Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pin Trading at Disneyland!

We love to pin trade! How about you? For anyone who hasn't done it before, when you're in Disneyland or Disney World, watch for Cast Members wearing lanyards. They'll either have the traditional kind you wear around your neck, or one that hangs more like a bag and displays pins at the hip. You can also find pin boards on counters in the stores. When you find them, you're welcome to trade any of your pins (as long as they don't already have it on their lanyard) for any of theirs! Sometimes the cast members really don't have anything you'll want, but sometimes you can find something really amazing.

Trading Tips

1. Buy Pins Just for Trading
On my last trip to Disneyland, I wanted my kids to try their hand at pin trading, just to change things up. You can find lanyards with little pin sets in the parks or at the Disney Store online. I didn't know if they'd be interested and they already have lanyards, so I opted to buy a set of pins for cheaper on eBay. If you're looking to keep any of the pins, I wouldn't recommend buying this way. You don't get a choice of what pins you'll be getting and some of them were kind of duds. But they're perfect for trading!

2. Something Special for the Kids
If you see a Cast Member with a blue lanyard, they'll only trade with kids. My guys had a lot of fun searching them out and knowing that it was ONLY for them.

3. Keep the Pin Backs
If you display your pins on a board at home like I do, keep the backs somewhere so that you can still trade those pins. Cast Members won't trade for a pin that isn't closed.

4. Have a Theme
There are SO many different kinds of pins available. Personally, I like ones that are Disneyland specific and that's what I'm always on the lookout for. Some people like specific characters, holiday pins, special or limited releases... the options are endless and it'll help guide you when you're hunting for something new.

5. There's an App for That!

Dole Whip A Day friend Brian has created a great pin trading app! Its called Pinja and its free in the Apple app store (its currently for iPhone users only, but he's working on making it available for Android soon!). Users can go to different pin trading locations throughout Disneyland and Disney World and see photos of the pin boards available there. This is perfect if you're on the hunt for something specific and don't want to spend your whole day searching. It's user updated though, so if you have/get the app, be sure to help keep the pin photos updated! There's also a section for trading pins (you can post and view pictures of pins up for trade), and you can allow your location to be shared if you're in the park and want to trade with other users.

And Now, Time for a Weird Pin Trading Story from Back in my Cast Member Days

This is an unusual story but since we're talking pin trading, I thought this would be the best time to share! Back when I was a Cast Member (like a million years ago!), I was working at the pin cart down at the end of Main Street. It was just a couple days after the 4th of July and I was wearing the special pin that Cast Members all got for working the holiday.

Note: I was wearing it pinned to my shirt. A Cast Member doesn't have to trade a personal pin they're wearing off of their lanyard. Just FYI :-)

Someone came up and was VERY interested in trading for the 4th of July pin! I was wearing the pin, not the other Cast Member I was working with that day. But the guy seemed very uncomfortable talking to me. He started asking the other CM (who happens to be male) if he has a 4th of July pin too because he had something great to trade for it. He ONLY wanted to talk about it where I couldn't really hear. So, of course, I piped up. "I like pin trading! What do you have?" After some hesitation and my insistence I could handle a pin, he finally let me in. He had a (UNOFFICIAL) pin of Tinkerbell...not wearing anything!!! It had to have been the funniest thing I've ever seen, and I finally understood why he didn't necessarily want to discuss it with a 20 year old girl! I have to say I was tempted, but decided to stick with my Cast Member pin. The other CM, though...I guess I'll never know for sure.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Scariest Rides at California Adventure

Tower of Terror might have the spookiest name, but that doesn't mean its the only attraction meant to terrorize guests at California Adventure. Check out our list of the top ten scariest rides in California Adventure!

10. Golden Zephyr

There's something about that moment when your "Zephyr" speeds up and starts spinning wide over the safety of the platform below that just creeps me out every time!

9. Francis' Ladybug Boogie

I've never been able to predict where these crazy ladybugs are going to go next (which I figure is the point!) and I always manage to get flung around the seats like crazy!Its fun, but it scares me!

8. Radiator Springs Racers

This is my absolute, hands-down, 100% favorite ride in all of California Adventure with its immersive atmosphere, full story, and exciting race. But its not exactly what I'd consider a scary ride. Although, the first time my son rode it he really thought we were about to crash into Mack (at the part when you first enter the town) - he screamed and ducked into my lap! I guess its all about perspective!

7. Soarin' Over California

The first couple of times I rode this one, the moment of takeoff was terrifying! Since then, I actually find it pretty relaxing. Unless you're in the middle or bottom rows and have people's feet swinging above your head. I'm still very scared of getting a kick to the forehead mid-ride!

6. Silly Symphony Swings

This is one of my favorites, and mostly because of its thrill factor! You're up in the air with only a little clip keeping you from soaring through the air (soaring over California, if you will) and plummeting into the waters below, which almost sounds fun until you remember that the water is filled with pipes, hoses, and jets for World of Color...ouch.

Scary Story Bonus: Once I was on this and the woman sitting two rows in front of me decided to unclip and jump down when we were still about 5 feet off the ground!

Lady, if you're reading this, you are crazy!!!

5. California Screamin'

I have to admit, this was scarier in the olden days before Neil Patrick Harris counted down until the time to "Screeeeeeeeeeaaaaam!" when you didn't know exactly when you'd go shooting out at high speeds. But its still a great thrill! I think what puts it over the top of other roller coasters is its length. Most scary coasters are done about 30 seconds after they start, but Screamin' keeps the thrills going for over two and a half minutes!

4. Goofy's Sky School

Before I start, DO NOT ride this one if you have any kind of back, neck, knee, any body part problem. Its ROUGH. That being said, this ride makes you feel like your tiny little "plane" could tip over the side of the track and go plummeting down at any minute. The tight turns and big drops only amplify the feeling!

3. Grizzly River Run

There's nothing quite as terrifying as the moment you're about to go down the big drop and you realize you're the one going backwards! Complete and utter horror!

2. Tower of Terror

You should never judge a book by its cover, but please judge this ride by its spooky exterior and extremely accurate name! As if plunging to your doom in an elevator over and over again wasn't scary enough, have you ever paid attention to the atmosphere in the line? The lobby is full of cobwebs covering suitcases, chess games, and dolls that seem to have been abandoned (or did the owners simply disappear??). And don't even get me started on the furnace that looks like a face!

Pro Tip: Pick up your feet to catch a little bit of air and add to the scary excitement.

1. Mickey's Fun Wheel (Swinging Gondola Version)

I like to call this one "Mickey's Death Wheel" because I legitimately fear for my life every time I get on it. Those swinging gondolas are probably the most terrifying thing on the face of the Earth! Not only are you swinging out over the water, looking like you're going to go flying into the air at any second, but you're also put in the odd position of feeling as if you're about to either fall on top of the person sitting across from your or that they're going to fall on top of you! Not kidding...there's no seat belts, safety bars, or anything else once you're in that cage. This is a very real possibility people!

A special shout out goes to the Maliboomer which, when it was still around, gave some of the biggest thrills during that special moment at the very top when your seat started falling down but your body was still going up! RIP Maliboomer.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Disney Lover's Gift Guide

Looking for a gift for the Disney lover in your life? This is our ultimate top ten gifts that are sure to be a hit!

1. Haunted Mansion Tie

Who doesn't want to wear the Haunted Mansion wallpaper print on a special occasion? I bought this for my brother from the Shop Parks app and its great quality, came quickly, and was wrapped in Walt Disney World tissue paper. Perfect!

2. Disneyland Scented Candles 

Any Disneyland/Disney World fanatic knows about the amazing smells all around the parks. These candles from Anthology Candles are a little pricey at $16 a piece, but if they really make your home smell like your favorite vacation destination, I say its a small price to pay! My favorite is a trio of Soarin', Dole Whip, and Churros for $45, but you can also check out Haunted Mansion and Main Street Bakery. They sound pretty amazing!

(Note: Due to the popularity of these candles, Anthology Candles has had to close of their website for a couple of weeks to fill recent orders. They'll be up and running again March 1!)

3. Character Hoodies

Hot Topic sells lots of great Disney gear including tshirts, hoodies, bags, and hair bows. My favorite, and newest addition to my personal collection, is this Stitch character hoodie. Its adorable and surprisingly warm. For guys, there's this fun Captain America mask hoodie!

4. Disney Parks Wooden Ride Sign

The folks over at A Whole Lotta Hoopla make lots of great disney inspired (and non-Disney as well) products, but the best has to be these neat customized ride signs. Its totally customizable, so you can choose number of rides, which rides, color, and special wording and they make it just for you!

5. Custom Ears

There are LOTS of people on Etsy, Instagram, and Facebook who make custom ears, but we love the ones from Be Ear Guest the best because of the amazing bows! 

6. Castle Leggings

Happiest Tees On Earth, along with some seriously cute tshirts, sells these super simple Disneyland Castle leggings for only $10! These are on my "must buy" list before my next trip.

7. Mickey Couples Rings

These matching Mickey rings can be bought individually or in any combination of men's and women's sizes. They're made of titanium and would be a wonderfully romantic gift for any disney loving couple!

8. Ride Poster Harveys Bags

Who doesn't want to carry a Disneyland ride poster over their shoulder? These fun bags are from the Disney Store online and come in four fun designs: Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and The Tiki Room.

9. Disney Inspired Jamberry Nail Wraps

Have you tried Jamberry nail wraps? They're pretty quick and easy to put on and can last at least a week. The Disney inspired designs sold by our friend Kim are perfect for a Disney vacation (or Disney themed party, trip to the Disney Store, a new Disney movie at the theater, or really any day) and for $25 you get enough wraps for 2 manicures and 2 pedicures. I've worn them on my last two trips and it was so fun! Check out all of the Disney designs here and send Kim a message on Facebook to order.

10. I Love Dole Whip Button

Designed by yours truly here at A Dole Whip A Day, these buttons show off your love of all things Dole Whip! They get lots of compliments in the parks and are a steal at $3 a piece. More designs coming soon! Send us a message at, on Facebook, or on Instagram to order.