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!

Friday, March 29, 2019

New Rides, New Rules, and More Changes Coming

Well, this sure has been a big week for Disneyland changes and updates! From new rules to new rides, we've got it all here for you. Let's get started!

Jessie's Critter Carousel is Open!

Photo Credit: DAPS Magic

Jessie's Critter Carousel, a much needed addition in California Adventure for little ones, was up and running yesterday! They were letting guests on to film a new commercial. While this was technically a "soft opening," we have no reason not to believe that it'll stay open from here on out.

Ice...yes, we said ice

Not the most exciting change, but it was announced yesterday and is effective immediately, so it's good to know. If you like bringing a cooler into the park, be sure to pack an ice pack because loose ice is no longer allowed. They're hoping it'll speed up security if everything in your cooler is easy to see and they don't have to sift through a bag of ice.

SURPRISE! A New Attraction!

This really came out of nowhere. Coming sometime in April, which let's face it is in two days, is Mickey's PhilharMagic. For anyone who doesn't know it, its a beloved attraction from the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. It's a musical 3D show starring Donald Duck and it's moving into the old Muppet Vision 3D theater. We're so happy that something is finally going to come into that sad, empty space.

The Return of the Egg Hunt

If you've played before, you know how fun it is! All over the Disneyland Resort, you can find hidden Easter Eggs decorated like Disney characters. For $6.99, you can buy a map (separate maps for Disneyland Park, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney) that leads you to the location of each egg. When you find it, you put the matching sticker on the location. When your map is full, you can turn it in for a prize! Of course, you can always just find the eggs on your own for fun. That's what we did last year and it was a great challenge without the map.

Stroller Size and Type Rules

We went over this the other day on our Facebook page, so no need to restart the VERY heated stroller debate here. But, it's official now, so we of course need to share it with you. This is intended to help with walkway congestion in preparation the opening of Galaxy's Edge. As of May 1, Disneyland will no longer be allowing wagons (no matter if they are the push or pull type) and strollers can't be larger than 31"x52". For reference, I measured my double stroller and it's 18"x50" so these are pretty generous dimensions. Be sure to give yours a measure before you go. Disney will be providing "stroller check" so you don't have to go back to your car or hotel if you can't bring your stroller or wagon in. They'll also begin renting double strollers if you suddenly find that yours is too big.

No Smoking!

Again starting May 1, there will be no smoking anywhere in the Disneyland Resort (for both parks, Downtown Disney, and the esplanade area). Hooray!

Reservations for Galaxy's Edge

Photo Credit: Disney

We've reported this earlier, but we really feel like everyone needs to be clear on this one. If you want to see Galaxy's Edge from is opening day on May 31 through June 23, you'll need a reservation! The reservations are free, but without one you won't even be able to enter into the new land for that first month. If you're looking to get a reservation, you will automatically get one if you're staying at either the Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, or Paradise Pier. Book your hotel stay NOW. They're filling up at an alarming rate. There's still no information available about how to get a reservation if you aren't a hotel guest. We'll update you all as soon as the info is released.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Best of the Food and Wine Festival 2019

It's that time of year again. Time for the Food and Wine Festival in California Adventure! Its delicious, its fun, its a tiny bit expensive, and we love it! Beginning Friday March 1, you can sample foods from fourteen different stands, see seminars and celebrity chefs, attend Jr Chef with the kids, and even attend a special "Dinner with the Disney Chefs" on March 28 ( for $225 per person, make your reservations now!).

Don't forget to budget for the super cute merch they put out every year. These were our absolute favorite the first time we went to Food and Wine.

Sunday mornings from 11-1, you can attend Sweet Sundays. This amazing event begins with a dessert making demonstration and ends with a brunch buffet! As always, reservations fill up wuickly so be sure to check in on Disneyland's official website for abailability. Check out the celebrity chef line-up here:

  • March 10: Jean-Marc Viallet (Executive Pastry Chef of the Disneyland Resort!)
  • March 24: Matt Lewis (from Baked NY and Tokyo, and Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)
  • April 7: Emily Ellyn (from Food Network Star and Cutthroat Kitchen)
  • April 21: Keegan Gerard (from Food Network Challenge)

If you haven't been to the Food and Wine Festival before, your options are to go up to each booth and order any item individually or you can purchase a Sip and Savor pass which, for $54, will give you 8 coupons that you can redeem at any booth. If you're planning on trying out lots of different items during your vacation, or if you're local and are going to come back and taste different foods a few different time, then the pass does offer a bit of a discount. If you're like us, and are going to pick just one food/drink to try, then it doesn't offer any benefit. So make the best choice for you!

As we mentioned before, there are 14 booths with multiple offerings this year. Just too much to list here! You'd be reading (and getting super hungry) all day. So we've done the hard work for you and picked our top ten choices based on the menu offerings this year. (Pics courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog. For a full listing, click here). 

  1. At Uncork California, the Mimosa Flight is calling our name! Try a trio of amazing mimosas: hibiscus, tropical, and mixed berry.
  2. At California Craft Brews, the Pepperoni Pizza Eggrolls are looking pretty good, especially with marinara and pesto dipping sauces.
  3. At Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit, this Cauliflower Ceviche with Chile Corn Crumble and Tortilla Strips is looking like the best vegan meal we've ever had.
  4. At I<3 Artichokes, watch for this Artichoke Toast with California Olive Tapenade. We're bummed that the artichoke cake pop isn't making its triumphant return, but this looks like a fantastic second choice.
  5. At Garlic Kissed, the Black Garlic Soy-braised Pork Belly Banh Mi is looking irresistible!
  6. While we're still at Garlic Kissed, the Mickey shaped Chocolate Crunch Cake is looking like the most beautiful, Instagrammable item on the whole festival menu!
  7. At Golden Dreams, the Deconstructed Teriyaki Chicken Musubi with Pineapple Relish is our "must try" item. 
  8. Stay at Golden Dreams a little longer and get the kids the Yippee! Mickey’s Cotton Candy Soda.
  9. At LA Style, you'll want to try the Asian-style Beef Barbacoa Taco with Pickled Ginger.
  10. At Paradise Garden Grill, the Black Forest Parfait is calling us so loudly, we can hear it at home, 400 miles away!

What looks best to you? Which will you be trying on your visit? We'll be sure to share more pics and info when we visit the Food and Wine Festival in April.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What to Do When the Castle is Closed

When you think of Disneyland, the first thing you think of is that epic view of the castle, and how amazing the pic of your group standing in front of it will turn out. Not just me, right? Well, due to all of the huge changes they made to the castle four years ago for the 60th Diamond anniversary, there are a lot of repairs to be made to the roof and the castle is now CLOSED and won't reopen until "spring" (so unfairly vague!). Yikes!!!

Last time they renovated the castle, they covered it with a giant tarp with a picture of the castle on it. Anyone remember this craziness?

So far, its just a a gate blocking the way, but I'm assuming they won't want guests to see the construction so the tarp will be back soon.

So what do we do while the castle is blocked off? Where will we take our perfect group pics, propose to our girlfriends, and watch fireworks??? Never worry - Dole Whip A Day is here to help!

What About the Fireworks???

You know what they say...the show must go on! Starting January 18, the new nightly show "Mickey's Mix Magic" will begin, with our without the castle in the background, so no worries. Although, keep in mind this is being described as a projection show "enhanced with fireworks." So there's much more  focus on the projections surrounding you, rather than the fireworks overhead.

Top 5 Places (Other Than the Castle) for Amazing Pics

Nothing replaces the magic of Disneyland's castle, but these places will be perfect substitutes until March....or April....maybe May....sometime in the Spring!

Small World - Beautiful from the side or head on, there are plenty of spots at Small World to snag your perfect pic. We suggest taking the left side of the line and getting a pic before boarding (not the second before you board - don't hold up the line!).

Partners Statue - There is no more iconic duo than Walt and Mickey, so why not get a pic right in front of their amazing statue at the end of Main Street. If you go from the same angle we did in the pic below, you won't even be able to tell that the castle isn't in its usual full glory.

Storytellers Statue - This counterpart to the Partners statue over at California Adventure is maybe not as iconic of a Disney Park location but you're right on the level of Walt and Mickey and able to interact with them, which we really love.

Mickey Flowers - Always in bloom and always beautiful, you're bound to get a perfect shot here. We recommend not doing it first thing in the morning when there's a huge rush of people trying to squeeze in for their pic. You'll have better luck in the afternoon!

Pixar Pier - Any spot along the waterfront is going to be beautiful, but we recommend this shot below, in front of the Pixar Pal Around (or Mickey's Funwheel if you're not on board with the name change) just when the lights are first coming on.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Coming to Disneyland in 2019

There's a new year coming, and with it come lots of new (and returning favorite) experiences to The Happiest Place on Earth. As always, we're here to walk you through everything you should be getting excited about. So let's navigate this new Disney year together!

Tropical Hideaway
This one has to be first on the list because it's technically having its soft opening today! Which, yes, means its not quite coming in 2019, but the last few days of 2018 still count, right? Plus there's no "official" opening date yet, so we're still on the right track. Anyway...

The Tropical Hideaway is a new place to relax, enjoy some shade and some amazing atmosphere while getting snacks and *FLAVORED* Dole Whips! That's right! There's classic pineapple, orange and pineapple swirl, and pineapple and raspberry swirl.

Photo Credit: MiceChat
Now that you've all recovered from this amazing Dole Whip menu....let's get back to the Tropical Hideaway theming. Still wondering what happened to Rosita after your visit to the Tiki Room? Well, we found her! She's here at the Tropical Hideaway, interacting with guests. You can also find the homes of all of the other Bird Mobile birds and lost items found by Jungle Cruise skippers over the years.

Photo Credit: Disney

Lunar New Year Celebration
Next up, from January 25 - February 17 is Lunar New Year over at the Paradise Gardens area of California Adventure. There'll be a mini Mulan parade, special holiday entertainment, crafts and activities for the kids, and (as always) special food and merchandise.

Photo Credit: Trekaroo

Get Your Ears On - A Mickey and Minnie Celebration
Also starting in January is a brand new celebration of Mickey and Minnie for their 90th birthday! Welcome back Soundsational parade on January 25, which is adding in some new floats and characters. We'll be getting a new projection show "enhanced with fireworks" which can be seen on Main Street, along the Rivers of America, and at It's a Small World. The show is called Mickey's Mix Magic (set to debut January 18) and if "Together Forever" was any indication, this will be an exciting, high energy show that'll completely immerse you in the story (this story being DJ Mickey giving you his favorite mix of Disney music). And, again, special food and merch will be available!

Valentine's Day
While we're thinking about Mickey and Minnie, let's think about Valentine's Day! From January 22 through February 18 you'll find new seasonal decorations, including a new floral portrait at the end of Main Street of Mickey and Minnie together, as well as Minnie's Valentine's Surprise. This is a scavenger hunt to find valentines that Minnie has left all of the park for Mickey. It's sounding very similar to the Easter Egg Hunt they usually do, where you can either just play on your own for fun (like we always do) or you can buy a map that can be turned in for a prize when you find everything.

Food and Wine Festival
Next up in 2019 will be the return of the Food and Wine festival. Expect to see the usual lineup of booths along the path from Buena Vista Street down to Pixar Pier with delicious food and a wide variety of drinks. We've gone the last three years, and it never disappoints!

Galaxy's Edge (Star Wars Land!)
And now for the absolute biggest change in 2019, Galaxy's Edge! Opening "summer" (we don't know anything more official than that yet, but at least its sooner than "fall" which is all the info we have on an opening date at Walt Disney World), this is going to be the very biggest area of Disneyland at a whopping 14 acres. There will be two rides (at least to start, but we're seriously hoping that this gigantic area will eventually be home to more than only two attractions). On Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run, guests will be able to actually pilot the Falcon itself. Check out this aerial photo...The Falcon is built and looks amazing!

Photo Credit: Heliguy

The second ride is called Rise of the Resistance, and gives the guests a chance to navigate a Star Destroyer on a mission for the resistance. Not a ton of other details yet, but check out this picture...this isn't concept art. This is the real deal and its going to be amazing!

Are you ready for 2019 at the Disneyland Resort? We say BRING IT ON!!!

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Merriest Snacks on Earth

We're one month in to the holiday celebration at the Disneyland Resort, with less than a month to go. Have you been able to visit yet? Yes, there are amazing ride overlays, special parades and fireworks, and seasonal character meet and greet costumes. But we're here, as usual, for the food! We've been compiling all of the best and most unique seasonal snacks for you to try. Which is your favorite?

Festival of the Holidays

Festival of the Holidays Photos all From: Disney Parks Blog
If, like us, you love the Food and Wine Festival in California Adventure (We've gone the last three years! Check our review here), then you'll love the Festival of the Holidays! Much like the Food and Wine, booths are set up and you can either buy items individually at each booth, or you can get a Sip and Savor Pass that allows you to pay just once up front and then trade in little tabs for any food or non-alcoholic drink at any of the booths.

At the Festival of the Holidays, be sure to try:

Turkey and Stuffing Tamale with Cranberry Relish

Chana Masala with Grilled Garlic Naan

Curry Cauliflower Soup with Braised Lamb and Mintchurri

Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema

Black Forest Yule Log

Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Chocolate Chipotle Pot de Créme

Also in California Adventure, check out:

Gingerbread Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich from Schmoozies

Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog
Holiday Dinner Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta

Photo Credit: Disney

Over in Disneyland, these look best to taste:

Snowman Pancake with Applewood Smoked Bacon at the Red Rose Taverne

Photo Credit: WDW News Today
Lamb Kofta at the Bengal BBQ

Photo Credit: Disney
Dessert Nachos at Rancho del Zocalo

Photo Credit: Disney
Candy Cane Beignets at the Mint Julep Bar

Photo Credit: Disney Food Blog
Santa Hat Macaron at the Jolly Holiday

Photo Credit: Disney