Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Plans for Disneyland to Reopen!

FINALLY!!! We're not big on rumors so we've stayed pretty quiet as people guessed, speculated, and assumed about when Disneyland would reopen, and in what capacity, since their closure for Covid-19 way back in March. But today we *finally* have the details on the reopening plan!

***Keep in mind, as of time of posting: This is all still pending government approval.***

This is a phased reopening

Downtown Disney would reopen first, on July 9. Disneyland Park and California Adventure would both reopen on July 17 - that's right... on Disneyland's 65th anniversary! Last to reopen would be the resort hotels.

Now, I noticed that both in this graphic above that Disney shared as well on the Disney Parks Blog, they've left off the Disneyland Hotel. Not sure if this is an oversight, if that hotel needs a little more love (aka cleaning) and wouldn't be ready in time, or if they're just not opening all of the hotels since they're not expecting as many guests. More details to come, I'm sure.

A reservation system will be in place!!

Part of the way that Disney will be able to ensure that they can follow social distancing guidelines will be to seriously lower the amount of guests allowed per day. Because of that, they'll be implementing a reservation system for ALL guests (Annual Passholders included). We don't have all the details yet, (we'll of course share as they become available) but it's looking like an online reservation system much like the one used for the Flex Passes. 

*Also right now they won't be selling new tickets or annual passes, most likely while so many people who had to cancel/postpone trips are still holding tickets.*

Some experiences will not be returning yet

Going along with the same plans as the reopening for Walt Disney World, there won't be any parades, fireworks, shows, or character meet and greets *yet.* But they are promising that characters will be in the parks "in new ways" so we're interested to see what exactly that means. But it's looking like it won't be in any sort of way that draws a crowd. At least not for a little while.

What's your plan???

Will you go to Disneyland the minute it reopens or will you wait? Personally, we're going to wait it out a bit until it feels a little more normal. But we're very excited to see and hear how it goes so we can share it with you all! 

Stay tuned...

As soon as Disney gets approval and gives us more details on reopening, you can expect to see that info from us here on the blog and on our Facebook page. So keep checking in!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Disneyland Beignets from Home!

To keep myself busy and to keep from feeling sad that we missed out on our big family Disneyland trip, I've been planning a "Disneyland at Home" day. I planned it in my head for weeks! It was keeping me going almost as much as a regular vacation countdown and prep would. Yesterday was finally the day! You may have seen some of the pics on our Facebook page. We did a lot of YouTube ridethroughs and wore our ears, but the best part was the food! Mickey pancakes for breakfast, Mickey ice cream bars and churros for a snack (Tio Pepe is the brand Disney uses, you can find it at Smart and Final!). But I was MOST looking forward to those amazing New Orleans Square beignets!

First of all, we used the official Cafe du Monde beignet mix. Cafe du Monde has been a New Orleans staple since 1862, so you know they're doing something right! You can even purchase the mix at Ralph Brennen's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney (or Amazon while everything's closed!).

*Fun Fact!* If you like cooking shows, Jon Favreau did an episode of The Chef Show where they made this exact mix and it's totally worth checking out on Netflix.

The mix makes it very simple, ingredient wise. You just need 2 cups of mix (refrigerate the rest) and 7oz of water. Can't get easier! Aside from that's you'll need LOTS of flour, powdered sugar, oil for frying, and a Mickey cookie cutter.

I didn't actually have a Mickey cookie cutter! My mom has one and when I first got this mix (you know, before the pandemic) I just figured I'd borrow from her. So that left me with a bit of a problem. Luckily for me, I have a 3D printer and a husband who loves a project!

Before we got started, we put on a "New Orleans" mix on Spotify and it didn't disappoint!

All you need to do is mix the powder and water, roll to 1/8 inch thick, and fry at 370F. But we learned a few things along the way...

To start, the dough is sticky. Like crazy, stick to everything, so-much-stickier-than-you'd-expect sticky. So when you roll it out, use WAY more flour than you'd ever think you'd need. So much flour! Be SURE NOT TO ROLL TOO THIN. Ours were too thin and it made some of our beignets kind of flat (but still tasty!).

Because of the stickiness, we found it helpful to use a knife to help separate our Mickey from the rest of the dough. Also, a spatula might help you get it off of your work surface. Don't underestimate the stickiness.

When you're frying, keep basting the beignets with more oil so they puff up nicely and cook evenly. They only take a few minutes on each side, so keep an eye on them.

Cover them completely in powdered sugar and eat immediately. They're amazing!!!!

We took the leftover bits of dough that we couldn't quite get more Mickeys out of and made them into squares. This time we left the dough much thicker and they puffed up beautifully compared to our over-rolled ones. Live and learn! 

Easy peasy but pretty messy. Give it a try and tell us what you think!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

We Made Jack Jack's Num Num Cookies!

So, let's get this out of the way, I'm a homebody by nature. If I could do anything on a given weekend, it'd be to stay home with my hubby and son. So, in that sense, social distancing hasn't given me the cabin fever it's given some of my friends. 

Having said that, I have had the urge to bake. Now I have little to no interest in cooking. Dinner? How can I get out of making it? But I’ve always enjoyed baking. I am not great at it, by any stretch of the imagination. But I do enjoy it. 

I have also been feeling bummed, as many of us have, because my Spring Break Disneyland trip was cancelled. (Postponed. I’m going to say postponed.) So, how perfect is it that Disney/Pixar recently released the recipe for the Jack Jack Num Num cookies? Something from Disneyland that I could bake at home?! Sign me up!!

First, can we talk about how cute the recipe cards are?! Disney/Pixar always does an awesome job with adorable little touches!





So, let’s go through the steps. First gather your ingredient. Check!!

Next, brown the butter...I’ve never done that before. Ain’t gonna lie, I watched a couple YouTube videos first. Here’s mine:

Probably could have gotten it a little browner, but all roads pointed to “butter goes from browned to burned really quickly, so I erred on the side of caution. (Btw, if you’ve never browned butter before: medium-low heat and constant stirring are your friends.) Let that cool until is starts to solidify. 

From there, I creamed the browned butter with the sugars, mixed in the wet ingredients, then the dry ones, stirred in chocolate chips, and formed cookie dough balls. 


Now, full disclosure, I have never had Jack Jack's Num Num cookie before. They became a big thing *after* my last trip to the park. But I know enough to know that they are huge and served in muffin-sized cups. So I tried to make mine big! 12 cookies from the big batch of cookie dough. 

From there, refrigerate. (Ugh! I wanted to bake them right away!) Directions say at least one hour, overnight is ideal. I did about 5 1/2 hours. 

Now comes the part that I had to change: this recipe is for regular-sized cookies. 7-10 minutes was not going to cut it for cookies that were at least double-sized. So I checked on them every 5-10 minutes after the first 10. They were in the oven just over 20 minutes. 

So, after all that, how did they turn out? Amazing. Dangerously good. Possibly the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever eaten!! Two sticks of browned butter will do that, I guess. (And I don’t even like butter!) They are sweet and moist and chewy and chocolaty and all amazing things! They don’t look exactly the same as they do in the park, but again, I said I *like* baking...I’m not great at it.  

If you have the ingredients in the house already (I did!), or are planning your socially-distanced grocery shopping soon, I highly recommend trying this recipe out! You won’t regret it. 

Have you tried to make these cookies, too? Let us know what you thought of them in the comments!

Friday, March 27, 2020

What To Do While Disneyland Is Closed

Let's start with the most important part: we hope you're all safe, feeling well, and social distancing as much as is possible! We love you!

Times are weird right now. Most of us aren't going to work, kids are home from school, and everything is closed. With today's announcement that Disneyland and Walt Disney World are extending their closures "indefinitely," we're figuring we can't be the only ones who are wondering how to keep the Disney Blues away. We're here to help!! Here's our best tips for keeping the magic alive, whether you're just bored to tears at home or you're (like us) pretty sad to be cancelling your Spring Break Disney trip.

1. Watch ride throughs! It's a super quick and easy YouTube search to find full ride throughs of your favorite Disneyland attractions. And be sure to check our Facebook page, because we've been posting our fave ride videos daily!

2. Wear your Disney gear! Come on, you know you're just itching to wear your ears around the house. Bonus points if you wear them in a Zoom meeting!

3. Make Disney Snacks! I *may* have bought the last box of Mickey ice cream bars at the grocery store when I was buying quarantine supplies, and I'll for sure be eating those when it was supposed to be our vacation. But there are also a lot of Disney snacks you can make at home, and we've already made a lot of them! Check out our favorite attempts at Disney snacks by clicking the links below:


4. Play a Disney music trivia game! There may be more versions available, but our favorite is Alexa's  Disney Hits Challenge. Just ask her to play!

5. Make up your own Disneyland game! Our favorite to play with the kids is to go through the alphabet and take turns naming something from Disneyland for each letter (A for Alice in Wonderland, B for Bengal get it).

6. Give yourself a Disney themed manicure! It can be as complicated or simple as you like. Just have some fun!

7. Read old Dole Whip A Day blogs! We're VERY close to our 5th anniversary (blogiversary??) so there's a LOT to choose from. Scroll through all the old faves here!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Spider-Man Soars Above Avengers Campus

Wow! We have new Avengers Campus news. When the new Marvel themed land opens at California Adventure this summer, Spider-Man will be swinging high above our heads.

Word came out back in 2019 that Disney was working on an extremely advanced animatronic, and now we officially know what they were up to. Check out the video below, released by Disney yesterday.

Looks like we're going to have a life size, acrobatic animatronic Spider-Man swinging into action before our very eyes! And in case you forgot, there's a lot more excitement heading our way when Avengers Campus opens. Here's what we know so far:
  • A Spider-Man attraction where you can fling webs and swing yourself across the city to help save the day

  • Meet and greets with your Marvel faves (Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Widow, and Black Panther to name a few)
  • Pym Test Kitchen, where you'll be able to try unusually sized foods that have been affected by Ant Man's growing and shrinking technology
  • In Phase 2 (date unknown), we'll find another e-ticket style ride where you can fly the Quintet and help the Avengers fight to save the world

With all this new info out, what are you most excited for? Give us a shout and let us know!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Disneyland 2020 Update

The new year is here! Time to take down the holiday decorations, make some resolutions, and get organized. For the Disneyland Resort, that means a new ride, new events, new entertainment, and some much needed ride refurbishments. Are you heading to the parks in 2020? Here's what you can expect for the start of the new decade.

A Brand New Ride!

Whether or not you're a Star Wars fan, Rise of the Resistance (opening January 17) is looking like it'll be an incredible experience. We've peeked at what they have over in Walt Disney World, and this looks like nothing we've ever seen before! At nearly 20 minutes long, this attraction uses brand new tech, enormous animatronics, and is full of surprises. Is it a dark ride? Is it a simulator? Is it a roller coaster? Yes and no! We're so helpful right? We'd rather not give too much away, but if you're curious and don't like surprises, check out a ride through on YouTube.

New Entertainment!

Making it's debut on February 28, Magic Happens is a brand new daytime parade. Let's face it, it's been a long time since we've seen a new daytime parade! It should be an amazing mix of old and new. Classic characters combined with characters from Moana, Coco, and Frozen. Well known and loved Disney music mixed with a new song from Todrick Hall. Look for this parade daily starting February 28.

Themed Parties!

Disneyland After Dark parties are back for 2020! There are four planned so far and tickets go fast, so if these sound amazing to you, you'd better snatch up tickets now. They're pricey at $109 per person, but you'll get some amazing experiences that you can't get on a regular park day like staying after closing, special decorations, shows, characters, and shorter wait times.

**FYI: From what we've heard about these parties before, not every ride is open but most people want to do all of the character photo ops so the ride lines tend to be pretty short. Take advantage and plan out what you want to be able to see and do!

  • On January 29 there's 80s night: Fantasyland Theater is transformed back into Videopolis (if you're old like me, you'll remember this one!) with music and dancing, an 80s themed fireworks show, special food and merch, and special "nostalgic" meet and greets. 
  • February 12 and 13 will be Sweethearts night, returning from last year: Love song themed dance parties located across Disneyland Park, meet and greets with Disney couples, romantic photo ops, and (as always) special food and merch. 
  • March 5 will be Pixar Night over at California Adventure: Check out Pixar dance parties that are themed to the different classic movies, Pixar pal photo ops, and *of course* special food and merch!
  • Also in DCA on April 30 is the amazing VILLAINS NIGHT: Check out your favorite villains in the Villains Cabaret show, photo ops with villains and photo backdrops of their lairs, and YOU GUESSED IT, special food and merch! (Seeing the pattern??)

Closed for Refurbishment

It's never fun to get to the parks only to find out that your favorite ride is closed. On the other hand, we all know that some rides need a little TLC. So at least you can know what to expect when you get there if you check out our list of planned refurbishments for the beginning of 2020.
  • Snow White's Scary Adventure
    • Beginning January 7, Snow White is getting a major makeover. You can expect new projections (much like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland got), new music, and a BRAND NEW ENDING! You'll no longer be left hanging when the dwarfs defeat the witch. We'll get a new scene where Snow White happily wakes up in the forest. So exciting! Plus the outside of the ride will get a facelift to help it match the castle. No official word yet on how long the ride will be closed, but we've heard this might be a long one, reopening in the Summer. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for updates. 
  • Haunted Mansion
    • The Haunted Mansion always closes in January to take down the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, but this year its getting an extended renovation to the exterior of the ride. It seems that the overlay has done a decent amount of damage over time, so that's going to be fixed up, reopening sometime in the Spring. 
  • Indiana Jones
    • We know that Indy is going to get a major refurb sometime in 2020, but so far there aren't any details as to when. So we'll do our very best to keep you all up to date!

That's everything we know so far! What are you most excited for? I, personally, can't wait to see what they do with Snow White. I loved the Alice in Wonderland enhancements, but was underwhelmed by the additions to Peter Pan. I'm hoping that with the new scene, Snow White will feel totally fresh and exciting.