Thursday, August 8, 2019

Unusual Interactive Spots at DIsneyland

For those of us who visit Disneyland often, we sometimes feel like we've seen everything. But really, there's always a new little detail to find and the best ones are often interactive. So we've put together a list of our favorite, more unusual, interactive spots to check out! Have you seen all of these before? Anything we missed? Hit us up in the comments.

The Wicked Queen's Apple

Let's start with my favorite, even if its a little more well known. Touch the golden apple at the entrance to Snow White's Scary Adventures to hear the witch's cackle. The best part of this being something that my kids love doing every trip is that we always manage to unintentionally show it to someone who didn't know about it. The surprised look on other guests' faces is my favorite part!

Sabor the Leopard in Tarzan's Treehouse

Get too close to Sabor and he'll roar so loudly you might just jump out of your skin! This is another one that's super fun to do to unsuspecting guests. Even if they're expecting it, it can still cause a pretty good scare.

Tinkerbell in the Peter Pan Queue

While you're waiting in the inevitable line for Peter Pan's Flight and looking for something fun to pass the time, open up the Play Disney app (available for iPhone and Android). There's a whole game you can play while in line, but the best part is when you come up to the lantern. The app will prompt you when it thinks you're getting close and ask you if you're there yet.

Once you're there and you say yes, get ready to make some magic happen. Here's comes Tinkerbell!!

Pics from Fresh Baked Disney
**Pro Tip: The Play Disney app has some great games and interactive bits like this all throughout the parks. More info here!

Pull the Rope on Indiana Jones

Photo Credit: Hidden California
When you're waiting in line for Indiana Jones you'll come up to a well with a rope going down inside. You'll hear a guy working inside and there's a sign that says "Do Not Pull Rope." Let me tell you...pull the rope!!!!

Indiana Jones Pole

Photo Credit: Disney Shawn
While we're still waiting in the Indy line, also keep an eye out for a narrow room that looks like its held up by a bamboo pole. When you walk by, pull on it to make the ceiling cave in on you!

Toontown Alley Doors and Boxes

Toontown is often a neglected area, but it's so worth spending time in! There's a lot of interactive elements everythwere! Most are on the main road around the "town," and pretty easy to pick out. But my favorite spot is a little more off the beaten path. Head down the alley between Roger Rabbit and the Gag Factory store
. There are boxes all over that will make different sounds when you try to open them, there's a TNT box with a handle at the top (you might just make the fireworks factory explode!), and there's the coolest part...a big green door that says "By order of the Toontown Electric Company. Opening this door is absolutely, positively, and unquestionably forbidden. Unless you really feel like it." I strongly urge you to feel like it for a "shocking" surprise!

Ink and Paint Club Entrance

Photo Credit: Disney Wiki

Let's stay in ToonTown for a minute...There is SO MUCH going on in the Roger Rabbit queue, it could be really easy to miss something. Next time you're going through, stop at the entrance to the Ink and Paint Club (where Jessica Rabbit performs in the movie). If you knock on the door, a huge set of eyes will peer out at you and ask for the password!

**Pro Tip: The password is "Walt Sent Me"

Everything in the Animation Building

Photo Credit: Traveling Mom
Ok, this one is a little less specific, but it's really true. Go to the animation building in Hollywoodland in California Adventure! Aside from the killer lobby full of movie clips, pictures, and music, it's home to some very neglected but very fun activities! Head into the Sorcerer's Workshop to find out which Disney character is most like you, meet a 150 year old sea turtle and ask him your questions at Turtle Talk with Crush (my son asked the names of all of his kids with hilarious results!), and learn to draw a Disney or Pixar character at the Animation Academy. Really, you can't go wrong in this huge, interactive, air conditioned building!

Haunted Caves on Pirate's Lair

While you're wandering through the caves on Pirate's Lair (#TomSawyersIslandForever), there are a lot of cool details to spot, but take a look for Pintel's creepy head in the Dead Man's Grotto!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Summer Changes to Disneyland Entertainment

Disneyland is making some changes to their entertainment lineup, so if you're a big Soundsational or Red Car Trolley Newsboys fan, better get down to the parks ASAP.

Red Car Trolley Newsboys

Photo Credit: Disney

This show has been running down Buena Vista Street since 2012, but July 17 is the last day to see the newsboys sing their ridiculously catchy "Suitcase and a Dream." (Seriously that song's stuck in my head just from writing this.) No word yet on if another street show will be replacing it or if it'll come back when construction for the yet-to-be-named Marvel Land is finished and the Red Car Trolley reopens.


Photo Credit: Disney
The parade returned to Disneyland Park back in January with the beginning of the Get Your Ears On celebration, but is leaving us once again also on July 17. We've seen Soundsational come and go before, so I wouldn't be surprised to see it come back again in a year or two. But for now, it's on to...

Mickey and Friends Band-Tastic Cavalcade

Photo Credit: Disney
Now this one we know from the start will be short-lived. This extremely "limited time" parade will run July 18-August 1. But from the sounds of it, we should all get down to see it while we can! The Band-Tastic Cavalcade (not the easiest name to say, is it?) will not only feature Mickey and the "fab five" but will also have a rotating group of rarely seen characters. They won't be the same every day, and you'll never be sure who you're going to spot. So this is one to check out more than once if you can! I mean, when was the last time you saw Marie, Terk, King Louie, or Br'er Rabbit walking down Main Street??? No word on another daytime parade once this one finishes up, but we will get...

The Return of the Main Street Electrical Parade

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: Disneyland proudly present the return of this classic running nightly starting August 2 and ending September 30. We get a little bit of a longer run than Band-Tastic, but it's still a quick one that's easy to miss if you're not a Disneyland local. So if this is your all-time fave, it's time to plan a trip!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Disneyland Fast Facts #7

We're back with our 7th edition of Disneyland Fast Facts! Are you ready?? Let's do this!

**If you missed our first six sets of Fast Facts, you can still check them out here! Version one, two, three, four, five, and six.

  • Walt personally designed Tom Sawyer's Island, not the Imagineers

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Family Museum

Imagineer Marvin Davis was having difficulty coming up with a design that worked well and that Walt liked. So Walt ended up taking Marvin Davis' notebook of ideas home with him and sketched the design for the island himself. This is the ONLY part of Disneyland that Walt designed on his own.

  • Miss those amazing Disneyland churros when you're not home? Buy them at Smart and Final!

The brand is called Tio Pepe's and they're available for $10.99 for a 25 pack or $50.00 for 100 churros.

  • At the Lost and Found display on Main Street, there's a wooden leg with the name Smith printed on it. 

Photo Credit: Disney Know

A wooden leg named Smith! What's the name of his other leg???

  • The bride in the Haunted Mansion wears a new strand of pearls for each new husband.

You can spot them all in her different wedding portraits.

Photo Credit: Discovering the Magic Kingdom

  • The weird road direction sign on the Autopia pretty much matches the route of the ride itself!

Its not perfect, but we'd say its pretty darn close.

  • The numbers on Docking Bay 7 in Star Wars Galaxy's Edge commemorate the year each original Star Wars movie was released (1977, 1980, and 1983).

Photo Credit: Plus News
Photo Credit: WDW News Today

  • Every room on It's A Small World has a sun and a moon.

Photo Credit Aloha75
Because there is just one moon and one golden sun

  • Trees in the mountain backdrop of Toontown spell WDI for Walt Disney Imagineering

  • Tarzan's Treehouse plays the original Swisskapolka music

Back when it was the Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse, this music could be heard all throughout the attraction. Now the gramophone at the camp area at the end of bottom of the treehouse plays the iconic song.

  • All of the horses on King Arthur's Carousel have names, and you can get a list of them all at City Hall.

There are more names than just Jingles!

There are more names listed on the roster than there are horses on the carousel because there are some that might be currently out of rotation or are "waiting" to be put in when another horse needs a repair.

Be forewarned if you're planning on asking about this at City Hall...the list doesn't actually tell you which horse goes with which name! 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Disneyland Quickly Responds to Guest Complaints About New Store

Disneyland tried a new change last week, and let's just didn't go well. Now, change is always hard when its something you love and we've seen it over and over again when a ride is closed or changed. You'll usually hear some complaints and then life moves on. But this wasn't the case when last Thursday Disneyland turned the Main Street Cinema into a souvenir shop overnight.

Photo Credit: Disney
The Main Street Cinema is the perfect spot to escape crowds, heat, and overloaded senses. It's fairly quiet and gives you a chance to watch classic, original Mickey Mouse cartoons. Because its right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Main Street, it's often overlooked. So, in an attempt to bring in more people (according to Disney) they put signs out front saying "Cartoons and Collectibles" and added stands with park merchandise.

Photo Credit: WDW News Today

Taking a look at the pic above, its not as if this is exclusive collectibles (like in the Disneyana store) or something with a classic Mickey feel that would go along well with the old cartoons. This is the exact same merch you can get at any other store in the park. Why drag it into this space? Also interesting to note, the Main Street Cinema at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World has been a store, with no films showing, since 1998.

Well, after some very loud outrage, Disney has thought the better of it and pulled out all of the merchandise as of this morning. They've even added in a few benches, which is an easy and nice touch, seeing as this spot didn't have any kind of seating before aside from the floor or the steps to the raised platform in the middle of the room.

Photo Credit: Mice Chat

So this whole four day process brings up a couple interesting questions...

1. What should be done with this space so it's best utilized?

What should be done with the space to draw attention? Adding benches was a good start. I'd also consider changing up the cartoons or having some sort of "special feature" on a rotating basis with the sound playing for that certain film, whether its a Disney movie, old footage like opening day of Disneyland, or really whatever. Disneyland fans seem to really love anything that's only around for a limited time. And perhaps CMs could hand out special buttons to people who come to see whatever is new. 

This could also be a fun spot to have a classic character meet and greet. Let's face it, those characters must get HOT out there in the sun on Main Street. What if a character or two were inside and guests could watch the cartoons as they waited to meet whoever it is (Mickey and Minnie, Chip and Dale, maybe lesser seen characters). 

2. What can we do to keep other "classic" parts of Disneyland that are maybe overlooked? 

VISIT ALL OF THE THINGS YOU LOVE. If you never want to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln vanish (the last few times we were there, there were only a handful of people in the theater), visit it every time you go. 

Show Disney that there is demand. When you go to the parks, take a look at what doesn't have a wait or a crowd. We've already mentioned Lincoln, but some others that come to mind are the Canoe ride, the Redwood Challenge Trail in DCA, Tarzan's Treehouse, and even the Tiki Room. (People go into the queue area for the Dole Whips but don't necessarily stay for the show! And now that Dole Whips are available at the Tropical Hideaway, this could take even more people away from the show we love so much.) Ride those rides! See those shows! Show Disney BEFORE they think about changing something that this isn't one that should be messed with. 

For Disney's part, they did the right thing in this situation. But let's face it, things will change. Paradise Pier becomes Pixar Pier, Tower of Terror becomes Mission Breakout, Bug's Land closes for Marvel Land. We can't always stop change, and we should't always stop it. But we should still let our voices be heard when they do something like this, where there's no real reason or meaningful change. Hope to see you all at the Main Street Cinema soon!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Summer 2019 at Disneyland!

Summer is here! If you're lucky enough to be heading to the Disneyland resort, or just wishing you were, we've got all of the latest updates for the summer.

In a Galaxy Far Far Away.....

Reservations/Virtual Queue

Starting June 24th, you'll no longer need a reservation to visit Galaxy's Edge. So far the crowds haven't been insane, but we're guessing that will change once people don't have to wait for their reserved time. Disneyland announced that "as needed" they'll use a virtual queue system through the Disneyland App to allow people into Galaxy's Edge (if crowds become unmanageable). If needed, you'll get a "boarding pass" through the app, and then you'll get a push notification when its your time. (You'll be able to check on wait times and your progress in the queue through the app, so bring those portable chargers! The Disneyland app is a total battery drainer.) If you're not a big fan of the app, there will also be a physical system in place at certain, yet unannounced, locations.

Photo Credit: Insider
Visiting the Cantina

Whether you have a reservation over the next couple of weeks or you're visiting later in the summer, you'll want to head to Oga's Cantina when you first enter the land to get your place in the virtual queue. They'll text you when it's your time to come back and then you'll have about a 15 minute wait in person.
**Keep in mind** no matter how long your wait was, there's still a 45 minute time limit and 2 drink maximum. But the drinks look incredible. Check this out!

If you don't want to spend all day waiting for the Cantina, no worries! There are plenty of other stands and quick service options.

Building a Lightsaber!

Starting at $200, you can build your own lightsaber with metal hilt, choose your kyber crystal, and you get a kind of mini show where they talk about the force and lightsabers. If you are VERY into Star Wars, we hear its an amazing experience. If you're not a big collector or you kid just wants a lightsaber, we recommend building one in the store at the Star Tours exit. $30-$60 for a plastic lightsaber that's still pretty fun to build (My 8 year old did that in April and had a blast!).

Droid Depot

Just as fun as building a lightsaber, slightly less expensive, and without too bad of a wait! You pick your droid parts (including a personality chip!!) from a "lazy river" of parts. Totally customizable and super cute.

Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog
Smuggler's Run

People have been so intense about the Cantina and the lightsabers that there's been a minimal wait for the only ride in the land so far. People are riding it multiple times in their four hour window. On the ride, you're really controlling the Millenium Falcon, whether as the pilot, gunner, or engineer and how well you do actually affects the outcome of your ride. So it'll truly be a different experience depending on what position you have and who the other 5 people riding with you are. It sounds intense and I'm LOVING it.

Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog
Tale of the Lion King

Lion King lovers, this is for you! To celebrate the new "live action" Lion King this July, head on over to the Paradise Gardens Park area of California Adventure (in front of The Little Mermaid ride). The Storytellers of the Pride Lands will be retelling the Lion King through story and song. This show is only running for the summer, so act fast.

Special Summer Merch!

There's always something new to buy at Disneyland, and this sumer is no exception. Check out these new mini fans designed to look like Disney Snacks! Obviously, we'll be needing the Dole Whip one stat. They're available at Clothier's in Disneyland Park and at Elias & Co in California Adventure.

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

And, since summer is the best time to prep for winter, Disney snack ORNAMENTS are now available as well. Guess which is our favorite? Hint: We're not called A Mickey Waffle A Day. 
(Photos from Chip & Co.)

Soarin' Over....CALIFORNIA!

The original Soarin' is BACK for an extremely limited time. Check the views of California through June 30. I miss that orange smell!!!

 New(ish) Rides at California Adventure

Jessie's Critter Carousel 

Thiswas first to open in April and it's adorable. A giant Jessie welcomes you to the ride and it's a great spot to hang out while you wait for your Toy Story Midway Mania fastpasses or to take little ones while the bigger kids go on Incredicoaster.

Mickey's Philharmagic

Ok, this has been open for a little while as well, but has gotten basically no press and no love. Taking up residence in the old Muppet theater, Mickey's Philharmagic is a super cute 3D show where Donald has taken Mickey's sorcerer hat and leads you on an adventure through all your favorite Disney Music. It's air conditioned, it's fun to listen to, and it needs your visits if you don't want that to be an abandoned building again!

Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind

Technically a new ride, even though it was built on the bones of the old Flik's Fliers (RIP Bug's Land), Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind is the newest "little kid friendly" attraction over at Pixar Pier. And from the looks of it, they're already testing the ride vehicles. Stay tuned for an official opening date.

Photo Credit: WDW News Today


Photo Credit: Disney

Disneyland Forever, the 60th anniversary show, is back for the summer with classic Disney music (if the dance mix during Mickey's Mix Magic wasn't your thing, this'll be right up your alley) and projection show

Friday, May 10, 2019

New Annual Pass at the Disneyland Resort!

Just announced, there's a new type of Annual Pass coming to the Disneyland Resort beginning May 21 and to be honest, we're really excited about it!

Photo Credit: Julia Paccone

Priced at $599, it's cheaper than the current Deluxe Pass by $200 with the only actual "blockout" dates being the weeks of Christmas and New Year. The Deluxe Pass, for comparison, is blocked out for all holidays, all of July, half of June and August, and most Saturdays the rest of the year.

There is a catch, of course. Instead of having more blockout dates, this pass has some dates where you need to reserve your spot to be able to enter the parks. There'll be an online reservation system (on or through the Disneyland app) where you can reserve which days you want to enter the parks. We don't know how many reservations will be allowed each day, so if this is an option you're thinking about, you'll want to try to make those reservations as soon as they're available to secure your spot. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance.

Check out the calendar for the new Flex Pass below. Green days are "good to go," blue is "reservations required" and there are just a couple of gray "blackout" dates. Please note: The reservation calendar is *slightly* different for Disneyland and California Adventure, so there are more DCA days available.

For people who live nearby and like to go to the parks at the drop of a hat, this might not be the best option for you since reservations could end up filling very quickly. HOWEVER, I think it's a fantastic option for people like me who live far away and need to do a little planning to visit, but still like to make a couple Disney trips a year.

Important Notes About Reservations

You'll be able to make reservations for any guests that are linked to your pass, meaning you can reserve for your family all at once (as long as you're all passholders) without needing to log in a bunch of different times. Also good to know, you can hold two reservations in a 30 day window.

While there's no penalty if you need to cancel a reservation (which can be done as many times as you need to up to 11:59pm the night before), if you "no show" three times in a 90 day period, you won't be allowed to make another reservation for 30 days.

What do you think? Does this look like a good Annual Pass option for you?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Morning Tips for the Disneyland Resort

There's nothing better than being at Disneyland first thing in the morning. It's a great time to stand in shorter lines for rides that usually have a long wait, get Fastpasses for the more popular rides before they run out, and to eat those amazing Mickey pancakes. We've come across some fun experiences and tips that can only happen first thing in the morning at the Disneyland Resort. Who's ready to maximize their morning fun??

Soarin' Sometimes Opens Early

When Extra Magic Hour is going on over at DCA, most people with the regular tickets line up behind the rope right next to Carthay Circle. The last two times we've been waiting for rope drop on those days, we headed right, to line up at the rope over by The Little Mermaid and we noticed something...Soarin' is open to the general public and hardly anyone is in line!!! Check it out next time. It's a great time to get on a ride that ALWAYS has a long standby wait (and to be honest has an extremely slow Fastpass line as well).

Sign the Storybookland Book

I'm not a big fan of waiting in line for Storybookland, so we don't always get to it on our trips. Last month, my son really wanted to check it out, so when the park opened and most people were running to Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, or Peter Pan, we ran to Storybookland and we learned an amazing secret. The first guest in line each day gets to sign their special guest book!

Know What's Open and What Isn't During Magic Morning

It's never fun to try to get on a ride only to find out its closed. And while Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are the two lands open on Magic Mornings at Disneyland Park, it's good to know that not all of Fantasyland opens early. Casey Jr, Storybookland, and It's A Small World don't open until regular operating hours (just in case you were planning on signing that Storybookland book on a Magic Morning!).

Look for Clapping Peter

Ever wonder what you would do if you lived close enough and had the free time to visit Disneyland every day? Peter Tu visits Disneyland nearly every day, first thing in the morning. You can find him (mostly on weekdays from what I've noticed) clapping and doing his secret handshake with other guests. Just listen for the clapping sounds!

Get a Special Button

Photo Credit:
Love Dole Whips? Can't wait until the afternoon to have your first sweet treat? The Tiki Juice Bar out in front of the Tiki Room will give a "First Dole Whip of the Day" button to their first customer when they open. Keep in mind, they write the message on an "I'm Celebrating" button, but it's still cool to add to your collection.

Ask for Special Guest Experiences Early

If you wanted to try to snag a coveted spot in the tender on the train, asking first thing in the morning when most people are headed to other attractions (and before it's too hot, because its HOT up there) is going to give you a much better shot! Same with asking to ride up at the top of the Mark Twain.

MaxPass Times will be for when the Park Opens

If you've got MaxPass AND Magic Morning/Extra Magic Hour, you can book your Fastpasses when you're in the park early, but your return times won't be until regular admission begins.

They Start Scanning Tickets 20 Minutes Early

Cast Members up at the front gates will start letting people in to line up at the rope about 20 minutes before the park opens, so if you want to be up at the front when your Disney Day starts, we recommend lining up at the gates about 40 minutes before official park opening time.

Super Insane Early Lineup for Galaxy's Edge

I actually just found this out today! During the initial opening of Galaxy's Edge, if you have the 8am reservation time slot, you may begin lining up for check-in starting at 6am!!! There will be a specially marked spot in the Esplanade for you to line up at. SIX IN THE MORNING!!!

Mobile Order Your Coffee

While we're on the topic of getting to the parks super early before opening, my favorite thing to do is send my group's mobile order to the Starbucks in Downtown Disney right before we get to security. Then someone gets in the line at the gate and someone runs to pick up the coffee. Since we get there so early (see above), there's plenty of time and we all get the much needed caffeine boost before starting our day!

Meet Characters Before the Rush

There'll always be a line to meet Mickey and Minnie, but sometimes when you're one of the first people in the park, you can just head right up to a character for an autograph and picture with a minimal wait. My kids walked right up to Dale, actually before the park was technically open. It was so fun!