Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Disneyland Fast Facts!

We've done it once before, but now, thanks to an article in a local newspaper, we have a new set of Disneyland fun facts to share with you!
(Facts courtesy of the Press Democrat)

1. On opening day, the Jungle Cruise was called the Explorer Boat Ride Through the Rivers of Mexico, Africa, Central and South America, and Australia. (Good call on the name change, guys!)

2. Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. were among the first people to ride the Autopia. 

3. Two of the book titles you can see in the library scene of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride are "For Whom the Toads Croak" and "A Tadpole Grows in Brooklyn."

4. Jonathan Gold, a restaurant critic for the LA Times, said that Disneyland's corn dog is the best he's ever had. 

5. It was predicted by a psychic in 1971 that Disneyland would be inside of a bubble to control the weather by 1999!

6. In the early days of Disneyland, there was a lingerie store on Main Street called The Wizard of Bras. 

7. Richard Carpenter (of The Carpenters) played music on Main Street in 1967, but was fired for playing modern music. 

8. The E Ticket, for Disneyland's best rides, wasn't introduced until 1959 when the Matterhorn and Submarine Voyage opened. 

9. Walt Disney originally wanted Disneyland to be in Burbank, but when he brought the idea to the city, they said no because they thought it would create a "carny atmosphere."

10. When Tom Sawyer Island first opened in 1956, kids could borrow fishing poles and fish in a pond filled with catfish, perch, and bluegill. (What did they do with the fish once the kids caught them???)

Know any other Disneyland facts? Share them with us in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Former Cast Member Confessions: Electric Wheelchair Races

For anyone who didn't already know, one of your Dole Whip A Day friends was a Disneyland Cast Member back in 2004....Best. Summer. Ever. I have a LOT of stories that I'd love to share, and I'm kicking it off with the Cast Member ECV (Electronic Convenience Vehicle) Races around Main Street!

I used to work on Main Street in the stores, which also included the stroller/wheelchair rental area since it was still within the Disneyland gates at the time. It wasn't my favorite area to be assigned because I much preferred seeing all the great merchandise and planning what I'd come in early to buy the next day! But it was still pretty fun. It wasn't very stressful, I usually had a great view of the fireworks, and there was a lot of freedom to roam around the park (collecting abandoned stroller at the end of the night). One of the jobs when I was working strollers was to drive the ECVs backstage to the storage and repair area after the park closed. Well, to do that you have to be good at driving them, right?

The training was fantastic! A more seasoned CM lined us all up (there were somewhere around 10 of us) and gave each of us the coveted RED KEY to an ECV. The red key allows it to go much faster! Then he laid out the course - starting at the right tunnel that leads onto Main Street, we had to ride around Town Square and then back up to the tunnel area. We had to listen carefully, since we were also practicing stopping. If you stand up on an ECV, it should automatically stop...should. More on that in a minute.

On your marks, get set, go!!! Off we were in the slowest race ever (WITH the fast keys!) We crawled our way through the tunnel and around Town Square. Our leader yelled "Stop!" and everyone stood up. All of the ECVs stopped, except mine of course! I was so shocked that I didn't think to turn the key to turn it off completely. No, I continued rolling down Main Street, at midnight, in front of guests who were still filing out of the park, screaming "I can't stop!!!!!" Take a moment to let the mental image sink in... Got it?

Once I got my runaway chair under control, we started up again and I won! Of course I did - my chair didn't work properly. But I do love to win so I'll take it!

I also had a pretty big crash one day trying to get an ECV through the weird entry to backstage, but I'll save that for another day!

Want to hear more Cast Member stories? Sound off in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Disney On Ice - Super Fun!

I got the chance to see Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream last weekend. What a great experience!


The show started late because there was a bit of a parking situation (a Raiders/Broncos game sharing the parking lot!) and they wanted to give more people a chance to arrive. While we waited, some other ice skaters came out and did some tricks with little flying discs. There was also lots of Disney music being played in the background to sing along with. They were already selling all kinds of treats and toys so everyone would be ready! 

Snacks and Souvenirs

There are plenty of options, if you're looking to buy! We decided on some of the treats: popcorn in a Disney On Ice bag and cotton candy with a Pascal hat! There are also lights, tshirts, and toys for sale. 

Pro tip: Lots of families came in Disney clothes and brought toys or food. We bought a pack of glow sticks at Target and brought them with us so we could have the budget for the snacks ($14 cotton candy is a little high!). 

The Show!!

I've been to Disney On Ice before, so I was used to the setup. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy come out in between each segment to (kind of) tie it all together. 

To start off, there was a little Princess and the Frog intro. It was very upbeat, and I would have loved to have seen a whole segment dedicated to it. 

Next was Snow White. The magic mirror was a very cool effect as it glided across the ice. My kids have seen the movie before, so they could easily follow the story, but to anyone who hasn't, it probably would have been nice to include the Queen's transformation into the witch. But all of the great music was there and the skating was wonderful. 

After Snow White was Cinderella. This segment was terrific. It had some very cool costume changes (when the step sisters ruin Cinderella's pink dress and she ends up in rags, and then her transformation into her ball gown after Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo), the Prince has a bigger part than in the movie (hooray!), and the step sisters were terribly fun!

Last was Tangled. It was pretty amazing! They followed the story very closely, including the frying pan gag and a perfect version of the I Have A Dream song and dance. Maximus the horse made an appearance that was quite impressive! Ice skating horses; who knew, right? But the best part by far were the aerial tricks that Rapunzel and Flynn did while hanging from her "hair." I've never seen anything like it in an ice show! 

Final Thought

I was going to love it anyway because it's Disney, but really...if you get a chance, go see this show! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Last Chance to See/Do at Disneyland!

There are a lot of changes coming to Disneyland with the addition of  Star Wars Land. Some things are closing temporarily during construction and others are going for good! Check out our list below and try to see and do as many of these as possible before January when construction starts!

Closing for About a Year 

1. Mark Twain

This classic riverboat will be returning when the Rivers of America reopen, but it will run a shorter route. Ask to ride up with the captain while you still can!

2. Sailing Ship Columbia

While this boat doesn't run as frequently as the Mark Twain, it's still a fun and interesting ride to see.

3. Tom Sawyer Island (Pirates Lair)

You have 3 months left to ride a raft across the Rivers of America to the perfect spot for climbing, discovering caves, and getting very dirty! Part of the island is being removed, but it's the section that was home to Fort Wilderness which has been permanently closed off for years anyway. 

4. Canoes

This ride is hard work and doesn't get too much traffic, but if you're looking for a workout after your 10th Dole Whip, hop on before it says goodbye for a year. (I'm personally hoping it'll return as part of Star Wars Land so we can call it the "Obi-wan Canoebis"!)

5. Fantasmic!

The bad news about the show closing for the year: 1. We'll miss it! 2. The crowd that usually watches it has to go somewhere else during a time of night when rides have shorter lines. 
The good news: New Orleans Square will be accessible at night without taking your life in your hands!

6. Disneyland Railroad

They'll be changing the layout of the tracks during the closure, which I'm sure is no small task. But I'll sure miss it! It's such a fun way I get around the park when your feet are tired! That also means no riding up front with the engineer or in the Lilly Belle car, either.

Gone Forever

1. Big Thunder Ranch

Home to some lovely animals and seasonal activities/characters, this area will be closing for good to make way for Star Wars. 

2. Big Thunder BBQ 

Photo Credit:

My favorite meal in the park! It's all you can eat, delicious, and has a great atmosphere and entertainment. Get your reservations in while you can. We'll miss you, BBQ!