Category: Disneyland

5 Reasons I Fell In Love with Disneyland

On my first trip to Disneyland last year, I didn’t understand the love everyone had for the place.  Yes, it is Walt’s park, the original, but there was no “bubble” feeling like you get in Walt Disney World.  Oh man I love that bubble.  But on my most recent trip, that completely changed.  I think being more familiar with the parks played a big part in that, but there were some specific things I really came to appreciate and love.  Sigh…

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1. The Disneyland Hotel

I had always heard that because of how small the resort is, staying at an off-property hotel really won’t make a difference and you will end up saving money.  This is what we did on our first trip.  Nope.  Bad idea.  Yes we saved money, but the experience of having to leave the resort just put a bad taste in my mouth.  So this trip I knew I had to stay at a Disney hotel.  Yes, it was significantly more expensive, but staying on Disney property makes ALL the difference.

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We were lucky to stay in the Adventure Tower which is the closest to Downtown Disney and the parks, but it is also just upstairs from Trader Sam’s and the pool.  Everything was right outside our door!

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And the room was so wonderful!  We were able to get a King room that overlooked Downtown Disney.  The details in the room were so fun.  From the light fixtures, the faucets, and all the classic Disneyland photos that adorned the walls.

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On our first night, we were able to watch the firework show Magical! from our room.  Plus, you can access the music from all of the nighttime shows right on your TV!

But did you know that there is a fireworks surprise in all of the Disneyland Hotel rooms?!  Yup…right there in the headboard!

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2. Everything In Close Proximity

Being able to walk everywhere is wonderful!  No waiting for buses or other transportation.  Nothing took more than 10 minutes to get to by foot!  And I love how the 2 parks are right across the Esplanade from each other, which makes park hopping a breeze!  Plus having Downtown Disney right outside our hotel made it easy to grab a coffee at Starbucks or get some quick shopping in.

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However sometimes we didn’t feel like walking and were able to jump on the Monorail for an express trip right into Tomorrowland!

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3. Details, Nooks & Crannies

Disney is know for detail in the parks.  Everything tells a story.  There is something charming about all of these details in Disneyland compared to those in Walt Disney World.  Many can be found in all of these little nooks & crannies though out he parks.  Here are some of my favorites:

New Orleans Square

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Pixie Hollow

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Snow White’s Grotto

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The Popcorn Cart Turners

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Heimlich Hiding in the Candy Corn Bushes

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In Fantasyland alone, I could’ve spent hours just looking at every detail.  And don’t even get me started on Main Street USA!

4. The Attractions

Since Walt Disney World is basically my second home, I hate to say it but hands down Disneyland has superior attractions.  Ok…got that off my chest.  But really whether it’s versions of the same attraction like Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain.

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Or the abundance of dark rides.

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Or the charming family friendly attractions.

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Or the stellar original attractions that can only be found at Disneyland.

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Disneyland-Love-AladdinOr Heimlich

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Everything just seems to be well…better.  I can’t believe I just said that…who am I?!?

5. Nighttime

Something magical happens at night in Disneyland.  This was something I hardly experienced on my first trip because I had to get up so early in the morning to race, so I made sure to take it all in this trip.  And I’m not even talking about the nighttime shows…however Fantasmic! along the Rivers of America blew my mind!

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There is just an added sense of magic in the air when the sky gets dark and the lights come on.  Just look at all that neon in Carsland!

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The trolley coming down Buena Vista Street just screams old Hollywood!

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All of the tiki torches around the Disneyland Hotel completely transport you to the islands!

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Sleeping Beauty Castle…no explanation needed.

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But my favorite thing to see at night was definitely the Mad Tea Party.  I just stood there and watched because it was so whimsically beautiful!  LOVE!

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So there you have it…why I am now madly in love with Disneyland.  Walt Disney World will always be my one true love, but sometimes you just can’t help the charms of its older and wiser counterpart.  Now…when can I go back??

Share your thoughts!!  What do you love (or not love) about Disneyland?

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A Return Visit to Disneyland

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Next week I am returning to Disneyland for 3 days, a trip I honestly thought I would never be making again.  I love Disneyland, but living on the East Coast makes it very difficult to travel there mainly due to the expense.  I can take multiple trips to Walt Disney World for the price of one trip to Disneyland.  After last year’s Disneyland Half Marathon trip, I really didn’t think I would ever visit again or at least not for a very long time.

Well as luck would have it, I AM returning to Disneyland and this time I don’t have the added stress of running.  I can just enjoy the parks, the food, the history…everything!  Since last year was my first trip ever to Disneyland, I put together a post from a newbies point-of-view.  (Ironically, I wrote it on the same date I’m writing this!)  I put together a lengthy list of “Must Do’s” for my trip, many of which I never got to.  Let’s take a look at the list and how I did:

MUST DO DISNEYLAND

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (squeeeeeeee!!!)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Storybookland Canal Boats
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

MUST DO DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue
  • Aladdin Musical
  • California Screamin’
  • Radiator Springs Racers

MUST DO DINING

  • Blue Bayou
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant
  • Napa Rose
  • Trader Sam’s
  • Flo’s V8 Cafe

Wow…not so good.  I got the dining down pat, but I only hit 50% of the attractions that I wanted to!  I have to admit that the races took up a lot more time than I expected and it was also exceptionally hot and humid while we were there, which made all of those outdoor attractions seem unbearable.  This trip will be hot, but it looks like the humidity will be at or below 50% which will make a HUGE difference.  So here are my goals for this trip…

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This is a lofty goal, but seriously, this will probably be my last time in a VERY long time that I visit Disneyland.  Well, that is unless I win some other contest…no one could be that lucky…so you can see why I want to be cramming everything in.  One thing I know for sure is that there will be MANY trips on Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train…I can’t wait!!

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So what do you think?  What would you do if you had 3 days to spend in Disneyland?

Next week I’ll be talking Disneyland food as I take a look at a few of my favorites and what I will be trying on this trip so stay tuned.  Also, make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can check out all the Disneyland shenanigans!

Oh and last but certainly not least…HAPPY 59th BIRTHDAY DISNEYLAND!!

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Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel

With the news of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto coming to the revamped Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort next year (BEST NEWS EVER!), I thought I’d take a trip out to Disneyland and visit one of my favorite places, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.  This was a must do for me when I visited Disneyland for the first time last year.  I had heard it was like a combination of the Tambu Lounge and the old Adventurer’s Club, both favorite spots of mine in Walt Disney World.

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Located in the Disneyland Hotel, this adventurous watering hole is the home of Trader Sam, head salesman of the Amazon Jungle. You may know him from a little attraction called the Jungle Cruise… Anyway, after decades of traveling through the jungle, Sam has collected tons of artifacts and perfected the art of mixology.  He’s now set up shop and one of the most unique and entertaining lounges was born!  We set up camp here for quite some time on a hot afternoon and just had a great day.  It is small, dark and full of adventure!

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Wait…are we in the South Pacific??  Sure looks like it…  It’s amazing how you feel completely transported to another place!  And it’s not just the atmosphere that does that, but the food & drinks fit right in.  The menus are so unique and SO delicious!  Let’s start with some cocktails…

Hands down, our favorite drink was Ginger’s Pear-adise.  This is pear vodka, ginger liquor, organic agave nectar and fresh lime juice served straight up with cherries.  This is so good, it’s dangerous!

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Make sure to ask for extra cherries, then let them sit and marinate in your drink 😉

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I also tried the Shrunken Zombie Head.  I mean, Sam is known for shrinking heads so it only seemed right.  This is reserve and aged rums, tropical juices, falernum and cinnamon.  You can get this in a regular glass OR in a souvenir shrunken zombie head.  That’s an obvious choice, no?

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This was good, but a little too sweet for my taste.  However I was a big fan of the twisty straw it came with. Oh and speaking of souvenir mugs…they have various limited edition mugs that you can buy!  They are all really cool and I almost bought them all, but the zombie is the only one that made it back to CT.

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Like beer?  Watch out because whenever you order something from the tap, it angers the gods a bit…

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After a cocktail, some snacks are definitely in order and Trader Sam’s doesn’t just offer your typical bar fare.  The menu is awesome!

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We had eaten lunch not to long before that, but I knew I had to try the Fish Tacos.  O.M.G.  These were SO GOOD!  I mean, I’ve never really met a taco that I didn’t, but these were fantastic.

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Next time I think I’m going to try the Ahi Poke and the Kalua Pork Flatbred…YUM!

The bartenders are really fun and have a great time with all of the guests.  I think I might have mentioned that I really liked the bendy straw…so I got a bunch of them with my water.

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Don’t be surprised if you get sprayed with lava when someone orders the famous Uh Oa…Watch Out!

What’s going on with that guys chair?

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Yes, he’s shrinking!  A few of the chair around the bar actually shrink while you are sitting there.  At first you start to wonder if you’ve had too much to drink, but no, it’s just the fun bartenders playing a trick on you…

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So small…

I just LOVE this place!  It is so much fun and the news that it is coming to Walt Disney World just made my day!!  Now, I just need to convince B that we need to get points at the new Polynesian DVC Resort so we can just stumble back to our bungalow 🙂

Have you been to Trader Sam’s?  Are you excited it is coming to Walt Disney World?

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Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train – The Best Attraction EVER!

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Now I know you are all thinking I’m whackadoo (most of you probably did already!) but seriously, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train is the best attraction EVER!  Stay with me here and once you watch the video, you will be convinced as well.

You probably know Heimlich best as the chubby, lovable, German caterpillar from A Bug’s Life.  He loves to eat (sweets in particular), dance and is just an overall jolly character.  He’s always been one of my favorites!

So the fact that he has his own ride is wonderful and it was one of my must do’s for my recent trip to Disneyland.  Look how cute he is with the candy corn!

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Yes, I know it’s a kid’s ride, but it’s great for adults too!!  Being on this slow moving chew chew train will only make you smile.  Look at that GIANT watermelon you get to chew through…who wouldn’t want to eat that?!?

Heimlich Watermelon

Not convinced?  Take a ride for yourself…try not to laugh…I dare you!

Now didn’t that just make you smile from ear to ear??  And if the attraction didn’t make you laugh, you had to get a chuckle out of Amanda‘s hysterics….

What attraction makes you smile and laugh?

2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, Oh the Fun We Had!

I hope that you’ve been following my Disneyland and Dumbo Double Dare adventure over the past few days through Twitter, Facebook & Instagram!  It has been an amazing trip and I have SO MUCH to share with you.  It’s been difficult for me to keep up with writing the past few days because of everything that has been going on, but be prepared to get bombarded with race recaps, the runDisney Meet Up, Disneyland dining, my experiences as a first timer and so much more!  Until then, here is just a preview of a few of the things I’ve been up to.

Seeing the tiny Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for the first time and falling in love with the quaintness of Fantasyland.

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I was FINALLY reunited with my favorite motormanic, Mr. Toad!

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Discovered my new favorite attraction anywhere – Hemlich’s Chew Chew Train!  I’m coming for you little animal crackers….

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Ate and drank some incredible meals…whoa!

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Attended the runDisney meet up and got to ride the Tea Cups with Joey Fatone!

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Ran a few races…a total of 21.3 miles in 3 days…and once again did it with my runDisney BFF Amanda!

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I had tea with my friend Sid and Sean Astin following the Disneyland 10K…No big deal, right?!?!?!?!

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I had a really fun meet-up as well!  It’s always fun to chat runDisney!!!

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And the best part…ALL THESE MEDALS!!

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Thank you to everyone who I met this weekend for your encouragement and for everyone who followed along online and pushed me through some of the tough times.  I don’t only run for me, but I run for you and to show that with enough determination you can do anything, so matter your size, age, etc…!

Now, bring on the Tower of Terror 10-Miler!

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