You may or may not have seen that over on my Facebook Page, I have declared 2021 to be, “The Year of the Chocolate Frog.” Just seems obscure and delicious enough to provide some motivation for a more magical year.
To me, this means a year of more magic, more fun, more butterbeer, and OBVIOUSLY….more chocolate frogs.
In honor of this I wanted to share my top 5 chocolate frog finds. In no particular order.
How ADORABLE is this?? I personally own this item and it is absolutely perfect in every way. It’s fragile, so be sure to handle with care, but this makes an amazing addition to your nightstand or decorative shelf for a touch of whimsy!
I also own this item, and IT SMELLS LIKE AN ACTUAL CHOCOLATE FROG! It is adorable. The bottom part is made of thin cardboard so it’s not the sturdiest. I recommend buying this online to ship rather than trying to cart it in your suitcase home. Excuse me while I go enjoy the scent of chocolate…
There are a few styles—it was honestly hard to pick my favorite, but I think this one wins. These are so cute. Be sure to click around on the site because the link about is to the size Large, and they come in a variety of sizes. If we have to wear masks, they might as well be MAGICAL!! Right?
Click here for ALL the official chocolate frog merch you can get online via the Universal Store. There’s a lot to choose from!
Do you have any chocolate frog merch? Let us know in the comments below!
I’m tired, ya’ll. This year has taken it all out of me, and then some. I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but I’m always hopeful at the restart and reset of a new year.
But if you’ll indulge me for a minute, I want to share some bright spots with you post COVID.
Let’s start where it all began.
I’ll never forget being on the Disney Dream, our last full day at sea, before heading home, and the Captain coming over the loud speaker. Everywhere. Everywhere on the ship.
In the Staterooms, on deck, in the theater. Everything paused for those few minutes that seemed to last forever, when he told us a world wide pandemic had been announced.
It was shocking.
We knew things were not all well when we decided to board the ship, but this took my breath away. And honestly? I really didn’t want to get off the next day. HA!
Protocols and changes went into place IMMEDIATELY. Disney is so good at this. At keeping people calm and cool and smiling. So grateful. I looked around at each family member I was travelling with, and you know all those thoughts start bombarding every side of your brain and it’s a mixutre of, ‘What if this is the last time we are all together?” and , “How will this change our lives?”
We had no idea that nine months later we would be fighting this things, STILL.
But as COVID progressed and the pandemic has raged on, parks and entertainment found a way to bring back the fun, SAFELY, with extreme caution.
I was NOT the first to jump on the bandwagon, I’ll be honest. After seeing trip after trip and reschedule after reschedule, I was really disheartened. Travel is my LIFE. This is what I do to clear my head, REST, disconnect, and care for myself.
I finally got on a plane in late August and didn’t tell many people. I didn’t even really post about it on my page, but I figured if there was anywhere that would be okay to visit, it would be Disney or Universal. And let me tell you–I was BLOWN AWAY by the protocols Universal had put in place.
You see, many of their Reps (we call them UReps) got on Facebook and began to interact with us. They made posts, made us laugh, gave us purpose, and provided glimpses of hope and excitement with live, real time, information on how things were going at the parks. How they would make a great come back and reopen. IT WAS GLORIOUS.
I’ve been three times since August, to visit Universal Orlando. On these visits I have frequented Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, City Walk, and MANY of the resorts including Hard Rock, Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific, Surfside and Cabana Bay.
Did they do everything perfectly? Honestly, no. My first stay at Hard Rock was a little unnerving (and slightly gross) because we all had to put our trash in the hallway to be picked up. They only picked up once a day so it could be sitting awhile. Due to COVID, maid services can not enter your room–this is right and safe, but it took us ALL awhile to adjust to this new normal.
But yall, THIS IS NEW. IT IS A PANDEMIC. We are all trying to figure this out, and make the best of what we can. I did not see this at the other four resorts I stayed in. And even tho maid service wasn’t running, they were doing everything else AMAZINGLY well.
My favorite thing was the texting. At check-in, they texted your phone to welcome you, and you could text ANY question ANY time of day for a quick response and turn around. They were 100% on their game, and told me where I could get sunscreen, when the gift shop opened, how much the tubes were to float in at the Lazy River, sent me extra shampoo up–it was GOLD. I adore this feature and hope they keep it around forever. We even checked out via text.
Room Service was also up and running. This is not the case many other places–they safely deliver to your door in to-go containers and never skimped on the extras and condiments. Very well done, Universal!
I have been in park on crowded days and empty days. They were all amazing. One of the most frequent questions I get is, “If I go, will it still be magical?” My short answer is ABSOLUTELY.
The first time seeing Diagon Alley was monumental for me. It was everything my Harry Potter loving heart had hoped for. Up until this year I had only been to Hogsmeade (I KNOW YALL!). The butterbeer, the fishy green ale, the constant epic music playing in the background made me feel like at any turn I was going to run into Ron, Harry and Hermione so we could talk about Snape’s latest potions assignment and what we were going to wear to the Yule Ball. It was everything.
Right before Christmas, right at dusk, we were visiting the Universal Orlando park, rounding the corner near Jimmy Fallon, where the Macy’s Balloon exhibit stood, and the Holiday Tribute Store beckoned. Christmas lights were strung everywhere, donning each building in the most festive way. Cocoa in hand, it truly and completely gave me the chills. It was beautiful, and my cup felt full for the first time during the pandemic. Pure joy.
There are so many more moments that stand out. Taking pics on the ET bike. Screaming and laughing so hard on the Simpsons Ride. Clare riding minions for the first time. Casting spells. Eating chocolate frogs. Hogsmeade at NIGHT TIME, quiet and full of wonder and hope. It gave us an escape. A mental break and put the world on hold for just a moment, while we immersed ourselves into fantasy and PLAYED.
“Okay, it sounds like it’s still magical, but is it actually safe?” I always say I feel safer going to Universal than I do my own grocery store. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s how I feel. You see people cleaning everywhere, dolling out the sanitizer into everyone’s hands before you step onto any ride, temp checks, distancing and markers everywhere. Also, the mask free safe zone? GENIUS and totally necessary. Love these.
Now hear this for SURE. You will ALWAYS have the human factor. There are guests that don’t care or read, or just don’t understand. That is just going to be a given. Some days we saw workers enforcing lines and distance, other days we didn’t. We almost always saw Universal Reps reminding people to wear masks. Everything is clearly marked, checked and employees are all wearing masks and in a lot of cases shields and gloves as well.
“Should I wait, if it’s my first time to visit? I want to be able to experience all the things.”
Honestly, GO. You will love having the break, you will get epic pictures wearing masks that will go down in your Facebook memories forever to remember this insane year by and that we SURVIVED ALL THE THINGS, and you’ll really enjoy the lower park capacity. You will. You will be spoiled with shorter wait times.
Not every single ride is open, and not every single restaurant is serving, but to me it hasn’t been enough to put me out. We have tried so many things we normally wouldn’t have, if I’m being honest. We were more relaxed, took the parks at a slower pace, and enjoyed taking in some epic scenery and details we normally would not have noticed.
I hope this helps you decide. Yes, this is my life, my business, my livelihood. But if you’re ready to travel again, I can honestly tell you, from someone who never leaves her house—it’s as safe as it can be, it’s still as MAGICAL as it can be, and you will not regret it for one minute.
You don’t have to just take my word for it. Here’s what my clients are saying:
“This was exactly the mental health break we needed.”
“It felt so good to immerse ourselves in a whole other world for a week. Even though we were wearing masks, it felt so normal.”
“I kind of prefer COVID themeparks to regular times. The crowds were so low and everyone was just so happy to be there.”
“I’m so glad our memories of this awful year won’t just be sitting at home. It was different but worth it.”
Have you traveled post COVID? Let us know in the comments!
Facebook reminded me this morning, that I was at Universal Studios Hollywood one year ago today.
Those who have been around awhile, know that this park is my absolute jam! I love the smaller size and the California vibe.
This particular trip, we filled up two park days seeing and doing all the things. I wanted to share my experience, because I think this park is a must-do, ESPECIALLY with littles!
The Minions section at the Hollywood Park is, in my opinion, superior. Four words to start this off: SUPER. SILLY. FUN. LAND.
This is your tiny people place, y’all. There are rides, games, amazing decor, snacks, characters and oh my gosh…the splash pad of your dreams. We didn’t do the splashpad because it was too cold, but it’s incredible.
We also loved playing in Springfield. They have tons of games over here, where you can win prizes! I loved all the different characters we saw from this series, too!
I can not stress enough, to try a Krusty Burger. It looks exactly how you would think it would, haha!! But it is DELICIOUS, and even more so, paired with a Duff Beer.
And no trip is complete with our a souviner sipper and GIANT DONUT from Lard Lad’s!
Of course, perhaps one of the most famous parts of either Universal Park…the Wizarding World is an absolute must do. The immersive experience into Hogsmeade at Universal Hollywood is so magical.
Flight of the Hippogriff is the perfect coaster for littles, as well as a massive stop in Honeydukes for all the treats! Here you can find Bertie Every Flavor Beans, chocolate frogs, treacle fudge, Gilly Water and so much more! Their candy counter is unreal!
We saw soooo many characters this trip. Trolls, Minions, Hello Kitty and Curious George.
Another stop I recommend is the Hello Kitty store! They have an entire of fudge and candy shaped characters that will be the most adorable part of your visit!
They also have a build your own Hello Kitty ears bar! You pick your headband, bow, and bow center and can mix and match however you like! To this day, these are still a big hit in my house!
All in all, this is a great destination in and of itself, or as part of your SoCal adventure!
Rumor has it that National Chocolate Day recently donned our calendars. Upon learning this news, I knew I had to share pictures of my favorite Disney chocolaty treats.
Let’s start with this beauty from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Quick Service, The Mara. Is it a cookie? Is it a cake? You decide. But I can tell you this…it’s delicious.
These next few treats are found aboard DCL. The gorgeous butterfly topped cupcakes can be found at Vanellopes on the Disney Dream, and the others on your evening dining rotation!
Let’s not forget the classic Mickey bar! This one is from DCL but you can find them almost anywhere at Disney.
The France Pavilion, in Epcot, is perhaps one of the most delightful places to search for all things Chocolate. This tarte is no exception! I think it deserves all the heart eyes. 😍😍😍😍😍
One more for DCL. Perhaps my favorite chocolaty treat on board, the chocolate martini.
Speaking of drinks, how about this Christmas cookie shot from the Grand Californian Hotel, at Disneyland? Chocolate chip cookie “glass” with a peppermint rim, filled to the brim with chocolate milk. Also comes with Rumchata, if that’s your jam.
A few more fabulous chocolate treats from Disneyland. The brownie cupcake from Holly Jolly Bakery, and the chocolate chip cookie sundae from Clarabelle’s! Ahhh I can just taste these.
And last, but certainly never least, the Grey Stuff. Shown here on the VIP Snacks tour around Magic Kingdom, this can also be found at Be Our Guest.
Have you tried the Grey Stuff? It’s delicious! Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!
Drop a comment below with YOUR favorite chocolate Disney dessert!