Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Overrated Disneyland Rides

Yesterday we shared with you our list of Underrated Disneyland Rides. Today is all about the ones where we just don't get the hype! 

5. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

I'm not sure if this is exactly an "overrated " attraction since it's never seemed overly popular. But still, I don't know how they could make a show with a robot president so boring!!! The "Disneyland Story" in the lobby area is very cool, though. I would just suggest not actually entering the theater. (Is it in poor tastes to make a joke about Lincoln not entering the theater either?)

4. Autopia

I feel like this one loses its appeal after you get your driver's license. I drove 7 hours to get to Disneyland. Why would I want to get back in a car (and often sit in traffic!)?

3. Mad T Party

I just don't think an authentic "club scene" belongs in Disneyland. It's loud, you've got drunk people dancing with kids, and it's totally ruined the look of that part of Hollywoodland. 

2. Dumbo

I just can't wait an hour in the sun to ride in slightly elevated circles. At least you're up higher in the Astro Orbitor!

1. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Mater's Whiplash Jamboree! It's a cute idea and I love the tractors, but that ride is total insanity! I go on it every time because my kids love it, but just once I'd like to not squish the living daylights out of them on that ride. 

What did we miss? Are there any rides that you just don't see the appeal? 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Underrated Disneyland Rides

Underrated Disneyland Rides

Many (if not most) theme park visitors pick rides based on the thrill factor...and that makes sense. At theme parks, the fastest, darkest, scariest rides = the longest lines. Most of the time, these are not overrated rides, they are totally worth the hype. 

Disneyland, I feel, is different, though. Walt Disney didn't necessarily want adult rides and kiddie rides...he wanted attractions that everyone could enjoy together. Some of these slower rides are often overlooked when people visit the Disneyland Resort...or they have mysteriously longer lines than you may expect and you hear people complain, "Why would anyone wait 35 minutes to go on (fill-in-the-blank)?" 

I am a sucker for these underrated rides! And with that, I present:

Disneyland's Top 5 Underrated Rides

5. Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

It's cheesy...True. But, when I think of this attraction not being in the park (as is often threatened), I get gloomy. I consider this show a lot like the gone-but-not-forgotten Country Bear Jamboree: It didn't attract the largest crowds and wait-times while it was in the park, but now that it's closed, everyone complains about how much they miss it. I think the same would be true of the Tike Room! (Embarrassing side note: As a child, when darkness comes over the Tiki Room, and the rain/thunder storm starts, I had to remind myself what time it was and how nice the weather was when I entered the Tiki Room, and that it was *highly unlikely* that this was real...and still, when the doors opened at the end, I was always just a little unsure of what the sky would look like when I exited. How old was I? Older than I'd like to admit...)

4. Jungle Cruise

Every time I want to go on this ride, my hubby rolls his eyes. The jokes are cheesy, it is true, but they are also really fun. And it single-handedly made "the backside of water" a thing! (Side note: Several years ago, my friend went on an African safari. When she got back, I asked her how the trip was. Her response? "It was amazing! It was *just* like the Jungle Cruise!" That's how you know a ride is secretly epic...that, right there!)

3. Storybook Land

I will be the first to admit that, up until a few years ago, I could not stand this attraction. To be honest...with absolutely no offense to the Disneyland cast members...I had to tune out they stories that the guides tell. I have nothing against the guides! More like their script. The script is boring, it's bland, the guides can't ad lib and tell jokes like their Jungle Cruise counter-parts. It takes away from the charm of the ride. Without that talking, what you see is a beautiful ride, meticulously cared for, and magical in every way possible. The plants are amazing and perfect down to the last leaf. The villages are not only well-maintained, but this seems to be one of the few rides in the park that gets periodically updated to include a good mix of classic and current Disney! And, let's not forget how many ducks call this attraction home...and normal ducks look ENORMOUS next to teeny-tiny cottages and trees! (Side note: This ride is equally beautiful when viewed while riding Casey Jr.)

2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

So this is a thrill ride of sorts. But, for some reason, it doesn't share the same fame and popularity as the others. The line is often quite short! Three things I really love about this ride: 1. It's one of the few roller-coaster-type rides that does not make me motion sick. 2. The recent special effect upgrades in the dynamite room are AMAZING! 3. This is a ride that you can tailor-make to suit your needs: Don't like fast rides? Sit in the front! Like more of a thrill? Sit in the back. You'll get completely different experiences depending on where you sit! And, the cast members are more than willing to accommodate seating requests...especially if there's a "please" in there!

1. The Disneyland Railroad

I read a review of Disneyland Rides once that listed the Disneyland Railroad tied for the worst ride in the park with the Monorail because (I believe this was the phrasing) "they are just modes of transportation." False, I say! Yes, it's true, the train is a great most of transportation...especially when your feet are aching from a long day of walking. But, it's also a piece of Disneyland history! The Disneyland Railroad was Walt Disney's first idea for Disneyland Park! Before he knew exactly what he wanted to do, he said, "It will be surrounded by a train." The Lilly Belle caboose is a beautiful was to ride in Disney luxury and learn about the park's and railroad's histories. Read about my experience on the Lilly Belle here! And, let's face it, Disneyland was be truly missing something, if you walked through the turnstiles and did not see that train station waiting for you!

What rides/attractions/shows do you think are underrated? Let us know in the comments below!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Getting Seats Without Waiting All Night

There are some seriously crazy crowds at Disneyland right now. It's summer and the 60th Anniversary celebration is in full swing, so that's kind of to be expected. The new nighttime entertainment is pretty spectacular. I got really worried before my trip because I kept hearing that people were staking out spots on Main Street hours in advance for the Paint the Night parade and Disneyland Forever fireworks.  I've got two very small kids who don't get the concept of waiting 4 hours to get the best seats. They're also not going to be awake for the 11:00 parade (to be fair, the youngest probably wouldn't be awake for the 8:50 either, but I was thinking more of the 4 year old). 

Anyway, I had a terrible feeling I was going to miss seeing them! But the way we did it actually ended up working really well and I'm excited to share it with you!

Seeing Paint the Night

It was totally seats for the 8:50 parade if you couldn't wait at least an hour. (Although I heard if you're by yourself or just two people and are VERY polite, you might be able to squeeze in). But the 11:00 is so easy! We got a great spot just 30 minutes ahead of time, and even managed to keep one of the kids awake for it (with the help of Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters and a big bucket of popcorn!). It's worth it! Stay up late if you have to and see this parade!!!

Seeing Disneyland Forever

We did it two ways and saw it from two spots. Both were awesome!

#1: Main Street 

Right around when the 8:50 parade was starting at Its A Small World, we hopped on the train at New Orleans Square and took it three stops up to Main Street Station. We pulled in just as the last two floats were going by. We waited until the Mickey float finished up and watched as everyone who was watching the parade stood up and flooded into the middle of Main Street to see the fireworks. All we had to do was walk up and we got to the town square, right near the flag pole. It was a good enough spot to be able to see all of the fireworks, Tinkerbell and Nemo going above the castle, and get an idea of the projections on Main Street. Check out the pic below. 

#2: By Small World

We actually didn't intend to see the parade or fireworks that night, but we were in Fantasyland before they started shutting down some rides for the fireworks. We got in line for the teacups just as the parade was coming by. It was an amazing view! Everyone in line was dancing and by the time we got off the ride, most of the parade had gone by. Then we headed up to Small World where the parade had just finished. NO ONE was lining up in the front row at Small World! When we saw the prime spots, we changed our plans and ran over! We got the first row in front of the Small World queue and, although we couldn't see Tink or Nemo, we had a PERFECT view of fireworks, projection show, and even Mt. Wannahockaloogee! 

Give it a try and see if these tips work for you!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Disney Jamberry Nails!

I always see people with the cutest Disney Nail art and I love it!! I've tried it myself a few times and it's turned out okay, but nail polish chips so quickly that it may only last one day in the parks! So this time I tried something new: Disney Jamberry nails!

If you don't know what Jamberry is, it's an adhesive nail wrap that you heat and apply to your nails. It doesn't chip and can last up to two weeks!  

I saw this Mickey and Minnie set at an online Jamberry party and couldn't resist for my trip!

Super cute, right? So here's how it went for me...

To put on the nails, you pick the right size, heat it up (I use the blow dryer for 5 seconds), put it on your nail, smooth it out, then heat again and press down. It's really simple and I've done it before so I was pretty confident. But there were two things this time that I wasn't ready for. 

First, I was trying so hard to make a Mickey/Minnie alternating pattern that I didn't get the fit quite right. Some were too big, which messes with the seal on the nails. I tried my best to trim them back with cuticle scissors and it went pretty well, but next time I'll totally be trying this trick with tape:

Pics courtesy of Kim Bosket

The second problem I had was that my kids were so excited about the trip that they were literally climbing all over me when I was trying to apply the wraps! I'll be doing it when they're asleep next time. So I had a few spots that weren't flush to my nails just because I was distracted. 

I was worried because I didn't do a great job with application and I still had a couple non-Disney days of vacation before getting to Disneyland. But here's the awesome thing...the wraps stayed on, in place, and looking great the whole trip!!! They lasted basically a full week and I couldn't have asked for more. No chipping like with polish, no peeling, just awesome Mickey and Minnie nails!!!! 

I totally recommend getting a set for yourself. Check in with Dole Whip a Day friend Kim Bosket if you want to try them out for yourself! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lost and Found: Getting Your Stuff Back from Disney

Have you lost anything at Disneyland? I definitely have, and the amazing Cast Members (almost) always get it back!!! Here are a couple "lost and found" stories of mine that can help you know what to expect when you lose something on your otherwise awesome vacation. 

The time I got it back:

My family was walking out of the park after an awesome three and a half days. We were just about to go through the tunnel under the train tracks to exit the park, when we noticed that my then 18-month-old only had one shoe!!! He had it at the other end of Main Street when we stopped to take a picture, so I knew it couldn't have gone far. We started circling back up and down Main Street. We checked everywhere we had walked plus places we thought someone might have put it if they found a shoe in the middle of the street. (Anyone else getting an image of a tiny shoe singing "I'm Walking Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA?" Just me???) Anyway, we didn't find it! We exited the park and headed over to the lost and found. They didn't have it - my guess is a Cast Member was probably bringing over right then. 

So I drove 7 hours home with only one shoe for my son! Luckily no one really cares if a baby is wearing shoes or not so it wasn't really an issue when we stopped on the road. 

Fast forward two days and we got a package in the mail. It was the shoe!!!!!! I was amazed how quickly it got to us. 

The time I didn't get it back:

This is a weird one! I had this set of Minnie eat hair clips. It was two pieces: each clip had one ear with a bow on it. They were a hand-me-down from my mom who had trouble keeping them in place when she wore them. We figured they'd stay better in my super thick hair. They didn't!! 

When I went on Splash Mountain, I thought I'd be proactive and take them off so they didn't fly off. Oops! I clipped them to my belt loop but a few minutes after I got off the ride, I saw that I only had one! I did the same thing as with the shoe - I opened a ticket with Lost and Found when I left at the end of the day. The super diligent Cast Member went looking through all of their stuff in the back to see if maybe it had come in already. She came out with an ear in her hand. Woohoo! Amazing! But wait, it didn't match! Someone else lost the same kind of Minnie ear clip, but it was definitely a newer model (mine was a few years old, remember). The bow was bigger and had a pointier shape. Mine was rounded. 

I was so disappointed! I left the next day to go home and while I was on I5 in the complete middle of nowhere, I got a call from Lost and Found. They found my ear. They were sure of it this time. Some of my family was still at Disneyland so they went to pick it up for me. 

They brought it to my house when they got back. I took one look at the ear and laughed. It was the exact same pointy-bow ear they had tried to give me that very first day! Oh well, it's the thought that counts right? 

What Lost and Found stories do you have? Let us know!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Must Pack for Disneyland

I'm going to admit it...I overpack for everything! I really do. I bring twice as many shirts as I need, I bring a lot of things that I think I'll want but I never do. I'm learning to keep it a little more simple. That being said, these are the things that I CAN'T go to Disneyland without. Hope it helps you when you get ready for your next trip!


I LOVE Disney snacks. But sometimes you're in line, walking between the parks, or waiting for a show and you just need to have a quick bite. I love to pack granola bars, crackers, and bananas just to hold me over until my next Dole Whip. Don't let yourself get hangry at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Disney Clothes

My trip doesn't feel right unless I'm in my Disney shirts! Don't be that guy who wears a Minion shirt to Disneyland!!! Pack up your Disney wardrobe or design a Disney Bound outfit from the plain clothes you have (check out some great ideas here).


Southern California is HOT. Even if you go in the winter, its still not exactly cold and with all the walking you'll be doing you'll need to drink extra. My preferred method is a Camelbak backpack (doubles as a diaper bag for me), but any refillable water bottle will work and is a total necessity.

Autograph Book

This is a must for anyone who loves meeting characters, not just little kids. If you want a little extra interaction with Mickey after you take your picture, handing him your autograph book while you chat him up is a great way to do it without looking like you're trying to hog all of his time. Plus, its really fun to see all of the unique signatures that the characters have. They each match the character's personality perfectly!

Check out these autograph books I just made for my kids for our next trip:

Portable Charger

This is actually a new one for me and I'm really excited about it. Grab a portable charger that you can carry in your bag to give your phone/camera a battery boost halfway through the day! I don't know about everyone, but taking pictures really drains my iPhone's battery. This is going to really come in handy on days that we don't go back to the hotel in the afternoon or when I don't want to leave my phone at the charging station for an hour.

What about you? What are your "must pack" items?