When I was planning our California trip I kept envisioning us riding down the coast with the top down on the rental convertible and just soaking in the sun! We started our trip further North and hadn't yet had the best weather for the top to be down. Originally we planned a day in Santa Barbara hoping to possible surf and sunbathe at the beach. Just a really chill day before our busy days ahead with Disney. It was much too chilly for the beach so we decided to check out Santa Barbara! Walk around, hit some shops, just hang out and enjoy the day!
Leaving our hotel!
Something I've been LOVING on our recent trips is that Zach has been researching good places to eat. I usually do all the travel planning but food is just not that important to me. So I usually stress out about planning dining because I feel this pressure to make sure it's places that ZACH will love since I won't really care either way (since I can't smell...I also can't taste very well so I just don't have a big appreciation for food). With Zach doing the food research and picking the places where we eat I'm able to relax and enjoy it more because I know we're going to places that he will like!
We were both excited for breakfast at a top rated place Zach found...Sambos! It was just a short walk from our hotel so we could soak in the beautiful day on our way!
Yes, a side of peanut butter ;)
We had ZERO plans for the day so we took a map of the town and decided to walk along the beach and down a pier while we talked about what to do with our day!
I could NOT get over the beautiful trees. I love how tall and skinny they are! So, so different from Florida palm trees for sure!
We walked a bit then decided to go get the car. We saw a shopping area on the map and thought we'd park near it and walk around shopping. We love St Augustine and walking down St George street and really can't ever walk and shop and browse like we'd like to because we always have kids ;) We both were hoping the little shopping area in Santa Barbara would be similar to St Augustine!
It was FINALLY time to put down the top and live it UP convertible style! Y'all. I know I sound so dumb right now but I don't even care. We both were obsessed with the convertible. Like Zach said he "gets it" why mid life crisis men want convertibles. We both agreed if we ever are able to have a beach house that we'd love to own a convertible someday! (Although with Zach's back issues the low-to-the-ground vehicle was a tad bit of a nightmare for him. Still worth it though right babe?) I could have driven around in circles all day and not have cared! It was perfect weather, beautiful day, and I had a hot guy driving me ;)
There was an old carousel that, duh, I wanted to ride but when we got closer to it we realized there wasn't anywhere to park and neither of us felt like walking a long ways just to ride a carousel so I let that idea go ;) We did get to see a cool train though!
We drove around for AWHILE trying to decide where exactly the shopping area began. There was a lot of construction and we struggled to find a decent parking spot! Again though, I didn't care if we just kept driving all day long :)
We finally parked and walked around the shopping area and were super disappointed to see a Nordstrom and other MALL type stores. Not. What. We. Were. Wanting. We went into a few more local type places and started talking with one of the girls who worked at one of them. We told her we were more hoping for a beachy feel to our shopping time and told her we were driving to Anaheim that night. She had a friend come over and they basically planned out our day for us haha! We decided to make a trip down the 101 and stop at several beach towns on our way. I know I haven't even gotten to Disney yet, which I know people assume will be my favorite part of the trip, but I'll go ahead and tell you that when I think about this trip our driving day down the coast was my absolute favorite. I LOVED every single second of this day from start to finish! We had SO MUCH FUN together and it's something we'd never be able to do at home or with the kids!
I wanted to get some pics of us with our cool car on the beach before we left town ;)
(I know the huge suitcases in the back seat only add to our cool factor right?)
Our first little beach town stop was Carpenteria Beach. We knew Mrs. Charlotte would love it b/c it's considered the World's Safest Beach! I had to send her this pic ;) We parked the car and just walked down some shops that lead to the beach. It was SO beautiful and it was only about a 20-30 min stop for us!
Duh. Cowboy gets our vote for sure.
Made it to the beach!
We were having a blast driving and had to jam out to my personal California song (the OC Theme song DUH) and of course I had to take a video of us listening to the song while in California and while driving down the 101 ;) I took this video and sent it to the kids and omg they are OBSESSED with it! They call it the "daddy video" and I've had to keep it on my phone b/c they will ask to see it. So sweet!
Our next stop was Ventura Harbor Village
It was a really cute area on a Harbor (Ventura Harbor I'm guessing...haha) with lots of shops more like what we were aiming for! Cheesy souvenirs, hats, beach gear, etc. It also had this SUPER creepy old time arcade with an indoor carousel. It was SO FREAKY.
It was zero percent crowded and we just took our time and walked the entire thing and popped into any shops that drew our interest.
I can hear his Ariel singing voice ;)
My brother growing up would have LOVED stuff like this and I figured Kye would too but I didn't attempt to take one home for him. Can you imagine if that busted in your luggage?
We legit had to keep pinching ourselves at the amazing beauty EVERYWHERE!
We took our time and Facetimed with the kids. We were able to FaceTime them almost every day of our trip. 4:00 our time was 7:00 their time which worked out well because they were getting out of bath and getting ready for bed. They loved seeing what we were doing and it made it SO much easier to be apart from them when I was able to literally see them every day!
Duh ice cream snack had to happen!
I get pretty serious about my Pizza Hats
Our mission at the little beach shops was to find Zach some dang sunglasses. We both had fun buying glasses on our Italy trip and I don't think Zach has bought new ones since then (4 years ago haha). We were hoping to find some fun ones to buy together again but I let him have the sunglass fun (at least on that day!). He thankfully found a pair and we hit the road for our next stop!
We pulled over on the way to get some pics and this RV pulled over behind us. She got out and offered to take pics of us and then told us she camps in her RV regularly all over the coast. We saw several RVs! I mean I pretty much loathe RVS but that would be worth having one for for sure! It was funny b/c after she took our pics she got back in her RV and left! I guess she only pulled over to take pictures for us? Super nice while also being super strange, right?
Mountains behind us...ocean beside us!
The night Zach and I met he forced me to watch Malibu's Most Wanted. Yes, he can quote it line by line. Awesome first impression right? Man did he ever have to pursue me ;) Anyways of course we got crunk to be in Malibu!
I'm sure Malibu has a LOT to offer. But we only got a small little taste when we pulled off to go to some shopping area. And we felt SUPER out of place there. Just not our style at all and we just aren't people who get impressed by fancy, expensive stuff. We probably stayed less than 15 minutes. Just long enough for two people to ask us where we were from. I guess we didn't look very Cali hahahaha! It also cracked me UP on this trip that everyone we met kept saying how southern I sound! I feel like Zach should sound more southern than I do since he's like the 10th generation or something raised in the south whereas both of my families are from up north!
We both got a little cranky at this point. We were hungry and not sure if we should eat or keep pushing forward. I got some caffeine and we got some snacks and we decided to keep on rolling because we wanted to see the Santa Monica Pier before heading to the hotel for the night!
The parking cost was NO JOKE so we asked them if we could just pull in for a few minutes :) We parked, walked up to the pier, looked around, then walked back. Probably 10 minutes total but def enough to get a feel for things and to know that it'd be a great place to take the kids to someday!
My dad is a Corvette man (he's owned a few and collects the small ones) and we saw Corvette stuff everywhere! This pic is for you Dad :)
Hellllllo LA Traffic! My man is a PRO at navigating traffic. I thought about how much fun it'd be to do a girl's trip out there but omg who would drive haha! We did great the whole trip never bickering over driving issues, I was a tad nervous about that going into the trip but it was a non-issue :) Really Zach is so great at traffic that we never had too much of the bad bad stuff anyway!
It was time for the DISNEY leg of our trip to begin! I was a little overwhelmed with Disneyland booking as it'd just a totally different world than Disney World. I ended up calling and working with Disney directly. They have "Good Neighbor" hotels there. They are all very close to the parks and get the same benefits as Disney properties but aren't owned by Disney. There are only two Disney hotels there! Crazy huh? We stayed at Fairfield Inn Anaheim. I was pretty pumped about it because it was within WALKING DISTANCE to the parks. Walking up to Disney just seemed so amazing to me because it's not something you can do at Disney World!
We got a few perks for booking through Disney directly! We got a really nice insulated book bag, luggage tags, coupons for some perks at the parks, and free valet parking in our room as well as a discount for booking the package! I was glad I went through them and it made it WAY easier for me!
It was def just a Fairfield Inn. I mean they did a good job of attempting to make it more "Disney" and we had a great stay, but it wasn't some big themed resort or anything! Just basics with a few splashes of Disney here and there. The staff was SUPER nice. The valet guys were all great!
We had a Nemo themed room!
We showered and got dressed for dinner and decided to slow roll it a bit because we (when I say "we" here I actually me I) really really wanted to watch the fireworks from Disney from the balcony outside our room. We've never stayed close enough to the parks at Disney World to see the fireworks from our room!
I'm not even going to attempt to sound cool right now. It gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes and I got that whole feeling wash over me that I get at Disney. I'm totally one of "those people" and I'm not ashamed to admit it :) Seeing some fireworks set to "Let It Go" is just my thing! haha!
Zach tried to get a pic of me crying haha
For dinner we went to Cheesecake Factory! We don't have one in Valdosta and although it might seem like a random choice, Zach had been craving it and we were both STARVING so it was perfect! Plus it was so late that we didn't have any sort of wait :)
Found a hidden Mickey :)
I was SO proud of myself for not ordering my favorite meal EVER. Zach did get it and was sweet enough to give me a few bites :)
(Crispy Chicken Costoletta)
I got a flatbread and loved it! My goal for this trip was to enjoy myself but not overindulge. I made it a mission to always leave something on my plate :) It worked out well and I never felt that icky "I overate" feeling! I had worked hard to look good and feel good for this trip and didn't want to pig out and kill my confidence!
Our hotel offered room service FROM PANERA. Whhhhhat!?
Even though it wasn't a Disney hotel they had some really awesome pics from when Walt was building Disneyland. It def got me SUPER pumped for our next day!!!
Cheesecake in the room before bed was the perfect ending to our wonderful, amazing, awesomely fun day!