Archive for Disney’s California Adventure
This week’s installment of Disney Sunday comes from Katie, from the fun blog OCMomactivities. She is a Disney Fanatic like me and had some great tips on your next visit to Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure.
One of the things I love most about Disneyland is the amount of layers of magic the Imagineers work to create. It leaves people wondering if all things are intentional or just plain coincidence. I’m sure it’s intentional, but I love to think it is coincidence with a sprinkle of pixie dust magic! Pay close attention to everything and explore, but in the meantime here are a few of my favorite elements that are often missed by first time visitors (or sometimes even regulars) to the parks:
Did you know that Disneyland and California Adventure are home to a number of resident cats? If you look closely you can see the little cat houses while riding the Disneyland Railroad after going past the Hungry Bear. We’ve been greeted by several of the cats as we sat on the bottom level of the Hungry Bear in the back corner. I’ve been told there is also a cat house behind the train that Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream is in and on the right as you head towards Soarin’ over California. The cats are reported by castmembers to have Disney themed names. I think it’s safe to say that the cats are there to cut down on rodent problems. Those sure are lucky cats that get to call Disneyland and California Adventure home!
Did you know that if you eat something at one of the restaurants at the Disney theme parks, that you can ask for the recipe and they will bring it to you? How cool is that! There are some great salad dressings at the Pizza Port and some great sandwiches over in New Orleans Square. Imagine bringing a dish to a pot luck and being able to call it “Pizza Port Salad” or “New Orleans Square Po Boy Sandwiches”, talk about a conversation starter!
Have you ever noticed the hidden Mickey Mouse on the face of the golf ball that comes flying at you in Soarin’ Over California? I bet once you do, you’ll never – not see it again!
Have you ever wondered what the room is above the Fire Station on Main Street in Disneyland? Walt Disney had an apartment built for himself above the Fire Station for him to stay in. There is even a private veranda for him to wander where he could quietly see guests wandering the park. The apartment is exactly the same as the way he left it years ago (cleaned and refurbished!). A light is left on for him in the front window and hasn’t gone out since he passed away. So the next time you pass by, take a minute to remember Walt and all that he built.
Did you know that all of the plants in Tomorrowland are edible? Well, in theory they are, but the actual ones planted aren’t meant to be actually eaten! But I have personally seen rosemary bushes, chili pepper plants, cabbage plants, lettuce plants, bell pepper plans among others as we wait in the lines.
Did you know that you can get a “Death Certificate” at the Haunted Mansion? I didn’t know this one until recently. Be aware that not all the castmembers working the ride will know what you are talking about, so you many have to ask a couple of different ones, but ask as you are entering the buggies and one will be waiting for you at the end of the ride. That’s pretty funny.
And last but not least, my personal favorite… Are you in on the Goat Trick on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? If you’ve done the trick right, you know it. If not, it’s actually pretty simple. The next time you’re on the ride ask for the back rows (rows 11- 15 are ideal). On the second climb up (the one with the turtles and snakes on the left), position yourself at a right looking angle so you are looking out the right side of the train comfortably. As you begin to crest the hill, notice the billy goat on the right hand side in the center of the curve. Stare at the goat and DON’T STOP until you literally can’t look anymore. You’ll find yourself dizzy and disoriented and it makes the rest of the ride just a bit more fun. If you didn’t get it right, ride the ride again because it’s just plain fun!
Katie is a working mother of two active boys and lives in South Orange County. She’s made it her passion to fill her children’s lives with fun adventures . She chronicles their adventures at OCMomActivities.com in hopes of inspiring other parents to do the same.
We love to discover new places and it can get a bit expensive sometimes. It would be almost impossible for my family to afford the various memberships and annual passes we have if it wasn’t for payment plan options.
The payment plan option allows my family to budget our entertainment slot for the month. We currently have passes to Disneyland, Sea World and the Discovery Science Center. I’m planning on adding Legoland to our list. Basically the payment plan option allows you to buy a year membership or pass in payments. For example our Sea World passes cost us about 24 months for all 3 passes, while our Discovery Science Center membership was paid on a $40 down payment and 4 monthly payments of $14.75. The best part is that payment plan options never charge you interest as opposed to a credit card. It’s a great deal!
Below are the payments options for each venue
- Discovery Science Center – Family Membership Easy Pay Plan-For only $40 down and four monthly payments of $14.75, you can purchase a family membership and visit Discovery Science Center for free for an entire year- For additional info head here
- Sea World EZ Pay Option – EZ pay is a simple monthly payment program that makes Sea World membership affordable. Available for Silver and Platinum Passports, pay only the first month payment on your first visit. The silver plan is $8.25 a month. For additional info head here
- Legoland – Membership Plus- Monthly payments of $11.95 or $9.95 for children. Pay only the first monthly payment on your first visit. For additional info head here.
- Disneyland/Disney’s California Adventure – purchase your pass at the Main Entrance Ticket Booth at the Resort. You pay for the 1 day ticket-$72.00 and pay as little as $5.42 a month for the rest of the year. For additional info head here.
This October, Disney’s California Adventure will hold it’s fifth year of Mickey’s Trick or Treat party, a special ticketed event. The park adds additional decoration, special entertainment and trick or treat stations throughout DCA as it closes the park to the general public.
In the Sun Plaza, there is a giant candy corn and a DJ playing music that you can dance to and several other dance party stations. We have had the opportunity to attend almost every year and have had a blast. One of my favorite parts of Mickey’s Trick or Treat Party is that there are several character greet and meet photo locations throughout the park. Our daughter’s dream came true last year as she was able to meet Cinderella, who took her hand, posed with her and walked around a bit of the park with her. Needless to say it made her night and she was thrilled.
Be prepared for a couple of bagfuls of candy. You are given a bag at the entrance of the park and you will easy fill it up. My kids love trick or treating and this was definitely the highlight for them. Of course the fact that the park limits the amount of guests and it is closed down to the general public doesn’t hurt to the appeal. It’s my favorite part of the evening. Here is a tip -if you can, make sure to buy tickets for a weeknight. I’ve gone on both a weekend and a weeknight and we had a better experience on the weeknight. There are less crowds and the party has more of an exclusive feel to it.
This event invariably sells out every single year. Tickets go on sale in the beginning of summer and are usually sold out by the end of September. It is an amazing event for the kiddos. Kiddos and adults are encouraged to wear their Halloween costume to the park. I love it because it allows the kiddos to wear their costume on more than one night. It runs for four hours either from 6:30 to 10:30 or 7:30 to 11:30 PM depending on the night of the week.
If you have never had the opportunity to attend Mickey’s Trick or Treat Party, make this the year. Your kiddos are going to love it!
Ticket Prices and Event Dates*
Advance purchase by Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members and Disney Visa card holders for selected dates: $26.00
Annual Passholder/DVC/Disney Visa discount is available for the following dates: October 2, 8, 15, 21, 22, 28
Advanced Purchase Ticket Prices
$32 Regular Admission Price for These Dates — October 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29
Day-of-Event Ticket Prices
$39 If Purchased and Used on These Dates — October 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29
$42 If Purchased and Used on These Dates — October 30 and 31
Ages Two and Under: No Charge
For additional information head over here
I spent the entire day at both parks yesterday(and a few evenings last week) and it inspired a couple of posts. I hope you don’t mind two Disney posts in one week.
I love going to Disneyland and DCA, as you have probably figured out. The one thing that I do not like is having to deal with parking. I usually don’t mind parking in the Mickey and Friends parking lot(the big structure) unless it is a busy day. On busy days parking and then riding the tram to the entrance of the resort can feel like a bad nightmare. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people almost scuffle over their place in the “stroller line”.
The stroller line is found on the very first car of the tram and the very last car. It allows you to ride without having to fold your stroller. It is very popular and the wait for a spot in the first or last car is usually long. In fact the wait on a busy days for a tram can take a long long time. It is definitely not what you want to be doing when you have tired and cranky kids and have to be around other cranky people. It’s just not a good combination.
Here are a couple of alternatives to parking in the Mickey and Friends parking lot and taking the tram.
My favorite option for parking on nights when I know that I will be spending less than 3 hours is to park in Downtown Disney. If I’m heading over for the evening- I will usually park in the Downtown Disney lot. Parking is free for the first 3 hours. When I park in the DD parking lot I either take the monorail to Disneyland or walk through the Grand Californian Hotel to the DCA hotel entrance. It’s easy, painless and only a short walk.
My second option would be to park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Take the tram in but on the way out, only have the driver in your party head on the tram(they will usually be able to squeeze right on to a tram). The rest of the party will head over to the 15 minute parking on Harbor blvd(just follow the walkway to Harbor Blvd- it’s the parking lot on the right hand side) and be picked up from there. This is what we usually do on a busy day.
The last option is to park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Take the tram on your way in and at the end of the night, walk the path back to the structure. It’s a nice walk and on a busy night you will get to your car faster walking, then waiting and loading for the tram.
Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic Sunday with plenty of fun and relaxation. For this week’s installment of Disney Sunday I wanted to write about my favorite parade – Disney’s Electrical Parade in Disney’s California Adventure.
The parade is back this summer big and better than ever. Among the new surprises is the new lead float featuring Tinkerbell. She sprinkles her pixie dust along the parade path and it can be seen sparkling along the sides of many of the floats.
Another fabulous feature is the return of the Pinocchio floats and the Seven Dwarf’s mine float. Both of these went MIA after the parade’s visit to Tokyo Disneyland. If you are a fan of the Parade you will also notice that the music has a new layer on the background and I think it’s better than ever.
We found some terrific seats just outside the Golden Vine Winery facing the Fisherman’s Wharf area, just 30 minutes before showtime. I’ve usually caught it at the entrance of California Adventure and it usually one of the busiest locations to catch a glimpse. If you head further down the parade route there are plenty of seats and in my opinion a better view.
We sat down and waited for a few minutes for the parade and as we waited you could feel the anticipation and excitement in the crowd. There is nothing quite like experiencing the parade up close with the kiddos. My family loved every single minute of it.
I want to hear from you. Do you love the parade? If you do what is your favorite part of it? Where do you usually sit? Would you love to see it return to Disneyland?
The parade is running nightly through August 23, 2009. It’s the perfect excuse to head over to California Adventure. It then will go on a hiatus for a time. Rumor has it that it could wind up back at Disneyland next year as part of the 55th park anniversary. We’ll have to wait and see.
It’s almost 11pm- I figure I still can blog about Disney Sunday just in the nick of time. 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
So now that I’ve shared my favorites- I want to hear from you- What’s your favorite treat at the parks.
On the third installment of Disney Sunday I wanted to write about two very important places in Disneyland that tend to be overlooked- The First Aid Center and The Baby Care Center. I’ve had two use both on my last visit and wanted to share what you can expect to find at both centers.
First and foremost is the Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Baby Care Center. This is a place that might be overlooked or unknown. Those of you visiting Disneyland or DCA with babies and/or small children should definitely take advantage of the baby care center. It is located down a sidewalk at the end of Main Street on the right hand side just past the photo store. Disney’s California Adventure baby care care center is located directly next to their first-aid station which is found by the Mission Tortilla Factory in the Pacific Wharf area. Inside, there are toddler sized toilets, changing tables and in my opinion best of all, glorious air conditioning. It is the perfect place to rest with the little ones on a hot summer day.
There is a cast member that makes sure only a few people come in at a time to ensure this peaceful and non-chaotic place remains that way. They sell about every baby necessity you may need. Everything from bottles, pacifiers, formula, diapers, diaper rash ointment, baby food and more. There are even bottle warmers if you need them. It is also the perfect place to nurse a baby. I have nursed both of my babies at the center. It provides a calm private setting where you can lull the little ones to sleep.
My son has sensory issues and he can be over stimulated easily and have horrendous meltdowns. The baby care center has provided an invaluable service to us. The place is a wonderful retreat when your baby or child has to calm down from a day of over-stimulation. I can’t tell you enough how many times I have used the baby care center. It has been a lifesaver!
If you go a bit past the baby care center, you will find the park first-aid center. I had to actually use the first aid center last week. I had met my family at the park and was using some pretty uncomfortable shoes that gave me a couple of painful blisters. I knew exactly what to do. I headed directly to the First Aid Center. They provided me a place to sit and just what I needed-band aids- without charging me a dime. It is also the perfect place to head when you have a headache. One of the registered nurses on staff will provide you with ibuprofen or Tylenol and a quiet place to lay down instead of having to leave the park. The first aid center can also provide you a place to store your medications that need to be refrigerated. The best part is that Disney will provide all of this free of charge!
If the unexpected happens when you are at either park rest assured that you will be able to find everything from formula at the baby care center to a pack of ice at the first aid center.
Have a great Sunday!!