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The Happiest Place On Earth: Your Guide to Disneyland — Anaheim, CA, USA

{ This is NOT a sponsored post in any way. I love Disneyland and all things Disney and personally have my own annual passport so this post is simply sharing my favorite bits of Disneyland. I am not affiliated or associated with anyone from Disney. All opinions stated are  my own honest opinions, as always. }

This is the first of a series of “wanderlust” or travel type posts I’ll be doing for the Summer as a way to share the places I’ve been to and really love with you all.

I hope that, if you’re traveling to any of these places this Summer, these posts will help make the most of your experiences!

One thing that my boyfriend and I share a huge mutual love for is all things Disney, but more than that, Disneyland, and I think many Southern California natives share this same sentiment with us!

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. 

No, really. It is.

I actually think one of the happiest moments in my adult life was my 20th birthday gift – an annual passport to Disneyland.

If you haven’t been to Disneyland, you really ought to and here’s why: 

  1. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.
  2. Disneyland allows you to be a child for an entire day, no matter your age.
  3. Disneyland has the best rides for all ages and is a great place to spend a vacation with your family.
  4. Disneyland is not just an amusement park – It’s an adventure of the imagination and the senses.
  5. Disneyland inspires hope, whimsy, and pure unadulterated joy from ALL of it’s patrons.
  6. It is literally impossible to be angry, sad, or upset at Disneyland. EVER.
  7. You can go on many adventures all within one park!

Now that you know a few reasons why Disneyland is amazing, here’s my unofficial guide to my favorite amusement park!

FAST PASSES

Just as a bit of a side note, since I’ll be mentioning these quite a bit in this post. A Fast Pass is a ticket that you can get for some rides (not all) at Disneyland, usually the more popular ones like Space Mountain and Indiana Jones have them. They have a few kiosks near that specific ride where you can go and insert your Disneyland park ticket and it will spit out a fast pass for that ride. The fast pass ticket gives you times at which you can return to get on the ride and wait in the significantly shorter “fast pass” line as opposed to the “stand by” line. The “stand by” line is just the normal line (or queue for UK) everyone can stand in and just wait to get on the ride. The “fast pass” line is for those who get the “fast pass” tickets and this drastically shortens the wait time, especially for the more popular rides.

One thing to note about fast passes is that you can only have one at a time so choose the ride you want to get on the most. It used to be that you could have fast passes for all rides all at once, but they stopped doing that so now you’ll have to get one at a time. I know it’s kind of confusing so if you want me to explain further, comment below and I’ll try my best to answer any questions you may have.

THE RIDES YOU HAVE TO GO ON

Rides at Disneyland are not the fastest, scariest, or the biggest you’ve ever seen, but they are the most fun you’ll ever have. They have a certain timelessness about them that can’t really be explained, only experienced firsthand. Here are the ones you must go on when you pay Disneyland a visit!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN {In Frontierland} :

Second to Space Mountain, this is my favorite ride at Disneyland. It has a lot of character. Everyone wants to be a pirate, right? This ride takes you on a boat ride through the world of plunderin’ gold and other piratey things, plus they’ve updated it now to reflect characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean films so Captains Jack Sparrow and Barbosa both make appearances. They feature some really awesome pirate music and the entire thing is a ton of fun.

SPACE MOUNTAIN {In Tomorrowland}: 

Space Mountain is pretty much my favorite ride at Disneyland and it’s really difficult to choose a favorite one because there are a lot of really fantastic rides. Space Mountain is kind of difficult to describe, but it’s basically like going on a roller coaster in space. Like, if you were inside a planetarium with stars and constellations all around you and you were on a roller coaster inside that, then that would be what this ride is like. It’s quite fast, but in a fun way. It’s not scary at all. The line is almost always ridiculously long so I recommend when you get into the park that you get a fast pass for Star Tours (that is always ridiculously long wait) and then go straight to Space Mountain because the later it gets, the longer the line and if it’s hot out, you’ll be waiting in line in the super bright sunlight. 

HAUNTED MANSION {In Frontierland}:

Although it has a spooky name, this ride is not scary at all. It’s actually really kind of dated looking, but that’s a big part of what makes it fun, in my opinion. It’s like riding through an old spooky “Haunted Mansion” and just sort of observing all the spookiness…erm, to spooky fun music. The ride is very slow so you can really take everything in and enjoy the awesome props they’ve put into this one. The line is actually one of the lesser busy ones and usually doesn’t take long to get into, even if you’re there on a busy day so you can go on this at any time – no need to get a fast pass.

STAR TOUR {In Tomorrowland}:

This is a newly renovated ride and features characters from Star Wars in it. It’s completely “virtual simulation” so you don’t actually go anywhere; you’re in a room with seating of about 20 ish people (like a plane sort of) and the seats move back and forth and react to what happens on the screen. This ride is VERY popular and you will need to get a fast pass for it VERY early on in your day or just get in the “stand by” line (queue) for this straightaway when you get into the park otherwise, you won’t be getting on it. It’s very busy and crowded and the wait can be up to 2 hours long, depending on how busy the park is that day. The ride is totally worth it, though, because it features Star Wars characters and a really cool space flight simulation of sorts. The really cool thing about it is that there are over 200 different scenarios you can experience on the ride so you can literally ride it 200 times and never experience the same thing. I don’t recommend this ride to anyone who gets motion sickness easily as the seats do quite a bit of jostling around, but it’s not overwhelming, and the ride is only a few minutes long so it’s up to your own judgment.

INDIANA JONES {In Adventureland}:

This is another personal favorite of mine. It’s also another pretty popular one so I recommend trying to get on this one early in the day as the wait for this tends to get really long or the ride breaks down. You can get a “fast pass” for this one and, if you’re trying to get on it in the afternoon, I recommend it because the line (queue) is in nearly direct sunlight at the beginning and it’s pretty hot if you go in the Summer. It’s definitely worth waiting, however you do it (stand by or fast pass), because it’s really fun to go on! It’s basically a reproduction of the Indiana Jones films (the older ones, not the newest one) and you ride an old jeep through an underground lair of sorts with really fun music, pyrotechnic effects, animatronics, and other bits. It really feels like being on a fun “Indiana Jones” adventure.

Other awesome rides include Thunder Railroad, Splash Mountain (great for really hot days), The Matterhorn (one of the oldest rides at Disneyland), Alice in Wonderland, Alice In Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Peter Pan, Roger Rabbit in Toon Town and many many more

INNOVENTIONS:

This is not really a ride, but it’s still really awesome to see and they update the displays frequently. This is basically a walk through exhibit of sorts in Tomorrowland that is a couple of levels. They have a lot of futuristic technology on display as well as current smart phones, video game systems, and others that you can pick up and check out or play. They have a live robot show that is really cool to see, a display of futuristic looking kitchens and living rooms to walk through, and a closer look at the animations of Disney characters as well. You can also check out Disney songs and even record yourself singing them. I think this is a fun place to cool off from the outside and relax a bit, in between rides, and see something really interesting. Aside from the displays that are always showcased, they also have more current Disney items there like the photo shown above as they are currently displaying all of the Iron Man suits from Iron Man 3. This changes a lot and I remember back when Tron came out they had the Tron Cycle there so it may be something totally different when you come visit!

THE BEST PLACES TO EAT 

This is a big one! There are a TON of awesome places to eat at Disneyland. One thing to be said about the food is that it can get pretty expensive so, if you prefer not to spend on food, I recommend bringing a cooler full of sandwiches and drinks and leaving it in your car ( It’s not allowed in the park ), but you can go out to your car to eat lunch – just be sure to have one of the attendants at the gates stamp your hand so you can be re-admitted!

If you do plan on eating the delicious food at Disneyland, read on!

BLUE BAYOU RESTAURANT:

If you can get in to enjoy this food, definitely do because it is some of the best food! You have to make reservations to eat at the Blue Bayou which you can do by calling in the day before or that morning. Otherwise, you can also go to the Blue Bayou in the morning when you first get into the park and place your reservation for the evening at that time. This restaurant is in Frontierland and is actually inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride so it looks like it’s constantly late evening in New Orleans inside the restaurant which is SO COOL! Aside from the ambiance, the food is DIVINE. The meals are about $20-$40 each, depending on what you order, but it is totally worth it! Most meals are inspired by traditional New Orleans type food – Jambalaya, Seafood, etc. The service is pretty impeccable and while I wouldn’t eat there every single time I visit Disneyland, it is definitely worth doing at least once.

TURKEY LEGS:

This is what my boyfriend and I eat when we are being cheap, but in spite of that, these are one of the best and most delicious snacks at Disneyland! They’re slow cooked so the meat rolls of the bone easily and the flavor is brilliant. They cost a massive $9 each, but that’s kind of cheap in Disneyland prices, and if you like turkey legs and meat, this will be one of the best you have ever tried. The main little vendors that carry these turkey legs are in the center square that’s right out of Main Street before you go into the different “lands” on the left hand side.

BENGAL BBQ:

This is a healthier choice for those who are looking for more balanced meals, though still really great. Located right inside Adventureland, they sell meat and grilled veggie kabobs as well as tropical themed dishes, and drinks. Right next to it, they also have a slushy type drink bar that’s tropical jungle theme as well, though I don’t go there much.

CAFE ORLEANS:

This is another lovely restaurant in Frontierland that’s really good. It’s more affordable than Blue Bayou and still has similar food options with a few more dishes as well. It’s almost like an old style cafeteria, in my opinion, but the food is pretty decent. I personally don’t go here too much because it’s always packed with people. If you want to avoid the tourism rush, try another place.

REDD ROCKETT’s PIZZA PORT:

This is another favorite place to eat, though it’s kind of overpriced for what they give you. They serve a variety of mostly pizza, pasta and salads at exorbitant prizes, but everything tastes pretty good. It looks like a buffet when you walk in, but don’t be fooled, every item is individually priced from your drink to your salad to your entree so check the prices! This one is located right next to Space Mountain and is pretty popular, but it’s a more affordable option for those who want a place to sit down and eat as opposed to snacking on vendor cart food.

STAGE DOOR CAFE:

This is one of the cheapest places you can eat, but it’s very fast food. It’s located inside Frontierland and it’s not as busy as some of the other places, but you can literally go up and order and then sit down in the tables area and eat. Meals per person are around $10-$12 and they have limited options of chicken strips, french fries and soft drinks and I think maybe some hot dogs or burgers, but if you’re on a budget, it might be worth checking out.

TROPICAL IMPORTS {Healthy Snacks!}:

This isn’t a place to eat so much as it is a good place to get a healthy snack. They offer packaged fruit, various nuts, juices and bottled water and it’s one of the few vendors that actually offers it so if you have dietary restrictions or want to eat healthy, this is a great place to grab some snacks. It’s right to the left of Indiana Jones in Adventureland.

MAIN STREET SHOPPING

There are a TON of options in Main Street (where you first walk into the park) so I’m not going to focus on specific shops because there are too many to name. They all have much of the same merchandise and souvenirs so just have a look through them. Instead, I’m just going to highlight some of my favorite things about Main Street in terms of items, goodies, etc.

THE CANDY, ICE CREAM, & OTHER GOODIES:

First up, Main Street has some pretty extravagant candies and baked goods. They have candy apples in all manner of toppings from basic caramel apples to chocolate apples with sprinkles and more. They have rice krispies, handmade chocolates, and massive packaged lollipops. They even have a small sugar free section as well as flavored popcorns and things. One of my favorites on Main Street is the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor which smells incredible and the ice cream is really great as well. They have a nice selection of flavors and it feels very old fashioned. It’s a great place to get a cone if you love ice cream.

MERCHANDISE & OTHER SOUVENIRS:

There are so many places to buy souvenirs and things in Disneyland. You will pretty much be constantly surrounded by things to buy. One thing I think it somewhat worth buying are the Minnie Mouse Ear Headbands and the Mouse Ear Hats which come in all manner of designs. The hats can be custom embroidered with your name on them and the headbands come in many themes from mardis gras to traditional to purple sequins. Most of these are on display in Frontierland near Pirates of the Caribbean, but they have them in various places around the park. Another worthy souvenir is a t-shirt or sweatshirt, in my opinion, with the Disneyland logo as they’re a fun way to remember your visit. They have tons of candy and things, but these are more lasting souvenirs.

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

The last thing I wanted to mention is Downtown Disney. This is another place in itself that’s basically a shopping area right next to Disneyland. There are many shops, including clothing shops and a Sephora, as well as food vendors and it’s worth a look if you really want to enjoy some shopping, otherwise stick to Disneyland. This is a fun place to browse if you just want to get in some shopping, but it’s not a part of the park; they just have some souvenir shops in this area with Disney related merchandise as well as other conventional shops.

So those are some of my favorite things about Disneyland! I hope this unofficial guide helps you if you’re planning a visit soon!

Please let me know in the comments if you want more “travel” type posts like this one for the places I’ve been to (and will go to in future) in my area and others such as hotels, spas, and other vacation spots and I can do more for you all in the future! 

What did you think of this “travel” wanderlust type post?

I’d love to know your thoughts!

♥ Tianna 

Happy Saturday!

I hope everyone is enjoying their day 🙂

I’m back again with another post on Halloween because, as I said, it’s my favorite holiday. I thought I’d make today’s post about my favorite Halloween films or films I enjoy watching around Halloween time. These really aren’t scary films so much as they are films with spookiness (and some that are just sentimentally nostalgic), but if you like, I can do a post on some of the scariest films I’ve ever seen (put your request in the comments below! :)).

Anyway, so these are just spooky, fantastical or whichever and I enjoy watching them around this time of year. I was inspired to do this post by the lovely lady over at F00dVentures who did this post on her favorites. Definitely check her blog out if you haven’t done so yet; she’s awesome(!) and I hope you enjoy my list!

Halloweentown (1998)

Okay, I know, this is sooo cheesy! It’s basically about 3 siblings (2 sisters and a brother) being raised by their mom who is obsessed with things being realistic and refuses to let them celebrate Halloween. Their grandmother shows up once a year on Halloween to try to help them celebrate, but the mom and grandma obviously don’t really get along. I don’t want to spoil too much, but they end up in Halloweentown. Yep! But anyway, I really do love this film. I think it’s super nostalgic for me because my little sister and I would watch it almost religiously every year on Halloween (it would come on Disney yearly, I think. It may still?). Plus, there is something really fun about super cheesy 90’s Halloween films and their crappy special effects. This one is a lot of fun due to the sets, effects and Debbie Reynolds. Try not to take it too seriously if you watch it, LOL. Oh, and all of the following sequels of this film are unwatchably (new word?) bad.

Harry Potter films (2001-2011)

If you’ve been following for any measure of time, this one won’t surprise you. I am such a ridiculously huge HP fan that I pretty much associate Halloween time with Harry Potter films. If you’ve read the books or even watched the films, you’ll know that in the first few of them, Halloween actually is quite the event at Hogwarts. I think I’ve fantasized about having a party like that since I was 9. Whatever, don’t judge. HP is for awesome people..my mom told me. Anyway, if you haven’t seen these films yet, you should stop whatever you’re doing and go now to watch them. Like right now. Go.

Interview With A Vampire (1994)

This one is awesome, especially since I love the vampire novels which this one is based on (Anne Rice novels). Young Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Tom Cruise and super young Kristen Dunst.  It centers on Brad Pitt, who is a vampire, telling his story to a reporter played by Christian Slater.

10th Kingdom (2000)

I think I make any and every excuse to watch this one. It’s a bit long (like 7 hours long), but it’s a mini series. You may be able to find it on Hulu, but if not you’ll need to rent it somewhere..if they carry it. It was an NBC special so I’m not sure of the best place to find it, but it’s really good! It has really amazing set design and costumes, similar to OUAT actually (in a way, that is), but really what shines are the characters which are done really well. Also, there’s really fun twists on fairy tales that anyone into fairy tales will enjoy. Very Grimm brothers focused, though. The story focuses on Virginia, a single girl in her 20’s living with her father in NYC. They end up in the 10th Kingdom helping a dog who is really a prince on a quest to help him turn back into a prince and also looking for a magical mirror that will lead them back home. That’s all I’m saying, but there’s a seriously good twist that I didn’t see coming first time I watched it!

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

This is a great one. The original zombie flick that has lead the zombie film trend for ages and still does, actually. Romero is a genius, setting a zombie apocalypse with other themes underneath the main plot. Definitely one to watch!

Hocus Pocus (1993)

This one just reminds me of being a little girl. It basically focuses on 3 evil witches who were hung in Salem in the 1800’s (?) and turned to dust in the sun. Legend is that if a virgin lights the black flame candle on Halloween it will bring them back. Head to modern day (90’s, that is) where Max is the new kid in Salem. He meets a girl and lights the candle in an attempt to impress her. All hell (or witches) then breaks loose. It’s Bette Midler’s finest hour of acting, if you ask me, but anyway it’s a fun flick and you’ll see both a young Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex & the City) and a super young Thora Birch (American Beauty), if you’re interested!

Dracula 2000 (2000)

This retelling of Dracula stars Gerard Butler as Dracula among others. One woman keeps seeing the same man in her dreams, but eventually starts to see him in reality. A group of thieves break into a vault expecting to find millions of dollars worth of paintings, but instead find a coffin containing Dracula himself. I think this one is purely nostalgic, but I get a kick out of seeing a pre-famous Gerard Butler in such a cheesy role.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This has been a favorite since I was like 5 years old. It focuses on the Pumpkin King, Jack, who is tired of celebrating Halloweentown and wants to celebrate something new. One night he discovers Christmastown and decides he wants to celebrate that instead to disastrous effects.

The Addams Family (1991)

This one is a total classic!  The bizarre death-obsessed morbid Addams family. I don’t know what else to say, but a young Christina Ricci, Anjelica Houston and Christopher Lloyd all star.

The Corpse Bride (2005)

Starring Tim Burton’s predictable duo, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp, the Corpse Bride is about a man embarking on an arranged marriage, but accidentally vows himself to a dead bride instead of his actual bride. Woops! This is a really fun flick featuring Tim Burton’s signature style and Danny Elfman’s typical musical styles.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

It tells the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in classic Tim Burton fashion. Stars Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp and a host of other awesome actors. The set and costumes are amazing as well. Music is compliments of Danny Elfman who makes everything epic, in my opinion.

Beetle Juice (1988)

Say Beetle Juice 3 Times to call him or get rid of him, either way Beetle Juice wreaks havoc on the underworld and the living. Such is the luck of one recently departed couple who wish to haunt the new family that’s moved into their home out of it. They enlist the help of Beetle Juice to freak out the family, to horribly bad results. Young Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, Catherina O’Hara, and Gina Davis star.

Queen of the Damned (2002)

The vampire Lestat tires of living fore centuries and decides to reveal himself to the world by becoming the front man for a rock band, only no one believes him. His music wakes the queen of the vampires and threatens to expose the existence of vampires everywhere. Stars Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, Lena Olin and others.

Alice (Syfy Mini-series, 2009)

This 3 hour (I think?) mini series re-imagines both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Alice is a tough black belt who has been searching for her father since he went missing when she was 12. She meets a mysterious man Jack who suddenly proposes to her. She declines, but he leaves the ring behind. In her effort to return the ring, she sees him getting abducted, chases after them and ends up through the looking glass…in Wonderland.

Other Favorites: 

  • Zombieland
  • 28 Days Later
  • Underworld series
  • From Dusk Til Dawn
  • Donnie Darko
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

That’s all for now! Sorry about the excessively long list, but hope you enjoyed it anyway 😛 .

What are your favorite films to watch around this time of year or for Halloween?

Happy Halloween(!), well…almost!

I love Halloween…like more than Christmas or my birthday or any other holiday combined. I just love the spirit of things, the costumes, the creative goodies, the fun, and all the magic of the celebration. I also love any old excuse to re-watch or re-read all of the Harry Potter films/books. Oh, and the cheesy “Monster Mash” tunes also. Because of my less than subtle obsession with Halloween, I thought it would be fun to do a few posts this month on all things Halloween. Today’s post is on unique treats you can buy, but let me know if you want one on things to make. I’ll also be posting a few on DIY Halloween decorations soon enough from things that I’ve done or am planning for this year so stay tuned and hope you enjoy this post!

Halloween Chocolates

Halloween Chocolates in Coffin Box; $24.99

You can get this awesome box of chocolates from Shari’s Berries! Doesn’t it look super festive? I really like how even though it’s chocolate, it has a colorful Halloween look to it! Also, it seems they even offer delivery (though restrictions may apply?) so that’s cool as well!

Cauldron of Fun

Cauldron of Fun; $34.99

Seriously, a whole cauldron of fun! Awesommeee. Okay, I know, I’m geeking out on Halloween candy before it’s Halloween, but really, I just love all of the creativity of these. I also think that these would make a fun gift if, say, you don’t plan on going out or doing anything special for Halloween, but you still want to make it special for your family or significant other.

slimeaid halloween treats

Slimeade

Okay, so I know I said these were all store bought, but I spotted this one and thought it looked really cool and easy to make! It would be really cool to make if you plan on having some kind of Halloween event or party, right?

Edible Halloween cupcake toppers - MONSTERS - Fondant cake decorations Halloween Cupcakes  (6 pieces)

Monster Cupcake Toppers; $16

These look really adorable for anyone holding a kids’ party, no?

FALL HALLOWEEN Party Favors Barley Sugar Hard Candy Lollipops Suckers Gift

Halloween Candy Lollipops; $15.99

I think these are a great idea if you want to give trick-or-treaters a unique treat and they look really pretty and delicious!

Day of the Dead Halloween Chocolate Skulls

Day of the Dead Skull Chocolate Lollipops; $3.50

I love this idea! These look amazing and they come in 3 different varieties: Red Fire, Barcelona and Leche. Red Fire features Mexican chilis and spices, cinnamon and dark chocolate. Barcelona is a mix of smoked almonds, sea salt and milk chocolate and Leche is a mix of pink Himalayan salt with deep milk chocolate. All 3 are gluten free so this is a great choice for anyone with a gluten intolerance / allergy or someone who wants to experience more exotic, gourmet Halloween treats!

Hogwarts and Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes Party table labels, Perfect for any Harry Potter Party

Harry Potter Party Treats; $36

I don’t think this post would be complete without featuring a few Harry Potter treats!

Personalizable 15 Piece Halloween Cookie Assortment with FREE Black Cat Tote

Halloween Cookie Assortment; $34.99

This super adorable cookie assortment would make a great gift and this company offers delivery so you may be able to send it to your loved ones and surprise them with it on Halloween!

HALLOWRING SUCKERS 48ct.

Halloween Ring Pops; $12.96

I think this one is a fantastic idea to give out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween and it’s only $13 + shipping for a 48ct. box!

EEEK Candy Corn Limited Edition Jar Cakes - 4 pack- HALLOWEEN Shipper

Candy Corn Jar Cake 4 Pack; $32

This just looks delicious and would be great for anyone planning to spend the night in with a few friends!

Vegan Chocolate Skulls with almonds and sea salt

Vegan Chocolate Skulls with Almonds & Sea Salt; $8

This is a great choice for those who are vegetarian or vegan. Plus, they look delicious! Definitely a healthier option for those trying to stay mindful this Halloween.

Halloween cake pops

Halloween Cake Pops; $30

This is another great idea for party favors and they’re offered in a variety of types including zombies, mummies, ghosts and pumpkins. You can also pick the flavor of cake and frosting that you’d like! This one is $30 for 1 dozen.

A  Wizarding World Custom Care Package - Sent by Owl Post - Pre chosen Items

Wizarding World Harry Potter Custom Care Package; $100

I’ve actually purchased this care package from this company a few times before; once for a Harry Potter Christmas gift swap and another time I bought one for my boyfriend for his birthday. I think both went really well and were well liked! It comes with your choice of all sorts of goodies featured in the Harry Potter films and books, plus a whole lot of decorative touches that HP fans will really appreciate and enjoy! I highly recommend this one! Also, this company carries a variety of other cool HP items, including a Hogwarts letter replica (in case you have an 11 yr old HP fan you want to surprise!), potion bottle replicas and a variety of other fun things for kids and fans alike.

What are your favorite treats to enjoy on Halloween or around Autumn / Fall?

Let me know in the comments below!