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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

DIY Minnie Ears

If you're like me, you're always looking on Etsy and other cute online shops at the amazing handmade ears, or browsing Shop Disney for the latest ear designs. Before my last Disneyland trip, I decided to try making my own! I've done it before, but even though they were cute, they didn't hold up well during travel so I went for a sturdier design with a thicker headband that I covered with fabric so that the glue would hold on better. If you want to see the Sorcerer Mickey Ears I tried last time, check them out here!

(As a heads up, now that the hubby has a 3D Printer, I'm going to be trying this again soon but with 3D printed designs on the ears! Keep an eye out for that one.)


Headband, glue gun, fabric, tulle, ribbon, scissors, ears (I used the ears from an actual old Mickey hat from Disneyland, but you can also trace the shape and cut it out from cardboard or foam).

Special Supplies:

Notebook (so I could write this all up for you!), and coffee!

Step 1: Cut!

Cut a square of fabric a little larger than the size of your ears

Step 2: Glue

Fully cover the front side of the ears glue down the edges on the back (we'll cover that up later)

Step 3: Make sure you have enough glue sticks for your glue gun!

I didn't do Step 3, which is why my nice, cute, blog photo friendly workspace isn't in any of the rest of these pics. I had to head out to the garage where my husband keeps his insanely hot, industrial strength glue gun that I burnt my finger on. (Sad face)

Step 4: The Backside of Ears (like the backside of water...get it? get it?)

Trace the shape of the back of your ears, cut, and glue down to cover the overlapped fabric from the front. 

Step 5: Pretty Edge Ribbon

I bought some silver ribbon that could go around the outside of the ears, since I knew I'd have thick sides from the plastic ears. Cut to size and glue around the outsides.

Step 6: Wrap the Headband

Cut a thin, long strip of fabric. Glue one end down, then wrap the fabric around. Add more glue as you need it. 

Step 7: Attach Your Ears

More gluing!

Step 8: Make Your Bow
Cut a long length of ribbon and fold it over itself four or five times. Glue the end down just a little bit so it stays together. Then take another length of ribbon and wrap it around the middle, to make the bow shape. Glue it down and you're all done!

What do you think? Its not too hard and I got through it with only one change of scenery and one injury. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Disneyland Fast Facts: 5th Edition

Who's ready for some more Disneyland facts? We've been working hard to assemble new and fun info that we promise you doesn't include the wild cats, the Matterhorn basketball court, or the "fastest" teacup. For more of our Disneyland Fast Facts, check out Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4!

1. Casey Jr. Car Origin Story

You might already know that King Arthur's Carousel was originally a Canadian carousel that Walt Disney purchased, flew to California, and redesigned. But did you know that the pink and blue cars on Casey Jr Circus Train (the ones that surround the animal cages) were initially parts of that same original carousel?

2. Weather Balloon

When you're waiting for the fireworks, watch out for a white balloon heading up into the sky. It's how Disneyland is able to tell if there are high winds that might cause them to cancel the show!

3. Cast Members Permanent Mark on Star Wars Land (ok, ok, "Galaxy's Edge")

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog
My personal beef with the name "Galaxy's Edge" aside, did you know Cast Members were brought in to sign the highest point of the new and highly anticipated land before it was put in place? How amazing would it be to know you'll be a part of that history forever?

4. Walt's Lamp Gets Moved!

Photo Credit: Finding Mickey
Its pretty common knowledge that the lamp in Walt's apartment above the Main Street Fire Station is kept on to symbolize his presence in the park. But have you noticed that there's a small Christmas tree in its place during the holiday season? Ever wonder what happens to Walt’s lamp? It's actually moved down the street to the window named after his father, Elias!

5. Hidden Frogs

Photo Credit: Disney Food Blog
We're used to hidden Mickeys, but have you noticed the hidden Tiana and Naveen from Princess and the Frog? They live in the window of Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square.

6. Unlucky 13!

Photo Credit: Disney

The Paradise Pier hotel is one of the only hotels in the Western Hemisphere to have a 13th floor! Most hotels go straight from 12 to 14, because 13 is commonly considered to be unlucky, but not the Paradise Pier! (It's possibly because the original owners, long before Disney bought the property, were from Japan, where 13 isn't unlucky.)

7. Fireworks History

Who remembers when Tinkerbell used to go barreling across the sky during the fireworks with nothing more than gravity to guide her?? Well, when you're going up the second hill on Thunder Mountain, look off to the right to find her old tree house/landing pad!

8. Hidden Groot? 

How closely do you pay attention when you're looking through the Disneyland app? Be sure to zoom in on Mission Breakout for a fun surprise!

9. Fountain of Youth

Photo Credit: thebigdland on Instagram

Have you found the Fountain of Youth? Take a closer look next time you're on Pirate's Lair/Tom Sawyer's Island!

10. Pixar Shout Out

Photo Credit: Finding Mickey

Next time you're in CarsLand visiting Lizzie's shop, Radiator Springs Curios, look up at her snow globe collection! The snowman snow globe from the 1989 Pixar short "Knick Knack" is there!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide - 2017 Edition

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and we at Dole Whip A Day are here to help with the holiday shopping for the Disney Lover in your life!

Be sure to check out our previous gift guides (Volume 1 and Volume 2) for more ideas!

1. Special Ears!

Whether you're lucky enough to go on a Disney vacation during the holidays or you just want to have a little extra Disney magic at home with the family, these 3D printed ears from Storybrook Boutique on Etsy will be perfect for anyone. (Also check out their non-holiday themed ears. They have Dole Whip!!!)

 2. Hidden Mickey Book

Test your friends' knowledge of Hidden Mickeys around Disneyland with this awesome book, available at Shop Disney.

Photo Credit: Shop Disney

3. Build Your Own R2D2!

Kids/Star Wars lovers will be thrilled to build their own R2D2 with the Little Bits Droid Inventor Kit. First you build his electronic components (not difficult for kids!), customize his look, then you take him on missions through an easy to use app. (My 7 year old got it for his birthday and loves it!)

Photo Credit: Little Bits

4. How About a Fun Ornament?

There is nothing funnier than a primped Beast in the bath hanging on your tree! Check out this ornament available through Amazon. (Btw, do you think the bathtub is alive, since it's in the Beast's castle? Am I the only one a tiny bit upset by that thought?)

5. Gear for an Upcoming Disney Trip

I may or may not have taken this one straight from my own Wish List...I'll never tell. But Disney Parks fans will all agree that seeing the castle makes you feel at home. Why not wear that feeling on your hoodie? Grab one here!

6. Disney Breakfast, yum!

Gift the gift of Disney breakfast with a Mickey Waffle Iron and the same brand of waffle mix used by Disney Parks!

Photo Credit: Golden Malted

7. Disney Nails

A little Disney nail art can brighten up a regular day at home or give a fun boost on a Disney trip. Check them out at Jamberry or contact our friend Kim Bosket with questions!

Photo Credit: Jamberry

8. Keep Your Head Warm With Mickey

Know a Disney Lover who lives in cold weather? This unisex beanie adds a little Mickey style when its freezing outside.

9. Disney Family Game Night

There are so many fun board games on the market right now, so you know there are some good Disney ones in there as well. My favorites are Disney Code Names, Disney Family Feud, and Haunted Mansion Life.

10. For a Special Occasion

How about Darth Vader cufflinks to add a little fun to any dressy occasion?

Photo Credit: Shop Disney