Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Disneyland "Don't"s

We LOVE to tell you fun things to do on your Disneyland vacation. Today, instead, we're going to tell you what NOT to do (based on what we've heard from people who didn't love their trips).

5. Don't go without knowing what rides/ shows will be closed.

I hear this all the time. People plan a trip and get to Disneyland only to find out that their favorite ride is closed for major refurbishment. You can check the schedule 6 weeks in advance. That might be too late to change your vacation dates  if you see your fave is closed, but it's plenty of time to prepare yourself so you're not so upset once you get there!

4. Don't live on hot dogs and hamburgers.

There is some amazing food to be had and it's in lots of price ranges. Try a new place at each meal and you'll be sure to eat some wonderful things! Try the amazing tostada salad at Rancho deal Zocalo, the spicy Korean sauce on your rice bowl at the Lucky Fortune Cookery, or the fried chicken at the Plaza Inn. You won't be disappointed!

3. While we're talking about food... Don't be that guy who thinks he's going to save time and money by eating at Denny's across the street.

Just don't. Denny's are notoriously slow and, while they're fairly cheap, odds are that once you include a tip it isn't cheaper than a quick service restaurant in the parks. 

2. Don't spend your precious souvenir money on things that can be bought anywhere.
Disney stickers, pens, and even shirts can be found for very cheap and a wide variety of stores near your home. I suggest buying those kinds of things before your trip to have with you (Try the Mickey birthday section at a party store!). That way you can spend your souvenir budget on things that are exclusive to Disneyland! 

1.  Don't waste your day searching for a ride with no line.

Disneyland has lines. From entering to exiting, all day long, you'll wait in lines for all kinds of things. While I'm the first to turn around when I see a line longer than 90 minutes that I don't have a fastpass for, I don't mind waiting for the rides I love. If you turn away from every line longer than 20 minutes, you'll quickly find that you've spent your whole day wandering around and didn't get on any rides.
Pro Tip: Use an app like MouseWait to see how long lines
are! You can either check on lines while you are already waiting in another line so you can plan where to go next, or look in the days leading up to your trip to prepare for what kinds of wait times to expect. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Great Vegetarian Options at Disneyland

Great Vegetarian Options at Disneyland

Going on vacation as a vegetarian is always a little tricky. You're never quite sure what's going to be available to you. Fortunately, Disneyland has some fantastic light snacks, meals, and entrees to meet even the pickiest vegetarian's (like me!) needs. 

Almost every snack in the park is vegetarian! But, if you are looking for something beyond popcorn or ice cream, here are some great options:

Cheddar Garlic Bagel Twist from Maurice's Treats
Amazing...and I don't even like cheese! This bagel twist is not only flavorful, but huge. Definitely big enough to share. It can also easily be combined with a salad for a great light lunch!

Outback Vegetable Skewer from Bengal Barbeque
This is a healthier and filling option! Veggies and red potatoes skewered and grilled. No salty sauces (though I'm sure you could ask for one) and definitely not filler food. 

Lighter Meals
Looking for a great vegetarian lunch or light dinner? Lots of options for you! Here are my top picks!

Vegetarian Gumbo in a Sourdough Bread Bowl from Royal Street Veranda
I'll be honest, I steer clear of soups during the hot summer months, but any other time of the year, it's filling and super tasty! The line at Royal Street Veranda can look very long, but as they mostly only sell soup in bread bowls, it does move quickly!

Veggie Tostada Salad from Rancho del Zocalo
This is actually quite filling. I've split it with my hubby before. Crispy tostada bowl, refried beans, rice, sauteed veggies, lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guac...This meal has a little bit of everything! 

Grilled Vegetable & Whole Grain Salad from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe
I just recently discovered this healthy gem! Mixed greens with whole grains and chilled grilled veggies, served with a basil vinaigrette. Great for a simple lunch!

(PRO TIP: Disneyland has lots of amazing salads! Check out some of the ones at Redd Rockett's Pizza Port. Though most meal size salads come with chicken, any salad can be made without! All you need to do is ask!)

Larger Entrees
Looking for a nice, filling meal? Check out these vegetarian options!

Portobello Mushroom and Lousiana Long-Grain Rice at Blue Bayou
So, this menu item has actually changed in the past few months! I was surprised and will have to try it. The previous portobello mushroom meal came with couscous and spinach, whereas this comes with rice and seasonal veggies. The rest of the meal seems the same, fortunately! The portobello mushroom is served with an amazing balsalmic reduction and is, by far, the tastiest vegetarian option I have found at Disneyland thus far.

Vegetarian Option at Big Thunder Ranch Barbeque
The barbeque doesn't advertise a veggie option on their posted menu, but if you let them know that there is a vegetarian in your group, they are more than happy to accommodate! The veggie option is tofu, potato, and veggie skewers covered in BBQ sauce. In addition to the skewers, all of the sides of the regular BBQ menu are veggie friendly: unlimited cornbread rolls, baked beans, corn cob wheels, and cole slaw. This is a HUGE meal, so be sure to bring an appetite! (PRO TIP: The BBQ menu is set, so the food comes out quickly...the veggie skewers are made-to-order, so they take a lot longer to come out. Let your server know ASAP that you would like the veggie option!)

What's your favorite veggie option? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's the Little Things

A Disney vacation is a big deal! You spend full, long days in the parks going on big rides, seeing over the top shows and parades, and eating huge meals. But sometimes it's amazing to see how the little things can truly change your trip from great to magical!

Special Stickers

On my last trip I was taking my 4 year old to the bathroom in Toontown when he dropped the paper towel he used to dry his hands. No big deal. I pointed it out, he picked it up and threw it away, and we left. Well, the Cast Member who saw it sure thought it was a big deal! She practically chased us out of there to give my son a special janitorial Mickey sticker and tell him he did a great job. It's amazing how something so little meat so much to him! He wanted to save the sticker instead of wear it and the whole rest of our trip, he kept checking in with me to make sure I still had it. CMs really have the ability to make someone's day with the tiniest gesture!

Start Your Day with High Fives

If you come into Disneyland right at the opening, you're greeted by Cast Members wearing big Mickey gloves! They line up along Main Street to wave and high five guests on their way in. It's really something to see!  You can hold your hand out and get Mickey five after Mickey five. 

Dress for a Character 

Have a favorite character you're sure to meet in the parks? Show them some love! If you dress to impress your favorite character, you're sure to get a reaction out of them (whether or not they can talk!)

My family dressed in Captain America shirts on the day we wanted to meet him. He loved it and made a big deal about it. Thor, on the other hand, wasn't nearly as impressed. "Oh...I see you're all Captain America fans..." He was a very good sport!

Celebration Buttons

It's pretty well know that you can get free buttons on your Disney trip, but what you might not expect is the reaction you'll get. If you're in a birthday button, Cast Members and pak guests alike will call out, "happy birthday" to you all day long (and sometimes when you least expect it.). Wear a, "Just Married" or, "Happy Anniversary" button and expect to be congratulated all day long. It brings an extra touch of magic to your already special day!

Have a Goal

Maybe you want to collect all of the pressed pennies. Maybe you want to meet all of the princesses. Maybe you're like me and want to get a picture of all the different garbage cans! Whatever it is, having a goal and needing to go find special things is a really fun little extra to keep you on your toes during your trip!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Disneyland Forever: Love It or Really Love It

Disney is famous for their fireworks. You see a fireworks show at home on the Fourth of July and think, "Meh," because you're used to greatness.

I wasn't sure anything could top the fireworks show from Disneyland's 50th Anniversary because it's near perfection. Beautiful, bright, and about Disneyland itself. This is the only negative thing I'll say about Disneyland Forever - it could have had more Disneyland in it. But they can't duplicate the last anniversary fireworks spectacular, so I'll move past that point.

The projections are the newest technological additions to Disney's fireworks, and they're pretty amazing. I saw them from both Main Street and Small World and you really get two different feels. From Main Street, its incredibly immersive. The images of colors, shapes, and familiar characters are literally all around you. Its pretty amazing to see, but its also a bit overwhelming. If you get overstimulated, I'd suggest Small World where all projections are on the face of the ride itself and you can either focus on it or turn your attention to the sky instead. Either way, you'll see the beautifully designed art that perfectly accompanies the show.

The show has lots of classic songs from the most popular Disney movies. There are segments from Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, the Little Mermaid (watch for bubbles falling from the sky and underwater plant life on the Main Street roofs), and of course Frozen. I always hear people complain that Frozen has been over-played or just plain isn't as good as everyone says. So you can imagine my surprise (and extreme delight, because I am NOT one of those people who is tired of Frozen) when Let It Go began and the entirety of the Main Street crowd started singing along! It was pretty wonderful.

I saved the best for last...the tribute to Walt Disney himself! The show starts with a large photo of Walt projected up for everyone to see while audio of him talking about Disneyland is played. The show circles back to him at the end with a really heartwarming animation of Walt and Mickey's shadows holding hands and walking together. I MAY have cried during that part, but I'll never tell. Ok, I'll tell. I totally cried! It was like the Partners statue had come to life!!!

Have you seen Disneyland Forever? Did you love it? Or did you really love it??

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Trashy Blog Post: The Garbage Cans of Disneyland

This is a weird one, I'll admit it. But I can't be the only one who loves all the different, appropriately themed garbage cans around Disneyland! There are cans for each land, and some rides and restaurants have their own designs. They're so popular that they even sell small porcelain cans as salt and pepper shakers!

Before we get to the trashy photos (see what I did there?), I have to tell you a story from my last trip...

My husband and older son were in line for the Matterhorn and they saw a garbage can on fire! It was near the smoking section, so I'm guessing someone threw away a cigarette that wasn't out. Cast Members came to put it out and take the old can away. I was sitting a little ways up giving my younger son a snack and saw a CM pushing a garbage can on a dolly. I didn't look damaged at all, which was weird considering it was on fire. I didn't even know there had been a fire until my hubby told me later. Anyway, he was talking to some guests and as he walked by I heard him say, "Guess how much it costs to replace one of these!" He took a few guesses before revealing the answer..... $800! At least they're cute and durable for that kind of money, right?

So let's take a trip around the Disneyland Resort, led by the garbage cans!

Main Street
My favorite thing about the Disneyland garbage cans is "Waste Please." It sounds like a request for wasting, and I've always thought it's hilarious. 

I really think these are my favorite. Such a cute design that fits in well with the land!

New Orleans Square
This can has special instructions for throwing away food, in perfectly themed font and color of course. 

Metal garbage cans made to look like wood. Only at A Disney park, am I right?

Does it bug anyone else that there isn't paper recycling? Disney doesn't even sell cans!

Small World
Small World gets its own design in perfect, Mary Blair inspired style. 

A goofy design for the land Goofy lives in!

These are probably my least favorite. They're fine, just kind of plain. 

Buena Vista Street
Say, "Hello" to California Adventure and, "Goodbye" to the Waste Please design. Bummer!

Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe
Disney Starbucks is the best place to go when you're waiting to get into the crazy line for a Radiator Springs Racers fastpass. 

It seems like DCA just put the logo for each land on their garbage cans. It's just trash, I know, but it's a noticeable lack of effort that, I'm sure, someone spent a lot of time on in DL. 

Monsters Inc
There are tons of garbage cans in line for this ride! It seems way more than other rides. At least they get their own cute logo!

A Bug's Land
I'm not into the rides in Bug's Land, but it's so cute!

Cars Land
I'd be happy to keep your town clean, Radiator Springs!

Pacific Wharf
Wow, these are so plain...I have nothing else to say. 

Paradise Pier
Just another land logo, but very colorful!

Grizzly Peak
I really like the way they've redone the Grizzly Peak area!

Redwood Challenge Trail
Finally! Paper recycling!!!

Bonus! My Disneyland garbage can pin!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Amazing "Paint the Night" Parade

Disneyland has outdone itself. There's no way around it! There's no saying anything didn't live up to the hype or anything should have been more thought through (ahem, Light Magic parade, I'm looking at you). Paint the Night is really one of the most wonderful shows I've seen. Here's my full rundown!

Colors and Lights 

Its unbelievable bright, without hurting your eyes. The bright blue lights are beautiful and catch your eye from whatever seat you have. 

The music will stay with you for at least the next few days. The parade is set to When Can I See You Again, the song from the end credits of Wreck It Ralph. It's catchy and easy to sing along with, without being annoying.


It's all my favorites! We have characters from the classic movies (Peter Pan and Tink lead the way, with Mickey and friends finishing it all up), the "Renaissance Era" (Belle, Ariel, and the Genie all make appearances), and the modern favorites (Rapunzel is there, complete with lit-up hair, as well as Elsa and Anna). There are also some great floats from Pixar films, Toy Story, Cars, and Monsters Inc. it's a really big variety that's sure to appeal to a very wide base. 

Best Floats

They're all pretty impressive, but there are a couple that really stand out. Peter Pan sits on a big drum that shows you the Paint the Night Logo and also has an impressive explosions of diamonds! It's a great start to the show!

Mack, the truck from Cars, is amazing just in sheer size! He's a full 18-wheeler, which is a little bizarre to see rolling down Main Street.

Whether or not you're one of the people who has had a little too much Frozen, I don't think anyone can deny that Elsa's ice castle is pretty amazing! It's huge, Anna and Elsa are adorable interacting together at the top, and the windows with etched "ice" pictures depicting scenes from the movie shows a kind of mind boggling level of attention to detail. Truly spectacular. 


I saved the best for last. All the throwbacks to the original Main Street Electrical Parade make me way too happy. They hit you with it right at the start. The voice is different, but when you hear a parade start with electronic voices saying "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Disney proudly presents..." well, you know you're in for something special. You get bits of the original Baroque Hoedown music mixed in with the new songs to remind you that this is a worthy successor to the classic Main Street Electrical Parade. 

The Only Downside 

Man, is it crowded! People are lining up hours ahead of time to get a prime spot. But try your best and see this from any location you can! (Special shoutout to the cast members who spend 2 hours making sure that the people who sit on the benches on the left side of The Hib know that the parade doesn't pass by there and that those are really just fireworks spots. I heard that speech at least 15 times just while waiting for popcorn and that awesome cast member was just as polite and helpful to the first guest as he was to the last. He rocked!)