Thursday, September 6, 2018

HalloweenTime at Disneyland, 2018

It's September, so you know what that means...Disneyland is ready for Halloween! Get your costumes on and open a bag of Halloween candy, because we're going to run down all of the spooky fun that's coming September 7!

Special Foods

This is always our favorite part so we're starting here! Below you'll find the amazing guide to HalloweenTime food that the Disney Food Blog put out. Both parks will have specialty fall/halloween churros! There are 10 distinct flavors to try and they all sound pretty incredible. There are special desserts (like a Black Rose at the Red Rose Taverne, Spider Bundt Cake at the French Market, Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake Fries at Award Weiners), new meals to try (we're excited about the Anti Vampire Pizza at the Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, Haunted Firehouse Chicken Sandwich at the Carnation Cafe, and the Musubi Special at the Bengal BBQ), and even some special drinks (we're looking at you Pumpkin Hard Cider at Bayside Brews, Green Apple Spell Lemonade at Smokejumpers Grill, and Caramel Apple Smoothie at Schmoozies!). What looks best to you?

Ride Overlays

All of the fun from last year is back! Over in Disneyland expect to see (our very favorite) Haunted Mansion Holiday as well as (not a fave, but still fun) Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy. And check out this year's spider themed Gingerbread House in the Haunted Mansion!

There are more Halloween overlays in California Adventure! ALL of Carsland gets a spooky makeover, more on that in a bit, including special decorations and music for Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi's Honkin' Haul-o-ween.

Head over to Guardian's of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout to see the super scary Monsters After Dark. Groot was left behind during the breakout during the day, and now you have to help Rocket get past all kinds of monsters to get him that ride wasn't scary enough???

Spooktacular Decorations

We were lucky enough to get to visit Disneyland during Halloween last year, and it was amazing! Scroll through for our fave decorations pics.

Adorable Jack O Lanterns surround the Partners statue on Main Street
The Halloween Tree is up in Frontierland!
Unique Jack O Lanterns decorate the shops all up and down Main Street. Elvis is my fave!
Of course, Haunted Mansion Holiday is one of the spookiest places in the park.
While there's no Matterhorn overlay for Halloween, the Halloween balloons really spook the place up, don't you think?
Oogie Boogie guides your way into California Adventure
Bats are tearing out of the tower above Carthay Circle!
Don't forget to see the Headless Horseman. And be sure to check him out at night for an extra spooky glow.
Speaking of night, purple trees are all along Buena Vista Street and in Carsland
Have a seat in a spider car, if you dare!
Halloween movies, Cars style!
Lightning and friends are in their costumes!
Head into Ramone's shop to see the Offrenda for Doc for Dia de los Muertos.
Villains' Tea

Brand new this year is the Villains' Tea Party at the Disneyland Hotel. "Trick or Tea" will run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Halloween and will feature food and desserts inspired by the nastiest Disney villains. Make your reservations now because this might book up fast! Premium Party is $65 per adult, Classic Party is $52, and Children are $35 each.

Photo Credit: Disney

Mickey's Halloween Party

Photo Credit: Disney

Mickey's Halloween Party is back! On select nights from September 19-Halloween, you can see the exclusive Frightfully Fun parade (led by the Headless Horseman!), the Halloween Screams fireworks show, have a meet and greet with your favorite Disney Villains, and go trick or treating around the park. I've heard the candy haul is pretty amazing. Your ticket gives your entrance to BOTH parks 3 hours before the party starts (if you don't have tickets for that day already), but you can't get all day access with only the Halloween Party tickets.

Speaking of tickets, the Halloween Party sells out fast. As of writing this blog, every Friday night party is already sold out. BUT most other nights, including Halloween itself, are still available starting at $105.

**Keep in mind if you're visiting Disneyland during this time but NOT going to a Halloween party, Disneyland Park will close early, so plan to be over at DCA during party time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

That's From Disneyland Auction Results!

Have you been following along with the That's From Disneyland exhibit/auction? Richard Kraft, a Disney super-fan and dedicated collector, has amassed one of the largest Disneyland collections in the world. His "That's From Disneyland" collection was on display for most of the month of August in Sherman Oaks, California and just this past weekend the items went up for auction and boy did they bring in the dough! We want to mention that Richard Kraft is donating a portion of the money earned from the auction to organizations helping children with Coffin-Siris Syndrome, which his daughter has.

Want to see the best of the collection and auction results? You've come to the right place!

We watched pretty much the entire live auction (check out the videos by MrCheesyPop we saw on youtube here: part 1 and part 2), and it was so unbelievably fun to watch! This was everything we think of when we think of an auction complete with auctioneer talking faster than you can understand, people calling in with phone bids, the seller getting up to do dances when the bidding got intense, and some incredibly high prices.

We're going to take a look at the items that went for the highest amounts, as well as some pretty good know, if a $16,000 trash can could ever really be considered a bargain. Let's do this!

(Please forgive the quality of some of these pics. We tried to get screen shots from the live auction itself so you could get a good feel for the action!)

$100,000 and Up!

  • $100,000 for a Matterhorn ride vehicle

  • $100,000 for the Global Van Lines truck that used to live on Main Street 
  • $100,000 for a Tom Sawyer's Island wooden sign/map
  • $130,000 for a ride vehicle from the old Rocket Jets
  • $140,000 for a ride vehicle from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
  • $160,000 EACH for 3 of the 4 stretching portraits from the Haunted Mansion
  • $260,000 for a People Mover car
  • $190,000 for a Haunted Mansion Doom Buggy (why call it a ride vehicle when it has such an amazing name, amiright?)
  • $220,000 for a Peter Pan ride vehicle
  • $230,000 for a sign that used to be at the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance
  • $250,000 for an Autopia attraction poster (this was the first item that Richard Kraft ever collected, which could explain the extra high price tag. Most of the other attraction posters went for more like $20,000)
  • $350,000 for the Haunted Mansion stretching portrait of the men in quicksand
  • $370,000 for Jose from the Tiki Room
  • $420,000 for a Dumbo ride vehicle (By the way, Drew Carey was outbid on this one!)

And the big winner for the auction, the highest bid of them all...

  • $540,000 for a Skyway Bucket

Total Deals (All Things Considered)

  • $6,000 for a Davy Crockett Canoe (I'd like to see someone get any canoe that size for less!)
  • $16,000 for a Small World Trash Can (the cutest of all the Disney trash cans)
  • $22,500 for a Small World doll
  • $23,000 for the Bertha Mae (maybe the Gullywumper would have brought in more $$)
  • $85,000 for the Country Bear Jamboree entrance sign

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Best of Disneyland: New Orleans Square

Welcome back to the Best of Disneyland! Today we're tackling our favorite land: New Orleans Square! What do you like best? Do you agree with our list below? Let us know in the comments!

What Makes it Special
  • New Orleans Square is one of those lands that you could spend all day in, even though there are very few rides, just because of the heavy theming and abundance of shops and restaurants. Go on Haunted Mansion, check out the entrance to Club 33 and pretend you're heading inside, get a caricature done back by the train station. There's so much to do! 
  • Also, it's the home of Fantasmic! Possibly the best Disney show ever. Be sure to check out dining packages for great seating and an amazing dessert like in the picture below (available at the Riverbelle).

Best Ride

  • Haunted Mansion is a classic, and Haunted Mansion Holiday is always so fun, but Pirates wins this one! Its a ride that's entertaining to all guests, inspired 5 movies, has classic music and imagery, and never seems to get old. (Btw, check out the story of my favorite Pirates ride evacuation here.)
Most Underrated Ride

Photo Credit: Chouzuru
  • Sorry guys...technically the only two rides in New Orleans Square are the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. We can't call either of those underrated. They're awesome and everyone knows it. But if we expand the definition of "attraction" we'd say that the musicians are an underrated part of New Orleans Square. Between the wandering jazz band, the pirate band, and the live music at the French Market, there's always someone out to listen to and enjoy and usually not too many people gathered around to listen.
Hidden Gem

  • Next time you're walking in between Pirates and the Haunted Mansion, look up as you pass the Royal Street Veranda (more on that below). You'll see the balcony of the old Gallery (now maybe still the dream suite?). Look carefully in the iron of the balcony and you'll see Walt and Roy Disney's initials in gold! I always feel like I'm saying hi to the Disney brothers when I pass by and catch a glimpse.
Best Meal
Photo Credit: Disneyland4Ever

  • Someone's going to have my head for not mentioning something at the Blue Bayou, I'm sure. But while it's delicious there, I just can't pass up the soup in a bread bowl from the Royal Street Veranda! I love love love the clam chowder, but they also have gumbo (meat or vegetarian available) and potato leek soup if seafood isn't your thing. Plus, it's a little more accessible to everyone than getting a reservation for the fairly expensive (even though amazing, yes) Blue Bayou.
Best Snack/Treat

  • Get yourself to the Mint Julep Bar stat! There is almost nothing better in the world than a bag of Mickey shaped beignets dripping with powdered sugar and a mint julep to wash it down. (Because what goes better with sugar than more sugar? You're on vacation, after all.) I was actually a bit worried when they recently changed the recipe on the mint juleps, but even though they're not bright green anymore they're just as delicious. But I'll tell you, the classic beignets are much better than any of the seasonal flavors
Best Character to Find

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

  • Definitely the best because she's brand new, be on the lookout for Redd the pirate! We're not sure if she'll be around forever or just to promote the new auction scene, so find her while you can. We wants the redhead!
Did You Know?
  • Did you ever notice the name Laffite all over New Orleans Square and Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island? Well, it's part of a theory (hinted at by former Imagineers but never confirmed by Disney) that there was once a plan to tie in all of New Orleans Square with a huge overarching story, but it was never developed. The story would go that Jean Laffite, the pirate, (a real pirate, actually, who among other things fought in the Battle of New Orleans in 1812) was the original resident of the Haunted Mansion, and that you'd be able to go from his crypt, through a tunnel over to Tom Sawyer's Island into an old pirate ship full of treasure and it would be an alternate entrance to the island. This would explain the unusual bricked up archway near the Rivers of America, Laffite's Landing at the Pirates Loading area, the pirate ship weathervane, Laffite's Anchor (also near the waterfront), and Laffite's Tavern on Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island. For many many more details on this theory, check out the Long Forgotten Haunted Mansion blog and see the pics below. What do you all think about this one? Seems pretty plausible that this was once an idea that an imagineer started in on but was never completed. 
Mysterious Archway Photo Credit: Long Forgotten Haunted Mansion
 Laffite's Landing at the Pirate's Loading Area Photo Credit: Long Forgotten Haunted Mansion 
Haunted Mansion with View of Pirate Ship Weathervane Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog
Laffite's Anchor Photo Credit: Duchess of Disneyland
 Lafitte's Tavern *spelled differently, yes* Photo Credit: Duchess of Disneyland
Dole Whip A Day's Best Tip

Photo Credit: Dining at Disney
  • In the mood for popcorn? Go somewhere else! The popcorn stand right by the Haunted Mansion is consistently the longest popcorn line in the park, especially if there's a special or limited edition bucket that everyone's going crazy over. It's weird that this is our best tip, but really, we've seen this line stretch the length of the land while other stands in the parks with the same food and merch have virtually no wait.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Best of Disneyland: Tomorrowland

Here we go again! Today we're looking at the best parts of Tomorrowland. We all might agree that this land could use a bit of "reimagining," but there's still a lot of fun to be had! Let's check it out. (And if you missed the first two parts of our series, be sure to see our best of Fantasyland and Adventureland.)

What Makes it Special
  • Tomorrowland has a lot going on in it! From Star Wars meet and greets to Autopia, there's a lot packed into this original Disneyland space and there's really something for everyone. Like something slow and relaxing? Try Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage! Looking for a thrill? Space Mountain all the way. Like a thrill but NOT into roller coasters? Star Tours is for you. Want to sit in more traffic after driving to Disneyland? Head on over to Autopia (we're joking...kind of).
Best Ride

  • Ok, it's Space Mountain. All day. All the way. (Expect maybe during Halloween. Ghost Galaxy isn't my favorite overlay.) This is a classic roller coaster and we'd really be missing something if we didn't call it out as the best. Amazing music, thrilling in the dark, and a must-ride every trip. Plus, there's a new indoor queue area for the stand-by line! No more waiting endlessly in the sun while the Fastpass people barrel ahead of you. 
Most Underrated Ride

  • While lines can get hefty in the middle of the day, we have to vote Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters on this one. This ride brings out our competitive sides, trying to best each other's (and our own) high scores. There's nothing quite like getting your initials on the leaderboard or the feeling of hitting that secret target on Zurg. We swear, this is the ride that the whole family wants to go on multiple times a day! (Now we know this ride gets some negative reviews from people who think Toy Story Midway Mania is better, but it's hardly a fair comparison. Other than both being Toy Story games, its a totally different feel in a totally different park.)
Hidden Gem

  • If you have a Star Wars lover, PLEASE check out Launch Bay. It's not well marked or advertised, making it the perfect spot to go enjoy some air conditioning and check out some Star Wars merchandise, memorabilia, and photo ops. Also, the wait time on characters is pretty minimal most days!
Best Meal
Photo from OC Register
  • If you're in Tomorrowland in the morning (which we HIGHLY recommend, see our "Best Tip" below), be sure to get the breakfast burrito from the Galactic Grill. It's enormous! Definitely the best bang for your buck in the park and so delicious! It's jam packed with eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, cheese, and pico de gallo. It's almost more than we can finish in one sitting. Pretty good for $8.49!
Best Snack/Treat

Photo from WDW News Today

  • While Pixar Fest is still going on, be sure to check out The Macarooooon at Pizza Port (aka Pizza Planet during Pixar Fest). The adorable alien themed macaron has a blackberry filling with lemon custard in the center. And how can you resist those white chocolate eyes!
Best Character to Find

Photo from Character Central

  • You won't find too many characters just wandering around Tomorrowland, but, like we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of Star Wars characters to find inside of Launch Bay. We've met quite a few, but our favorite has to be Chewbacca. Who doesn't want to get a hairy hug from that big guy???
Did You Know?

Photo from Disney

  • When Tomorrowland was first designed for the opening of Disneyland in 1955, it was supposed to be a prediction of what life would be like in 1986. Man, our childhoods would sure have been different if we had daily trips to the moon in the 80s!
Dole Whip A Day's Best Tip
  • We're big proponents of getting to Disneyland early - like waiting out in front of the gates 45 minutes before park opening early. On most of those early mornings, we head to Tomorrowland first thing! Grab a fastpass for Space Mountain, ride Buzz Lightyear, grab a fastpass for Star Tours, ride Space Mountain, ride Autopia, ride Star Tours, eat that amazing breakfast burrito we were telling you about, ride Nemo, then hit the rest of the park before those Tomorrowland lines get long. Done and done!
    • Pro Tip: Do the exact opposite of what we just said for the Astro Orbitor. That line moves incredibly slowly and is best done last thing at night, after the fireworks.