lost weekenders

november17

Dole Whip: The Complete Guide

Food & Drink, SnacksKatComment

By now, you’ve either experienced or have heard the hype surrounding the almighty Dole Whip. This iconic treat is delicious, sweet and refreshing - and we’ve got the run-down on everything you need to know about it.

dole whip

What

From all the hype, you’d think Dole Whip was some miraculous, addictive, sugary secret-Disney-recipe treat, but really, it’s just pineapple soft serve.  There must be something secret-Disney-recipe about it though, because we’ve tried loads of ‘pineapple soft serve’ offerings from other amusement parks and nothing compares.

Dole Whip is available in Disneyland in either plain soft serve, float (soft serve plus pineapple juice), or float + booze (light or dark rum) form. The boozy version is only available from the Disneyland Hotel, and we HIGHLY recommend it; rum + dole whip is pretty much a match made in heaven.

Plus, at less than $5 and about 90 calories, the Dole Whip won’t break the bank or your waistline (not that we advocate counting calories in Disneyland, that’s a great way to have a crappy time at the Happiest Place on Earth).

tiki juice stand

Where

Dole Whip is available at not just one but two locations in the Disneyland Resort.

Adventureland

At the entrance to Adventureland, right next to the entryway to the Enchanted Tiki Room, sits the Tiki Juice Bar. The main line circles around the outside of the Tiki Room garden, sometimes stretching all the way to the entrance to Aladdin’s Oasis.

There is also a line inside the Tiki Garden (often, this line is shorter) but be cool and don’t dash into the Tiki Garden just to try to get a line shortcut if you’re not going to watch the Tiki Room show - theoretically, the line inside should be for those guests waiting to see the show. 

The Disneyland Hotel

Dole Whip is now also available hidden away at the coffee shop in the Disneyland Hotel, close to Goofy’s Kitchen. This is the only place you can get some rum added into your float!

tiki juice bar menu

When

The fact that the Dole Whip is probably the most popular Disney treat means that the lines can get far too long far too quickly. The best time to get in line at the Tiki Juice Bar is about 5-10 minutes before it opens (usually around 11 am). Your second best option for the Tiki Juice Bar line is just to scope it out whenever you’re walking through Adventureland.

The Disneyland Hotel, luckily, is still less popular as a destination for the Dole Whip, so the line there is almost always much shorter.

There’s never a bad time for a Dole Whip. If you happen to be in the area of either location and there’s a short line, it’s a good time to employ one of your rules of Disneyland  and ‘ride now, ask questions later’. Jump on into that line and treat yourself - you will not regret it.

 

Disneyland Resort Entertainment 101

Basics, Beginners, EntertainmentStephenComment

From the moment you enter Disneyland, there's entertainment around every corner. Even after visiting the parks dozens of times, I always start by picking up a time guide at the turnstile. This guide lists most of the live entertainment throughout the park and each printed guide usually covers 3-7 days. The schedules for some shows change day-to-day and others are totally consistent, so that guide is key to getting around on time. 

I tend to break up Disneyland entertainment into a few categories: Seasonal, Casual, Ambience, Characters and Shows.

A Christmas Fantasy

Seasonal Entertainment

Seasonal Entertainment encompasses, of course, Christmas and Halloween fireworks and parades, but Disneyland also takes advantage of other times of year like summer, holidays like Veterans Day and movie blockbusters as an opportunity for a new pre-parade, fireworks show, street party, or musical tribute. 

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Casual Entertainment

You may very well pass by some Casual Entertainment without even realizing it was a scheduled event. The best example is the Dapper Dans - a barbershop quartet in snazzy striped suits with matching hats that sing up and down Main Street, as well as occasionally riding the Horse Drawn Carriage or Firetruck. Just like the Dans, the Disneyland Band, Army Men and Pearly Band tend to march around and can be unpredictable in their start and end location. 

Ambience Entertainment

Throughout the lands of both parks, Ambience Entertainment happens all around you, adding to the Disney Magic. Custodians that paint character's faces on the sidewalk with brooms and water, Citizens of Buena Vista and their pets will carry on with you in-character, and The Laughing Stock (in front of the Golden Horseshoe) all can be found through the time guide, but don't worry too much about scheduling your time around them - part of the fun is that they seem to appear out of nowhere.

Disney Characters

Disney Characters have their own section in the time guide although the times listed are vague at best. Most characters are available for photos and autographs for about 30-45 minutes and then take a break for about 10-20. If you're looking for a specific character, Cast Members can point you to the area that character hangs out (Peter Pan, for example, is usually found around the Mad Tea Party teacups in Fantasyland) but sometimes, it's just a waiting game. 

Be sure to always keep your eyes open for unscheduled character appearances - you never know who might show up.

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Shows

Shows are the most scheduled entertainment and require the most pre-planning.

Some shows are nearly always easy to get in to and are worth the short wait. Mickey and the Magical Map just requires showing up about 30 minutes early to ensure you get a seat. Some shows have smaller seating areas, so you need to keep an eye out for a quickly growing line, like Disney Jr in DCA and Fantasy Faire at the Royal Theatre. Frozen - Live at the Hyperion, however, isn't worth the wait, there are tons of stairs to climb, and because of the lack of enthusiasm for the show, they're limiting the number of shows per day, so every show is packed. If you feel the burning desire to see Frozen, make sure you get in line about an hour before showtime.

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The most popular shows like Fantasmic! and World of Color require a FastPass to determine your entry location and standing area. If you're planning on catching one of these shows (especially if you'd prefer the first show of the night) be sure to get those FastPasses within the first couple hours of your day. 

Live_the_Magic

The Fireworks are the ultimate cap to a Disneyland Vacation. Even though the show may change from summer to winter and from year to year, they all are the best fireworks you will ever see. Everyone wants to watch the fireworks from Main Street, so space starts filling up hours ahead of showtime. Disneyland recommends Small World and the Rivers of America as alternate viewing locations, but in reality, you can enjoy the fireworks from almost everywhere in the park (and even the esplanade between parks) and most locations - besides Main Street - have a more manageable crowd. 

 

Best Places to Breakup in Disneyland

BasicsKelseyComment
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Hello, beautiful people. It’s the holiday season! It’s the season of giving. It’s the season of love. It might be the season of breaking up. Sorry? Or congratulations? Maybe sorry now and congratulations in a few months.

Anyway.

Disneyland might be one of the better places to break it off for several reasons. First, it’s surrounded by people, so it’s harder to make a scene. Second,  since there are tons of aforementioned people, it’s easy to make a quick escape and get lost in a crowd. Third, if you’re feeling bummed, you’re surrounded by Disneyland cheer and churros and that helps with everything.

 

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Edelweiss Snacks

First up. Have you ever noticed Edelweiss Snacks across from the Matterhorn? Kind of? Perfect. Tucked behind Edelweiss Snacks is a long dock that stretches out to where the Gummy Bears boats used to be. It’s rare to see lots of people there, but there’s generally enough so you’re not isolated. All of which makes it a perfect place to break it off, then sneak off to Small World while your ex maybe cries for a while. Let the sound of singing animatronic dolls drown out your guilt.


 

Toontown Railroad

The Toontown Railroad Station is bedecked with hilarious cartoonish props that suck you into a happy world where nothing could possibly go wrong save for hijinks of the sweetest variety.

Which makes the little private stretch of space behind it a great place to break up. I recommend position your soon-to-be-no-longer-other-half so they’re looking at the jolly and colorful oversized decor to kind of take their mind off the blow they’re about to receive.

It’s a super private area, a perfect place for them to deal with a crushing loss while you hop on the train and later days.

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Behind the Galactic Grill

Tucked to the side of Galactic Grill, almost to Pixie Hollow, are a set of tables and chairs that are just out the way enough to have a private conversation, and just close enough to the crowd where no one can make a scene. Grab a Darth By Chocolate, stuff your face, give the speech, and dip into Nemo to get a solid 15 minutes of crying in the dark then pick yourself up and have a good time.

 

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Tom Sawyer Island (Or Pirates Cove or whatever)

Think of all the nooks and crannies you can run off to when the dreaded deed is done.

 

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Disneyland Railroad

Because how dope would it be to break up by the Dinosaurs.

 

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Old Ice Cream Window on Main Street

Mid way down Main Street, right next to the lockers, by where the old ice cream window used to be, lives a little secluded cove where you can pop right in for a quick breakup then dip into the store and retail therapy yourself happy again.

 

 

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort 2017

Basics, EntertainmentKatComment

The time we’ve been waiting for is finally upon us: the holidays at the Disneyland Resort. The second those glittering icicles top Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Disneyland transforms into a place of even more magic than usual (plus the cooler weather and new sweet treats everywhere you look don’t hurt either).

If you were considering visiting the Disneyland Resort this Holiday season, here’s a quick roundup of all the things you can look forward to:

mainstreet usa christmas parade

Main Street, USA

The Holidays transform Main Street into a winter wonderland, complete with festive garlands above every door, Christmas carols piped through the loudspeakers, and, of course, the colossal Christmas tree at the end of Main Street. This update also comes with a parade - A Christmas Fantasy Parade - which we found skippable, unless you’re really into not-quite-cute, more-like-nightmarish snowmen and one (bad) Christmas song repeated over and over and over (and hey, Small World is one of our favorite rides, so we have a high tolerance for repetitive songs).

small world holiday

"it's a small world" Holiday

Every time Small World gets its’ holiday overlay, we find ourselves asking why the ride doesn’t look as nice year-round. The additions to the ride are over the top, changing what is usually a pretty hokey ride (we love you, small world) into a truly magical one. Plus, the nighttime lighting is particularly loud and unsubtle, in true Disney fashion.

haunted mansion holiday madame leota

Haunted Mansion Holiday

If you didn’t make it for Halloween, have no fear - Jack Skellington and the rest of the citizens Halloweentown stick around through Christmas, so enjoy the Tim Burton-ed Mansion while you can. We recommend either getting to the ride first thing in the morning or investing in a Fast Pass, because that line gets long FAST.

luigis joy to the whirl cars land holiday

Cars Land

This year for the first time, both Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (now Mater’s Jingle Jamboree) and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters (now Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl) have gotten Christmas overlays, including new songs and decorations. While you’re there, be sure to check out the holiday decorations all over Cars Land, especially the various Christmas trees of Radiator Springs residents and the themed Radiator Springs entryway billboard.

buena vista red car trolley holiday

Buena Vista Street

DCA’s main thoroughfare gets the holiday treatment with the Christmas tree next to the famous ‘Storytellers’ statue of Walt and Mickey, decorations in the shop windows, and general holiday magic. Mickey and friends can be found down Buena Vista sporting new Christmas outfits, and even the various street performers get into the holiday spirit.

festival of holidays dca

Festival of Holidays

Paradise Pier is now home to the Festival of Holidays, a street fair celebrating food, music and dance throughout the world. Sample treats from or inspired by faraway countries, watch some dancing or a live performance as you munch, or head down to Paradise Garden Grill to say hello to Elena of Avalor.

redwood creek challenge trail santa holidays

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Pick up a treasure hunt map and go explore the holiday version of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. There are holiday decorations at every turn, a surprise stand with warm bourbon cider (oh heck yes), and even Santa makes an appearance!

holiday castle disneyland sleeping beauty

Holiday Castle

Have we mentioned the holiday decorations on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle? Because they’re amazing. Nothing says the holidays like seeing lit garlands, glittering icicles, and white snow covering the castle turrets. Pose for a picture in front if you can - if not, try taking one from one of the smaller paths around the castle - it’s almost as good of a view, with nearly no crowd.

paradise pier holiday christmas

World of Color: Season of Light

For a limited time, Paradise Pier hosts World of Color: Season of Light. Honestly, we’ve never been able to sit through this show (we left halfway through the one time we tried it because we found it particularly grating) but if you’re into holiday cartoons, Christmas carols, and the general feel of the World of Color show, give this a try!

sleeping beauty castle holiday christmas night

Fireworks

Be sure to set some time aside to view the holiday “Believe...In Holiday Magic” fireworks show on Main Street, complete with projections over Sleeping Beauty Castle (and Small World, if you don’t feel like fighting with the Main Street crowds for a castle view) and the magic of snow.

 

mainstreet usa horse carriage christmas

Don’t forget to look for Holiday magic everywhere you are: part of the beauty of Disneyland is in the more subtle details, and almost nowhere is left undecorated. Check out the decorations in every shop window, most rides and attractions, and always be prepared for some holiday cheer to pop out of nowhere!

 

The New Route of The Disneyland Railroad

Attractions, Disney HistoryStephenComment

We love The Disneyland Railroad because it's an original park classic, nothing beats a slow steam powered nap around the park and the smell is just as iconic Disneyland as Pirates. 

The Disneyland Railroad has a deep history, held a very special place in Walt's heart, and like most of the rest of the park, it continues to evolve.But there's some awesome new changes that bring fun new charm to the ride, great props and elements they brought back, and at this time, a view of the construction and hope for the future of Star Wars Land. 

We're gonna take a peek into a super brief history and how it's evolved, and show you some of our favorite and not so favorite updates. (Sorry new narrator, just not the same). 

The exciting new left turn!

The exciting new left turn!

A Brief History

The Disneyland Railroad was born from Disney's deep rooted passion for trains. Walt was fond of trains from a young age, in fact, one of his childhood jobs was selling newspapers and snacks on trains in Missouri. He loved this so much despite rarely making a profit.

When Disneyland was conceived and built, the railroad was so special to Walt that it was owned by a separate company, Retlaw. That's Walter spelled backward. Walt seemed to be killer at using word jumbles as company names. This separation allowed him to handpick cast members, pay special attention to attraction operation and even design their paychecks in a unique way.

Operahouse_Railroad_Display

Early changes to the Railroad

In 1955, when the park opened, the Disneyland Railroad offered two unique grand circle tours of the Magic Kingdom. From Main Street Station you boarded the Passenger Train and from the Frontierland Station, the Western Freight train.  This is the same New Orleans station you see today, but this area wasn't called New Orleans Square until 1966.

Each train steamed around Disneyland with no stops in between and had unique train cars that followed the Passenger and Freight Train theme. it's a Small World and the entire area surrounding it, the Fantasyland Theater and Toontown didn't exist yet. so the Disneyland Railroad tracked a much tighter route, behind Casey Jr., Midget Autopia, and the Motorboat Cruise.

In 1956, the Fantasyland Depot opened, approximately where the path now leads you to Small World and leading up to the opening of Small World in 1966, the track was rerouted to where you see it today.

The New, New Route

Galaxy's Edge, commonly known as Star Wars Land is a massive construction project that took a little bite out of The Rivers of America and required the railroad to slide a little south. This is the most major change to the route since Small World was added and they did a great job. You'd never know the train ride got shorter and the added elements are delightful.

The two most apparent changes are the bridge that takes you over a waterfall, visible from the Rivers of America, and the brand new left turn which realigns the tracks with the path to Toontown Depot.  

 

Bridge and Waterfall along the Northwest side of the Rivers of America

Bridge and Waterfall along the Northwest side of the Rivers of America

Under the tracks, as seen from the Mark Twain. Beavers gnawing away!

Under the tracks, as seen from the Mark Twain. Beavers gnawing away!

Keep your eye out for the relocated Indiana dog house. 

Indiana_the_dog

 

One change we're not so keen on, the new narrator. Just not the same charm. 

 

And there you go! Have you tried out that new left turn yet? 

The Best Indoor Places to Kick Back in Disneyland

Tips, BreaksKelseyComment
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It happens to the best of us. You’re intent on being a Disney warrior. You crushed the morning, you’re feeling good, but then slowly it starts to seep in. Burnout. Total meltdown tired burnout. It’s hot. People are crying. Are you crying? You might be the crying person. Your bones hurt. You might not have bones any more. But then why do they still hurt? Who finished the bottle of aleve? 

 

Shhh shh sh. We got you. For the times when you cannot take another step and you legit just need a break, there are lots of options to grab a snack and kick back. That rhymed. 

 

We usually save to do these all at once in the middle of the day when the parks are busiest. When you’re walking from show to show and you know you won’t meet a line or a crowd, it acts like a nice break. 

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Great Moments with Mr Lincoln

No lie, I can barely sleep in my own bed. For reasons unknown but should be tested by scientists, the second I sit down in Great Moments with Mr Lincoln I am out. It’s more effective than NyQuil which says a lot because for a while NyQuil was my favorite drink until I reassessed my life. It might be due to the fact that a Ken Burns-esque slideshow kicks off the show and like…is super important or whatever but my body just completely shuts down. Or it could be that I know robot Lincoln is coming and I’m on the verge of horrified every time so I react by passing out but anyway.

 

Great Moments with Mr Lincoln is the one of the first buildings on the right when you enter Disneyland. Not surprising (sorry, Abe) it’s not the most popular attraction at the park, which is perfect, because that gives you a lot of room to stretch out in the air-conditioned and dark theater and take a 10-15 minute power nap. 

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Tiki Room

Tiki Room is great because even though it looks like the audience is going to be completely packed every time, it’s actually surprisingly roomy inside. And most people want to see the show (suckers) so they’ll sit in the front, which leaves the seats in the back wide open. And since they’re all bench seats you can spread out and just chilly chill with your dole whip. 

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Long Rides

If you’re exhausted but still want to power through rides, consider longer attractions. Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Small World load you onto a boat and then cradle you for a solid 15 minutes. Plus you can totally nap on Pirates. We’ve all done it and I’m not even a little ashamed. Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Jungle Cruise are also longer, and you can fast pass both Mansion and Splash.

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Silent Theater

If you’re walking toward the castle on Main Street, you’ll spot what looks like a ticket booth with a terrifying mannequin and a turnstile. This is the Silent Theater, a super sweet little piece of Disney History that’s both worth checking out and a great place to kick back for a bit. Inside you’ll find a collection of screens playing old Mickey Mouse cartoons. There aren’t any seats but most people just pull up a spot on the floor and hang for a while. 

 

The Path of Jedi

This is a 3D show in the theater next to Space Mountain that housed Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and Captain EO. It’s a Star Wars montage of sorts that takes you through the storyline of all the movies. It’s alright? Nothing super special. We’ve only seen it once, but it’s air conditioned and it’s inside which sometimes is all you need amiright. 

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Tough to be a Bug

Let’s hop on over (GET IT) to California Adventure, and head into Bugs Land. Guys I flipping love It’s Tough to be a Bug. It’s charming. I know all the words to the musical number at the end. There are points of sheer terror in the middle so you don’t get bored. And I’ve never been in a full showing of It’s Tough to be a Bug, so it’s another good place to get away from a crowd and chill for a while. 

 

Frozen if you’re tired

I’m not going to sugarcoat this. The Frozen show at the Hyperion in Hollywoodland is not…good. It’s not good. It’s not really worth the space it occupies, and I’d never thought I’d say I miss Aladdin, but at least Aladdin had some good sets and there were some good magical moments. Frozen has some very large doors, so there’s that. But if you have kids and they’re starting to flop, it’s a good option to give them a break and keep them entertained while you pass the eff out for 45 minutes. 

 

Animation Studio

The animation studio on your right as you make your way down to Hollywoodland is a magical and special place. Inside, there are huge screens where they project favorite moments and the making-of lots the Disney classics. It’s a great place to kick back and take in some straight nostalgia. And I know I cry at everything but sometimes I cry in the Animation Studio because it’s so great. 

 

Grand Californian Lobby

There’s an entrance to the Grand Californian as you make your way toward Grizzy River Rapids, which makes it easy to check out their huge and beautiful lobby, modeled after mountain lodges like the Awanee in Yosemite. Take a flop in one of their huge and comfy chairs. Fun fact- there’s a water station by the entrance of the Grand Californian Bar, so you can pour yourself a cup of water and take a load off. 

 

Movie Theater

If you are DONE and you need a serious break from the park, consider checking out the movie theater toward the end of Downtown Disney, close to the Disneyland Hotel. No one really goes to Disneyland to go to the movies, so it’s rarely crowded. The theaters themselves are huge, so you can usually get a few seats to yourself to spread out and get away for a couple hours.

 

7 Free Souvenirs from Disneyland

Merchandise, BeginnersKatComment

That’s right, people: actual honest-to-goodness free souvenirs in Disneyland, of all places. No, we haven't had too many Lost Safaris at Trader Sam’s - this is legit.

disneyland birthday button

Buttons

We’re assuming you’ve heard of Birthday Buttons, readily available from City Hall in Town Square, and other locations around the resort. Not only are these cheap-as-free, but there are a variety of other buttons as well (Just Married, First Visit, I’m Celebrating...) usually all you have to do is ask, and Disney will have a button for you!

 

Drawing at Animation Academy

If you’re searching for a place to take a break in DCA, check out the Animation Academy. You get a fun Disney character drawing lesson, and also get to keep your drawing. This is a unique souvenir that you won’t find anywhere else, and always changes - you’ll draw a new character pretty much every time you go.
 

jungle cruise

Jungle Cruise Map

We’ve done a whole post on things you should ask for in Disneyland, some of which we’ve actually asked for ourselves, including this one. To get this souvenir, you’ve got to ask one of the Cast Members as you off-board your Jungle Cruise boat for a map.

Sometimes they’re out, sometimes the Cast Member doesn’t know what you’re talking about, and sometimes you luck out and get a Jungle Cruise map! Yes, it’s just a map printed on an 8.5x11 piece of paper, but it’s a great souvenir to take home with you.

 

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters Photo

Most ride photos you have to pay for (or take a quick phone photo on the way out), but Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters offers the option of emailing yourself your photo. It’s super convenient, though the lines can get pretty long (and the computers take forever to type in an email), and, oh yeah, it’s free.

fast pass reminder

FastPass Reminder

Since the print-outs you receive when you get a FastPass aren't actually collected by Cast Members upon entering the ride anymore, you can now keep them as mementos. It's great to trip down memory lane when you happen upon an old FastPass in your wallet.

 

Survey Sticker

If you’re fortunate enough to be randomly selected by Cast Members at the park entrances to complete a survey, you’re in luck - you might just get a free Mickey sticker. Sure, it’s just a sticker, but hey, it’s the little things that count.

buena vista street

The Buena Vista Bugle

The newspaper of Disney California Adventure, offered on Buena Vista street (sometimes at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, but always at the Chamber of Commerce) is free and often goes unnoticed. It’s a something fun to read through and take home with you, filled with Disney news-of-the-moment.


We’ve mentioned other free things to ask for in Disneyland, though some of them are possibly just rumors (I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone actually receive a Death Certificate). Have you found any other free souvenirs from the parks?

 

Best Unexpected Snacks Around the Disneyland Resort

Food & Drink, Food, SnacksKelseyComment
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Dole whip rum float from Disneyland Hotel

I’m actually super hesitant to share this secret BUT this is what we’re here for, I guess. The dole whip line at the Tiki Room is a level of ridiculous I can’t contend with on most days. The most funnest of fun facts? You can get Dole Whip at the coffee shop in the Disneyland Hotel. Zero line. Also since they know what’s up, they’ll throw a shot of rum in your dole whip float. You can opt for a dark rum or coconut rum, I highly recommend going for the coconut rum option.

 

Twists from Maurice’s

Churros hold a very special churro shaped place in my heart, but if you’re looking for a long cylindrical snack that’s not a churro, definitely check out the twists from Maurice’s cart in Fantasyland (if you’re looking at the front of the castle, to the left). The twists are a flaky pastry twist with different fillings. They’re toasty and soft but still flaky, and laced with different fillings like chocolate or strawberry. They’re messy but who cares, go ahead and shove it right in your mouth hole with no shame.

Bratwurst from the Fantasyland Theater

If you got a corn dog sized craving but not super into the corndog line (fun fact: there’s also a shorter corn dog line one the side of the horseshoe), try out the brat from the Fantasyland Theater (across from Small World, home of Mickey and the Magical Map). It’s SO GOOD, y’all. Like a hot dog but way tastier, it comes served up on an herb roll. While you’re there, check out the other snacks, like pretzel bites and their own stash of twists like Maurice’s.

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Ice cream nachos from Golden Horseshoe

Who wants regular ice cream when you could have ICE CREAM NACHOS. That’s a real thing. It’s secret menu, but they’ll know what you’re talking about. It’s an ice cream sundae with broken pieces of waffle bowl for ice cream scooping action. Try now, thank us later.

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Peach tree mojito and tableside guac from Tortilla Joes

If the parks are getting too much, venture into Downtown Disney and head over to Tortilla Joes. One of our favorite midday pick-me-ups are a fail-proof combo of the tableside guac and the peach tree mojito. Don’t worry, we’ve tried all the other drinks, even the margaritas, and the peach tree is the best you’re welcome. Also all guac is good guac but tableside guac is the best of the good guac. They pull up a guac-making cart straight from the heavens and you get to customize to reach guac perfection. We also usually get a side of rice and beans to add maximum deliciousness to each scoop.

Fried green beans Trader Sam’s

No lie, the tiki drinks at Trader Sam’s in the Disneyland Hotel are some of the best. And besides Disneyland, we do our fair share of touring tiki bars so we know what’s up. If you’re snuggling up to a few rounds at Trader Sam’s, it’s probably best to get some snacks so you can go longer without making a fool out of yourself. There are lots of good options, and you almost can’t go wrong, but our ride or die are the fried green beans. They come with a sauce I don’t eat because it’s mayonnaise based and mayo is the devil condiment, but even without dipping sauce they are so good. We usually horf down at least two orders.

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Neopolitan shake from Flo’s

Flo’s in Cars Land is one of our favorite lunch spots- that turkey dip don’t quit. They also have delicious milkshakes. Imagine if you will, though, not having to choose between chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. Well, friends, at Flo’s you don’t. Opt for the neapolitan option to get all three flavors layered into one delicious shake. And definitely get them with the crushed oreos on top.

Artichoke Dip from Cove Bar

Cove Bar in California Adventure is known for their Lobster Nachos (which I’ve actually never tried), and while I’m sure those are good, the poor, delicious artichoke dip is the forgotten child. Hot and bubbly, served with thick fresh chips, you can’t go wrong. Pair it with an icy, creamy Pina Colava and you’re good to go.

Snack mix and drinks but not much else from Grand Californian bar

There’s a bar in the Grand Californian! How fun is that. What’s even more fun is they serve the same drinks from Cove Bar, so if that hour long line looks dumb to you, hop on over to the Grand Californian and drink your mai tai in peace. Also, the snack mix they plop on the table is delicious but no lie, nothing else is. Harsh, I know, but besides the drinks and snack mix, everything is inconsistent and sometimes straight up gross. But if you need a big comfy chair and a tasty drink for a while, this is the place.

Fruit with tajin

If you want a super quick snack, pickles are a pretty obvious choice. If you’re not a pickle fan (but why wouldn’t you be), everywhere that has pickles also has big watermelon spears and containers of mango with tajin, a delicious chili lime seasoning I put on just about everything I can. You can also find apples and caramel sauce and pineapple spears.

Bacon wrapped asparagus from Bengal Barbeque

First of all everything at Bengal Barbeque in Adventureland is supes tasty, but an all time favorite is the bacon wrapped asparagus kebab. One in each hand and you’re ready for that Pirates line.  

 

 

The Dos and Don'ts of Choosing a Hotel for Disneyland

Hotels, BeginnersStephenComment

Surrounding Disneyland, hotels range from the seedy no-name, to the ritzy Grand Californian and everything in between. Choosing a hotel for your trip can seem daunting but there are many factors to consider such as distance to the entrance, overall cost including parking and hotel amenities. 

Disneyland Hotel Pool

1. Resort or Not

Unlike the other US Disney Resort, Disneyland in California has limited on-property resort hotels. For me, this makes the choice easier. 

There are three Disneyland resort hotels, from most to least expensive: Disney's Grand Californian, The Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier. These hotels are fantastically close, are all 4 star quality and have a perk no other hotel can offer: merchandise purchased in the parks can get delivered directly to your hotel room!

On the other hand, splurging on an incredible Disneyland Resort Hotel isn't an every trip type of expense. Staying at the Super 8 down the street looks a-lot more glamorous when you realize there's tons of resort amenities you can take advantage of without booking a room. Character dining, hotel restaurants, bars, and lounge areas are available to everyone. 

2. Walk or Not

If the idea of parking once at the beginning of your trip and avoiding re-parking sounds good, a close hotel is for you. Staying at a cheaper and possibly nicer hotel is definitely possible if you're willing to drive 5-15 minutes. 

There are plenty of hotels within walking distance to the Disneyland Resort. These choices are mostly on the east side of the resort on Harbor Boulevard and adjoining streets. Hotels closer to the entrance have a lower value, usually require booking further in advance, with steeper parking fees.  Something else to keep in mind: hotels in the city of Anaheim carry a higher resort fee than those in the surrounding cities. 

Disneyland Hotel Headboard

3. Do Double Check Addresses

There are so many hotels, it's no surprise how many of the same brand or chain exist within just a couple blocks. You may easily mistake one Marriott you thought was across the street for one not remotely walkable. Also, the streets that surround the resort are very long roads, so you might find dozens of one brand hotel in a dozen different cities, but all on Harbor Boulevard.

4. Don't Sweat It

When visiting Disneyland, there will be so many other places to spend your money and time, save the hassle and expense and use a discount hotel website like Hotwire.com where you choose your general hotel location and star rating and buy what fits your budget. These websites always let you know if you'll be charged additionally for resort fees or parking, so you can budget accordingly. 

5. Do Take The Deal

With so many hotel choices, you may tend to over-research each property, sometimes missing your price window. If you see a good deal, take it. It may not last long.