lost weekenders

december17

10 Hidden Gems in Fantasyland

Attractions, Disney History, LandsKatComment

Fantasyland is easily one of the most magical places in Disneyland and unfortunately, that means it’s frequently crowded with people all trying to experience that magic. In the rush to get to a ride before a huge line creeps up you could easily miss one of these hidden gems:

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Rapunzel’s Tower

This might be my favorite hidden gem in the entire park. Rapunzel’s statue, at the center of Fantasy Faire, is a great place to take a break and rest your feet while watching a (bad) performance at the Royal Theatre - but when the sun goes down, the magic really comes out: the statue lights up and plays music.

I cannot for the life of me figure out the timing of this thing, and it doesn’t happen during Swing Dancing nights (which is almost always the one night we have on our Disneyland trip), but my best guess is that it happens every 15 minutes or so. If you’re lucky enough to witness it, it’s truly magical!

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The Evil Queen

Keep your eyes on the window above the Snow White queue entrance to get an occasional glimpse of the Evil Queen, gazing with disdain at the passers-by.

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The Poison Apple

Speaking of the Evil Queen, next time you’re entering the Snow White queue, give the bronze Poison Apple at the entrance a touch - you might just get a reaction from the Evil Queen herself.

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Snow White’s Wishing Well

Snow White’s wishing well is located on a less-traveled path on the side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Toss a coin into the fountain and listen to hear Snow White sing. Perch there for a few minutes, and you might get to enjoy a small water and light show at the grotto across the water. It’s also a hotspot for Character meet-and-greets, if that’s your thing.

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Yeti Footprints

As you walk the perimeter of the Matterhorn, keep an eye out for a cast of a footprint believed to belong to Harold the Yeti himself.

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Golden Spike at the Center of Disneyland

Rumor has it that this spike in the ground marks the center of Disneyland - but unfortunately, it’s just a rumor. Really, it was just placed there to make sure Main Street was lined up perfectly to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It’s actually not even a spike at all, just a gold cap in the ground - and there are a few of them throughout the park. But even if there is no huge significance to the “gold spike” of Disneyland, it’s a fun gem to spot.

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Castle Walkthrough Special Surprises

As you’re enjoying the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough, be sure to touch and pull on every door handle and latch you can. There are several bits of Disney magic that are only activated that way.

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Sword in the Stone

They say that if you are successful in pulling the sword from the stone in front of King Arthur’s Carousel, you’ll be crowned king or queen. The sword DOES come out of the stone on occasion, though it hardly ever actually does - but you never know if it will work for you.

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Monstro

The entrance to Storybookland is through Monstro the Whale’s giant and terrifying mouth - but he’s holding a few more secrets. If you watch him long enough, you’ll notice Monstro’s giant eye blinking, and you might even get to see him blow up a jet of mist (which totally terrified me the first time I saw it).

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Tinkerbell’s Fountain

At the entrance to Pixie Hollow, there is a fountain featuring Tinker Bell and her pixie friends. At night, every so often, you can enjoy a small light and water show at the fountain - imagine the tiniest World of Color.

 

MaxPass vs FastPass

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment
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Hello, friends!

If you've visited the parks or read any of our posts, you know how invaluable Fastpasses are. We're fans. Lucky for us, Disneyland has just rolled out a new Fastpass system in conjunction with their current system called Maxpass. And lucky for YOU we tried it out, and we're serving up a side by side comparison just for you. 

Fastpass

Fastpass is a system Disneyland has had in place since the late 90s. It’s a way for guests to skip the standby line on some of the more popular rides (often called the E Ticket rides, which calls back to the time when Disneyland had ticket books, and required tickets for each ride).

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To get a Fastpass, go to any ride that has Fastpass machines, insert your park ticket into the machine, and a reminder will pop out giving you an hour time slot to return. Return during your allotted time, scan your park ticket at the Fastpass line, and skip the long standby. The machines used to give you the actual Fastpass to flash at the Fastpass line, but now everything is on the park ticket itself, so make sure to have that out before you get in line.

It’s worth noting that your return time can vary depending on how busy the park is and how popular that particular ride is. We’ve gotten return times on Fastpasses that were less than an hour, but we’ve also gotten them for a good five or six hours away. No matter when your return time is for your ride, you can always Fastpass again in a couple hours. Just be sure to check the bottom of your Fastpass reminder to see when you can grab another one.

The Fastpass system is awesome because it’s free, and you essentially get to “wait in line” by shopping, snacking, or riding other rides.

 

Maxpass

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I was really very prepared to be underwhelmed by Maxpass but I think I’m a convert, y’all. I was hesistant because Maxpass is $10 a day, or an additional $70 to add to an Annual Pass, but I’m all in.

It’s worth it because you can do everything with your phone from anywhere as long as you’re scanned into the park. So if you’re in Disneyland you can grab fastpasses in DCA, or if you’re boozing at Trader Sam’s, you can grab fastpasses for either park.

To start with Maxpass, download the Disneyland app on your phone and set up an account. Then you’ll need to determine who’s in your “maxpass party”- essentially who you’re in the park with. You’ll link everyone’s park ticket, including yours, to your maxpass party on the app. There’s a camera so you can scan the barcode of everyone’s ticket super easy. Each person costs $10. So if you’re doing it on your phone, everyone owes you two churros.

Then, once everyone scans into the park, you’re ready to start grabbing fastpasses. It’s a bit tricky to get set-up, but once you do, it’s magic.

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To get Fastpasses, tap on your avatar at the bottom of the app. Then tap on “Get Fastpass”. Choose your park, and scroll through the list of available fastpasses. Tap on the time listed, not the actual ride picture. Then review and confirm the selection for your entire party. When you return to hop in line, you can either open the app, tap your avatar, then tap “My Tickets” and scan everyone’s ticket, or you can use your park ticket.

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Where you would normally have to go to each ride to grab the fastpass, you can grab fastpasses for everyone no matter where you are. Which means if you’ve just hopped in fastpass line for Haunted Mansion, once your passes are scanned, you can grab another Fastpass while in line for anywhere in either park. WHICH IS SO COOL. It’s a game changer. It also means you don’t have to get to Radiator Springs Racers at a certain time to grab a Fastpass, you can do it from the comfort of breakfast.

On top of that, MaxPass also gives you PhotoPass. Which means you can walk up to any Disneyland Photographer and have them snap a picture on their fancy camera for you. All of the photos you have taken from a cast member are then linked to your pass, and you can save and download professional Disneyland pictures.

 

So which one do you get?

I’d say if you’re in the parks for just one day, go for the MaxPass. It’ll help you do more of what you want to do with less stress and less running around. Your feet will thank you, and you’ll get more out of your trip. Plus, you can take advantage of that PhotoPass.

If you’re in the parks for a few days, suss out the busiest day and get MaxPass for that one day. You can survive just fine with Fastpasses on the other days, especially if you have reservations or want to see shows. I’d just say to save your eticket rides for your MaxPass day.

I’ll definitely be upgrading my AP to include MaxPass.

 

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide

Merchandise, MerchKatComment

If you're looking for a little Disney magic to stuff into a stocking or two this year, we've got you covered:

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Pin Trading Booster Set

Nobody can resist the allure of a cute enamel pin, especially a Disney one. Luckily, Disney recently started releasing these themed sets of four pins of your pin-collector dreams

 

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"VHS Case" Journal

Are VHS tapes considered 'vintage' now? Yikes. In any case, how nostalgic is this VHS journal? A perfect stocking stuffer for the those who want to relive fond memories of the past.

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Socks

Socks are the seemingly boring gift that everyone wants but never wants to buy themselves, making them a perfect stocking stuffer. Disney socks are even better than normal socks because, duh, they're Disney-themed. Treat your loved ones to a pair of these fantastic Enchanted Tiki Room socks!

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Disney Cartoon Action Figure

If I were a collectible toy person, I would be all over these figurines. Especially considering the added nostalgia factor - TaleSpin was my JAM in the 90s. If you've got someone on your gift list who can appreciate a collectible and a huge wave of nostalgia, these are for them!

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Disney Watch

Kelsey and I have spent a lot of time looking at watches at the Disneyland Resort. They're one of those purchases that you always kindof want to buy but something else bright and shiny always distracts you at the last minute (or you're too shy to ask the Cast Member behind the counter to open the Fancy Jewelry Case). So why not give the gift of a fancy (or just fun) watch this Holiday season?

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Enchanted Rose Light-Up Dome Tumbler with Straw

If you missed the insane hype around the rose sipper from The Red Rose Tavern in Disneyland this year, don't worry. The summer's must-have park souvenir lives on in this slightly-different version from shopDisney - and it's just as magical. It lights up, too! 

 

Everyone Gift Guide

Merchandise, MerchKatComment

Here's a roundup of all of our favorite Disney merch that absolutely everyone can enjoy: 

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Vintage Ride Shirts

Everyone can agree: a graphic tee is basically a wardrobe staple, and what better graphic tee than a throwback-style Disneyland tee? We bought these the second we saw them in the park, and have zero regrets - and are willing to bet that anyone receiving one will be just as happy!

mickey mouse pen

Snazzy Mickey Mouse Pen

I can tell you from experience (I used to sell fancy fountain pens at the store I worked at): everyone loves a nice pen. They're always useful, no one's going to buy one for themselves, and you really can't go wrong. So we recommend going even-not-wronger (what?) and picking up a snazzy Mickey Mouse pen for the Disney lovers in your life. 

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Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker

Everyone loves waffles. Everyone loves Mickey Mouse. Everyone loves Mickey Mouse waffles they can make at home. Trust us on this. 

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Disney Luggage Tags

Get super fancy and spring for this COACH Mickey Luggage Tag. It's super classy with just the right amount of Disney thrown in - and come on, who doesn't want a luggage tag with Mickey Mouse ears? 

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Mickey Mouse '80s Flashback Backpack

Not gonna lie, I'm super into this weird 80s Mickey backpack, and I'm pretty sure anyone else with a bit of 80s nostalgia would be too.

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Mickey Slippers

These Mickey slippers from UNIQLO look super cozy and super cute. (They're also super affordable.) Everyone can appreciate a pair of Mickey slippers!

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Movies

If you're still stuck on what gift to give, the ol' standby is definitely a good movie. DVD, Bluray, Streaming - whatever form you want to give your gift in, you can never go wrong with a good Disney film!

 

Techie Gift Guide

Merchandise, MerchStephenComment

You Don't Have To Be A Techie To Love These Gifts!

If you have a phone to charge or cover, a kid who needs a fun toy, or are an aspiring photographer, there's something here for you. 

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R2-D2 Wall USB Charger
Probably the coolest part about this oversized plug cover is you get MORE plugs, plus 2 USB ports to charge your phone. This gift would be great for any Star Wars lover, but I think prominently displayed at someone's desk would be extra special.

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Mickey Style Apple Watch Band
Disneybound in this subtly Mickey inspired Apple Watch Band. This can be a daily wear item that doesn't scream Mickey Mouse (so you can cooly wear that superb collectable Disneyland 60th Anniversary sweatshirt and not clash).

Although I don't own this watchband and can't personally vouch for the quality, all the reviews I've come across tout Casetify's attention to detail, exceeding number of strap adjustment holes and durable material. 

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Minnie iPhone Case
Disneyland shops have endless amounts of iPhone cases for *cough* current *cough* generation phones, but none are quite as classic as those simple silhouettes. This Minnie case has been around for a while, and hopefully doesn't disappear like some of the other very cool leather and sparkley cases that I've purchased as gifts in the past. If Minnie is your character of choice, what better way to shout that to the world than on everyone's favorite and pocketable tech gadget, the iPhone.

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Cinderella Bluetooth Speaker
Glitter and glam adorn dressers, desks and countertops in the form of jewelry, precision writing instruments and polished serving spoons. This "discrete" piece of Disney-inspired tech will have you thanking your Fairy Godmother.

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Disney Instax Framed Film
Kat recently started taking some Instax pictures on our last trip to Disneyland and they are super fun. Use these Disney framed film cartridges to up the fun, even when you're far away from The Park. 

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BB8 USB Battery Phone Charger
Long days at Disneyland, taking tons of pictures, swiping through Max Passes and texting lost friends definitely sucks up the juice. Every year Apple promises a longer lasting phone battery, but it never seems to be enough. This BB8 battery offers about one whole iPhone charge in a far less ugly package than the typical USB battery brick. And, being about the size of a tube of lipstick, it won't make you feel the weight of your selenium drive or thermal hyperscan vindicator.

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Sphero Lightning McQueen
The original Sphero was a gyroscopic ball - a design and engineering marvel that ultimately gained the company a unique position for Disney partnership in developing BB8, costarring in the then-upcoming blockbuster, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Lightning has a completely different design system and obviously doesn't drive on a gyroscopic ball, but has some incredible animated body movements and an LCD display in the windshield to show his fully expressive eye movements. This race-able RC car comes with specialized iOS apps that allow interactive play between your iPhone and the physical car.

The ultimate Cars-lover's toy. 

Disney Holiday Gift Guide

Merchandise, MerchKatComment

The Holidays are finally upon us, and Disney has a huge amount of merch for the Holiday lovers in your life. Here’s a roundup of a few of our favorite things that we wouldn't mind seeing under the tree this year:

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Holiday Ears

I mean obviously. It’s hardly Disney without some iconic ears, and these Christmas Mickey ears are the perfect (super subtle) touch to make any occasion a little more festive.

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Mickey Santa Hat

Taking it a step further from ears - who doesn’t need a Mickey Mouse Santa Hat, am i right?  

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Santa Mickey Mouse and Friends Happy Holidays Mug

This mug was pretty much the first piece of Holiday merchandise Kelsey and I bought this year. Who can say no to that design? It’s also a perfect shape for hot cocoa (and everyone could use a new mug for the Holidays).

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Santa Mickey Mouse and Friends Happy Holidays Apron

If you’ve got someone who loves to spend time in the kitchen in your life, treat them to a Holiday apron. Aprons are one of those items that you can never have enough of, and this one’s super cute design makes it even more special.  

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Mickey Mouse "Ugly" Holiday Sweater

I didn’t buy this the last time we were in Disneyland and I have so many regrets. Look at this sweater! It screams holidays! Anyone who can appreciate an ugly sweater is sure to love this one as much as I do.

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Bambi Happy Holidays Creamer

This is ridiculous and adorable and I want it, not that I’ve ever needed a creamer in my life. If you’re looking for a gift for someone who hosts (or wants to host) tons of dinner parties (which I assume is the only time one would need a creamer) this is the gift for you. Or just treat someone to a cute Bambi creamer for the heck of it. 

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Mickey and Friends Holiday Dress

This dress is amazing. I don’t really have much more to say except that anyone would be glad to receive this as a gift - have you looked at it?!

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Mickey Mouse Mini Tree Skirt

For the true Disney fan, even a standard treeskirt for their mini tree (or their two mini trees...or five… we have quite a few trees, okay) will not do. How cute would this Mickey tree skirt be under a tiny tree? It's a perfect addition to any Disney Holiday home. 

 

Disney Beauty and Accessories Gift Guide

Merchandise, MerchKelseyComment

It's gift guide week here at Lost Weekenders! Every day we'll be bringing you a new Disney themed gift guide to please any Disney fan. 

First up, my personal favorite, beauty and accessories. Some are tried and true, and some are just things I'm lusting after. Check em out. 

Kiehl's + Disney Collection

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I love Kiehls and I love Disney, so what better combo than these Kiehls + Disney collab? My super sensitive finicky skin has yet to meet a Kiehls product it doesn’t love, and the classic Mickey packaging makes for a super sweet gift for anyone. There’s a bunch of different kits, all which would please a wide array of hard-to-please people. My personal favorite is the Skin Hydration Essentials. And the best part? Proceeds from the kits go to Feeding America, a charity that aims to help the 42 million people in the United States who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

Princess Hand Mirrors

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I’m so happy Sephora is still releasing these mirrors! I have the cinderella one and I actually use it everyday when I get ready. One side is magnified and one side is normal, plus it’s beautifully weighted, so it sits nicely in the hand.

 

Besame + Snow White Collection

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What is it with me and mirrors? I’m dying for the mirror in this collection. I love Beseme- the undereye brightening powder is in regular circulation in my makeup routine. Everything they make is super classic, and you really can’t go wrong. Any Disney lover would be thrilled with this collection.

Snow White Travel Bags

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While we’re on Snow White, this bag set is super adorable. These little bags always come in handy, plus they’re great to organize for your next Disneyland trip.

Ariel Nail Wraps

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These are super cool if you’re one of those magic people who can put on nail wraps and not eff it up. I am not one of those people (yet?) but if you have a Little Mermaid fan in your life, these Ariel Nail Wraps are a win. But maybe throw in a couple packs of drugstore nail wraps for practice just in case.

Alex + Ani Bangles 

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Kat and I go kinda crazy for these bangles. They’re so sweet and can be worn alone or layered, and there's a style for everyone. But you can’t go wrong with the classic castle.

 

Kate Spade Collection

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I love this little Kate Spade card case. I have one and use it as my wallet in Disneyland. It’s perfects for a couple cards, an AP, and an ID. Which is really all you need. Especially since fastpasses aren’t physical anymore, these are perfect and so sleek. If you’re like me, you can get the matching backpack and live your best life, but these also make a pretty special gift.

Bambi Dooney & Bourke

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How stinking cute is this bag. Kat got one a couple trips ago and people have not stopped complimenting it. Clearly for someone super special in your life (or you), but this would be a winner winner chicken dinner present.

 

 

10 Hidden Gems in Adventureland

Tips, LandsKatComment

Adventureland is always a sea of hustle and bustle - sometimes you’re lucky just to get through the walkway down to the Pirates of the Caribbean line (and let’s not talk about the disaster that is the area right in front of the Indiana Jones queue). Because there is always so much hullabaloo, it’s easy to miss these hidden gems - but next time you’re in Adventureland, keep your eyes peeled!

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The Little Man of Disneyland’s Door

In 1955, a Golden book was published about a leprechaun, Patrick Begorra, who lived in a tree in a grove in Anaheim. He meets Mickey Mouse and his friends, who let him know that the trees will need to be moved to make way for Disneyland. Naturally, Patrick isn’t too happy about the situation, but Mickey and friends show him all of the amazing plans for Disneyland and eventually Patrick agrees to let them build the park - as long as he can stay in a tree house tucked out of the way.

In Adventureland, you can find Patrick Begorra’s door of his house, hidden away in a tree next to the Indiana Jones ride. It took us many, many trips to Disneyland before we finally happened to see the door - making this about as hidden as a hidden gem can get. 

 

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Eeyore Sign in Indiana Jones

Before Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye was built, the land it’s situated on was home to a parking lot. The name of the parking lot was - you guessed it - the Eeyore Parking Lot. Behind the projector in the safety video room, there’s a sign featuring Winnie the Pooh’s grumpiest friend, which is just visible in the dim light.

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Indiana Jones Props

Speaking of Indiana Jones, did you know that both the mine cart and the Mercedes truck in the queue (most visible as you’re exiting the ride) are actual props used in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?

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Indiana Jones Queue

While we’re still on the topic of Indiana Jones, while you’re inside the Temple in the queue, pay attention to the signs asking you not to pull on the bamboo and or the rope - and do the exact opposite.

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Mrs. Potts And Chip

As you wander through Tarzan’s Treehouse, you may see a familiar face (or lack of one, really). The tea set on the ground floor features none other than Mrs. Potts and Chip from Beauty and the Beast - minus the enchanted facial features.

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Swisskapolka

While you’re searching for Mrs. Potts at Tarzan’s Treehouse, pay close attention to the gramophone at the base of the tree. It’s playing the Swisskapolka, a song from the Disney film Swiss Family Robinson, which was the inspiration for the original Swiss Family Treehouse before it was re-themed to the Tarzan's Treehouse of today.

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Adventureland Radio

The next time you’re walking by Jungle Cruise, stop and listen to the loudspeakers. Adventureland has its’ own radio station - perfectly themed to match the vintage environment. Some of our favorite excerpts include updates on recent lost Jungle Cruise voyages and ads for new-and-improved mosquito netting.

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We Buy and Sell the Rare and Exotic... Sign

Set up on a back wall of the seating area for Bengal Barbecue is a sign that reads “We Buy & Sell the Rare & Exotic...at our other store” This sign, up until Summer 2017, was featured prominently on the Tropical Imports facade across the walkway.

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Jungle Cruise Offboarding Dock

The next time you ride Jungle Cruise, take a look at the end of the dock as you depart your boat - often, there are funny messages written on sign-boards, props you might not expect to see, or other easy-to-miss hidden gems. While you’re there, you might as well ask a Cast Member for a Jungle Cruise map.

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Shrunken Ned

Now that a good portion of the Adventureland shops have been remade into Bengal Barbecue seating, it’s easy to walk by Shrunken Ned, the Head Shrink of the Jungle and fortune-telling machine. For a quarter and a quick scan of your palm, Shrunken Ned will give you some useful advice and a printed fortune (one of Disneyland’s cheapest and most unique souvenirs).

 

What to Check Before Booking Your Disneyland Trip

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

There’s probably a bunch of prep you’ll do before you book your Disneyland trip. Are there cool seasonal events going on? What’s the hotel situation like? Blockout dates?

All of the above are good things to take into account for sure, but there are a few more sneaky things you might take for granted and might get in the way of a good time (although like...you can always drown your sorrows in churros or some good old fashioned Disneyland retail therapy).

Luckily, all of these pesky things that could interfere with your picture perfect Disneyland trip are super easy to check in advance. So let’s dive in.

    

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Attraction Closures

When you first go through the security checkpoints in the park, you’ll see a sign listing all the attraction closures for the day. Which can be a total bummer if some of the things listed on the sign are what you come to the park for.

All the attractions at the parks cycle through maintenance closures at some point while some attractions will close for holiday overlays (Small World Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday), and then close again to reset.

You can always check any closures on the calendar section of the Disneyland website pretty far in advance, along with a ton of other awesome park info for the specific days of your trip.  This site also has a great easy guide to check up on closures as well.

    

Park Operating Hours

This is something I’ve definitely taken for granted in the past.

If you’re used to an 8am-12am park day, it can come as a shock to learn you get a shorter day, but the park hours change throughout the year. So while a 8am-12am day is standard in the summer, you could be looking at a 10am-8pm park day during an off-time of the year, which drastically cuts down on park time.

Checking the Disneyland calendar is definitely something to add to your pre-booking checklist to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, and there aren’t any super-non-magical surprises. (Keep in mind the park times are subject to change.)

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Are the reservations you want available?

If you have a tried and true tradition like dinner at the Blue Bayou, or garlic fries at Cafe Orleans, it’s worth it to call in and make your reservations as soon as you possibly can. You can book reservations up to 60 days in advance.

Since it’s so easy, I recommend first checking the reservations section of the Disneyland Website to check availability and book your reservation. However, if the website doesn’t list any available reservations for your trip, try calling Disney Dining (714)781-3463 to speak to a human. They’re usually pretty helpful and might be able to find something the website can’t.

And, if all else fails, you can always try going to your desired restaurant at the very beginning of the day and getting on a standby list in case of cancellations.