Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Disneyland's Best Savory Snacks

We love a good Dole Whip as much as (or probably more than) the next guy, but sometimes we want something savory, salty, or spicy. Here are our favorite snacks for anyone who isn't in the mood for dessert yet!

Mickey Pretzel

This is the perfect quick snack. It's huge, salty, and Mickey shaped! Add on cheese sauce or mustard for an extra boost of flavor. 


Who needs "movie theater butter" when you can have this freshly popped salty goodness! It's really some of the best popcorn around. For just a few more dollars, you can get a souvenir bucket to eat it out of, too! 
Pro tip: While you're waiting for your popcorn, check out the little guy turning the handle for the popper. Each cart has a different character that goes along with the land you're in. Can you find them all?

Corn Dog
Ok, this is so huge it's probably a meal, but I like to consider it a snack! The Disneyland corn dog is an icon. It's hand battered and fried to perfection every time you order it. 

There are only three places in the parks to get them and there are benefits to each place, so choose wisely. The Little Red Wagon on Main Street has a great location and an adorable theme. The Corn Dog Castle in Paradise Pier also serves a hot link corn dog and a cheddar cheese stick, which are pretty cool options if you're looking for a twist on the traditional. My personal favorite is the Stage Door Cafe in Frontierland. The line is WAY shorter than at the other two, they have other types of food on the menu in case you're with a group that doesn't all love enormous dogs, and, best of all, you get fries instead of a bag of Lays! Win!!!

Pomme Frites

These are completely worth the wait for a table at Cafe Orleans (or make a reservation ahead if time if this is on your "must have" list!). They're french fries tossed in Parmesan cheese, garlic, and parsley. Don't forget to dip them in the amazing Cajun aioli. 
Attention Dole Whip a Day friends: We found the recipe to make the pomme frites at home. Let us know in the comments if you'd like us to make them and then share the recipe/results with you!

Banyan Beef Skewer

Everything at the Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland is delicious. It's kind of the perfect snack spot! But by far the best thing they have is the Banyan Beef Skewer. It's so spicy you think your face is going to melt off, but at the same time it's also really delicious so I keep coming back for more. 

What are your favorite savory Disney snacks? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Disneyland Scavenger Hunt

Looking for something to help guide your next Disneyland visit? Or maybe you go all the time and want to try to change up your routine? Well, we have something special for you!

Your "A Dole Whip A Day" friends have worked together to make special type of Disneyland scavenger hunt! (Most of this can be adjusted to Walt Disney World - but we've never been, so we stay Disneyland specific.)

Rules: Try to do as many of these as you can on your visit. Take pictures of everything you can to document your fun (then share them with us, of course!!).

Can you do all 13? 

A Dole Whip A Day's Disneyland Scavenger Hunt
  • Take a "duck face" picture with either Donald or Daisy.
  • Find all of the Hidden Mickeys in the window display at Ramone's House of Body Art (hint: there's one on each hood).
  • Get character autographs on something other than an autograph book (pro tip: they'll sign a shirt as long as you're not wearing it).
  • Ride all of "the mountains" in one day.
  • Random act of kindness: Give away a fastpass you're not going to use, buy an extra Dole Whip to give to the person behind you in line, hand your balloon to someone at the entrance when you're exiting...Do something nice for a stranger!
  • Try a treat you haven't had before (feel free to check in with us for ideas - we've had LOTS of Disney treats).
  • Listen to all of the mailbox greetings at the ToonTown Post Office. Pick a favorite.
  • Take the Grand Circle Tour on the Disneyland Railroad. 
  • Chat with a Cast Member. Try to get some insider info. Share it with us!
  • Take a picture in a silly hat (bonus points for a series of pictures in silly hats). 
  • Ride Jingles on the carousel. 
  • Pin Trade with a Cast Member. 
  • Find a park guest who is "Disney Bounding" (dressing like a character, but not in a costume). Ask for a picture!

We can't wait to hear if you got them all!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tackling Disneyland in One Day

Tackling Disneyland in One Day

My typical Disneyland trips are between 2 and 4 days each...usually 2.5 or 3 days. This is a great chunk of time because you are able to get to every ride (in both parks), see plenty of shows, and sample lots of tasty treats. (Mmmm...Dole Whips...)

But sometimes you find yourself with only one Disney day. Maybe you're in the LA area for business, or a wedding, and you find a day for some well-deserved Disney fun. How do you make the most of your day? What is your plan? Here's how I handle one Disney day, both the tips I follow and my actual schedule (or "plan of attack," if you will):

  • Plan, plan, plan! 
    • Make a list of your "must dos," your "would like to dos," and your "only if I have extra time." (If you don't consider yourself a Disney pro, use the Disneyland website or app to get lists of rides, shows, park hours, closed attractions, etc.)
    • As often as possible, try to do one land at a time or choose attractions in a path that flows. 
    • Hoping to dine at a special restaurant? Call ahead and make preferred seating reservations!
  • Arriving at the Park:
    • Arrive at the turnstiles at least 30 minutes before park opening with tickets already in hand. Account for any travel and parking time. You can purchase tickets online from Disneyland's website. In fact, it's often a little cheaper to do so.
    • Try to avoid your one day visit on a Magic Morning. One day passes don't offer Magic Mornings. Pick a day when you can enter the park right with everyone else. This will shorten the morning ride lines.
  • Avoid Park Hopping
    • This one kind of stinks, I know. You really can't see everything in both parks in one day. If you really have your heart set on both parks, prioritize your top choices in both parks, and understand that you might only get on those few special rides at each park. For the purpose of this blog, though, I'm just going to focus on Disneyland Park.

My Plan of Attack (to tackle as many rides/shows/etc. in one day as possible):

(First thing: Decide if Peter Pan's Flight is high on your priority list. If so, start at #1. If not, skip to #2.)

(Second thing: You'll notice that I am much more structured with my plan in the morning, and less so in the afternoon and evening. This is because mornings at Disneyland often have very little crowds, as everyone heads to Car's Land first thing. So, I always find that you should get your "must do" rides done in the morning!)

  1. Right at park opening, head to Peter Pan's Flight. The line will be 15 minutes or less, as opposed to 45 or more (which is the line length most of the day).
  2. Were you planning on seeing Fantasmic tonight? Don't forget to get your FastPass...It will NOT count as a ride FastPass, you can still get another. TIP: One member of your party can do this for your whole group, provided that everyone has already entered the park.
  3. Get a FastPass for an in-demand ride. I'd recommend Space Mountain. Fastpasses seem to go quickest for this ride.
  4. While in Tomorrowland picking up your FastPass, visit some rides, such as Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear, and/or Autopia. 
  5. Your FastPass for Space Mountain should be ready. Enjoy!
  6. This is probably a great time for a breakfast break. 
  7. Grab a FastPass for Indiana Jones.
  8. Go on Splash Mountain (lines tend to be short in the morning!).
  9. Is Winnie the Pooh on your list? If it is, bounce on over because you're right in that area!
  10. Visit Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
  11. Your FastPass for Indiana Jones is probably ready. Have fun!
  12. If you appreciate corny, classic jokes like me, this is a good time to sail on the Jungle Cruise!
  13. You might not believe me, but on an averagely-crowded day, you can get all this in before lunch...probably even one or two more! Or possibly some shopping! (I like to take photos of items I'm interested in, and actually buy at night. That way, there are no bags to lug around and I can really think through what I want and what I don't!)
  14. Grab some lunch!
  15. The afternoon is the time of the day when the weather is hottest and the lines are longest. So, plan a course of action! You can probably get a few of these options done before dinner:
    1. Is it a hot day? Need to escape the afternoon heat? It's a Small World, Tiki Room, seeing Mickey and the Magic Map, riding the Mark Twain, and taking a trip on the Disneyland Railroad are all good ways to cool down.
    2. Character hunting? Visit Toon Town! Remember, Toon Town closes early because of fireworks, so if it's a priority, don't put it off!
    3. If you love the charm of Fantasyland, mid- to late-afternoon is a great time to visit! Lines can get a little shorter when many families head back to hotels for swimming or naps!
    4. Have a sugary snack and need to burn off some energy? Try Tarzan's Treehouse, explore Tom Sawyer's Island, or row in Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes!
    5. Take time during your busy afternoon to get some FastPasses! The beauty of getting them in the afternoon, is that they will be ready later on in the evening or nighttime when the crowds begin to get super long again. REMEMBER: Even if your FastPass time is hours away, you can still get a FastPass every hour. Try to get a few for your Disney night!
  16. How about some dinner?
  17. Schedules for the evening revolve around if you want to see a parade, show, or the fireworks. Also, as thousands gather for all of the above, crowd control comes out and directs traffic. It's often tricky to get around the park at night. So be patient! Now, what to do:
    1. Thunder Mountain is a fabulous treat at sunset or in the dark. It absolutely adds another element of fun! Bonus: The line is usually pretty manageable!
    2. Keep a close eye on those evening FastPasses you picked up earlier! Return times are strictly enforced!
    3. Is there a ride you are dying to go on a second time before you leave? Pick your top choices and enjoy the magic one last time during your Disney day.
    4. When it comes time for shows/parades/fireworks, get a spot early. You're going to have to hang out there for a while, but you can't plan on showing up 15 minutes before hand. It just doesn't work like that anymore.
    5. Shop! Shop! Shop!
    6. Use the train to help you get around the park. This will help you navigate through the crazy nighttime crowds!
How do you handle one Disney day? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Hate crowds? Tips for Keeping Sane!

Are you someone loves that Disneyland but hates crowds? It's true it's very crowded, but you can still have an awesome Disney vacation. Here are our tips for keeping your sanity and avoiding the crowds!

1. Plan Your Vacation Dates Wisely

Summer is 100%, without a doubt, going to be crowded. So are holidays/breaks from school. If you can, go in the off season. September, early November, and January are usually very quiet. 

But if your timing isn't flexible, there are still some more things you can do to stay away from the crazy crowds during peak seasons. 

2. See the "Late Show"

Most times of year, there are two showings of Fantasmic, World of Color, and Paint the Night parade. Seeing the late show will almost always guarantee a smaller crowd, since a lot of park guests will have left by then. 

3. Avoid Show Areas
  • Don't try to go on Pirates during Fantasmic.
  • Don't try to leave the park down Main Street during the parade/fireworks. 
  • Don't go into Hollywoodland during Mad T Party (unless, of course, you're there to boogie!)

4. Spend Your Mornings in Less Popular Areas

Most people run straight to the thrill rides first thing in the morning. That means the rest of the park is pretty quiet. Avoid the crowds heading to Radiator Springs Racers (and its fastpass distribution line) just as DCA opens and go to Soarin instead! Things like Finding Nemo Submarines and the Jungle Cruise are guaranteed to be empty first thing in the morning. 

Pro Tip: Most people wait to go on Splash Mountain until it gets hot. There's never a long line or big crowd in the morning. Same with Grizzly River Eun in California Adventure.

5. Take a Break in a Quiet Area

Need to get away from people a little bit? My favorite quiet spots are the Animation building in California Adventure (air conditioning, great music and artwork projections in the lobby, and rarely crowded), the Grand Californian (beautiful lobby and grounds to walk around), and the Disney Gallery store at the very front right of Main Street.