As many of you know, my family and I took a little trip to the states (or the Mainland as Hawai’i residents call it) in January. It was a wonderful little trip with my husband and sons. We started our journey from Las Vegas (more about that in another post) and made our way to California before heading home. We spent a day in Universal City and Universal Studios Hollywood (read about that fun experience here) and had a blast. But, I wanted to share a little about our experience while visiting Disneyland for anyone who is wondering what it was like to go during Covid-19 and the Delta and Omicron surges.

Disneyland & California Adventure Park

We booked our tickets and made our reservations for Disneyland and California Adventure Park in early December 2021 for our trip this past January. Since we were going to be in Las Vegas the week prior, our goal was to drive from Las Vegas to Anaheim to enjoy our time at the theme parks. Our schedule went as follows: Thursday, January 13th – California Adventure Park, Friday, January 14th, and Saturday, January 15th, 2022 – Disneyland. We opted out of the Park Hopper Passes (something we purchased when at Disney World) because we knew that we wanted to get as much done within each park and, with California Adventure Park being a little smaller, we knew we could tackle it in a day.

Pricing & Cost Breakdown

First, I wanted to say that when you purchase your tickets online – the site should allow you to also book your reservations. Whether it’s due to the Pandemic or otherwise, RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED for a specific day and park when you want to visit. This is very different than I remember when going to Disney World years ago. You need to buy your Admission Ticket and Reserve for each person in order to enter the park.

We opted to purchase Genie+ for all three days while at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure. For my family of 5, and the Disney Genie+ Package, our tickets came out to $1950.00 for a total of 3 Days (1 Day at Disney California Adventure Park and 2 Days at Disneyland). While the cost was definitely pretty hefty, we wanted to ensure that we could do as much as possible within those three days – so Genie+ was a great option. Especially considering we had no idea how busy the parks would be and whether the lines would be too long. The boys have not been to Disneyland before and we wanted to make the most of the experience.

What is Genie+ and is it worth it?

Disney Parks offers a service now called Genie+. The rules and regulations do vary between Disneyland and Disney World but still have similarities. We opted to pay the extra fee because we wanted to be sure to make the most of our three days there. Attractions, experiences, and arrival windows are all limited to availability but in my opinion, if you are traveling from out-of-state, I think purchasing the add-on is a good idea.

Genie Plus is the replacement for the Max Pass service that many of us are accustomed to. It allows guests to obtain a Lightning Pass (similar to the Fast Pass) without having to physically go to the location of a ride. You simply select your ride choice through the app (the next available time) and check-in within an hour of your time selection.

Genie+ Ride Times

So, as I mentioned before, this is similar to the Fast Pass that Disneyland and Disney World used to offer. With Genie Plus, the benefit is that you can book it directly on the app and select a time availability and head on over to check in. Sometimes, you can book an attraction almost immediately – while other times, you can book further in advance. The minute you book a ride, you can start heading over to the lightning lane if it is within your time. You can book one ride after the next (so we checked in to our ride – scanned the code – then booked our next ride.)

TIP: Make sure your phone is charged and you have a charger or backup battery on hand. You’ll use your phone for MANY things from reservations for restaurants and eateries, scanning your PhotoPass and booking and reserving your ride queue. Not to mention taking photos.


Rise of the Resistance, Webslinger, and Cars – Pay the cost or wait in line?

Of course, there are some rides that you could not use Genie Plus on and three main ones were Rise of the Resistance, Webslingers, and Cars. You can opt into purchasing the Lightning Lane for an additional cost – $7 to $20 per ride, but honestly, we had no problem waiting in line. Webslingers was about a 90-minute wait, honestly – I would not wait in that line again. The attraction was cool, but not worth it in my opinion. Cars and Rise of the Resistance were about 90 minutes each as well and those were worth the wait in line and I would likely pay to ride those too. They were fun – trust me, you’ll love those two.

Photo Pass with Genie+

FREE PHOTO DOWNLOADS??? I say YES! Disney Genie+ also provides free photo downloads from Photo Pass locations as well as on rides that offer photo capture. This meant that my husband and I could be in more photos than normal since someone could capture our images for us. Here’s the kicker for this though… if you are on a ride and someone (whether in your group or not) is not wearing their mask, the image will display on the board (for you to grab your code) but will not show up in the app. Disney has a mask mandate indoors and on rides, so that was a bummer, especially since we had others not in our party but in the photo that refused to wear their mask and we weren’t able to get our photo.

Disney California Adventure Park – Cars Land

Is Genie Plus worth the $20 a day?

In one word, YES, I definitely think Genie Plus was worth the extra cost per person, per day. The photo downloads alone were worth it considering we paid hundreds of dollars for photos when we went to Disney World years ago and it was included. If you saw someone with a camera with Photo Pass signs, you could grab a picture. And while the mask thing sucked, overall – we really enjoyed the option of having those without paying $20 a photo.

Disney Genie Plus was rolled out on December 8th, 2021 so it was very new when we arrived a month later. But, overall I thought the transition was smooth and we really didn’t have a lot of hiccups or issues. Most of the problems were in issues with the app loading or the machines unable to scan the code. While these may have been an issue temporarily – it still didn’t make for much of a problem.

Visiting Disneyland in Winter

Since our last adventure at Disney Parks was over 15 years ago, at Disney World in the middle of the hottest months (July), we knew that visiting Disneyland would be comfortable in the winter months in California. And, we were right. The highest temperature was about 65 degrees and it was still pretty chilly. We packed ponchos in case of rain, though we never had to use them. The air was brisk and comfortable and it made for a great experience. Most days – the temperatures stayed around 55 degrees. We were fine with pants (jeans and leggings) for those days and sweaters and hoodies worked well. Overall – the cold air actually made for a really nice experience and we would surely go again during that time of year.

While the weather was nice, we also expected that a few of our favorite rides would be closed for renovation. Be sure to check the calendar of events, etc. so ensure you know what won’t be in operation before attending. Rides like Haunted Mansion (which I really wanted the boys to see, but it closed about 3 days before we arrived) were closed down as well as Splash Mountain. We were bummed, but truly we made the experience worthwhile. Also – due to the winds, none of the three days we were at the parks had their nightly firework show. That was a huge highlight of my visit when we went to Disney World so I was bummed, but still – again, worth the experience to go regardless.

Want Cash Back on your travel purchases? Check out Rakuten and see if they have options available for you. My family & I used Rakuten to book many of our accommodations and received Cash Back.

Positive to going in the winter? The crowds were actually pretty mellow. Yes, of course, we were in the middle of a pandemic and I’m sure that added to the decrease in visitors, but overall I didn’t think it was so bad.

Traveling to Disneyland during Covid-19

While the numbers seem to rise and drop throughout the Nation, Covid-19 is still a thing and the Omicron variant is making travel pretty interesting. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared and enjoy your time at the parks.

As I stated before, reservations are now required to enter the park. So if you buy your tickets online, they should allow you to book your reservations at the same time. If you purchase from elsewhere, make sure to get your reservations done before heading to the park. The parks are still at limited capacity, so be prepared ahead of time.

There are no 6 Foot Social Distancing mandates while waiting in lines or on rides. They have since eliminated that mandate so it was quite packed and everyone in close proximity to one another. Since we came from Hawai’i, my family and I still practiced this but noticed no one around us was.

If you’re outdoors at Disneyland, masks are optional. We used our masks through the park in and outdoors, unless we were taking photos or eating, but keep in mind that not everyone did so as it was not a requirement. Indoor venues, stores, restaurants, all rides, etc. do mandate masks at all times, so make sure that you have one on you and are ready to put it on.

Disneyland also didn’t require us to show our vaccine cards upon entry to either park, but we were told to have it on hand just in case. The cast members will tell you if you ask – that they recommend unvaccinated visitors wear masks at all times in the parks, but honestly – no one will likely enforce it. We decided we would use our masks in the parks regardless of whether we were all vaccinated or not.

Hotel Accommodations? Staybridge Suites Anaheim at the Park

We don’t have any photos of our accommodations while in Anaheim, California – but we stayed at the Staybridge Suites Anaheim at the Park. This quaint little hotel is located just minutes from Disneyland’s main gate. We opted to take an Uber since the walk would be about 25 minutes, the drive about 5-7 or less depending on traffic. Affordable and awesome considering the location.

Book your travel through Priceline after signing up with Rakuten and get Cash Back!

Staybridge, unfortunately, doesn’t offer a shuttle to and from Disneyland, but you can ask them about utilizing the ART (Anaheim Transit). It was about $6 per person, per day and we found taking a Lyft/Uber to be our most affordable and quickest option. The ART can take over an hour on some days since it’s going on a loop around the town. Trust me, if you stay here, book Uber or Lyft.

Staybridge offers complimentary breakfast, continental style but better. Hot food like eggs, bacon, and sausage and you can also make waffles with the batter they have set up. The perfect way to start your day at the theme parks is with a good breakfast. They also offer complimentary use of a washer and dryer (in the basement). Our suite was equipped with a small stove, full fridge, and microwave which was awesome to heat up and cook meals. Awesome great for buying your own water bottles to take with you into the park and keeping them cool through the day. Quick note – parking is $18/day and it is unsecured, so plan accordingly.

Overall – we would book Staybridge over and over again. It’s a smaller hotel compared to other resorts we’ve stayed at, but definitely a good one. Affordable, clean and it didn’t feel cheap. If you’re expecting HoJo, this is so so much better. We would book this place again, without a second thought.

Check out what Staybridge has to offer on its website here.

Was it all worth it? Traveling during a Pandemic and Genie Plus?

ABSOLUTELY! Now traveling during a pandemic is no easy feat… and you will want to ensure that you’re not only prepared but also have backup plans just in case. Whether that means packing a box of disposable masks and reusable ones (which is what I did) or making sure you’re stockpiling hand sanitizer and wipes for everything – it’s always best to be ready whether you need it or not.

Here’s a plus for traveling during a pandemic… it’s a little less crowded. Yes, still very busy. You can also run into your mean, “don’t care about anyone but themselves”, people. But it didn’t ruin our visit to the Happiest Place on Earth. Simply enjoy yourself and make sure you’re ready for anything and you’ll still enjoy yourself.

Genie Plus (Genie +) was also worth it in my opinion. Definitely look into it Genie Plus if you’ll only be at the parks for a few days. Or, have limited time while there. If it’s your first time there or traveling with little ones, I think it’s definitely worth the investment. Yes, the price of the theme park entries does add up. When looking to book your tickets, make sure you plan accordingly.

A few tips…

And, speaking of planning… water is important! You can bring your water with you from outside the park, so do so to save on some money. Water and drinks, in general, can cost a lot and the prices add up. We purchased a few of our favorite foods within the park. But, we made sure to pack snacks and water to have on hand. Since we were at the parks from rope drop to park closure, we wanted to be prepared. Save yourself a little money and bring a few snacks and drinks from outside the park.

Sign up for Rakuten and Get Cash Back on many of your purchases for your trip.

Interested in hearing about my family’s experience at Disneyland this 2022? Check out my recent YouTube video here.

Heading to the Happiest Place on Earth in 2022? Leave a comment below and let me know what you are excited to see when you go!

Disclaimer: The products and trips featured in this post were paid for with my own money. Affiliate links can and may be posted throughout. All opinions are my own, 100% honest & unbiased.

Happy Thirsty Thursday Fam! Today, I have a GRWM (Get Ready With Me) with a little Thirsty Thursday and Chit Chat. It seems like forever since I have filmed myself doing my makeup. It’s a long video – so grab something to drink and a snack and come hang out with me!

Here’s a few photos featuring this look.

Disclaimer: All products featured in this post were either purchased by me or sent for review consideration over the years. All opinions are my own, 100% honest & unbiased. Affiliate links may be posted through out. This is not a sponsored post or video.

We are in the home stretch of distance learning for the year before summer starts. This Friday is the last week of school for the twins and Kevin Ka’eo finished school on the 15th. We are so excited for summer to start but we are also planning accordingly for social distancing. Distance learning hasn’t been so easy the last couple of months, but the boys have been troopers.

Wrapping Up the School Year - Confessions of a SAHM, Distance Learning Week 9
Before the change in hair color and hair cuts, enjoying our time under the stars and by the fire pit.

A lot has happened over the last week and I didn’t get a chance to share here. The boys have new hair. We decided to change things up a bit since I was planning to change my hair as well. Kevin Ka’eo has pinkish-red hair, Luke wanted to have purple hair but stopped at bleached yellow/orange (I need to tone it again) and Isaiah has a turquoise green shade. They seem to be enjoying it a lot and the process was quite easy for them. All three boys have never bleached their hair before, so they were excited to try something new. They’ve been loving it so far and I’m glad we were able to mix things up a bit.

We’ve also been spending some time outside roasting mallows. We have been gifted a fire pit from one of my sisters and we’ve been making lots of good use out of it.

What’s been shakin lately?

The twins received some help from one of their teachers with their math. It was a specialized math zoom class that focused on math problems. It was pretty helpful and the boys feel confident that they can do those problems on their own. We’ve also been busy cleaning out the house and organizing our storage. We’ll be having flooring put in (instead of carpet) and some repairs made to our home, so everything has to come out. There’s a lot that will be done during the summer months, so we are trying to organize and get things together the best we can.

Hawaii Is Reopening

While that was happening, it seems like Hawaii started reopening again, while still keeping with social distancing protocol, of course. *For most people anyway. I understand that many need to get back to work to make money, but I’m just worried that we are not in the clear yet to start celebrating. I also don’t think that things are ready to go back to normal. Parks are still closed unless you are exercising, the same as the beaches. The boys are looking forward to jumping in the ocean as soon as school is done, but there will be no sunbathing or hanging out. We swim (for exercise) and then leave. Honestly, we don’t mind that – because the boys have all been indoors for months now and they are restless. We are looking forward to getting in a little water therapy soon.

What’s Next?

What’s in store for us the next few weeks? Well, none of us really know. Dad has gone back to work in the office, instead of from home. So it will be just the boys and I during the week. We hope that we can still go on adventures together as we like to do during the breaks from school. My goal is to catch as much of it as I can on camera. Honestly, the last couple of months have been a bit of a blur seeing as most of it consisted of doing everything at home. We are definitely looking forward to having time away from the house but we’re not quite sure what that will entail.

Are you looking forward to summer? How are you planning to keep busy while still social distancing?

Come and follow our distance learning journey, see what we have been up to the last few weeks. And, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to get the daily dose of our life in photos.

We are on lockdown week 5 here in Hawaii. Household necessities and grocery shopping every 2 weeks or so has been the only time I leave the house (unless you count the daily walks around the block). So, to keep my creative mind busy, I have been working on jewelry pieces, to sell and give as gifts. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve shared or discussed my jewelry pieces here on the blog. I figured I would share with all of you, and have a chitchat kind of post today.

Making Jewelry - How I'm Keeping My Creative Juices Flowing
Wire wrapped bangles featuring a combination of glass and gemstone beads.

How it began

Several years ago, I had an online shop called: HoneyXO. I sold handmade jewelry pieces and also had my own Indie Cosmetic line. About two years ago and sister and I started selling our pieces (including jewelry and planner accessories) at local craft fairs here on Maui. Since I have a little more time on my hands, (well, not really with distance learning and working from home, but I digress) I started making more pieces to get my creative juices flowing again.

Making Jewelry - How I'm Keeping My Creative Juices Flowing
Wire wrapped bangles featuring AB Glass Beads

Bangles & Bracelets, Wire wraps – Oh My!

I’ve been working on more wire pieces lately. I think the wire wrapping aspect of these pieces has allowed me to get stress out of my mind and freely wrap away the humdrum while putting intention into each piece. Being indoors has surely made things a challenge for everyone in my house so this is my “me time“. I get excited after creating a piece knowing that I made it with my own two hands. All of the jewelry pieces are handcrafted with love, and each gemstone or bead is selected with great thought and intention.

Making Jewelry - How I'm Keeping My Creative Juices Flowing
Both bracelets are created using AB multi-faceted glass beads in neutral tone shades. It sparkles! The back bracelet is made to be adjustable and the front one is made on 16 gauge wire with a handmade clasp. It is not adjustable but can fit most wrists. Each glass bead is wire wrapped to give it more shine & sparkle.

Purple Jewelry Pieces

As many of you know, I love the color purple. I wanted to utilize a few moonstones and rose quartz pieces that I had in my collection. I thought these jewelry pieces that I created would give a touch of purple to any outfit. They will also stack nicely with my charm bracelets. The bracelets were so popular when I posted them on Instagram that I was creating a few more sets for sale.

Making Jewelry - How I'm Keeping My Creative Juices Flowing
Wire wrapped bracelets featuring glass and gemstone beads – moonstone and rose quartz are two of the gemstones included. Each bracelet is designed to be adjustable – the bangle will pull open to fit on most wrists (similar to an Alex & Ani bangle). Then the beads are wire wrapped to create a fun and sparkly look.
Making Jewelry - How I'm Keeping My Creative Juices Flowing
The custom/handmade clasp of one of the bracelets.
Making Jewelry - How I'm Keeping My Creative Juices Flowing
The matching earrings to the purple hued bangles. Featuring rose quartz and moonstone (3rd and 4th beads from the top).

The bangles above are also adjustable and feature a herringbone type weave. The beads are faux amber glass beads and faux peridot glass beads.

Making Jewelry - How I'm KeepinMy Creative Juices Flowing
Opihi (limpet) shells, picked off the shores of Maui, cleaned and then shined. Wire wrapped and a tahitian pearl added. Two pendants made from sea glass and wire wrapped. Stretch bracelet made with jobs tears, lava beads and a tahitian pearl with metal bead accents.

Hawai’i Jewelry Pieces

The above pieces are some of my favorites. If you’ve been a long time follower of my blog, you may know that I am born and raised in Hawai’i, a true blue island girl. I love seafood and love picking and fishing for my favorite ocean delectables to eat and savor. Opihi (which are shell limpets) are some of my favorite foods. After picking them off the rocks (which is much more dangerous than it sounds), we spoon the meat out of the shell and eat it. Then, I save the shells – that actually don’t look very pretty once it’s dry (I can write more about this in another post and share photos) and clean it thoroughly.

Opihi shells make beautiful jewelry

Cleaning consists of using a wire brush to scrub barnacles, seaweed, and years of ocean debris and life from the shell. The Opihi is cleaned and polished, then glazed for a glossy finish. I then add a handmade bail or charm to it or turn it into earrings or a necklace. Each Opihi is unique and while I try to find similar ones to create earrings, you will never find two in the same. These are some of my favorite pieces because they require hours of work. The cleaning alone will consume an entire day. I’m thankful that I find these beautiful shells or friends and family send them to me to create works of art. I’ll be sure to stop by in the next few weeks and share a little about the Opihi for all of you.

Making Jewelry - How I'm Keeping My Creative Juices Flowing

I’m always really proud to showcase and wear the jewelry that I make. I swear jewelry is like makeup – you only have two arms, one neck, and two ears, but you want it all and sometimes you wish you could wear them all. I’m been making jewelry to pass the time while on this lock-down as well as give myself a sense of relaxation. Homeschooling the boys and trying to balance home and work life has been a challenge, but I’m glad that I can still utilize a creative outlet and make money from doing so.

So how about you, what are you doing during the Stay-at-Home order? Does your state or area have one in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic? I hope you are keeping busy, staying healthy and doing well.

Interested in seeing more of my jewelry? You can check out Nau Wale No Creations on Instagram or you can see some of my pieces for sale, coming soon.

It’s been a few weeks now since the coronavirus pandemic has affected us globally. It’s caused many shutdowns and quarantines throughout the world and Hawaii is no exception. My sons have been out of school since Spring Break started and now we are doing distance learning and homeschooling to keep them up with their studies. It’s a difficult time for everyone and finding activities to do while social distancing has been a challenge. To help get in our important Vitamin D and sunshine, I’ve been working with my children to play outside in our yard. With this crazy time in the world, it can seem like an uphill battle. Our lives are being turned upside down and while it’s difficult, we can get through this together.

Schools are closed, how do I keep my kiddos busy?

One of the main issues that I know parents are struggling with right now is ideas and ways to keep their kiddos busy during their school closures. They not only have to go to school from home, but they have to stay home and it can be a challenge. Thankfully, Razor has provided me some awesome suggestions for kipping kids busy and entertained during this time. This list of things is perfect to help our kids get up and active inside or outside and allows them to take in some of that Springtime sunshine. It’s perfect for getting some fresh air and having some fun while still social distancing from others.

Indoor Activity Ideas to Keep Kids Busy from Razor

The Spring weather is here and you may have the option of getting kids outside for some fresh air and play time during these school shut downs…and bikes, skateboards, scooters and electric rides are the perfect solution for kids with some energy to burn….

But what about when they are inside?

Image may contain: 3 people, people riding bicycles, child and outdoor

Let’s Unplug & Play

Razor has got some great energy-burning activity ideas perfect for indoor play!

Get kids of all ages to unplug, get up, and MOVE, even inside, with ideas like:

  • Simon Says – This classic game gets an indoor twist with commands like “Simon says hop to your pillow and back,” “Simon Says run up the stairs and back,” and “Simon Says bring me a spoon”
  • Dance Party – Nothing gets kids going like a dance party! Pick a favorite playlist and crank up the jams! Learn a new move on YouTube or try a round of freeze dance, pausing your music and holding statue-still til it starts up again (Alexa is a great freeze dance partner!)
  • Tape Shapes – Clear some space on a non-carpeted floor and use painter’s tape to make large triangles, rectangles, squares, and circles on the floor. Assign each child a starting space, then call moves like “crab walk to the circle,” “crawl to the square,” or “jump backwards to the rectangle.”
  • Balloon Ball – Blow up some balloons, toss a sheet over two chairs to make a “net”, and serve up a round of indoor balloon volleyball – just don’t let that balloon touch the floor!
  • Laundry Basketball – If your kids are bonkers for basketball, empty out a laundry basket and take turns tossing a Nerf ball into the basket, backing up two steps each time you score. See who can shoot from the farthest distance!
  • Soda Bottle Bowling – Dig some empty soda or water bottles out of the recycling and set up an indoor bowling alley in your hallway. Roll a soft ball toward your targets and see who can knock down the most “pins” and reset them the fastest.
  • Long Jump – Using painter’s tape, lay six 2-foot strips, each about a foot apart. Assign a starting spot and see who can jump the farthest!
  • Potato Pass – Kids waddle their way toward a bucket or bowl – with a potato between their knees – and see who can drop it in first in this half-baked indoor game! Make it tricky by placing the bucket in another room, forcing turns or steps along the way.
  • Be My Mirror – Pair up your kids and assign a starter to make a series of moves while their partner tries to mirror what they’re doing. Get through the series and switch roles – miss one and begin again!
  • Hula Hoop Marathon – Grab a hoop and set the timer to see who can last the longest. Expert “hoopers” can try swiveling their hula hoops on their necks, arms, and ankles.

Just because they are playing inside doesn’t mean they have to be couch potatoes. Get creative and your kids will follow suit. And these can all be played outside as well! 😊

Thank you Razor for providing me with this list of awesome activities. My sons are all having cabin fever and it can be a challenge to keep a little one entertained. While electronics are helpful, there are a lot of things we can do to keep our kiddos busy while they have fun.

Interested in learning about Razor and the products their offer? Visit them at:

How about you, what are you doing with your children during school shutdowns? For Moms, if you’re interested in a little Netflix & Chill, check out my list of shows and movies that you can watch too.