hidden gem when visiting Los Angeles.  

4 Ways to Gather with the Gals for Galentine’s Day

Traditional holidays are being reclaimed by those who are tired of the same hum-drum or who simply do not subscribe to the commercialistic chaos which now characterizes many US holidays today. The term “Galentine’s Day” has now replaced the traditional “Valentine’s Day” for women who find much more enjoyment in gathering with their gals rather than face crowded, over-priced restaurants and cheap chocolates with their sweethearts.  Without further adieu, as a homage to sisterhood and solidarity, here are four ways to gather with the gals for Galentine’s Day.  

1. Go to the Movies

Meet up with the gals to go see a corny movie!  Let’s face it, most of the movies that come out for Valentine’s Day are super cheesy.  So what?  Make the most of it!  Go make fun of a silly movie and laugh, laugh, laugh with your gal pals. Laughter really is the best medicine. Here’s Fandango’s list of movies coming out on Galentine’s Day.

2. Take a Spa Day

The practice of self-care and self-love are too often neglected.  Multi-task by going to the spa — practice self-care and hang with the gals!  It doesn’t have to break the bank either.  Groupon has tons of spa deals.  Take a load off, be with your girls on Galentine’s Day, and treat yo-self.

3. Go Glamping

Speaking of coining words to transform a tradition — glamping is exactly what it sounds like:  Glamorous Camping.  Glamping is the perfect way to gather with your glamorous girlfriends for Galentine’s Day.  Whether you want to stay local or take an unforgettable journey somewhere, you can find your perfect destination using Glamping.com.  Be one with nature and one with your sisters without getting too much dirt in your hair.

4. Have a Fanciful Feast

Obviously you won’t be getting a decent reservation anywhere worth going amidst all the congested couples, but if you hire a private chef you can gather with your gals at home and have a grand ol’ time!  You can confer with your chef about menu options and really personalize your Galentine’s Day experience.  

If you’re tired of the boring traditions and over the commercialism, create your own traditions with your gal pals and do something fun and unique!  In the end, Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about celebrating love.  Celebrate the love you have for your fellow sisters and have a light-hearted night of fun on Galentine’s Day.

6 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Love

wedding favors

When it comes to the traditional selection of wedding favors out there, it can be easy to get something too cheesy or unoriginal.  It is important when choosing wedding favors to

  • pick something that will bring your guests a pleasant memory of your special day,
  • pick something they aren’t just going to throw away, and
  • pick something elegant that exudes class.  

Here are six wedding favors that embody all of those qualities.

1. Eat, Drink, & Be Married

Personalized wine glasses, champagne flutes, and beer glasses – there’s a container to satisfy every guest! You can get inexpensive personalized beverage glasses at Cheap Favor Shop.  This gift is certainly useful and when your guests see the elegant inscription, they’ll have lovely memories to match for years to come.

2. Spread the Joy

What is more adorable than a tiny jam or honey jar?  With a personalized sticker on it with a phrase along the lines of “Spread the Love” or “Meant to Bee,” it’s impossible not to smile at these little guys.  Whether your guests use it to spread some jam on their toast the next morning or to have a little honey with their tea, these cuties will give them sweet memories of attending your elegant affair.  

3. Love Starting to Grow

If you don’t want to pay extra of personalization, a super simple gift is tiny succulents or bags of seeds.  You can find small, two-inch assorted succulents in sets of twenty at Urban Outfitters.  Or, you can go to Home Depot to get an assortment of flower seeds, put them in separate envelopes, and write something such as “Let Love Grow” on the outside.  This would be a great task for a bridesmaid!  

4. Brew up a Good Time

Similar to the seeds idea, you could also have a bridesmaid pick up a big pack of coffee beans at Costco, separate them into envelopes (enough for one cup of coffee each), and write something to the effect of “Love is Brewing” on the outside.  This wedding favor is a useful and unique gift for your adoring guests!

5. A Novel Idea

As an extremely cost-effective wedding favor, have everybody in your wedding party donate any books they’re no longer reading. Each guest can grab a book on their way out.  If you don’t end up with enough books, have a member or two of the wedding party scout used books at dollar bookstores or on Amazon.  On top of the book library, you could have a banner letting guests know to grab one on their way out maybe saying something like “Our Chapter is Just Beginning.”  For the couple who is into reading, or for a smaller budget wedding, a book library is a lovely wedding favor.  

6. Infused with Love

Infused olive oil is a gift everyone can use.  All you need is some tiny, one to two-inch glass containers, some fresh herbs, and some olive oil.  Put the oil in the containers with the herbs and viola! An elegant wedding favor is born.

There are six wedding favors that are useful, elegant, and unique!  Each one can also be personalized or tweaked to fit the theme of your wedding.  No matter what your guests leave with, their memories of your special day are sure to be sweet.  

5 Ways to Make Your Los Angeles Christmas Joyful

Los Angeles isn’t just for summer vacations.  Christmas in Los Angeles is just as joyful and eventful as the 4th of July – and you can still enjoy the beach weather!  Here are 5 ways to make your Los Angeles Christmas even more joyful.

Music & Shows in the Entertainment Capital

Music certainly sets the tone for this holiday.  You know it’s the Christmas season when stores start playing Christmas music, but there are more ways to get holiday cheer than going to the mall.  Check out losangelestheatre.com to see all the best holiday performances coming up in the Los Angeles area.  If you have your heart set on seeing the more traditional Nutcracker performance by Moscow Ballet, get your tickets early as they sell out fast!

There’s Snow in them there Mountains

Snow in Los Angeles?  LA isn’t known for its white Christmases, but there are nearby mountain areas to put you in the Christmas spirit.  Big Bear Lake has tons of snowy activities for the whole family.  They have a calendar of events and remarkably cozy cabins.  For more ideas on how to get in your fair share of snow this season, check out the activity list on Moms LA.

The Movie Experience

There’s nothing that brings more joy than snuggling up with a hot drink under a warm, knit blanket watching a Christmas movie.  It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th St. – all nostalgic holiday classics.  If you want to take the tradition outside and have a little fun, you can always stop by the El Capitan Theatre and see what movies they have for the holidays.  The El Capitan Theatre, owned by Disney, is an old-style theatre built in 1926 with modern cinematic technology.  They offer a truly unique movie-going experience with pre-show entertainment and areas where you can view original costumes and props from the movie.  

The Perfect Holiday Meal

Of course nothing brings joy like good food during the holiday season.  With seasonal vegetables such as pumpkin and butternut squash making their appearance again and decadent desserts decorate dinner tables.  Christmas is a food fantasy.  Make sure your holiday meal is done perfectly this year by hiring a personal chef to make your family a gourmet holiday feast.  (They’ll even carve the roast beast!)  Relax and spend time with your family while a expert chef takes care of dinner.

Nothing Says Christmas like Friends & Family

No matter where you live, friends and family are what make the holidays joyful.  Make sure you take some time away from all the hustle and bustle of the holidays and spend some time with the people you love this season.

Christmas carols on the radio, the Nutcracker live on stage, snowy mountains, immersive movie experiences, meals cooked to perfection, and family are all the ingredients you need for a joyful Los Angeles Christmas holiday…and maybe just one day at the beach. Merry Christmas, folks!

Top 3 Ways to Relax When Visiting Ojai

There is no better way to spell relax than O-j-a-i.  Visiting Ojai, California is never anything short of relaxing in luxury.  With Stunning landscapes and endless activities, Ojai is a vacation you’ll never want to end.  Here’s how to get the most out of your downtime while visiting Ojai.

#1 Retreats

Retreat Center

If you are planning on visiting Ojai, consider joining in on one of their many retreats.  From yoga and spiritual retreats to nature retreats, the city has plenty of themed getaways for anyone looking to relax.  Check out all the retreats offered on the Ojai Valley Retreat Center website.  

Visitor’s Bureau

If you don’t find a retreat that works for you or you want to plan your own stay in Ojai, check out the Visitor’s Bureau site.  It lists every hotel, inn, B&B, and resort Ojai has to offer with all the amenities.  The website also offers package deals for spa services for folks who want a truly luxurious experience.

 

#2 Tastings

Olive Oil

Ojai Valley is known for the way they utilize their beautiful landscape to make responsibly sourced food.  Try something a little different when visiting Ojai and go olive oil tasting at the Regalo Tasting Room at the Omaggio farm.  You can taste cold pressed extra virgin olive oils grown and pressed right there on the farm as well as their selection of gourmet balsamic vinegars imported from Italy.

Wine

Of course, nothing says California countryside quite like wine tasting.  Treat yourself to wine tasting at the Ojai Valley Vineyard Tasting Room.  With their “hands-off” approach, the staff at the Ojai Valley Vineyard let the wine age naturally without too much manipulating or filtering, allowing the unique taste of their wine to shine through.  

Farmer’s Market

With miles and miles of beautiful farmland, make sure you taste what that land has to offer at the Farmer’s Market when visiting Ojai.  You can see exactly where all their produce (and non-produce) is farmed on the website.  If you are visiting Ojai on a Sunday, this is the best way to get a taste of the Ojai community.

 

#3 Activities

Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts …celebrates the life and work of Beatrice Wood while presenting exhibitions, performances, and educational opportunities.”  They even offer student exhibits from the nearby Happy Valley School.  You can check out their schedule of events during your stay.

Hiking

There are plenty of hiking trails in Ojai for all experience levels.  If you are looking for something a bit more leisurely to take in that stunning Ojai view, try the Rose Valley Falls Trail.  It is an easy hike that leads to a lovely waterfall where you can enjoy a picnic lunch.  

Art

Ojai is like an artist’s paradise.  If you are an artist or are looking to get into the Ojai art spirit, take an art class!  Ojai offers tons of resources for artists.  Here is a list of the top art classes in Ojai on Yelp.  

With all the luxurious retreats, tastings, and activities Ojai has to offer, you’ll never want to leave!  Make sure you see everything on this list when visiting Ojai to ensure the utmost relaxation.

How to Have a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Gathering at Home

personal chef Thanksgiving

With the whirlwind of the holidays, it’s not always everyone’s favorite time of year.  Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a stressful time for folks.  The last two months of the year are nothing short of busy, but here are some ideas to make your Thanksgiving or “friendsgiving” gathering stress-free.  

A Time for Relaxation

The Game

Thanksgiving is a time for family love, turkey love, and the love of the game.  There’s nothing more American than watching football and eating turkey with your family on Thanksgiving.  Even though I’m not a year ‘round football fan myself, the sounds of football on in the background is a Thanksgiving tradition that immediately sparks my soul with nostalgia.  Plus, the commercials are just as entertaining as the game itself!  Relaxing with the game on is a definite must for a true, stress-free Thanksgiving gathering.

The Parade

For any non-football lovers in the family, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is always a sure hit.  If you can’t be at the parade in person, you’ll definitely want to watch the giant floats and awesome performances from the comforts of your home.  You can learn about the history of the famous annual parade on the parade’s website.  

Charlie Brown

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is another Thanksgiving classic that puts me right in the autumn spirit.  This is usually an after dinner, pumpkin pie a-la-mode activity at our Thanksgivings.  If you don’t already own it, you can buy it on Amazon and get free two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime.  At the end of a warm, cozy meal there’s nothing better than snuggling up with the kids in the family and sleeping off the turkey with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving lullaby.   

Let’s Play

Board Games

Watching football and a parade on TV is not always sure to keep the kiddo’s entertained for long.  Having board games on hand is a great way to bond with the whole family on this day of gratitude.  Even if there are no kids at your family gathering or friendsgiving, board games bring folks together.  If there are new people at your gathering this year, board games are a great way to bond and get to know them.  If you’re looking for new games to bring out during your Thanksgiving gathering, Barnes & Noble has a brilliant assortment of new and classic games.

Outdoor Games

When people start getting restless watching football, playing your own game of touch-football is sure to make amazing memories.  If the weather permits, touch-football is a great way to get everybody up and connecting.  Whether your gathering has athletes or folks who prefer not to keep score, outdoor games get the good vibes going.  Getting outside is one part of the recipe to a stress-free Thanksgiving.  

Crafts

Having a little craft station set up somewhere is always a hit with kids.  Whether they have pumpkins to paint, paper to print on, or masks to make, crafts can keep kids creating for hours.  If they seem really into it, you could even make an event about everybody showing off what they made after dinner!

The Main Event

Dinner

With all the fun relaxing and playing with your family, it seems like a shame to step away from all of that rare time together to make dinner.  When you hire a personal chef for Thanksgiving, you don’t have to.  Relax, play, and bond with your loved ones at your stress-free Thanksgiving gathering.  Let your personal chef from Hello Cheffy serve you all that warm comfort food.  

Gratitude

In the end, Thanksgiving is a day for gratitude.  Going around the table and sharing what you are thankful for while enjoying a gourmet meal prepared by your personal chef will bring lasting memories.  When you share out loud what you’re grateful for, it truly echoes in your heart any and all abundance you have in your life.  It is important to consciously recognize that if not every day, then at least once a year.

Now that you’re filled with inspiration and resources, go have an amazing, stress-free Thanksgiving!  Whether you’re gathering with your family for a traditional Thanksgiving or your chosen family for a friendsgiving, remembering all that you’re grateful for is what will make this holiday a nostalgic one.  

How Much Does a Personal Chef Cost?

Personal chef cost

If you are curious about hiring a Personal Chef but not sure if you can afford it, Hello Cheffy has your back.  We broke down the details of what exactly you’re getting when you hire a chef. Below we outline elements of a typical Personal Chef cost.

What is a Personal Chef?

Although the terms “Personal Chef” and “Private Chef” are often used interchangeably, they are actually distinctly different.  

A Personal Chef may be hired for special events such as birthdays, anniversaries, or bachelor/bachelorette parties.  A Personal Chef can also be used for short term and long term assignments.  For instance, a family may not have time to do their own grocery shopping or cooking with the arrival of a new baby or when the a household member is recovering from surgery.  In this case, they hire a Personal Chef for a short term assignment.  A Personal Chef may also be hired for ongoing service.  Busy families, senior citizens, and folks with special dietary restrictions are likely to need a chef for long term assignments.  Personal Chefs are often paid a fee for service.  They can be hired through Hello Cheffy for special events or temporary assignments.  

Conversely, a Private Chef is typically hired to come to a family’s home and cook meals on a regular basis.  Private Chefs are normally employed by their client on a part-time or full-time basis and are often paid a fixed salary.  

How Much Does a Personal Chef Cost?

The cost of personal chef services depends on a few factors.  Prices can be made:

  • per meal or per person (with kids usually at a lower price) and/or
  • at an hourly, monthly or event rate 

Keep in mind that for certain holidays–Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day–chefs are in higher demand.  Prices may be higher during these peak seasons.

The distance a chef is required to travel as well as the chef’s experience level are also factors affecting the Personal Chef cost.  Included in the cost of your Personal Chef is:

  • meal planning,
  • grocery shopping,
  • prepping,
  • cooking, and
  • serving, if needed

Hiring a chef is as affordable as dining out. Fees are generally similar to restaurant prices with a few noted benefits:

  • personalized service,
  • service in the comfort of your own home (or venue of your choosing), and
  • no markup for alcohol because you’re able to bring your own!

What Does Hello Cheffy Do?

Hello Cheffy connects you with a chef from an extensive network of Personal Chefs who provide services for special events and short-term assignments. You are even able to calculate a minimum budget on our request page to estimate the cost of an event.  The Personal Chef you select will create a custom menu for you and your guests, based on the quote details you provide.  

Now that you know what’s included in the cost of a Personal Chef and what factors to consider, you can give us your event details, select your chef, and enjoy your restaurant-quality meal made at home!  Hello Cheffy has your back.

Visiting Disneyland – What’s Worth-it and What’s Not

Visiting Disneyland

Congratulations on planning your Disney adventure!  You are about to have the time of your life.  With so much to see and do, make sure you see and do the best things when visiting Disneyland.  Here’s some tips to help you squeeze the most happiness out of the happiest place on earth.

Totally Worth-It

California Adventure
If you’re debating on whether the park-hopper pass is worth the money when visiting Disneyland, the debate ends here.  Do it!  While Disneyland has been the classic, time-honored park since 1955, Disney does not make mistakes creating an experience.  They have done an amazing job on the California Adventure park.  California Adventure has perks Disneyland simply doesn’t offer:

  • California Screamin’ – An actual upside down roller coaster which is not available at Disneyland.
  • Alcohol – Disneyland does not have any alcohol available at the restaurants.  Don’t worry, California Adventure has your back.
  • Hyperion Theatre – A show unlike any other, you can watch a full production LIVE musical of Frozen in the beautiful Hyperion Theatre.
  • Food & Wine Festival – California Adventure also offers their annual Food & Wine Festival with wine tastings and unique food options.

Buy the park-hopper pass.  You won’t regret it.

Grand Californian Hotel
Being one of the three Disneyland resort hotels, this is definitely one of the more expensive places to stay when visiting Disneyland.  However, it is worth the cost.  The Grand Californian Hotel offers all the perks of any of the Disneyland resort hotels:

  • Magic hour – Every guest at the Disneyland resort hotels gets to enter the parks one hour earlier than everyone else.
  • Themed rooms – Each room is unique at all the resort hotels giving your family a personalized experience.  Plus if you let them know ahead of time you’re coming for a special occasion, the staff will decorate the room to suit the occasion.
  • Beyond room service – Any of your souvenir purchases in the parks or in Downtown Disney can be delivered directly to your hotel room so you don’t have to carry them around the park.

All of those benefits are amazing, but when choosing a resort hotel, there is no contest of beauty against the Grand Californian.  Modeled after the Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite, the Grand Californian has a truly “grand” design.  With its rustic mountain feel, the Grand Californian’s architecture and design will win you over making this expense totally worth-it.

Mickey’s Halloween Party
If you’re visiting the happiest place on earth during the spookiest time of year, you’re in luck!  Mickey’s Halloween party does cost extra, but you’ll have so much fun you will definitely want to attend.  Disney does nothing dull.  This freaky festivity will blow you away with special music, decor, and activities:

  • Costumes – Normally Disney’s general rule is that no adults are allowed in costume, but the whole family can dress up for this one!  
  • Candy – There are booths all around the park for trick-or-treaters to get their treats.
  • Special Events – There is a special Halloween-themed parade just for party-goers as well as a Halloween-themed  fireworks show and other various special events.

This event is becoming more popular every year, so make sure to get your tickets in advance.  It’s worth the money just to see everyone’s creative costumes!

Not Worth-It

Tiki Room
There always seems to be a line for the tiki room and it is simply not worth the wait.  If you want to see the show, go for it, but if there is a line just avoid it all together.  The Pineapple Dole Whip right next door, however, definitely worth standing in line for!

Parades
If you have kids and they really want to see a parade while visiting Disneyland, go see the Main Street parade.  That said, the parade is okay, but short lines are better.  While everyone is waiting hours for the parade to start, go on some rides!  Also, stay away from Main Street at this time.  With a lot of the pathways blocked off, it is very difficult to get anywhere quickly via Main Street.

Paying for Pictures
There are Disney photographers all over who will try to convince you it’s worth it to pay for a professional picture of you and your family – it’s not.  You probably have a camera phone.  Even though the quality won’t be as nice on your phone, the cost does not outweigh the quality.  If you really want a professional picture while visiting Disneyland, go for the pictures that are taken while rides are “in flight”.  If your family took a truly priceless ride pic that you can’t live without, maybe it’ll be worth it to you.  But, as a general rule, don’t pay for the pictures!

There you go, a comprehensive list of what is and is not worth-it when visiting Disneyland.  Have fun on your Disney Adventure, and remember, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney