Posts Tagged ‘Disneyland’

Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 3

by on December 18, 2017

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve read the first couple of articles in this Disneyland planning series and have got the broad aspects of your trip mapped out. Just in case, here they are:

Since you’re going to Disneyland, though, it probably makes sense to know where to devote your precious time, right? Read on to learn what attractions are the “must-dos,” which are skippable, and to pick up a few extra tips and tricks to help you make the most of your trip!

Must-Dos

Obviously, Disneyland has several unique attractions unavailable at Walt Disney World that every Walt Disney World vet should try (subject to your own tolerance for thrill rides, etc., of course). Also, even though there is overlap between the attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, they are not always the same, and there are a few instances where the Disneyland version of an attraction is CLEARLY better and also make the “must” list:

  • Radiator Springs Racers — There are several instances at Disneyland where Disney has taken a ride system that exists at Walt Disney World but created a better experience. Radiator Springs Racers, which uses the same ride system as Test Track, is a great example of this. It is a next-gen experience, with a great story, fantastic animatronics, and some moderate thrills. It is a true “can’t miss” for a Disneyland visit.

 

  • Pirates of the Caribbean — In just about any discussion comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World, someone is guaranteed to point out that Disneyland’s version of Pirates is better. Simply stated, this is correct, and unlike some attractions like Big Thunder and Haunted Mansion, where you could viably make a case for either park’s version, there really isn’t a debate to be had here. Of the folks I know that have done both, I literally can’t think of anyone that prefers the far shorter Orlando version. The concept is the same, but if you like the World’s version, there’s more of that to love out west. For those with small kids, it does have two drops that are much larger than the little launch drop in Orlando, one of which is entirely in the dark. You’re not likely to get more than a spritzing of water and no one would confuse Pirates with a a thrill ride, but worth noting just the same.

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Disneyland Weekly Preview — Week of December 16

by on December 15, 2017

Heading to Disneyland this week? Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

The Festival of Holidays continues this week at California Adventure, featuring food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park.  Also, Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions) will be taking place throughout the Festival. 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.

At Disneyland Park, A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic are being shown in lieu of the regular daytime parade and evening fireworks, respectively.  Over at Disney’s California Adventure, World of Color has been replaced by World of Color — Season of Light. All of these special shows are included with your normal park admission, so make sure you check them out.

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Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 2

by on December 11, 2017

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read the first part of this article, covering some of the nuts-and-bolts aspects of Disneyland planning. If not, go back and do it now.  I’ll wait.

Done?  OK, great. Now that you’ve got all of that fresh in your mind, let’s talk a little bit about what the Disneyland experience is like. It’s obviously similar in a lot of respects to Walt Disney World, but there are enough differences that knowing where you should direct your focus will really enhance your trip. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

When to Go

Broadly speaking, Disneyland experiences the same sort of seasonal ebbs and flows that you’re used to at Walt Disney World. Spring Break, Summer, and Winter Break tend to be pretty busy, and you can expect lighter crowds when kids are in school. There are some quirky variations attributable to local events, so certainly make sure you check the Disneyland Crowd Calendar, but if you’re familiar with Walt Disney World crowds, the times to target are going to be what you’d expect.

With that said, if I were advising a Walt Disney World veteran as to the best time to visit Disneyland, I’d definitely suggest the latter part of the year if possible. Disneyland has more local visitors that it needs to entice to visit the parks, and is accordingly a lot more cavalier about making seasonal changes to the attractions. For example, Haunted Mansion gets a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay from mid-September to the end of the Christmas season that really transforms the attraction — it’s still vaguely recognizable as Haunted Mansion, but a radically different version. I recall the first time I experienced it, I was expecting a light skinning, where maybe Jack Skellington shows up in a few scenes, but it’s a complete overhaul and is absolutely fantastic.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 9

by on December 8, 2017

Another week of holiday-themed fun at Disneyland Resort. Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

Photo: Disney

Lots of holiday cheer at Disneyland resort, and both parks have themed their entertainment to the season. At Disneyland Park, A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic are being shown in lieu of the regular daytime parade and evening fireworks, respectively.  Over at Disney’s California Adventure, World of Color has been replaced by World of Color — Season of Light. Even better, all of these special shows are included with your normal park admission, so make sure you check them out.

The Festival of Holidays also continues 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! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions) will be taking place throughout the Festival.  

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Pixar Play Parade to See Enhancements During Pixar Fest

by on December 5, 2017

Next year, the Disneyland Resort will be celebrating Pixar Fest, which is a celebration of all of your favorite Pixar stories. When Pixar Fest debuts on April 13, the Pixar Play Parade will be returning, but this time at Disneyland park. Oh and the parade will see new additions featuring characters from Up, Inside Out and more!

Leading out the parade will be Luxo Junior and the famous Pixar ball.

©Disney

 

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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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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.