Monday, July 27, 2009

Favorite restaurants at Disneyland/Disney's California Adventure

Today I wanted to write about my favorite places to eat inside the park. I've pretty much tried every restaurant or stand in the park and I wanted to share with you my favorite places at both parks.

Top picks for Disneyland
1. Tastiest and filling treat- This is a seasonal item- The yummy turkey legs!
You can find the delish turkey legs in Frontierland. The cart is usually located directly across from the Mark Twain Landing and next to Rancho Del Zocalo Mexican restaurant. They sell for $7 and the carts only take cash. You can also find them by the Matterhorn entrance. They are very filling and make a great lunch!

2. Favorite dessert- Funnel Cakes! - The Hungry Bear Restaurant
Disneyland's fruit topped funnel cakes are out of this world! You will love them. I also love pretty much anything that The Hungry Bear serves. It's a great place to relax and catch a bite to eat in a beautiful setting(you can watch the ducks and boats go by- it's lovely in the evening- perfect for date night! ). The Hungry Bear Restaurant is located in Critter Country - you can't miss it!

3. Favorite restaurant- Rancho Del Zocalo- Pretty good Mexican Food!
I love Rancho Del Zocalo. As a girl that grew up on fresh homemade Mexican food - I have to say that I find the food at Rancho Del Zocalo to be quite tasty. My favorite is their enchilada plate. It's really good. A little on the pricey side-(around $9-13) but the food is great, excellent seating and one of my favorite places to hang out on a cold night-wonderful heating lamps! My born in Mexico parents love the carne asada plate.

4. Favorite drink-Mint Juleps(non-alcoholic)- Mint Julep Bar
I love love the Mint Juleps that are found at the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square. They go for around 2.50 and they are a yummie and refreshing treat. The Mint Julep Bar is located across from the New Orleans Square train station.

5. Tastiest and least expensive way to feed a family- Redd Rockett's Pizza Port in Tomorrowland.You can buy a whole pizza for $31.99- not bad for a theme park. It's a good way to feed the family and the pizza is actually really good! The Hawaiian is one of my fav's!

6. Soup to die for!- Clam chowder sourdough bowl- Royal Street Veranda
The soup at the Royal Street Veranda is amazing. A little pricey($9) but so worth it. The Royal Street Veranda is located in New Orleans Square. It's that little place across from the parasol cart and visible while you wait in line for Pirate's of the Carribean.

7. Last but not least- my absolute favorite treat- Dole Pineapple Whip
I love love DPW. It is a must in the summer. Yummie. You can buy one at the entrance to Adventureland, right next to the Enchanted Tiki Room,

Top picks for Disney's California Adventure

1. So good but so bad for you treat- Full Throttle Fries- Taste Pilot's Grill
These frieds are amazing. Perfect for sharing and incredible. The fries are loaded with cheese, chilli, onions, tomatoes and sour cream. The downer- probably not good for the waistline or your heart!

2. Best Hot Dogs- Award Wieners
I love the hot dogs at Award Wieners. The hotdogs come with chips and the combo's are under $6. A tasty and reasonable treats. Award Wieners is located directly across from Playhouse Disney in the Hollywood Back Lot

3. A refreshing treat- Schmoozie's Smoothies!
I'm all about fun drinks and Schmoozie's Smoothies are made to order and absolutely delish! You can find Schmoozie's Smoothies in the Hollywood Back lot- Directly across from the animation building

4. Favorite Ice Cream- Burr-Bank Ice Cream-
My family loves the ice cream at DCA. It's less crowded than it's Disneyland counterpart and just as tasty! You have to try their sundaes- Delish! Burr-Bank Ice Cream is located near the entrance of Disney's California Adventure.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Free Stuff at Disneyland/Disney's California Adventure

I wanted to list a couple of fun and FREE things you can pick up while visiting Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. Make sure to try or pick up one of the freebies next time you are at the park. Enjoy!!

1. Free entrance to either park on your birthday. Just register online and show up with your birth certificate or ID. If you already have an annual pass- head to the ticket booth to pickup your $69 gift card for merchandise or a family pack of 6 fast passes to every attraction at the park of you choice. Another tip- turn your free admission at the end of the day into an annual pass. All you will have to do is either pay the difference or sign up for the installment plan. It's a great deal!!
2. Pick up a free pin from City Hall in Disneyland, DCA guest services or the information booth. You can get a Happy Birthday pin, Happy Anniversary,Just Married,Family Reunion,1st Visit,Happily Ever After and the I'm Celebrating button which could be used anytime!
3. Pick up a fresh, warm and delicious tortilla from the Mission Tortilla Factory tour in Disney's California Adventure. If it's your birthday make sure to pick up your free dozen.
4. Try a taste of Sourdough bread from The Boudin Bakery tour in DCA. It's located right across from the Mission Tortilla Factory Tour.
5. Animation Academy- Head over to DCA's Hollywood Backlot and try your drawing skills at The Disney Animation building. You are provided with drawing pencils and pads and taught by Disney animators a series of simple steps that enable you to create your own character drawings. You can take your drawings home or better yet- ask nicely and usually the Disney Animator will be more than willing to give you their fresh character sketch.
6. Head over to Disneyland's Tomorrowland and ride Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. While you ride you will have your photo taken and at the end of the ride you can e-mail your Astro Blaster score and photo home. It's a fun and free souvenir!
7. Free stickers - make sure to head over to Toontown and meet Mickey and Minnie. You will receive a free sticker when you meet them.
8. Free beads at New Orleans Square- Head on over to New Orleans Square when the bands are playing. The beads are usually thrown out by cast members and are a fun treat. Best of all they are Free!!
9. Last but not least- My daughter's Favorite- Head over to Autopia and pick up a Free License. This is sometimes hit and miss. However, I've received one every time I have ridden Autopia.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pixar Play Parade at Disney's California Adventure

My kiddos are big Pixar Movie fans. In fact, we play at least one Pixar movie a day in our home, sometimes even two or three. As you can probably imagien Disney's California Adventure's Pixar Play Parade is a big hit with my kiddos.

The parade is led by Lightning McQueen from Cars. It then goes on to feature a Monsters inc float that is driven by Sulley. It's followed by the Incredibles foat, Ratoutille float, a Finding Nemo float that features everyone's favorite turtle- Crush, A Bug's life float and ends with a Toy Story float that is out of the world. It is a three part float. The first part features the green toy soldiers, the second features Buzz Lightyear and the final section of the float holds Woodie, Jesse and Slinky Dog. My kids absolutely adore Toy Story and the end of the parade is their favorite.

The parade has a water element that is a welcome surprise in the summer. The floats feature small water jets that shoot water into the crowds. The parade entertainers also squirt the crowd with water guns. The kids go bonkers over this and love getting "hit" by the floats/entertainers. A warning to those that don't want to get wet-If you are sitting or standing in the front of the crowd- You will get wet!! If you don't want to get wet, head over towards the back of the crowd.

The Parade runs from The Sunshine Plaza to the Paradise Pier. We usually like to catch it in The Sunshine Plaza and we will usually plant a blanket and sit down to enjoy the fun. I would recommend you do this about 15-20 minutes before the parade starts. The parade averages about 12 minutes. There is usually only one parade and it usually happens around 5pm. Check your entertainment/parade guide for exact time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Haunted Mansion

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion is a 7 minute dark ride that is a must visit on a first visit to Disneyland. It is considered a classic and an icon by Disney Geeks. I absolutely love this ride and I usually try to sneak in a visit every time I head over to Disneyland.
Although I love this ride, it can be a little scary for younger children. I'm not going to sugar coat it- It can be very scary for the little ones. My two and a half year old refuses to ride it. My 4 year old clutches on to me and I have decided that this ride will have to wait when I visit the park with the kiddos. I have even seen school aged children freak out a bit. This is a ride that is geared towards older children and teenagers/adults.
If you have an older child or a younger kiddo that doesn't easily get scared- head over to this classic ride. The lines move fairly quickly and you will usually be riding with less than a 10 minute wait. Even on a busy day- expect to wait less than 40 minutes.
The ride takes you on a tour of the mansion where you are first brought into a waiting room. The lights go out and you are led down to rest of the mansion. You are led into the dimly light hallway into a doombuggy that will take you on your ghostly tour. Your tour will take you through the endless hallway, a seance room, the "lively" ballroom, the attic and finishing off through a stroll in the graveyard.
It is a classic that is not to be missed!!

It's Tough to be a Bug

It's Tough to be a bug is a 9 minute 3D experience that is located inside Disney's California Adventure's - A Bug's Land. The show gives you and your kiddos an insight on what life is like as a bug. Flick is the host of the show and introduces us to a different point of view- Why we should view bug's as friends vs enemies.

I personally like this ride for two reasons. On hot days it is perfect place to beat the heat and because of minimal wait lines. I also love the special effects that the show produces. However, it can be a little too intense for the little ones. My two year old son hates this show and I avoid it when we visit the park. My 4 year old daughter however loves it and thinks it's a riot. I would definitely skip It's Tough to be a Bug if you have a child that is 3 and under. If your kiddo is between 4-5 - I would still be a little cautious. I think this is attraction is best suited for 6 yrs olds and up.

It's a great little show and a little tip- sit towards the middle and latter part of the theater to enjoy the best visual effects. Enjoy!!

What to pack when heading to the Disney Resort

What to pack when heading to the Disney Resort.

I try to head over to one of the parks at least twice a week during the summer. Through much trial and error I have learned what to pack with me to be able to enjoy a day at the park and not shell out much money. Here is my essential list-

What do I bring with me??
1.Make sure to pack a couple of snacks. Some good ideas are - cut up fruit, individual baggies of cookies/chips, grapes(a big favorite of ours)goldfish and fruit snacks. I try to avoid buying snacks at the park at all costs. It can get pretty expensive!! You will also need a good backpack - I'm usually prepared with a great backpack- I never leave home without one .
2. Bring a stroller if you have small children. If you can, make sure to bring a light or umbrella stroller. They are easier to fold up and store. Make sure to have some kind of labeling on you stroller to help yours stand out in the sea of strollers. If you really don't want to hassle with bringing one (although I strongly recommend it)- rent one at the front of the park. I usually avoid this at costs but if you can't bring a stroller and want one this is a good alternative and trust me a stroller is indispensable if you have kids under 5.
3. Make sure to pack a jacket /sweater/blanket. - The nights cool off and I've had to leave once or twice because I had a cold kiddo- I've also had to drop $50 on sweatshirts because mommy didn't prepare efficiently. Learn from my mistakes and pack a sweatshirt or two.
4.Bring a bottle or two of water per person- 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!! You can also bring your own insulated water bottles and refill them at the park.
5. Bring your own soda- I usually bring a can for each of us and then head to one of the local restaurants and ask for cups of ice. This has saved us so much money!!
6. Bring baby wipes. I always carry them even if I don't have my youngest with me. They are great for sticky hands and clean ups. I think they are a necessity !!
7. Bring some sandwiches-If you are planning on staying for more than a couple of hours- they are a must. Cheap and easy to transport!!
8. Bring a dollar or two to the park. My kids are used to one tradition when we head over to the park. On the way out we always stop by at the last souvenir kiosk and buy a 50 cent Minnie Mouse heart sucker. I only spend $1.00 and the kids absolutely are happy as clams on the way out. A little sticky but happy- and that's what it's all about!!