Monday, June 29, 2009

My love affair with Disney's California Adventure

Disneyland is a classic and untouchable. There is no debating that. However, when looking at California Adventure- it's important to not compare it to its iconic next door neighbor. When you look at DCA as a whole, by itself - it is a really impressive little theme park and one that I just happen to be in love with.

Here are the top ten reasons why I think Disney's California Adventure is a fantastic place for the kiddos and why I am madly in love with DCA.
  1. The kiddos can get wet-We love the Irrigation Station and Princess Dot Splash Pad in the Flick's Fun Fair Area. It is the perfect spot on a hot spring/summer day.
  2. I hate waiting in line. I mean really who does?? I love that the attractions in Flick's Fun Fair have minimal waiting lines and are a big hit with my kiddos. They love every single ride - especially Flick's Fun Flyers.
  3. If your kids love the Disney Channel's cartoons then they will absolutely love The Playhouse Disney Show- my kids LOVE it!!
  4. Who loves Free stuff? I do- I do!! I love that you can get a fresh warm tortilla from the Mission Tortilla Factory tour and a sourdough taste from Boudin Bakery.My kids love the fresh tortillas and I'm not going to lie, so do I. Here's a little tip- on your birthday pick up a dozen free tortillas from the Mission Tortilla Factory. Just show them your birthday pin and you are set!
  5. They have an amazing baby center. Not as big as Disneyland's but still great.
  6. DCA is home to Disney's Electrical Parade. Love it. It's new and improved and a must see!!
  7. They are home to three amazing shows that your kiddos will love-MuppetVison 3D, It's tough to be a bug and Aladdin.
  8. In my opinion, DCA is home to one of the BEST(if not the best!!) attractions in the Disneyland Resort, Toy Story Mania.
  9. They have a pretty spiffy Ferris Wheel. You can either pick a gondola that moves or is stationary.
  10. I love that I can park in the Downtown Disney lot ( free for 3 hours)- walk over to the DCA entrance at the Grand Californian Hotel in Downtown Disney(next to Sephora) , spend a couple of hours there and then I don't have to deal with taking a tram back to the parking lot. I love love that I can do this, especially on a crowded day.

DCA is in the middle of a major expansion - which includes a new water show, a Little Mermaid Ride and sure to be a big hit with my son- A thrill ride- featuring the characters from CARS!! The expansion should be complete by 2012.

There are so many other things I love about DCA but I tried to limit myself to my favorite 10. Next time that you are heading over to the Disneyland Resort make sure to show DCA some love ! It deserves it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Walt's Magic Kingdom

If you get a chance, pop over to my husband's website He finally got around to installing Microsoft Expressions Web onto his laptop and he updated the site for the first time in ages. Lots of good stuff there!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Enchanted Tiki Room

The Enchanted Tiki Room has to be my favorite show in the park. The 17 minute musical show is a perfect place to cool down on a hot summer day. It's a great little show and one that the little ones love. The show features four parrots- Jose, Pierre, Michael and Fritz. They will lead you on a musical adventure that your family won't soon forget.

I love to sit in the back row of the theater to be able to take it all in - but really any seat in the house will do. Did I mention that this was air conditioned and always cool? It really is a great way to give your tired feet a break and cool off.

There is nothing really scary about the attraction and even the tiniest of tots will get a kick out of the show.


Jungle Cruise

One of our favorite rides in the park as a family has to be The Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. This ride even on busy days has a pretty short line. It's perfect when you have the little ones in tow because we know they hate to wait. The longest I have ever waited is about 15 minutes.

This original attraction(been around since opening day) will leave you with a different experience every time you ride. The journey begins on a riverboat that takes you down the major rivers of Africa, Asia and South America. Your skipper will usually tell silly jokes (my kids eat them right up) along the 7 minute ride. You will come across elephants, lions, zebras, man eating piranas and of course- the back side of water.

This a ride that you will most definitely want to experience more than once. We usually try to ride it twice a day-during daytime and then at night. Totally different experiences but equally enjoyable.

There are no height restrictions on this attraction- we have taken our newborns on this ride before(yes we are obsessed!).

Jungle Cruise is located in Adventureland between Indiana Jones and Aladin's Oassis. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

How to keep cool at Disneyland/DCA

My family loves to visit Disneyland/DCA often and yes we are a bit crazy, even in the busy summer season. I've picked up a thing or two from my many visits to the parks on hot summer days. Here are some of the things I've learned to stay cool at the parks on sweltering days.

  1. During peak times I try to avoid waiting in line for any attraction. This is the time when we usually head to catch a show. A favorite of our family is the Enchanted Tiki Room- Nice and cool and a great way to sit back and relax. Other great ones- Honey I shrunk the audience, Bug's life @ DCA.
  2. We always take a ride on the Disneyland Train to check out how busy the park is and judge from there. It's also a great way to cool down and I've been known to take it two or three times around the park on a hot summer day. If you have heavy sleepers like I do- great place to let them take a nap.
  3. Pack a swimsuit for the kids and head over to the irrigation station at Disney's California Adventure. Let the kids run around at Princess Dot Puddle Station. Make sure to pack towels and an extra set of clothes because the kiddos will get soaked!!
  4. Keep hydrated- If you can ,bring a bottle or two of water. I usually freeze mine the night before and throw them in a Ziploc bag- I pack them in at the bottom of my bag and they have been a lifesaver!!
  5. If your tots are tired and need a nap- head over to the seating area in the Hungry Bear Restaurant. It's located between New in Critter Country. I head towards the back, grab a little something to eat and enjoy the shade and watching the Mark Twain go by. It's always nice and cool. Usually my youngest falls asleep in the stroller. It's a perfect spot and way relaxing.
  6. Make sure to pack a jacket /sweater/blanket. - I've left home without one thinking that there was no possible way that I would be cold on a summer day. Boy was I wrong!! The nights cool off and there is nothing worse than shelling out $50.00 for a sweatshirt because your four year old is cold. Trust me on this one!!
  7. Take advantage of the Baby Center if you have little ones. It's a great place to feed the teeny ones and I have even rocked both of my babies to sleep here. Best part- super cool in there!!
  8. Peak times are from 2-4pm at both parks. This is the best time to grab a bite to eat and not have to fight for a table.
  9. Head to rides that have the least waiting time. Top of our list-all in Adventureland/New Orleans Square- Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, taking a stroll on the Mark Twain and of course a ride on the Disneyland train.
  10. Enjoy yourself and remember to take it easy and have fun!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Pinocchio's Daring Journey, located in Fantasyland, is one of my family's favorite attractions. It is a traditional "dark ride" in every sense. So I must warn you - the under 3 crowd might be a little scared. My son who is two and daughter who is 4 absolutely love it. However this has not always been the case. It has taken some time but it is now a favorite.

Each car has two rows and can hold up to 4 people. You will Join Pinocchio on his adventurous journey into Pleasure Island and much more!

The ride is very short and the lines are usually very small. It's a 3 minute ride and there is no height restriction. You could bring a baby on without a problem. This is a ride we often visit in the park since the lines are usually not too bad. Save this one for the end of the day since the lines tend to be shorter at night than during the day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

3 Day Summer Fun Pass for $99

If you are planning on heading over to the Disneyland Resort this summer- there is a deal that is too good to pass up!! The 3 day Summer Fun Pass for $99. Here is basically how it works- The offer is good for Southern California and Northern Baja residents(however if you are out of the area- you can probably have someone in line who is a resident buy it for you- just bring cash!!).

With this special ticket, local residents can play at the Disneyland Resort for three days within a 45-day period, for just $99. Guests who live in zip codes 90000 through 93599, and 21000-22999, will be able to enter both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, enjoying three days of fun for only $33 per day.

The 3-day Summer Fun Pass is available for sale at, Disney Stores and at the Disneyland Resort box office. Resident ID is required.
To skip ticket lines and enjoy straight-to-the-gate convenience, the 3-Day Summer Fun Pass is also sold at local supermarket and retail chains such as Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Gelsons, Dearden’s and Toys ‘R’ Us.

The best part is that on the last day of your visit you can take your season pass to the ticket booth and upgrade to an annual pass. You can pay the difference or you can make monthly payments- Simple as that!! It's a fantastic deal!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rider/Baby Swich Program

Did you know that you can ride attractions at Disneyland/California Adventure with height restrictions even if you have munchkins in tow? There is a rider switch program available at any ride with a height restriction. At the entrance of the attraction there will be a cast member that will be able to assist you and explain the switch program. You will be handed a pass-similar to a fastpass. You will wait in line- while the member/s in your party will be able to sit with the children. Once it is your turn to ride the other member/s in your party can come up. Once you have finished riding you can "switch" the kiddos and the other member can ride. Each pass is good for two riders and is only to be used once per attraction.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Nightastic!

I was invited last Thursday to attend the media preview of the Summer Nightastic at Disneyland and DCA . It was seriously so much fun!! Disney's new offerings this week are quite a treat.The new fireworks show, "Magical" features a new song sung by Orange County's own Eden Espinosa from Wicked and the real flying elephant, Dumbo. Tinkerbell also makes two appearences. The new show is not as elaborate or as long as the prior fireworks spectacular, but it is just as entertaining. Dumbo is not to be missed!!

Fantasmic is back for its 17th year. It now features new digital video projectors which provide a much sharper picture on the water screens. There is also an appearence of the all new Flotsom and Jetsom floats from The Little Mermaid, who are quite creepy but a fantastic addition! Later this summer, the evil Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty" will transform into the new fully animated, 40-foot-tall dragon.

In my opinion, the best thing about this summer is Disney's Electrical Parade at DCA. The show now features a new Tinkerbell float who leads the parade, taking the place of the Blue Fairy. Also back are new verisons of the lost seven dwarves mine float and the Pinnochio floats. The soundtrack has also been slightly updated for the better.

There is plenty to see at both parks, so take the kiddos. These shows will be played nightly through August 23rd and then weekends through Labor Day. A big thank you to Disney for making my dreams come true!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Goofy's Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to celebrate my son Mikey's birthday at Goofy's Kitchen. What's Goofy's Kitchen you might ask?? It's Disney Character Dining at it's finest.It was fun from the very first moment. We checked in with a very friendly hostess and while we waited to be seated we were able to take a family picture with Pluto. The kids were in heaven. We proceeded to be seated and enjoyed a scrumptious buffet(we went for brunch).

The food was fantastic. The hubby and I absolutely loved the waffles and well the kids loved every single morsel of food.After we sat down and started to eat the parade of characters kept coming by and giving our family individual attention. It's a pretty special experience because let's face it - meeting a favorite character at the park is usually not the most pleasant experience. There is always a pushy adult and the interaction is very limited. The experience at Goofy's Kitchen was the complete opposite. The characters interact with the little ones in a take your time kind of pace. It was so much fun. The look on the kiddos faces was priceless as they were able to have their picture taken with Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale and Minnie. My daughter was in princess heaven as she was able to meet Sleeping Beauty, Belle and Mulan. The best part is that she was able to have a conversation with them. They took their time and the interaction was priceless. The characters were warm and friendly and posed for many photos and of course signed a million autographs.

The buffet servers were fantastic. They kept our drinks refilled and the quality of the food was amazing. As parents we were in heaven. Our children cleaned out their plates and they actually hit the buffet line for seconds. It was almost a miracle. I loved their made to order omelettes. Make sure you order one if you go for brunch or breakfast.

Almost forgot-Two times an hour there is a little show and the children were able to participate with the Goofy and Pluto. Make sure to bring a camera to capture all of the wonderful memories your little ones will make.Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone? You bet. It was a very special experience and it was worth every penny. If you are visiting Disneyland for the first time and you are visiting from out of town- This is a must. If you are a local- I would save this place for a special event. It can actually be a good alternative to a pricey birthday party. It can be a little expensive but trust me on this - Your family will be enjoy a truly magical experience.

Goofy's Kitchen is located inside the Disneyland Hotel. If you are planning on taking your family Make sure to call ahead for reservations. You can call (714) 781-DINE. You don't want to just show up because you will probably have to wait for some time to find a spot.Oh almost forgot.. Kids under 3 are free. Kids 3-11 - 18.00 for lunch ( I believe)and adults $32.00. I know.. I know.. kind of a silly review since I can't remember the exact price. Oh and by the way if you are an Annual Passholder you will receive either a 10 percent or 15 percent off if you are a Premium Annual Passholder.P.S. I know I'm a biased mom but my little boy is such a cutie pie!!!Don't forget to enter the giveaway. You have until Sunday to enter. Good luck!!!

Aloha Breakfast with Lilo & Stitch at the PCH Grill - Paradise Pier Hotel

My daughter Lauren celebrated her 4th birthday this past Saturday and we decided to start off the day by enjoying the Lilo and Stitch Aloha Breakfast at the PCH Grill inside the Paradise Pier Hotel. I can't begin to describe what an amazing time we had.

We were greeted by Minnie Mouse (in Hawaiian attire of course) and had the opportunity to take quite a few pictures with her and the kids . We were also able to take a few as a family and of course given leis to wear around our neck. We were giddy with excitement. After we finished taking pictures we headed over to our seats and our fantastic server took our drink orders. We then headed over to the breakfast buffet. The food was fantastic!! There was a good selection which included the most delicous salmon I've ever had, breakfast pastries, a special section just for the kiddos and an unbelievable made to order omelet bar. My kids are usually very picky with their food but you would have never guessed it. They munched on Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, pancakes , fresh fruit and muffins.

The food was exceptionaly good, however,what really made this a magical experience was the character interaction. My kiddos love Lilo and Stitch and were beyond excited to spend one on one time with them. Minnie and Goofy were a plus!! The atmosphere was really laid back and the characters were really able to spend time one on one with each of my kids. The characters posed for endless pictures with the family and interacted with each of the kids. My son loved high fiving Stitch and my daughter loved dancing with Lilo. The highlight of the breakfast for my kids would hands down be spending time with their favorite characters and learning how to hula. Every half hour there are hula lessons given by Lilo and a cast member . The Hula dancing was a HUGE hit with the kiddos. They loved learning the steps and loved participating in the conga line through the restaurant. The experience was finished off with cast members and Lilo singing Happy Birthday to the birthday girl.

We had a fantastic time and I would hands down recommend this to Everyone!! It is definitely worth the price and perfect for a birthday celebration, an out of town visit or a special occasion. This year we decided to skip a pricey birthday party and instead opted for what turned out to be a memorable time for the entire family. My daughter and son were grinning from ear to ear the whole time. It was a truly magical experience and one that won't soon be forgotten. It was priceless. Now down to the nitty gritty. The grand total for our magical experience was $60.00 and that included tip!!! Our son who is two was free and we received a 15% discount with our annual pass. The best part is the parking. Just drive up to the entrance and valet- you receive complimentary valet if you dine at the PCH grill for 5 hours! I believe the price for ages 10+ is $27.00 and $15.00 for children 3-9. This includes tax and gratuity. The Aloha Breakfast is a great alternative to a traditional birthday party and one that your family won't soon forget. For additional information click here.