Why You Need a Knott’s 2020 Season Pass! PLUS GIVEAWAY


If you have been a reader of Sandy Toes and Popsicles over the past twelve years, then you know how much our family LOVES Knott’s Berry Farm. We go ALL. THE. TIME. We love the convenience of easy Knott’s parking and easy access to the parks, the variety of seasonal experiences Knott’s has to offer, and that there are NO BLACKOUT DATES!!

Have you been on the fence about getting a Knott’s Berry Farm 2020 Season Pass? Then this article is for you. I’m here to tell you why you need a Knott’s Season Pass, because there are so many reason why! And if there was ever a time to get a Knott’s Season Pass, THIS IS THE YEAR! It’s Knott’s Berry Farm’s 100th Anniversary, so you can bet there will be tons of surprises and fun celebrations. (Make sure to read to the end for an AWESOME GIVEAWAY!!!)

What’s Included with a Knott’s Season Pass

The main reason our family is able to spend so much time at Knott’s is because we have Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passes. First of all, Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passes are such a value. They pay for themselves in less than two visits, but I guarantee you will be going much more than just twice.

With our Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passes, we can go to ALL the Season of Fun events that happen at Knott’s year round. And they not only provide admission to Knott’s Berry Farm all year long, but ALSO include some cool perks? It’s true….there are perks to having a Season Pass beyond its great value (and no blackout dates)!!!! Here are some of the reasons you need a Knott’s Season Pass.

At Knott’s Berry Farm they call it Seasons of Fun because the offerings always change based on the season.

The Knott’s Berry Farm PEANUTS Celebration starts off the year. It’s a month long celebration of our favorite PEANUTS pals and the lovable Snoopy himself. There are PEANUTS inspired treats, fun photo opts, games and fun shows throughout the park.

In the Spring, you can head to the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, the best time for food at Knott’s! It’s ALL THINGS BOYSENBERRY – a salute to the birthplace of the Boysenberry. A month-long food festival featuring boysenberry-inspired dishes that are both sweet and savory, plus lots of fun family-friendly entertainment.

Fun Things to Do at Knott’s During Summer

Summer time means a whole lot more fun at Knott’s!

First of all, the town of Calico comes to life with Knott’s Ghost Town Alive! and if you haven’t experienced it, you need to. You can make friends with the citizens, taking part in cowboy shenanigans, solve mysteries, capture the bad guys, play games and attend the Hoe Down at sun down. my kids love it so much we went over and over.

New to Knott’s Berry Farm, and a huge hit…is Knott’s Summer Nights which happens every evening during summer at Knott’s. When the sun begins to set, the bands come out, and everyone gets to enjoy the ambiance of a cool summer backyard party. There is food, entertainment, lawn games, fire pits you roast marshmallows at, and picnics tables to relax at. It was definitely a highlight of my summer going to Knott’s Summer Nights.

PLUS, don’t forget about Knott’s Soak City. If you like waterslides, then you will want to buy a Knott’s Berry Farm Gold 2020 Season Pass because there is more fun in the sun for Gold Season Passholders at Knott’s. You can use it to go to Knott’s Soak City all summer long. There’s dozens of waterslides, a lazy river, a wave pool and lots of good places to eat….all a big hit. Plus, did you know that Knott’s Soak City is the only waterpark of this size in Orange County and is a blast!!!! 

So I highly suggest upgrading your Knott’s Berry Farm 2020 Season Pass to GOLD status!

Other happenings during summer is the 4th of July celebration fireworks on the Fourth of July, and Snoopy Show at the Charles Shultz Theater….and who knows what else Knott’s has planned!

Fall is the season of Knott’s Spooky Farm, the park-wide, family friendly Halloween celebration that is not-so-scary.  kids can wear costumes, and the entire family can enjoy the Halloween happenings around the park – 
PLUS, Knott’s Scary Farm….which is not part of the Knott’s Season Pass, but can be purchased is fun for anyone who loves the scariest of the scary and screaming all night long!

Read More…

Eat at Denny’s this Holiday Season and Help No Kid Hungry

This is a sponsored post.

My kids think it’s the biggest treat to go eat at Denny’s! Their favorite thing ever is getting to have breakfast for dinner. Mine too! So when I told them we were heading over to Denny’s to have dinner, you didn’t have to ask them twice. The reason for our visit? Denny’s has partnered with No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger.

Luckily, my kids always get the food they need and don’t have to worry going hungry. But did you know, more than 11 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes? That means those families don’t have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life. This doesn’t always mean that there isn’t anything to eat. But it can mean that children get smaller portions than they need, or parents aren’t able to afford nutritious foods. That’s where No Kid Hungry comes to play.

No Kids Hungry is fighting to end Child Hunger in America by providing meals to kids through various programs such as school breakfasts, afterschool meals and summer meal programs.

How You Can Help No Kid Hungry by Visiting Denny’s

Now through December 23, across all Denny’s U.S. restaurant locations, guests who donate $3 to No Kid Hungry in-store will receive coupons worth $15 to be used on subsequent visits. 

That’s giving back to help end childhood hunger PLUS a great excuse to visit Denny’s in the future for a fun family meal! 

The No Kid Hungry Denny’s coupons include:

  • A free stack of pancakes with the purchase of an entrée
  • A buy one get one free juice
  • 2 coupons for $5 off $20 check Denny’s

The coupons can be used at any subsequent visit up until March 26, 2020. And Denny’s guests also have the opportunity to donate $1 at checkout on their Denny’s On Demand online ordering website.

So of course we made our donation at the end of our meal! We got to put our name on the wall and the great feeling knowing that every dollar donated to No Kid Hungry can feed a child up to 10 healthy meals. Since 2011, Denny’s and its guests have contributed $7 million in donations, which is enough to provide up to 70 million meals to kids in need.

So if you are feeling like some pancakes or one of Denny’s other yummy signature foods, head over to your local restaurant and have a tasty meal. Hopefully you will add the $3 to your bill to help No Kid Hungry. Not only will you be providing meals to kids in need, but you will also get a fun sheet of coupons to use the next time you visit. Thank you in advance for your support!

Visiting HGTV’S Santa HQ at the Los Cerritos Center

This is a sponsored post.

It’s that time of year when our family gets all the Santa photos. We love visiting different Santa’s throughout SoCal. This weekend we headed over to the Los Cerritos Center to HGTV’s Santa HQ to check out their great Santa set-up. Last year we went to HGTV’s Santa HQ at the Lakewood Mall (you can read about it here) and loved it so much. It’s such fun Santa Experience…much more than just sitting on Santa’s lap.

HGTV’s Santa HQ adds a whole new dimension to the traditional family Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday extravaganza that uses of state-of- the-art digital technology. something that kids today love! There are 15 Santa’s HQ in the United States. I already mentioned the two in Southern California, the Los Cerritos Mall and the Lakewood Center Mall. They are basically the same, and equally great, but the Lakewood locations set-up is a bit bigger and has an extra room.

We started off our visit by skipping the line with your pre-scheduled reservation and headed over to the Naughty or Nice Meter. We had to see if the kids made the nice list this year. And of course they did!….and even saw their names on Santa’s interactive Christmas list. Are you on Santa’s nice list? Two of the kids only made it to the yellow zone…I wonder what that means?

Next we visited got the Elf Academy. It’s a fun photo opp where you can elf yourself. You can also create an elf I.D. card digitally and send it to yourself. Guests stand in front of the Magic Mirror video screen and, through augmented reality, transform into Santa’s Elf. The Magic Mirror allows guests to select one of four elf styles (Hazel, Ruby, Jack, and Strawberry) from which to choose outfits.

Next we headed into Santa’s Observatory which is really fun. The kids can check out the control panel. what kid doesn’t love buttons and gadgets to play with.

We got to have Elf-Ray Vision!  Either by downloading the Elf-Ray Vison app on your phone, or using the iPads located on the wall of the observatory, kids can explore Santa’s Observatory by using the app as special goggles. they got to see secret elf happenings on the walls like presents being shipped and the working gears of the observatory.

There was also this fun photo opportunity before we met Santa, which could also be chosen as part of our Santa photo package. They even have photo props available for you to use.

Make Reservations to See Santa and Skip the Lines

Did I mention that we got to skip the line to go into HGTV’s Santa HQ because we made a reservation? I tell you this again because it really saved us a ton of time and we definitely avoided toddler meltdowns in long lines. Pretty cool huh! Guests can make reservations online at Santa HQ from HGTV. You can even pre-pay for your photo package, days or even weeks in advance, and also opt-in text functionality to send reminders about your Santa photo session reservation.

Finally, we met the big guy himself….SANTA!!!! we had so much fun getting our photos with Santa. He spent one-on-one time with each of the kids, and made sure to get a good variety of photos to choose from. At the end of our visit, Santa gave each to the kids a coloring book to take home with them.

Here’s how our Santa photo turned out. Dani didn’t cry this year, but she was a bit grumpy from just waking up from napping in the car. I would say this picture was a success though.


visitors to Santa HQ will also be able to enjoy the holiday spirit of giving through HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving Drive. you can donate an unwrapped toys for local children in need by dropping it in one of the bins at Santa HQ. the toys benefit local organizations like Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus.

The kids and i had such a nice evening at Santa HQ from HGTV. i wasn’t expecting our Santa visit to be so special, but with all these special holiday touches and the elves treating my children with love and care, my kids had night to remember. we will be adding HGTV’s Santa HQ to our holiday traditions each year!

In case you wanted to know just a little more about Santa HQ from HGTV…check out this fun video!

The Magic of Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

When we visited Universal Studios Hollywood this month, we were super excited to experience everything Christmas that Universal had to offer. Most of all, we were excited to go to GRINCHMAS! It has been a couple years since we had visited GRINCHMAS and wanted to get a dose of Holiday Whobilation before the end of the year.

What to Expect at Grinchmas

What we love about GRINCHMAS is that you feel like you are transferred into Whoville. There are lots of Whos walking around and they are more than happy to visit, play and take photos with you. You can visit the Grinch himself, although the line gets pretty long. I recommend heading there as soon as you enter the park to try and beat the lines.

Visiting the GRINCH is a hilarious experience and so so good. He is 100% THE GRINCH and tells jokes and take photos and just makes the whole experience magical.

You can even meet the GRINCH’s faithful dog Max….oh so cute!

Plus, there are so many more Who-ville Whos to meet. Make sure to take a photo by the all-new state-of-the-art, topsy-turvey “Grinchmas” tree, twisting and turning over 55 feet in height. And then head back at the end of the day for the nightly “Grinchmas” tree lighting ceremony accompanied by a snowfall flurry.

Check out all these photos I took of our time at GRINCHMAS. The best part was dressing Dani up as Cindy Lou Who and getting the most adorable photos ever. It truly made our experience extra special.

We really loved the new tree and the tree lighting ceremony!

The Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour is Great for all Ages

After enjoying GRINCHMAS, everyone wanted to go on the Studio Tour. The great thing about this ride is that everyone of all ages can go on it. We like that it changes a little bit each time you go depending on which studio sets are being used, so you get a new experience every time. Plus you get to go on the favorite parts such as Fast and Furious and King Kong Skull Island. And it’s always fun to get attacked by Jaws! We could go on the Studio Tour over and over, and it’s a great ride to go on when you need to rest your feet a little bit.

I have to tell you this, so that you can be prepared…as we were not and it affected our trip.

Be Prepared for the Cold at Universal Studios Hollywood

It’s been cold in Southern California this month! But we were not prepared for how cold it got at Universal Studios Hollywood during our visit. We felt like this snowman photo.

We thought a sweatshirt would be enough to keep us warm at night. We were wrong. As soon as the sun set, which was extra early, the chill was more than we cold bear (I don’t know why, but it was colder at Universal, than it was outside the park). And it was not only cold, it also rained. We got wet on top of being cold, and everyone was miserable. We had to buy jackets, gloves and hats….and we were still cold. BTW…they sell these great GRINCH gloves for a really good price!

So make sure to bring lots of warm clothes, gloves and hats if it is even a little bit cold that day. You can keep everything in your car and get them if you need them. The parking structure is close and easy to access. I would hate for you to get in the predicament that we did! We ended up leaving early which was a bummer, because we love Universal Studios so much!

Despite the cold, we managed to fit a few more experiences into our visit before the cold took us over. A few of us rode the new Jurassic World ride (crazy kids!) and then we stopped by the Raptor Encounter and saw a baby raptor.

Then we took a few fun holiday photo opts. and then checked out some of the Christmas lights throughout the park.

We couldn’t come to Universal Studios Hollywood and not visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s all dressed up for the holidays you know! You can even see and a cappella Frog Choir where Hogwarts students entertain guests with their harmonized holiday themed songs. And if you are looking for Holiday-themed fare and hot butterbeer, then head over to “The Three Broomsticks”

Finally, we checked out “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” dazzling light show. We love this show, and managed to get to the first showing. luckily, it plays multiple times each night, and since it takes place up on the castle, you don’t have to worry about finding a good place to view it.

Wow, what a day! We had sooooo much fun. Just an overall nice day….even despite the cold getting the best of us. Universal Studios Hollywood has so much to offer and has top notch shows and rides. “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and “Grinchmas,” runs daily from Thursday, November 28 through Sunday, December 29, so get there before the end of the year. It’s a great choice to take out of town guests and a great place to go if you want a dose of Holiday Cheer!

Tips for Watching the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

If you are looking for a great place to view some of the best Christmas Lights in Orange County and also enjoy the glimmer of twinkling lights upon the Newport Bay, then the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is an awesome choice! We have a tradition of going to the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade every year.

Make sure to read till the end for an AWESOME GIVEAWAY!

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. each night from December 18th – 22nd. It starts and ends point at Tip of Lido Isle so you can find lots of different places in Newport Harbour to view it. We always go to the Balboa Fun Zone. There is always plenty of parking over at the beach which is just a short walk to the Balboa Fun Zone. We usually find some treats and cocoa to enjoy, and then take the Ferry over to Balboa Island and walk along the island to look at the Balboa Peninsula house Christmas lights. On the nights of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, you get to see the boats AND houses decorated with lights!

The Best Holiday Boat Cruises in Newport Beach.

One of the best ways to enjoy to Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and all the decorated Balboa Peninsula homes is by taking a Holiday Cruise from Newport Landing. You can take a Holiday Lights Cruise for only $20 which is totally worth the price to get the best view there is. You also don’t have to worry about all the crowds. The cruises take place throughout the month of December with three cruises nightly. And each holiday cruise is around 75 minutes long. 

The Newport Harbor dressed up in holiday décor will not disappoint. Holiday cruises offer 85% of what the parade offers without the huge numbers of people and parking challenges. A cruise can make a nice relaxing evening under the stars, and having all your friends come along would be such a fun evening. Weekends are more popular for holiday cruise times and reservations are mandatory.

Balboa Fun Zone During the Holidays

When you are at the Balboa Fun Zone during the holidays, there are lighted trees and often live entertainment or music playing. You can take a ride on the ferris wheel, go on a few rides or hang out in the arcade. There are plenty of place to grab a bite to eat on the go, or you can even bring a picnic dinner with you. There are tables and chairs on the boardwalk.

If you choose to walk around the homes on the Balboa Peninsula, you can take the Balboa Ferry from the Balboa Fun Zone over. It costs

Watch the Newport Beach Boat Parade at Marina Park.

If you don’t want to walk around Balboa Island, or take a cruise, then I recommend going over to the 10.5-acre Marina Park. This park offers 177 parking spaces, nautical-themed playground, picnic area and sailing center, and is also the largest public viewing area along the parade route, creating an optimal location to gather and enjoy the festivities.

Finally, dress warmly and bring friends and family. Enjoying all the Christmas lights and the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is especially fun when you are with the ones you love. It’s a tradition everyone will remember for years to come.

Newport Holiday Cruise Giveaway

Want to win a Holiday Light Cruise for you and three people? Then I have a FUN giveaway for you! Two lucky readers win a 4-pack of Holiday Light Cruise tickets from Newport Landing. Just enter via Rafflecopter below! Just do the entries that you want…the more you do the more chances you have to win!

Giveaway ends December 15, 2019. Open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Want to see the Best Christmas Lights in Orange County?!!!

Check it out here:

PLUS…..have you seen this list of 150 Christmas Events in Orange County???