Thursday, September 2, 2021

HalloweenTime 2021: All the Details!


It's September 2nd, so you know what that means....Happy Halloween from Disneyland!! Whether you're ready for something spooky or still enjoying summer vibes, tomorrow starts official Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. So let's check out new food offerings, returning favorite attractions, activities, and decorations, and don't forget Oogie Boogie Bash!

I'm hungry, so let's start with the food, shall we?

There are actually a TON of special seasonal offerings this year (check out the full list here). We've pulled together our top recommendations! (all food photos courtesy of Disney)

Disneyland Park 

  • Hallloween Candy Sundae (at the Gibson Girl)
  • Blood Orange Slush (at the Galactic Grill)
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Funnelcake (at the Hungry Bear)
  • Mummy Marshmallow Wand (at the Candy Palace)
  • Halloween Gray Stuff (at the Red Rose Taverne)
  • Pumpkin Brittle (at Pooh's Corner), ONLY available in October!
  • Spicy Corn Dog (at the Stage Door Cafe)
California Adventure


  • Cookie's and Candy Sundae (at Clarabelle's Ice Cream)
  • Pumpkin Fudge (at Bing Bong's)
  • Oogie Boogie Macaron (at Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe)
  • Loaded Buffalo Chicken Fries (at Flo's)
  • Worms, Dice, and Everything Nice cocktail (at Hollywood Lounge)
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate (at Plaza de la Familia)
  • Caramel Apple Churro (at Grizzly Peak Churro Cart)

How About Attractions and Activities?

Haunted Mansion Holiday

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Haunted Mansion Holiday (my all time favorite)!!! Watch for a special Gingerbread house with tributes to all of the previous ones. It's going to be epic.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters after Dark

Photo credit: Undercover Tourist

I'll be honest, I haven't done this one. But it sounds extra scary and fun. Every day after 3pm, team up with Rocket to save Groot, with scarier monsters and a much heavier soundtrack. Keep in mind, the regular version of the ride closes at 2:00, so there's an hour timeframe where they're making whatever changes they need to do. Guardians of the Galaxy is actually closed from 2:00-3:00.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters Transform!

Head over to Mater's Junkyard Jam-BOO-Ree and Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween. The rides are the same, but there's lots of decorations and special seasonal songs. It's pretty adorable!

Pluto's Pumpkin Pursuit in Downtown Disney

If you're a big fan of the Easter Egg-Stravaganza that Disneyland usually puts on in the spring, then this is for you! You can purchase a game board with stickers that match each of the Disney character themed pumpkins that are hidden around Downtown Disney. Once you find it, place the sticker, then return your completed board for a prize! FREE VERSION!!!! If you don't care about the prize, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from just finding the pumpkins for fun. That's for sure what I would be doing. 

Let's move on to Amazing Decorations!

The Main Street Pumpkin Festival is Back

As you mosey down Main Street (or run, whatevs), don't forget to look around at the hundreds of specially carved pumpkins that are all along the storefronts. My favorite is always the Elvis pumpkin at the music store. 

The Headless Horseman is Waiting for You...

This guy lights up, has his own fog effect, is super creepy, and I'm totally here for it! Also check out the purple lights all around California Adventure this time of year. 

Don't Miss the Halloween Tree

This is super underrated and overlooked. Based on the Ray Bradbury novel of the same name, The Halloween Tree has been sitting in Frontierland since 2007, and doesn't nearly get the love it deserves.

And Now it's Time to Party!!!

Photo Credit: Disney

If you're planning on going to Oogie Boogie Bash this year over at California Adventure, we've got the rundown for you! (If you're still thinking about it,'s sold out. Better luck next year!) With your ticket to the party (separate from park admission during the day!) you get:

  • Admission to California Adventure starting at 3pm 
    • The party starts at 6:00, so if you didn't buy park tickets that day, you can still get in early and have a few hours of DCA fun
  • Treat Trails!!!
    • Trick or Treat along special routes. I've heard the candy haul is impressive!
  • Characters in their Halloween Costumes! 
    • Keep in mind that character photo ops are a little different this year due to Covid regulations, but don't worry! You can still get that perfect shot with your fave character.
  • The Frightfully Fun Parade
    • Access to this Halloween parade is only for Oogie Boogie Bash guests and it kicks off with the Headless Horseman. What could be better?
  • See all the baddies at the Villain's Grove
    • The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail transforms into a spooky trail to follow and meet Maleficent, Facilier, the Queen of Hearts, and more!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Disneyland's New Genie Service: Everything You Need to Know


Alright guys, here it is. We'd heard the rumors that this was coming. Then they implemented a similar system in Disneyland Paris and we all said, "well that park is very different and they won't do that here." And now here we are. The new Disney Genie Service (aka Paid Fastpass) is here and emotions are running high. I don't blame anyone for being upset! I'm really not thrilled. But before we go into all of that, let's take a good look at what Disney has announced because change is hard and these kinds of announcements can seem confusing. 

**There are TWO PARTS to the Genie Service. The free part (hooray!) and the paid part (boo!). Let's look at the free part first because that's so much more relaxing. 

The general Genie Service is the free service that will be integrated into the Disneyland app (or My Disney Experience for the WDW folks) and its main focus is to help you plan your day. 

You can go in and tell the service characters or shows you want to see, rides you want to make sure to make it on to, foods you want to eat, and it'll help you organize your day. 
  • You can get current wait times and predictions for rides you like so you can try to avoid some longer lines
  • Keep track of "favorite" attractions so to help you decide where to go next
  • Get help making reservations or doing mobile ordering for food
  • Join the virtual queue for rides that use it (WEB Slingers and Rise of the Resistance)
  • Access to a "virtual assistant" if you have questions as you go
  • Get updates on all of these things as the day goes on

Here's what I like about this part:

I love that it'll help you plan your day. If you're more of a go with the flow person, this might not be for you and you can 100% ignore it. But if there are certain favorites you don't want to miss, if there are characters you want to try to meet, if you don't want to miss out on that snack at Bengal BBQ and want to grab it on your way over to Pirates, this can really help you streamline all of that so you don't wait around as long trying to figure out the next thing. 

Here's what isn't my favorite:

That app is a battery sucker!!! Bring a portable charger or two because you'll sure need it, especially if you want to use your phone for other things during the day like pictures, videos, or whatever else. 

Ok, here's the part no one is excited for...Genie +. Genie + is the paid part of the service and it's what will replace Fastpass and Maxpass. If you were already using Maxpass and loved it, then there's not much change for you. That was already an additional cost to use the app to make Fastpass reservations.

For an extra $20 per person per day ($15 at WDW, not sure why the difference), you get access to Genie +. Here's what you get:

  • Access to the Lightning Lane (the old Fastpass lines). You can make one selection at a time through the app. 
  • Audio experiences...that's really all they've said about that. I'm hoping it's special information about different parts of the parks that you can listen too. But they're literally just said "audio experiences." So stay tuned to find out whatever the heck that is.
  • Unlimited Photopass downloads

Alternatively to purchasing the Lightning Lane all day, you could purchase "individual selections" where basically you're buying access to one or two high demand attractions. The pricing on this one hasn't been announced yet but it'll vary day to day (probably based on crowds) and that will be announced closer to the launch of the program. 

Here's what I like about this part (I'm trying to stay positive, guys...bear with me):

Sometimes Fastpass actually made wait times longer. Let's use the Matterhorn for an example. It used to be a 30-35 minute wait no matter what. Once they added Fastpass, it went to closer to an hour for standby any time of day. So if this paid option is less popular because of the pricing, it could actually help standby times. 

Making Fastpass or Genie or whatever you want to call it reservations from your phone stops the need to be actually at the ride to get your return time and that can help make your day much more simple. 

I'd love unlimited photo downloads. I always hand my camera to the Photopass photographers and they usually get a good shot, but they take 1 with my camera and like 10 with theirs so odds are you'll get the perfect pic from them. Plus ride photos. I never buy those and sometimes they're amazing. I'd love to be able to grab those for free...well...$20 a day but as many as I want. 

Here's what obviously isn't my favorite:

$20 per day per person is a fortune on top of already expensive ticket prices for something that's been free for the last 20 years!!!! I can see a situation where I'm taking a very quick trip (1 day or 1 day per park or something like that) that this might be super helpful to make sure I'm getting in all my favorites. But I like a 4-5 day trip for my family of 4. That's an extra $320-$400 dollars added to the price of my vacation!

This is 100% a money grab and it's pissing off a lot of people. Now, that's not to say these same people won't just adopt the new system anyway (as with everything else that we Disney fans often get vocal about), but it's still incredibly frustrating. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

20 Years of Haunted Mansion Holiday!


Fourth of July may have only been like last week, but this is Disneyland so... Happy Halloween! Halloween Time will return this year starting September 3. Tickets for Oogie Boogie's Halloween Bash are available for purchase July 13. And if you're thinking about going, this year is a very special year...

This year marks the 20th anniversary of (my personal all-time favorite ride) Haunted Mansion Holiday!!! Jack Skellington's annual takeover of the Haunted Mansion began back in 2001 and has been gaining in popularity ever since. And one of the very best parts of visiting each year is seeing the differently themed, freshly baked, gingerbread house centerpieces in the ballroom scene! For the anniversary year, they'll be making an even more elaborate house than usual, with a special tribute to each of the previous 20.

Which was your favorite? (Mine was 2008's pop up house.)

  • 2001 – Monster House
  • 2002 – Present House
  • 2003 – Giant Oogie Boogie House
  • 2004 – Zero’s Dog House
  • 2005 – Giant Man-eating Wreath House
  • 2006 – Monster-infested House
  • 2007 – Jack-in-the Box House
  • 2008 – Giant Gingerbread Coffin House
  • 2009 – Scary-Go-Round House
  • 2010 – Pop-Up Sandy Claws House
  • 2011 – Mimic Monster House
  • 2012 – Jack Skellington’s House
  • 2013 – 13 Days of Christmas House
  • 2014 – Gingerbread Zombie House
  • 2015 – Gingerbread Card House
  • 2016 – Stitched-Up-Patchwork House
  • 2017 – Oogie Boogie Bug-infested House
  • 2018 – Giant Gingerbread Spider House
  • 2019 – Haunted Mansion 50 Years of Hauntings House
  • 2021 – Gingerbread Franken-House
Also coming with this year's Haunted Mansion Holiday is, of course, specialized merchandise! Be on the lookout for pins, shirts, and water bottles. 

If you're feeling extra Halloweeny, a Jack Skellington souvenir sipper (not my fave, but very big with collectors!) is available at the French Market THIS WEEK ONLY!

Happy Halloween in July!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Best Hidden Detail in Avengers Campus


Photo Credit: Disney

We all know Disney does details better than anyone! From themed weather vanes above each building in Fantasyland, to Peter Pan and Wendy's initials carved into a tree by the castle, to the half white/half red lightbulb to keep the color pattern at the Refreshment Corner on Main Street, they don't miss a thing. It's always so much fun to notice something new that Disney doesn't bother pointing out to us. So imagine our delight to find out about a cute little detail that was added to Avenger's Campus for no other reason than for us to find!

Photo Credit: Inside the Magic

This is the side of the WEB Slingers building. Nothing to see here, right? But check out those trees. One is WAY bigger (and greener) than the other. Should we zoom in and see why?

 Photo Credit: Disneyland News Today

A pipe emitting Gamma Radiation is leading right toward that tree! 

Photo Credit: Disney Food Blog

That is one heck of a big tree! And Hulk himself approves. Mark Ruffalo tweeted his hopes for the Hulk  Tree's future in the MCU. 

Way to keep up the amazing detail work, Disney! We'll be watching for more. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Truth Behind Disneyland's $100 Sandwich


By now you've all seen the posts with the sensational headlines about the $100 sandwich coming to Avengers Campus. And while it's really fun to get sucked in to the hype, we kind of can't take it anymore!!!! Today is the day we explain this sandwich and why it costs so dang much.

Disney has really gone all out on the theming at Pym's Test Kitchen over in California Adventure. Some things are oversized, some things are mini, there's a sandwich with a giant piece of chicken but a tiny bun. They're really going for it. 

And while we know Disney food is pricey, let's not lose our minds. Yes, it's true. The "Family sized Pym-ini" is a salami, ham, and provolone panini for $100. But it's right there in the title. It's family sized! The menu, according to Disney, specifies that the sandwich is meant to feed 6-8 people. It also comes with potato bites and arugula salads for 6-8 people. 

Check out that ginormo sandwich in the background of this pic!!!!!

If you're just one person and really want the Pym-ini, guess what! There's a normal sized one for $14.50! But the potato bites are sold separately. 

Consider it like a party sub. An equivalent sandwich from Subway would cost $60, isn't grilled like a panini, doesn't come with any sides, and you're not at Disneyland. 

I actually really want to try this sandwich and am hoping to convince 5-7 of my favorite people to get it with me. Who's in???

Monday, May 24, 2021

Latest News From Avengers Campus!

Avengers Campus is opening in a week and a half! Can you believe it? I love getting to explore and be surprised by a new area in Disneyland, but it's always good to be prepared. So we've got new details for you to peruse before opening so you're ready no matter when you go. 

If you take a look at the map above, you'll be able to tell how this land lays out, connecting Mission Breakout and taking the route that used to take you to the back entrance into A Bug's Land. Besides entering at Mission Breakout, it's looking like you can also enter from the exit area of Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters as well as the main path that goes around Grizzly Peak. I love a land with a lot of ways in and out - keep that flow of people moving!

There are two rides in the new land, but only one is actually new, so you can imagine the hoards of people that will be waiting each day! That's why, exactly like Rise of the Resistance, Disney will be using their "Virtual Queue" system for the new Spider Man Web Slingers attraction. If you're unfamiliar with the virtual queue, here's what you need to know:

  • Virtual Queue is only available through the Disneyland App.
  • Times to enter the virtual queue are 7am and 12pm (The two times is to acommodate the current park hopping system. We're guessing that will be different when the parks are able to more fully open, but we can't guess too much since there's absolutely no info on that right now. Stay tuned.)
    • If you're starting your day at DCA, go to the virtual queue on the app right at 7am to get a boarding group. If you don't get one, you can try again at noon.
    • If you're starting your day at Disneyland and park hopping in the afternoon, you just need to make sure you've entered the park before noon to be able to join the afternoon boarding groups, and then you can switch to California Adventure at 1:00.
  • There is no Stand-By line - the virtual queue is the only queue.
  • You may only join the virtual queue once per day.
  • You'll get a notification on your phone when it's time for your boarding group. 
  • You CAN NOT hold a spot on a boarding group for Web Slingers and Rise of the Resistance at the same time!

Speaking of Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, this ride is open to guests of ANY age and height! Woohoo for a new ride for the whole family!!! 

Head to the Ancient Sanctum to meet Doctor Strange. We hear this area is pretty incredible to see after dark, so keep that in mind. 

To meet the rest of the Avengers, they're waiting for you at the Avengers Headquarters!

If you're looking for a great guide to food at Avengers Campus, we have the whole rundown for you right here.

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Best Food Coming to Avenger's Campus


Avenger's Campus is set to open on June 4th... so soon! We know the new land will incorporate Guardian's of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout as well as adding the new WEB Slingers Spider-Man ride. We also know that there'll be some very immersive spaces for character meet and greets. But we're not talking about those today. Today is about the food!!!

Let's look at the menu for Pym's Test Kitchen first. I'm going to be super honest with you...It all sounds super delicious, but these names!!!! I'm not exactly excited to try to order these. I bet they taste amazing, though. Starting with breakfast, here's what you can expect to find! 

  • Calculated Breakfast = Ex2+(B+P)/T
    • Eggs two ways with smoked bacon, crispy potato bites, and focaccia toast
  • Impossible Quantum Garden Breakfast
    • Plant-based folded omelet with Impossible breakfast sausage, crispy potato bites, and focaccia toast
  • Ever-Expanding Cinna-Pym Toast
    • Baked Pym particle bread and egg custard with cinnamon-sugar topping, a fried egg, smoked bacon, and maple syrup. 
  • Spoonful of Cereal
    • Bran flakes and raisins garnished with a yogurt covered pretzel and served with reduced fat milk and a banana
  • Nano Eggs-periment 101
    • Softly arranged eggs and turkey bacon with toast
    • For ages 3-9
  • Cinna-Pym Mini Toast
    • Warm toasted cinnamon Pym particle bread with turkey bacon and maple syrup
    • For ages 3-9
Up next we've got the Lunch and Dinner menu - Blue Particle Specials for adults and Red Particle Mini Meals for kids 3-9

  • Pym-ini
    • Salami, rosemary ham, Provolone, sun-dried tomato spread on toasted focaccia with marinara dipping sauce and arugula salad
  • Not So Little Chicken Sandwich
    • Fried chicken breast, teriyaki and red chili sauces, pickled cabbage slaw on brioche with crispy potato bites
  • PB³ Superb Sandwich
    • Warm PB&J with banana, candied bacon on Pym Particle bread, with micro banana smoothie and crispy potato bites
  • Caesar Salad + Colossal Crouton
    • Hearts of romaine, Kalamata olives, pickled onions, Caesar dressing, garlic crouton and Parmesan crisps
  • Impossible Spoonful
    • Rigatoni and ditalini pastas, plant based meatballs, tomato sauce, dairy-free Parmesan, and micro basil
  • Choco Smash Candy Bar
    • Dark Chocolate, peanuts, caramel, nougat, and chocolate brownie
  • Teeny Pym-ini
    • Toasted ham and provolone sandwich with marinara dipping sauce
    • For ages 3-9
  • Subatomic Chicken Sandwich
    • Crispy breaded chicken breast on a soft roll
    • For ages 3-9
  • PB&J Flavor Lab - Assemble your own experiment
    • Smooth peanut butter, strawberry jelly, and Pym particle bread
    • For ages 3-9
  • Mini Pasta & Impossible Meatballs
    • Rigatoni and ditalini pastas, plant based meatballs, tomato sauce and dairy free Parmesan served with coconut milk yogurt and small Dasani water
    • For ages 3-9
Don't forget snacks and drinks (aka, lots of pretzels)! 

  • Quantum Pretzel
    • 453.8 grams, Bavarian style pretzel with sharp cheddar beer sauce
  • Atomic Fusion Pretzel
    • Buffalo style pretzel loaded with chicken, hot sauce, ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, celery, and dill pickled carrots
  • Pingo Doce
    • Refreshing lemon-lime with a vanilla kick!
  • Proton PB&J Punch 
    • Minute Maid lemonade with peanut butter and strawberry flavors, PB infused whipped cream, and PB pretzel spheres

Moving on to the Pym Tasting Lab, next door to the Test Kitchen with slightly easier to say names! This is the place to head if you're looking for some alcohol and a small snack. Let's see what's on the menu...

  • Honey Buzz
    • Gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup with a honey straw
  • X-Periment
    • Tequila, Minute Maid lime juice, mango and habanero syrups with mango popping pearls
  • Honey Fusion
    • Gin, Minute Maid lemonade, honey syrup, IPA, and a honey straw
  • Molecular Meltdown
    • Marshmallow milk stout and vanilla ice cream topped with miniature marshmallows
  • The Regulator
    • Tequila, Minute Maid lime juice, mango and habanero syrup, wheat ale and mango popping pearls
  • Particle Fizz
    • Hard seltzer with cherry pearls
  • Draft beer, hard seltzer, and wine
  • Snack Molecules
    • Mini pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, and sweet & spicy popped sorghum

Here's what I'm most excited for....the Shawarma Palace!!!! They only have two items on the menu, but I foresee lots of visits to this stand in my future. (Although why they have to call out the fact that the falafel is plant based is beyond me...falafel is always plant based!)

  • New York's Tastiest
    • Chicken shawarma wrap, garlic spread, and coconut yogurt-tahini sauce with pickled vegetables
  • Impossible Victory Falafel
    • Plant based falafel and cauliflower wrap, garlic spread, hummus, and coconut yogurt tahini sauce with pickled vegetables

One more small food stand will be waiting for you near Mission Breakout...Terran Treats. What looks good?

  • Cosmic Cream Orb 
    • Crispy cream puff with whipped raspberry cheesecake mousse
  • Sweet Spiral Ration 
    • Churro spirals with unique flavors