Disneyland (CA)

Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 1

by on December 4, 2017

For veterans of Walt Disney World, Disneyland planning can be a bit of a challenge in that there are several unknowns. Yes, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are similar in a lot of respects, but there are enough differences that your familiarity with the east coast parks will only get you so far. The good news, however, is that Disneyland planning is actually far easier than planning an Orlando trip — the park is set up to be equally accessible to day guests and locals as people who’ve planned for months — so with just a little bit of planning, you’ll quickly find the same comfort level out west in no time. Read on for all the info you need to take your Disneyland planning from newbie to expert!

The Basics

First and foremost, some basic info to help you get oriented: there are two theme parks at Disneyland Resort, three Disney hotels (for now) and the Downtown Disney area. The theme parks are Disneyland Park, which is similar in layout and content to Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s California Adventure, which I think of as sort of a smorgasbord of attractions you’ll find spread across Disney World’s parks (like Soarin’, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Turtle Talk with Crush), plus several original attractions that only exist there. Unlike Disney World’s parks, these two parks are very close to each other, and park-hopping takes about 90 seconds, exclusive of lines at the turnstiles. Yes, really!

The three Disney hotels are:

  • Grand Californian: the nicest, closest, and most expensive Disneyland Resort. It is attached to Disney’s California Adventure and has its own dedicated entrance to the park.
  • Disneyland Hotel: the original, throwback Disneyland lodging experience, and home to Disneyland icons like Trader Sam’s. It is typically the middle tier from a pricing standpoint.
  • Paradise Pier: the most spartan, and least expensive Disney hotel at Disneyland. Least expensive does not mean inexpensive, however, as will be discussed in more detail below.

Guests of Disney hotels can enter one park an hour early each day, sort of like Extra Magic Hours at Disney World. Disneyland does not do extra hours in the evening at all. In addition to the Disney hotels, there are several non-Disney “good neighbor” hotels that are within walking distance of the parks. While these guests do not get early entry every day, they can purchase multiday tickets that allow them to enter only Disneyland Park one hour early on certain days once over the course of their trip (called “Magic Mornings,” more on that below).

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 2

by on December 1, 2017

The holiday season marches on at Disneyland Resort. Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Holiday cheer continues in full force this week at Disneyland. Of particular note at the resort right now is the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the parkPrincess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! will be taking place throughout the Festival.  Lots going on.

During the Festival, Annual Passholders are eligible to pick up a Sip & Savor Pass for $45 that is good for eight Festival food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol). In addition to potentially saving you some money, you’ll also get a lanyard and a special AP button at each kiosk where you redeem a coupon.  Passholders can stop by the AP Corner at Sonoma Terrace for exclusive photo opportunities and a complimentary commemorative collectible art button.

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Handmade Candy Canes are Back at Disneyland Resort

by on November 27, 2017

©Disney

One of the most popular events that takes place during the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort is the making of hand-pulled candy canes. It is not only entertaining to watch in the window, but they are also delicious to purchase. There is one small caveat though. The candy canes are in limited quantities! Very limited quantities.

The making of candy canes has been around for 49 years, since 1968 and they are made completely from scratch. This includes the mixing the ingredients and hand-pulling the candy to rolling, twisting and wrapping up the final products which end up measuring 18 inches long.

You’ll find these hand-pulled treats at the following locations on the following dates going forward:

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Disneyland Preview — Week of November 25

by on November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror as we move forward through the holiday season! Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Photo ©Disney

Lots of holiday touches at every turn at Disneyland! Make sure you check out the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park, which are always well-received, Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! will be taking place throughout the Festival.

Over at Disneyland Park, the daytime parade has been replaced by A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic takes over for the evening fireworks. Also, the holiday overlays for it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion remain in place for the season. Over at Disney’s California Adventure, a couple of Cars Land attractions get the holiday treatment for the first time this year: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters transforms into Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. The resorts are all decked out with holiday decorations, including a gingerbread replica of the Grand Californian in that hotel’s lobby! Make sure you check out Rikki’s preview to learn more about what you can expect for the holidays.

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Experience New Planets on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

by on November 20, 2017

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

©Rikki Niblett

This weekend, Guests were surprised with an all new location that they could now visit as a part of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at both Disneyland and at Walt Disney World.

Now, when Guests board their Star Tours: The Adventures Continue Starspeeders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park, you’ll not only be able to visit the planet of Crait, which will be featured as part of The Last Jedi, but you’re also able to make a stop on another planet…one that is located on the outer rim of the Star Wars galaxy. This particular planet is known C-3PO, and now to us, as Batuu.

Never heard of Batuu? It’s a remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but its prominence was bypassed by the rise of hyperspace travel. The planet is now home to those who prefer to stay out of the mainstream. Batuu has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe haven for those intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order. Now does it sound familiar? It’s the Star Wars land where Guests will be visiting as part of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Guests will be able to visit the planet in person when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge officially opens in 2019.

Wine Country Trattoria – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 20, 2017

If you’ve been following along with my last couple of articles, you know by now that a few weeks ago I headed out to LA for a quick weekend getaway to the Disneyland Resort. While I was there I thought I would break out of my comfort zone and try some new dining locations. I had a fantastic dinner on my first evening at the Uva Bar in the Downtown Disney District,  I also enjoyed a delicious lunch at Café Orleans in Disneyland Park, and my final Disneyland Resort dining experience I have to share with you was my favorite…lunch at Wine Country Trattoria in the Disney California Adventure Park.

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Black Top Craft Burgers Coming to Downtown Disney

by on November 17, 2017

Black Top Craft Burgers

©Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

A fantastic new restaurant, known for their crazy shakes and award winning burgers, is coming to Downtown Disney in the Disneyland Resort. Black Top Craft Burgers is creating a customized concept for its Downtown Disney District location which will be found across from Catal and the Uva Bar. The restaurant will offer a casual vibe reminiscent of a classic American luncheonette with a distinctly New York feel, (given that the restaurant originated in New York) and it will feature both indoor and outdoor seating.

“We can’t wait to share the magic of Black Tap with guests from all over the world,” says Black Tap owner and Michelin Star awarded chef Joe Isidori. “From delicious burgers to awesome CrazyShake milkshakes, Black Tap will be the cherry on top of an incredible experience at Disneyland Resort.”

Black Tap’s menu will include burgers ranging from the classic All-American to The Vegan Burger. In addition, their specialty “CrazyShakes” will boast over-the-top decorations and flavors, such as The Cotton Candy Shake and The Bam Bam Shake.

Black Tap Craft Burgers is slated to open at Disneyland Resort in the winter of 2018.

Thanksgiving Options at Disney Parks

by on November 17, 2017

©Disney

Wow! Can you believe that we are less than a week away from Thanksgiving?! If you’re going to be spending the holiday in the parks, you will have a number of places where you can choose to dine and grab a traditional (or even non-traditional) turkey meal.  They include:

 

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

  • Liberty Tree Tavern
  • Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe will offer turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and gravy

Epcot

  • Sunshine Seasons will offer turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Biergarten
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse

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Disneyland Preview — Week of November 18

by on November 17, 2017

The holidays are here, and there are a few special events as Thanksgiving ushers in some pretty large crowds this week. Read on to learn more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Photo: @Kenlyy1

The holidays are in full swing at Disneyland! In addition to holiday decor at every turn, the daytime parade has been replaced by A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic takes over for the evening fireworks. Also, the holiday overlays for it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion remain in place for the season. Over at Disney’s California Adventure, a couple of Cars Land attractions get the holiday treatment for the first time this year: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters transforms into Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. The resorts all get into the spirit as well with holiday decorations, including a gingerbread replica of the Grand Californian in that hotel’s lobby! Make sure you check out Rikki’s preview to learn more about what you can expect for the holidays.

Of particular note is the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park, which are always well-received, Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! will be taking place throughout the Festival. Lots of great stuff happening this season, well worth checking out!

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Café Orleans – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 14, 2017

Cafe Orleans Graphic

During my recent trip to Disneyland, I thought I would check out some restaurants that I’ve never tried before. One such place was Café Orleans, located in New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park. I, like so many other Disneyland visitors, have always opted to dine at Blue Bayou. Often touted as the best restaurant in Disneyland, how could I possibly go anywhere else? But on this vacation, I decided to expand my horizons and try something different, but similar to my old favorite.

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