Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Disneyland Update

It feels like just yesterday we were writing about changes coming to Disneyland for 2016, and now here we are again. There are a few things coming and a few things going with the new year, and we've put it all in one place for you. You're welcome!

Goodbye Old Friends

Castle Heraldry Shoppe

After 22 years in Fantasyland, the Castle Heraldry Shoppe will be closing January 12. It's sad to see something so unique close. We just hope something amazing takes it place (cough, cough, not a pin store or another princess shop, cough, cough).

Tower of Terror

We've known for a while, and construction on the outside of the iconic Hollywood Tower Hotel has already started, but it'll be official on January 2. The Tower of Terror will be closing for good, and will be replaced by Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout in the summer. I'm not sure how the new attraction will compare to the old, but we know that it'll still have the same basic "elevator drop" concept, so we have high hopes that it'll still bring big thrills!

Welcome Back

Main Street Electrical Parade

Get ready for that electro-synthemagnetic musical sound. Here comes the Main Street Electrical Parade! The Parade returns to its original home on January 20 for a limited time. Must see! So much nostalgia!

Remember Dreams Come True

The amazing fireworks show that debuted back in 2005 for Disneyland's 50th anniversary will be returning for weekend showings starting February 3. You remember these fireworks right? The show that was all about Disneyland itself and took you for a "grand circle tour" around the park? Genius!

Rivers of America and the Railroad

Summer 2017: the Rivers of America reopen!!!! After a year and a half long closure, the Rivers including the Mark Twain, Columbia, Tom Sawyer's Island (Or Pirate's Lair...whatever), Fantasmic (yay!!!!!!!), and everyone's favorite Disneyland a railroad will finally return.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Disney Holiday Gift Guide

Its the most wonderful time of the year, and we've got great Disney gift ideas for anyone on your list! (Also check out the original Disney Gift Guide we created back around Valentine's Day.)

1. Disneyland Scavenger Hunt Book

For the Disneyland fan who's seen it all, give them the gift of a new Disney experience. Available on Amazon here.

2. Lego Castle

Because who doesn't need a 4000 piece Lego project? Seriously, the details on this thing are amazing!

3. Ornaments from the Disney Store - On Sale Now!

If you act fast, some ornaments from the Sketchbook Collection are $8 instead of $17. Total steal!!! My current favorite is Donald Duck riding his train from my very favorite Donald/Chip and Dale short.

4. Large Lot of Pins

Of course you can look on Amazon, ebay, or the Disney Store's website to find great pins that will perfectly match anyone's collection. But have you ever looked on eBay at the pins that are sold in lots? I've bought them once and it was so a scavenger hunt! You don't quite know what you'll end up with, but a collector would have a great time looking through and picking out favorites and hidden gems.
BUYER BEWARE: Please check the seller's feedback to make sure they're not known for selling fake pins.

5. Haunted Mansion Travel Pillow

Traveling for the holidays? Keep comfortable with ghoulish delight! Available online at the Disney Store.

6. Trash Can Highlighters

You read that right. Trash. Can. Highlighters. I love seeing Disney trash cans get some love (we've got a whole blog dedicated to them here!) and wish I was back in high school so I could highlight my heart out with these babies.  Available on the Shop Parks app or if you're lucky enough to buy them in person at the Happiest Place On Earth.

7. Chipped Cup from Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time has some really great reimaginings of classic Disney stories, and one of my favorites was their retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It seems the people at Hot Topic agree because you can find their adorable version of "Chip" here!

8. Utilize Shutterfly!

Sometimes you just need to make your own Disney magic. Go to Shutterfly and put your own awesome Disney pics on something. I made a Dole Whip phone case and its my favorite thing ever (now I just need a new one for my new phone!).

9. Toy Story Vans

They have super cute designs and patterns, and please note they have "Andy" written on the bottom!!! Amazing and good for the entire family!

10. Buttons!!!!!

Did you know we here at Dole Whip a Day make our own buttons? We currently have the two designs seen here. Give us a shout (Facebook message, Instagram DM, or email us at if you're interested.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thanksgiving in Disneyland

I had the unique chance to spend Thanksgiving at Disneyland several years ago. My family is pretty traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving: cornucopia, pumpkins, pilgrim rats (don't ask). But, a few years back, we decided to forgo all tradition and spend Thanksgiving at the Happiest Place on Earth! What's that? You want tips? I thought you'd never ask!

Decor: Let's get this out of the way straight off the bat: Disneyland does not go out of its way to decorate for Thanksgiving. It is in full-on holiday mode. The fall decor is gone. That Thanksgiving vibe is nowhere to be found. But, holiday time at Disneyland is fantastic! So, I wouldn't be too bummed about that. 

Crowds: It's crowded. It's always crowded. Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week were average. Wednesday and Friday were packed. Actual Thanksgiving day was somewhere in between. Schools are on vacation. Businesses are closed. Expect crowds. There's a Pinterest post out there saying that the park is empty on Thanksgiving. Don't you believe it!

Food: Though it totally bummed out my mom, my hubby and I had no interest in sitting on a bench and eating a giant turkey leg for Thanksgiving dinner. There are several restaurants in the park that offer a Thanksgiving-style dinner in addition to their regular menu. For a full list, click here. But, we were hoping for the full-on buffet experience, so we knew the hotels were the place to go. The main event, dining-wise is at the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel.  But, we didn't have reservations. And it's pricey...really $80 a person pricey. So, we went with the least pricey hotel option: the PCH Grill. We got there just before their dinner buffet was starting, around 4:00, maybe a touch earlier. I'm not going to lie, they looked at us like we were crazy, not having reservations and put us on a "we can't guarantee anything" standby list. We decided to give it one hour. But they watched us sit there, knew the place was virtually empty, and called us our name after about 10 minutes. "Happy Thanksgiving! Let's go eat!" There were tons of options. (Even for me, the vegetarian!) Classics and modern spins on classics. My favorite? I want to be a foodie and say the pumpkin ravioli (which were super tasty), but in reality, it was the mini pumpkin pies! The hubby and I may have snuck a couple of those out in a baggie to have as the next morning's breakfast. Shh...don't tell. They were amazing!

Overall? It was a really fun memory and something that I would absolutely do again! It didn't have that Thanksgiving feel that I love. And, I certainly wouldn't do it every year. But, we made a lot of great memories, and ate a lot of great food. Especially the mini pumpkin pies. Trust me on this one. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Halloween Time at Disneyland

This is Halloween, this is Halloween! Can you tell we're excited? Halloween Time at Disneyland is full of fun that you can't get any other time of year and we're here to break it down for you. These are the 10 best parts of this spooky season.

1. Mickey's Halloween Party

We've never been, and if you have, we're very jealous. A separate ticket is required, but there is a special fireworks show complete with Halloweeny projections on the castle, a brand new parade led by the Headless Horseman himself, and oodles of candy to be trick-or-treated! Please share your pics with us if you're going!!!

2. Characters in Costume

Want to see what Mickey and his friends will be for Halloween? Head on out to Main Street to find your friends in their costumes! This makes for really fun and different pictures than you can get at any other time of year.

3. Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree is a fantastic addition to Frontierland. Its full of cute little jack-o-lanterns and gives off an eerie orange glow at night.

4. Celebrate Early

If you love Halloween, you're ready to start celebrating as soon possible. Did you know Disneyland starts its celebration in September? You practically get two full months of Halloween at the spookiest place on Earth.

5. Special Treats

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

This is my favorite part. While there's no Halloween version of a Dole Whip, there are a lot of other treats to get excited about!

  • Poison Caramel Apples (Pro Tip: Don't try to transport one of these in your hot car on the 7 hour drive home...just saying)
  • Mickey Mummy Krispie Treats
  • Butterscotch Beignets (New this year! They used to do pumpkin beignets, but they really didn't live up to the hype in our opinion.)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas Coffin Cake
  • And many many more!

6. Poison Apple Mugs

Photo Credit: Disney Geek

Let me tell you, people go crazy over these mugs! They sell out every year and locals go practically daily to check if there are more in stock. Good luck finding one, but once you have it, its a pretty special keepsake.

7. Giant Mickey Pumpkin

Its enormous and Mickey shaped. Enough said.

8. Dia de los Muertos

Photo Credit: Disney

Check out the area near Rancho del Zocalo restaurant in Frontierland for a Day of the Dead celebration! There's decorations, face painting, and special desserts. Pumpkin flan, anyone??

9. Meet Jack and Sally

Haven't you always wanted to meet the pumpkin king with the skeleton grin? Jack Skellington and Sally are out in New Orleans Square and they're dying to meet you! (Ok, to be honest, he freaks me out a little bit! But they're still pretty amazing and totally worth the wait.)

10. Haunted Mansion Holiday

I know not everyone loves Nightmare Before Christmas and some people prefer the classic Haunted Mansion, but I think this overlay is amazing and its probably my all time favorite ride! There's always something new to see (a full size animatronic Sally was added this year) and the real gingerbread house in the ballroom scene is always incredible. It gets crowded, but at least they bring back Fastpass!

Honorable Mention: Ghost Galaxy

Its cute, but not as good of a Space Mountain overlay as Hyperspace was. I'd probably rather ride the classic. But if you're in a Halloween mood, its fun to see the ghost projections and eerie music.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Disneyland Fast Facts: Part 3!

We amazed you the first time. We dazzled you the second time. Now, get ready for our third edition of Disneyland Fast Facts!

1. Hidden Walt?

By this point, we all know about Hidden Mickeys all over the parks, right? But did you know that there's a "Hidden Walt" in New Orleans Square? To the right of the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance, look up at the balcony of the Dream Suite. You'll see WD and RD in the iron work. It's Walt and Roy Disney's initials!

2. Hidden Donald! 

Take a peek inside Mickey's player piano at his house. Donald is hiding out with all the Mickey heads!!

Thanks to for the pic

3. Halloween Tree

You can find this wonderful tree decorated in little jack-o-lanterns and orange lights in Frontierland during Halloween Time. The tree was first introduced back in 2007, based on Ray Bradbury's book The Halloween Tree. Bradbury was a close friend of Walt Disney and even worked as an Imagineer designing the Astro Orbitor at Disneyland (and its nearly identical Orbitron in Disneyland Paris) and Spaceship Earth at EPCOT in Disney World.

4. Unique Pumpkins

While we're thinking about Halloween, have you ever noticed all of the jack-o-lanterns decorating Main Street during Halloween Time? There are hundreds of unique, hand carved pumpkins all along the shop signs. My personal favorite? Elvis!

5. Gold Tooth Horse

One of the common "secrets" of Disneyland is Jingles, the lead carousel horse that was dedicated to Julie Andrews during the 50th Anniversary celebration. But how many of you know about Doubloon? He was Lillian Disney's favorite. There are some contradictory reports, so either he was her favorite because of his gold tooth or they painted his tooth gold to help her spot him easily. Either way, do yourself a favor and ride on Doubloon on your next trip while everyone else is rushing to Jingles.

Photo Credit: National Carousel Association

6. Bookshelf in City Hall

Next time you find yourself in City Hall, take a peek around. There's an amazing bookshelf full of fun Disney surprises.

Photo Credit: Brinatello

7. Captain Hook Wrong Hand

Who doesn't love Peter Pan's Flight? (Well, actually, me. But that's another story!) People flock to this attraction first thing in the morning and the line doesn't let up until the end of the day. But how many people have noticed this huge error in the ride's design: Captain Hook's hook is on the wrong hand! The hook should be on the left, but in both places that Hook appears in the ride, its on the right!

8. Hidden Tall Tales

Have you ever watched the series of Mater's Tall Tales? If you haven't, they're on Netflix and they're super cute! If you have, take a close look next time you're waiting in line for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. All of Mater's adventures are represented.

9. More Elvis!

If you're visiting Disneyland during the holidays, take a ride on Small World. Elvis makes a special appearance on Lilo and Stitch's surf board.

Photo Credit: Tink Zone

10. The Penny in the Arcade

Next time you're strolling down Main Street (or rushing to make your fast pass time, whatever), look up at the Penny Arcade sign. The penny (in the white circle) above the lettering is an "Indian Head" penny dated 1901 for the year Walt Disney was born.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fall 2016 Round-Up

Summer is coming to an end and there are lot of changes coming to The Disneyland Resort. We're here to put them all in one happy (and sometimes sad) list for you!

The End of the Diamond Celebration

As of September 6, Disneyland will be a little less dazzling. The 60th Anniversary will be ending, including:

The diamond castle decorations

Special 60th Anniversary treats and merchandise

Paint the Night parade (Nightly showings will conclude, but its looking like it'll come back seasonally. They've already announced that the world's best parade will return for select nights during the holiday season!)

Disneyland Forever fireworks show

World of Color Celebrate (World of Color will still be running, but it will be the original show)

Halloween Time!

Halloween returns on September 9 with the reopening of Haunted Mansion Holiday! This year's amazing gingerbread house will be a tribute to Sally. Check out the design that looks like pieces of other gingerbread houses stitched together!

Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

Mickey's Halloween Party will be returning soon, too. I haven't been (sad face!), but I hear the amount of candy you can trick-or-treat for during the party alone is worth the extra ticket price! New this year is a special Halloween parade (during party nights only, so you'll need to buy tickets before they sell out if you want to see it!). The Headless Horseman will make his way down Main Street to kick off the parade, which will also include appearances by Jack Skellington, Disney Villains, and the Ballroom Dancers from the Haunted Mansion. Last year, Disney live streamed the Halloween Parade from Walt Disney World, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Disneyland one will be streamed this year!

Tower of Terror Coming to a Close

While we still have until the end of the year to ride the original Tower of Terror (before it closes for a few months to retheme as Guardians of the Galaxy), Disneyland is giving the ride a special send-off! Starting September 9, the Hollywood Tower Hotel will be doing a "late check-out" for park guests. Beginning at twilight each night, you'll get to ride in complete darkness, adding an extra level of terror to the already spooky ride!

Also, there'll be special merchandise and photo ops for the "final check-out," so be sure to take a look for the limited edition items. We'll be sure to post any pics we come across so keep an eye out on our Facebook and Instagram.

Goodbye Hyperspace, Hello Ghost Galaxy!

Hyperspace Mountain, the super-fun Star Wars overlay of Space Mountain, is finally concluding when Ghost Galaxy, the extra creepy ghost overlay returns. Which do you like better? Or would you prefer to get to ride the original again? I liked Hyperspace Mountain so much more than I thought I would. I'm really glad I got to ride.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Next Level Disney Obsession

Odds are that if you read our blog, you're already a pretty big Disney fan. But how do you know when you've crossed the line from fan to obsessed? Not that we think there's anything wrong with a Disney obsession, of course! We've made a handy list to help you know if you're one of the "super fans!"

1. Disneybounding Away From the Parks

Disneybounding is a really fun way to dress like your favorite Disney characters without breaking Disneyland's rule against adults wearing costumes. But do you do it when you're not at the parks? I MAY have made this Lilo style dress to wear when I go to Hawaii. 

2. Scope Out Local Places to Find Dole Whip

The frozen yogurt shop near my house has it sometimes. I've been known to call and ask before I head over.

3. Plan Your Next Disney Trip the Second You Get Home from the Last

Sometimes you just need to know that you're going back to the Happiest Place on Earth, even if you were there last week and your next trip won't be for a year. You can still price out hotels, right???

4. Drop Disney Movie Quotes Daily

If it's wrong to yell "dishonor on your cow" at someone who upsets you, then I don't want to be right. 

5. Price out Disneyland Weddings Even Though You're Single/Already Married

Maybe you just want to be prepared. Maybe you'll have a Disney vow renewal. How will you know if you don't do the research?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Taking Your Little One to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Now that I have a (long-awaited) little one, I have started thinking about his first trip to Disneyland…and reading other people’s opinions on various pages and sites on taking babies and toddlers to the Disneyland Resort. My hubby and I decided to skip this summer, as we know that the “happiest place on earth” can also be one of the germiest places on earth. And, with our son being born a preemie, we decided that we will take our first family Disneyland trip when our little one is just shy of a year and a half.

I read lots of comments such as “Little guys won’t remember the trip when they are older, save your money!”, “It’s too hard to manage baby needs in the park!”, “Are there even any good rides that babies can go on?” Now reading this kind of commentary from others should have deterred our decision. I’m sure it would deter many. But, as I like to consider myself an unofficial expert, I know I can tackle it!

So, here are my responses to the most commonly heard reasons not to take little ones into the park, and a few separate helpful tips and tricks!

“Little guys won’t remember the trip when they are older, save your money!”
No, this one won’t work for me. For starters, little ones ages 2 and under get in for free, and you can bring as many snacks into the parks as you’d like. The additional cost of bringing in a baby or toddler can be quite negligible, if you know how to plan well. Besides that, who says that I’m only going for the sake of my little boy’s memories? When his eyes get huge seeing Mickey for the first time (or he freaks out and starts to scream…either way), when he runs through the castle, when he wants to ride the carousel again and again, those are memories for me. I am there for his current happiness and my memories. Not to mention stories and photos that can be shared for years to come. That is a special kind of magic that I don’t want to miss.

“It’s too hard to manage baby needs in the park!”
It is hard…I’m finding it’s hard anywhere. But again, you can bring baby’s food and snacks. You can put extra changes of clothes and diapers (beyond what, I’m sure, is already in your backpack) in a locker. There are changing stations in NEARLY EVERY restroom in the parks, in addition to family restrooms. In addition, there are Baby Care Centers in both Disneyland and DCA. What’s there, you ask? Nursing rooms, changing tables, kitchens with microwave and sink access, little tiny toilets for those who are potty training, and a shop offering everything you may have forgotten or run out of: formula, diapers, wipes, sunscreens, pacifiers, and baby meds. In Disneyland, the Baby Care Center is located at the end of Main Street, next to First Aid and near the Corn Dog Wagon. In DCA, it’s in Pacific Wharf, next to Ghiradellis.

“Are there even any good rides that babies to go on?”
I hate the notion of “good rides” vs. “baby rides.” It goes against everything that Disney intended when he built Disneyland. But, for those who don’t think littles have any rides for them, let me tell you: THERE ARE TONS! Any ride without a height requirement is available for babies and toddlers. In Disneyland alone, this includes (I know I may be forgetting some) the following: Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White, Pinocchio, King Arthur’s Carousel, Teacups, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, Casey Jr., Storybook Land, It's a Small World, Mark Twain and the Columbia, Finding Nemo Submarines, Tom Sawyer’s Island, Roger Rabbit, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Astro Orbiters, Winnie the Pooh, and the Disneyland Railroad. And all of these don’t include any of the shows, parades, fireworks, storytimes, character houses and meet and greets, or anything at DCA! There is so much to do!

So, now that we’ve covered the biggest arguments against, here are some other things to keep in mind for a successful trip:

Consider your little one’s schedule and the park schedule:
Don’t push your baby to skip naps or stay until park closing…Sure fire way for a meltdown! Work in a quiet place for you little guy to rest either at the parks (the waiting area in the Animation Academy is amazing for this!) or back at the hotel. If you don’t think your toddler can handle long lines, there are plenty of websites that offer crowd calendars for you to check out. Less crowded = shorter lines! Don’t trust the crowd calendars? Go to the Disneyland website and look at park hours. If the park opens at 8am and closes and midnight, guess what: It’s going to be crowded!

You can still get on the rides that you love:
Don’t want to miss Radiator Springs Racers? Love Splash Mountain? Utilize the Rider Switch feature! Before you get in line, get a Rider Switch pass from a cast member. Then you get in line and go on the ride. When you are done, hand your pass to the person waiting you’re your kiddo, and they can now get into the FastPass line to take their turn…They can even bring two people with them! This does not have to be redeemed during a certain chunk of time like a FastPass...bring the pass back whenever you're ready to use it! NOTE: As with many “we’re here to help” features that Disney parks have offered, people have taken advantage of this. So, many cast members ask to see your baby with you before giving the pass to you. They are not being rude, they are doing their job. Be nice to cast members, everyone!

A word about strollers:
You can rent a stroller or bring your own. I HIGHLY suggest customizing your stroller with something easy to spot: ribbon, decorative duct tape, etc. People say that their strollers have been stolen, and most of the time, it ends up being that many people bring in the same brand of stroller and take the wrong one accidentally. Now, I must say, I am amazed by all of the stroller debates I have read on Disney pages. So let’s break it down to common courtesy: Families may bring strollers into the park, I don’t care how many people want to petition that they shouldn’t be allowed in. That's ridiculous. If you have a stroller with you, watch out for people’s feet and, keep in mind, that room for a small person to squeeze in does not equal room for a double-wide stroller to fit in. Wait your turn. If you don’t have a stroller, let the families with strollers take their turn! Don’t jump in front of them or try to climb over someone’s stroller. (The other half of Dole Whip a Day has literally had people climb over their stroller - RUDE!) If you do that, don’t complain if the family with the stroller has the audacity to try to move and your foot gets in the way. Be kind and courteous, everyone!

So, that’s it! Am I going to take my little boy as a toddler? Yup! Are we going to have a great time? Yup! Am I being a little na├»ve? Maybe, but I don’t care! My hubby and I will figure it out and can’t wait to share the Disney magic with our awesome little guy!

What tips/tricks do you use when taking little ones into the park? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Doing Disneyland Solo

We usually think of Disneyland as a place for family vacations, adult only getaways, or even bachelorette parties in my case! But who out there has done a Disney day by yourself? It can be so fun and relaxing! 

Here are our tips for having an amazing day on your own at Disneyland:

1. Single Rider Line

This was made for solo days! Wait times are so much shorter, and it can be a fun way to meet other people who are in the park alone. 

2. Eat Your Faves that No One Else Likes

I love to eat the pasta at the Pizza Port, but my husband doesn't really like anything there, so we rarely go. If I had a day to myself, that pasta would be mine! 

3. Or Try A New Meal

I was very nervous to try the Bantha Blue Milk French Toast, especially when I was buying them for all the kids!

Is there anything you haven't tried because you don't want to shell out a meal for 4 people at a new place when you don't know if you'll even enjoy it? It's much more cost effective when it's just for you! 

4. Take Lots of Pics

Take your time, slow down, and capture your favorite spots in the park without worrying about getting separated from your group. 
Tip: Share those pics with us on our Facebook page! We'd love to see them. 

5. Pin Trade

This is another good one if you want to chat with new people. Meet other Disney fans and maybe get some awesome new pins all at once!
Pro Tip: If you're new to pin trading, you can get starter sets on lanyards at any of the pin stores in the park. You can also get a large lot of pins on eBay for cheap, but watch out for fakes!

6. Snag a Spot for the Parade or Fireworks Close to Start Time

You and your six best friends might not be able to squeeze into the last tiny spot available on Main Street 15 minutes before Paint the Night starts, but when it's just you, your odds of squeezing in are much better!

7. Shop!

I don't get into the stores much because it can be tricky with my "littles," but if I were on my own I'd be sure to check out all the awesome merchandise, and even try on some of the cute tops I'm always ogling from the windows on Main Street.