Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Disneyland Details: Look Up!

Something Disney does better than anyone else is their attention to detail. From Hidden Mickeys to bits of old attractions left behind for you to find, there's always some new little detail that's easily missed if you're not looking carefully.

On my last visit, while I was walking through Fantasyland and trying to keep track of our group of 12 people, I looked up - and I'm so glad I did, because I noticed the cutest decorations on top of each and every building! I had seen a couple before, but never noticed how many there are. Look too low and you'll miss these awesome Disneyland Details:

Pirate Ship and Crocodile above Peter Pan's Flight

The Crown above King Arthur Carousel

Knight, School of Fish, Monstro, and a Stork all above Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Of course, Mr. Toad and his car top his own ride

And, for some reason, a Rooster on top of the Red Rose Taverne

What's your favorite Disneyland detail? Next time you're there, be sure to look up, or you just might miss something!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Making Group Trips Fun for Everyone!

Making Group Trips Fun for Everyone!

So, you’re planning a trip with a big group? That’s awesome! While big groups with lots of ideas can make things a little trickier, it is completely doable!

Recently, we went to the Disneyland Resort with a group of 12! From people in their 60s to toddlers, to nearly every decade in between! With that came plenty of favorites, likes/dislikes, schedules, and needs...but also a really amazing time.

How did we do it? Here are out best tips:

1. Plan! Plan! Plan!
Talk through everything ahead of time! (We like to hold official meetings and serve Disney–themed treats, but that’s just us.) Things to consider: Are you all going for the same amount of time? Do you want to stick together as much as possible or are you fine with splitting up? Do you like to open the park? Stay until closing? Both? What is everyone’s wish list or things to do and see? These are things you want to get established right from the get-go. For us, everyone agreeing to get park hopper tickets (instead of one park per day) was a huge and fantastic agreement!

2. Stay together, play together!
One great thing that we decided to do was to all stay at the same hotel. (Ok, motel.) They were even accommodating enough to give us rooms all next to one another! It was great to see everyone in the morning, sunscreen together, grab hotel-provided snacks together, and head out at the same time!

3. Play up the big group!
Big groups are fun, but can get separated easily. That’s why we love having a “Matching Shirt Day.” Not only does it make wandering family members easier to spot, but it makes for some pretty amazing photos! We also love making our own special buttons for everyone to wear. Try making ones with inside jokes that other visitors to the park won’t understand.

4. Take advantage of what the parks offer!
With a couple younger kids with us, the rider switch program is great for us! When your group goes to get in line for a ride, whoever is watching the littles goes, too. The cast member will scan your ticket and the ticket of two others(!) to go on the ride after your party has finished. What that means is that either 2 people from your group get to ride twice or, your group can split up: Some cam go on the big ride and others can take the littles on a ride for them, then switch! Having a couple people wait with you is pretty sweet and a perk of a larger group! (NOTE: THIS IS A NEW SYSTEM! IF YOU HAVEN’T USED RIDER SWITCH IN A WHILE, IT HAS CHANGED!)

5. Don’t forget to take care of your own needs!
Not everyone can stay up tackling the rides until midnight. My 2-year-old wouldn’t take a nap in the stroller (too much to see!) and we needed to go back to the hotel room to get him to rest. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your needs. It’s your trip, too.

6. Don’t overthink it…Just have fun! It will be great!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pixar Fest at the Disneyland Resort!

Pixar lovers, this one's for you! Pixar Fest is going on now through September 3 and we were lucky enough to be there opening day. Here's the best of what you can expect to see at Disneyland and California Adventure.


The theme of Pixar Fest is friendship, and that comes through before you even walk in the gates. The giant Pixar Fest signs above the entry to both parks. Each letter spelling "Pixar Fest" is decorated to represent of a pair of famous Pixar friends. Can you spot them all? Try yourself before checking out our list.

P - Mr. Incredible and Frozone
I - Woody and Buzz
X - Joy and Sadness
A - Lighning McQueen and Mater
R - Mike Wazowski and Sully

F - Dory and Nemo (or Marlin?)
E - Russel and Carl
S - Miguel and Dante
T - Wall-E and Eve

All along main street you'll find bunting in the colors of the Luxo Ball.

The Monorails help pixar characters ride through Disneyland all day long, but to be honest, they really block your view when you're actually on the ride.

As always, Cars Land added more decorations, including a toy car version of Woody and Buzz for the perfect photo op at the entrance to the land and car themed Pixar movie posters.


The little green men from Toy Story have taken over the Pizza Port in Tomorrowland and (finally) turned it into Pizza Planet! There are a few new items on the menu, the best looking being the Little Green Man Macaroon.

Photo Credit: Disneyland News

And while we're talking about treats, take a peek at what's in the candy case: adorable Lighning and Mater caramel apples, a Grape Soda bottle cap cake pop, and a Mike Wazowski Rice Krispie treat!

Photo Credit: Personal Disneyland Shopper

Also keep an eye out for specially flavored Churros (cocoa for Coco, strawberry for Lotso in Toy Story), a Mike Wazowski shaped sourdough bread over at the Pacific Wharf Cafe, and color changing noodles inspired by Monsters Inc at the Lucky Fortune Cookery.


What would a Disneyland event be without special, limited time merchandise, amiright?

The Little Green Man cups are very popular and getting a little tough to find (along with the Sully popcorn buckets!), but there's so much cute merch to choose from, you'll have tons of options either way, including pins, shirts, hats, and backpacks.

All Three Photos: Personal Disneyland Shopper

Shows and Characters

Omg, the shows... We actually got to see Together Forever, the new fireworks show, two nights early, during their soft opening and wow. We just can't say enough about it. We were right on Main Street, basically next to the Refreshment Corner and it was a fantastic spot to see the projections on all of the buildings. While I'm a little short to have a great view of the fireworks from that spot, they were almost secondary to the music, projections, and of course both Buzz Lightyear and the house from Up flying across the sky over the castle. If you can get there early enough to get a spot by the castle, the projections should be amazing along with the spectacular view. Two other viewing spots where you can still see the projection show are along the Rivers of America and back by Small World.

The Pixar Play Parade is back with new floats added in and is as lively and fun as ever. Watch out for Crush - his float sprays water on the unsuspecting crowd!

If you're looking for some amazing Pixar photo ops, head to California Adventure near Goofy's Sky School, where you'll find lots of Pixar friends to choose from. Just beware there are some hefty lines. But it might be worth it to meet Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Flik and Atta, Russel and Dug, and more!

Coming Soon - Pixar Pier

We're still two months out (at the time of writing this) from the opening of Pixar Pier, but you can tell something great is on its way. Work is visibly being done to the new Incredicoaster and Mickey's Fun Wheel.

If you're interested in learning more about the changes coming, head to the Blue Sky Cellar to learn more. 

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hotel Review: Grand Legacy at the Park

When it comes to hotels near Disneyland, we've stayed basically everywhere. That's why we were so excited to try somewhere new on our trip last week. The Grand Legacy At the Park was our family's home away from home for 6 nights. Traveling as a total of ten people in three groups (a family with kids, a family with a baby, and an all-adult family), it can be difficult to find something for everyone, but boy did we find it. Just a 5 minute walk from the pedestrian entrance to Disneyland on Harbor Blvd, the Grand Legacy exceeded our expectations. Let's break it all down for you so you can know what to expect if you make the choice to book your next stay here.


It really says something to find a hotel with multiple options for where to set up your port-a-crib (complementary, btw). But we found four options for where to place it and still have space to walk around the room.

Pool Area


Pool, hot tub, and "Splash Zone" open long hours (8am-10pm) with a cute beachy atmosphere offer something for everyone when you're taking a break to cool off, relax, or play.

The Fifth

Let's face it: sometimes you need a drink after a 16-hour Disneyland day. The Fifth is the Grand Legacy's rooftop bar and restaurant, with awesome views if you're there around fireworks time. It's 21 and over after 10pm, and there's live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Can I tell you how fun the Bon Jovi cover band was???

Here are some of our favorite parts of the menu. Check out the full menu here.
BTW, if you're concerned about an outdoor bar with live music at your hotel being too loud, we never heard it once we shut the door to our room at night, so no worries!

Helpful Staff

Let's face it, nothing ever goes perfectly. That's just life. But when you hit a snag (like needing to change rooms shortly after checking in), its wonderful to have the staff quickly and easily resolve the issues. Thanks, Grand Legacy!

Daily Snack Bags

If you're a regular reader of Dole Whip a Day, you know we love us some snacks, so this was a great one for us. Every morning we each got our snack bags, filled with water, cheese sticks, granola bars, and fruit and we were on our way to the parks! Best of all, it's one per person, not one per room! It's so helpful with kids (and even with the adults) to be able to have a quick snack on the way in the morning or to have it stashed away for the afternoon - you know, in between lunchtime and Dole Whip time.

Never Forget, You're in Disneyland

A huge mural of Walt Disney welcomes you as you enter the lobby! And, since I can't resist a photo booth, you know we took advantage of the digital postcard setup!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Disneyland Update: Spring 2018 Edition

Spring is bringing with it more that just the amazing pink blossoms on the Tabebuia trees this year. Who's ready to hear what's in store over the next couple months at the Disneyland Resort?

Easter Egg Hunt

We've finally heard word that the egg hunt is back on this year! From March 16 - April 1, you can find adorable Disney eggs hidden all throughout Disneyland Park, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney. You can do it a couple ways. You can:

  1. Purchase a map and stickers for about $6, mark the spots where you've found the eggs (with the stickers!), then redeem your completed map for a prize
  2. Purchase a map, don't bother searching or hunting and just get your prize anyway (according to the Disney Parks Blog, egg hunting isn't mandatory to redeem for the prize)
  3. Don't do the map/prize and just search for the eggs for fun. That's what we did last year and it was a blast! It was also fun finding the eggs without the clues that the maps give you.

Food and Wine Festival

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Its back and as delicious as ever! March 2 (although we heard there was a soft opening TODAY!) through April 12, stop by the booths in California Adventure for amazingbites like the Avocado and Pepper Jack Petite Guac Burger, Fried Artichoke Carbonara,  or Salt and Beer Vinegar Parmesan Chicken Wings. Sounds so good!

There will be seminars and kids activities for free and with no reservation required, in addition to the Celebrity Chef demonstrations, Brewmaster Beer Dinners, Celebrity Chef Dessert Tastings and many other offerings that do require reservation and come with a price tag. Check the official site here for more details.

Pixar Fest

Photo Credit: Disney
Get ready Pixar fans...once the Egg Hunt and the Food and Wine Festival have finished up, next event is Pixar Fest! Starting April 13 and ending September 3, you'll be able to see the Pixar Play Parade (it used to be over in California Adventure and will now be running through Disneyland Park with a few new/updated floats), the brand new Pixar themed fireworks show called Together Forever, new character experiences, merchandise (of course!), and other entertainment.

For more Pixar fun, you'll have to wait until June 23 for the opening of Pixar Pier at California Adventure.

Paint the Night Returns

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog
When can we do this again? April 13! Alongside with Pixar Fest is the return of Paint the Night parade. This time you'll be able to see it over in California Adventure with the addition of a new Incredibles themed float, or The Incredifloat as we like to call it.

Cove Bar Limited Reopening

For anyone sad over the Cove Bar closure, this one's for you! Our favorite home of the Fun Wheel and Lobster Nachos (nachos WILL be on the menu at the new Lamplight Lounge opening in June, we've been promised) will reopen for a LIMITED TIME: March 16 through the end of May. So get your visits in while you can!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Changes Coming to Downtown Disney

Much like Disneyland itself, Downtown Disney needs to change and evolve to make sure it stays one of the major attractions in the area. Lots of changes are coming, and we've got them all here for you in one convenient package! What are you most excited to see this year?

1. Splitsville

The luxury bowling alley and restaurant will open SOON - January 29! This is a big hit at Disney Springs in Florida, so we're excited to see how it does in the old House of Blues space here in California.

(If you get our blog via email and can't see the above video, check it out here)

2. Ballast Point Brewery

Since the surprise announcement that the Build-A-Bear Workshop and RideMakerz stores would be closing at the end of 2017, we've been wondering what would take their place. And the answer! It's been officially announced that the San Diego based brewery/restaurant will be moving in. Although its a brewery its still considered to be a very family friendly place, with delicious food for everyone. Check out the menu we found online for their San Diego location.

Check it out for yourself here
No word yet on an opening date. We just know construction will start "soon." We'll keep you posted!

3. World of Disney Updates

The World of Disney store is enormous and mostly unchanged since it opened in 2001. Its getting some much needed love this year. The work will be done in different phases so that the store can remain open.

4. Don't Forget More Beer!

Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer will be opening sometime this year in the space right next to Ballast Point (Ooh! Competition!). With four locations in New York and one in Las Vegas, this casual burger joint has some pretty amazing burgers (including a vegan burger and even a falafel burger!) and some pretty wild milkshakes. Take a look at this shake that's been designed for Downtown Disney's distinct menu.

Credit to Disney Parks Blog

5. Disney Home!

This has to be our personal favorite new thing coming to Downtown Disney. Disney Home will be a store entirely devoted to Disney Home Goods. It'll be in the old D Street location, and opens sometime in February. Who's excited??

Photo from Disney Parks Blog