trip report: D23 expo!

From July 14th through the 16th: I had the time of my life attending my very first D23 Expo!

SO and I like to go to Disneyland often, plus attend a lot of local conventions, so we consider ourselves decent nerd-fans and somewhat con-experienced. But D23 would be the largest event we’ve ever attended, and we wanted to do it right! Se did some preparations and research: watched videos, planned out our itinerary, wrote down panels, considered backups, and anticipated long lines. I bought my first Gold Membership in hopes of being able to use some of the line benefits. We got camping gear and Japanese snacks for potential overnighters outside.

I asked him, “are you willing to actually spend the night in line to attend this one panel the next day?” And he was like, “yes!” “ARE YOU SURE? Because I’m pretty darn crazy/nerdy and I totally understand if you don’t have the patience for that.” I picked a great guy!

I was so excited about the weekend, and a little anxious, because I’d be seeing a whole lot of Disney and Marvel things, and hoping for some neat moments and cool swag! As a huge Marvel fan, this was a pretty darn big deal!


July 26, 2017 - 6:54 pm | Comments

starting off 2017 with a magical vacation!

Kind of a late-ish post. After a busy holiday season at work and dance at the end of 2016, I started off the new year with a wonderful trip! Sharing a report of highlights from our trip from earlier in January, with a few photos taken by me and BH!


Our January travel timing worked really well. We caught the tail end of the holiday season and lights at the Disney parks, and made it to Las Vegas and home after CES, but before the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend holiday crowd came in. So, prices and crowds were really manageable for a beautiful time of year.

We drove with our buddy down to Anaheim first. He had never been to any Disney parks before, so we were excited to show him a good time. Our first day was at Disney’s California Adventure! I wanted to try so many holiday goodies.


Photo by BH

We introduced him to the wallet-emptying magic that is pin trading.


Photo by BH

Our timing for the evening at Disney California Adventure was fantastic- we were able to make it into the Cove Bar (!!) right before it closed, allowing us to land a view of the upcoming World of Color show from the bar. Delicious lobster nachos, delicious drinks, and delightful company with a delightful view? Couldn’t get any better than this!


The next day was Disneyland. We tried to jam pack everything we could, since it was the last official day of the holiday season (and for other things!). All the major rides, Mickey beignets, Magic Map, Paint the Night’s last showing, holiday fireworks and lights.


Photo by BH


Photo by BH

The next day was our buddy’s last day at Anaheim. We ate a great breakfast, and did more pin trading and shopping.

A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

He went back home that day, leaving me and the bf to do one last Disney visit alone on the day before Vegas. It was kind of sad, actually! We realized that Disney magic really is the people we spend time with along the way. Ha.

The next day, we packed up and had our first ride-share experience to LAX, and headed on a short flight to Las Vegas!!


I’ve been in Vegas a lot with family as I was growing up. This was my first time going without parents, post 21 years old, and getting to enjoy it fully as an adult! Boy have things changed!

Also wanted to mention that it was our first time redeeming our MyVegas points and getting our Mlife rewards- super easy and very worth it, indeed!

We stayed in Paris with with a view of the Bellagio Hotel- was able to land a high tier room at a good price. The next day, we did some buffet-eating, sight-seeing. We had tickets to see Cirque du Soleil – Ka at MGM Grand that night. Amazing show!


After the show, we ended the evening with drinks at The Chocolate Bar in NYNY.

A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

The next day was Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef, with more sight seeing, and more eating!


We rode the monorail a few times back and forth to see the length of the strip…


And we later found a nice and crowd-free spot at Caesar’s Palace to take photos.


We went back to our hotel room to get dolled up a bit (so I didn’t look so much like a little kid, too) and came back to have a little photoshoot in the area!


On our last day, we used up the last of our Mlife rewards to nab another buffet and check out the secret garden at the Mirage. At this point on Friday evening, the weekend holiday crowds were really starting to come in! We headed to Excalibur to watch Tournament of Kings- a dinner show I watched exactly 10 years ago! It was as fun as I remembered.

More food and more walking.



A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

We gambled a little bit of our entertainment money throughout the trip, did a lot of sight-seeing and lounging about. And did a whole. Lot. Of. Eating.  Overall, it was a fun and successful trip, with a lot of discounts and deals acquired! Relaxed and fat, we flew home the next day. Both Las Vegas and SJ airports were very empty.


I’m really grateful to be at an age and means to experience trips like this. With bf’s graduation and the start of the new year, it was a good time to reflect and appreciate childhood and adult fun… by doing both! We’re already looking forward to the next one!

January 20, 2017 - 1:40 pm | Comments

mission viejo was as golden as i remembered

I’ve been thinking about a write up to my recent vacation from early August for a while! I could post all the long details and pics of every day and how amazing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was, the deliciousness of butterbeer, buying my first wand, seeing the Disneyland 60th celebration one last time, my first Disney alcoholic beverage at the Cove bar, visiting Captain America again, etc… but I keep coming back to thoughts about my reunion and memories with family, and how it made the entire trip even more magical.

Mission Viejo was as golden as I remembered.

During my recent vacation, I came back to this part of SoCal with my cousins for an impromptu reunion after over 14 years. The last time I was here, I was as an adolescent away from my parents for weeks-to-month long getaways. It was a place and a moment in time where summer felt as endless as it was fleeting. It felt so long ago, but the memories were still bright and warm.



In the early 2000s at a large vacation home full of love, my aunt inhaled the teenage cousins away from their parents for the summer season and spoiled us with theme parks, summer outings, chores, and life lessons. As an only child, it was the closest I felt to having a house full of siblings, spoiled only with excitement of upcoming activities and trips planned for the visit. It was my first time experiencing any sort of significant Disney or Hollywood experience, or even that long of a vacation escapism, before I hit middle school. It was the start of an addiction to the magic and longing that Disney parks brought, that I wouldn’t be able to reach again until my mid-20s.

On a hot summer day in 2016, I finally visited her grave for the first time. I was never able to come here before, until now. The weather and the city were the same shade of gold and warm that I remembered. It’s as if summer never ended here and was waiting for me to come back.

All of us cousins were there, older, grown-up, discussing our various careers and adult paths. But one of them suddenly pulled up a viral and shocking picture of an Olympian with a broken leg on their phone, and we all backed away and cringed out loud. Suddenly we were loud and obnoxious kids again, laughing at ourselves and reminiscing around the grave.

Later that night, my boyfriend and I held hands in Disneyland, watching the parks lights and festivities shimmer at night. I’m finally able enough to come here and indulge whenever I want, whenever I need to. Over a decade later, a sudden appreciation for everything that happened back then and now hit me hard. I still get lost in thought thinking about summer days in Mission Viejo whenever I visit any Disney park. I like to think my aunt would be happy that I found someone to share the vacation tradition with as adults, and that we continued to keet that bit of our childhood alive!


August 22, 2016 - 2:51 pm | Comments

disneyland: 60th anniversary celebration trip!

This is a very delayed post, but I wanted to finally upload and write about a great summer trip I had not too long after FanimeCon, especially after seeing a lot of friends posting about Disneyland lately. In between all the dancing, training, working, and adult-ing throughout the semester, we finally had a vacation to check out Disneyland for the 60th Anniversary Celebration!!


(The following photos are a combination of DSLR and smartphone pics…)


July 14, 2015 - 2:44 pm | 2 Comments