Posts Tagged by disneyland park

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…

5-Reasons-Disneyland-Love

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-Radiator-Springs-Racers

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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RAD Reads and Weekly Review: December 9, 2012

Oh hi remember me?  I feel like I’ve been completely MIA this week…I guess the holidays will do that to you.  We managed to get our tree up today and it’s all decorated with a cute little present on the tree skirt.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week (or aren’t involved in the Disney community), you’ll know that New Fantasyland opened this week in the Magic Kingdom.  If you haven’t seen the video, you have to watch the dragon that paid a visit to the opening ceremony…it is pretty awesome.

Let’s move on to some RAD Reads from this week:

Running & Fitness Posts
Will Run for Margaritas has guest blogger Mommy Run Fast look into if you’re built for speed or endurance.  Great tools here!

We Run Disney makes great use of their pins from past races.

Gabby’s Gluten Free talks about picking your poison and how little indulgences are necessary sometimes.

KJ Pugs ran her first 5K…congrats!!

Disney Posts
This Happy Place Blog shares her fun grown up Disney Christmas list.  Also, make sure to check out the awesome giveaway Estelle has going this week.

A Pinch of Pixie Dust found some strolling cupcakes at Epcot during the Candlelight Processional.  Yum!

Disney Every Day has a fun date night at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Disney Parks Blog shares a recipe for tamales from Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante in Disneyland park.  Apparently this is a tradition in Disneyland…one I can definitely get behind!

WDW for Grownups helps to chose the right shoes for touring the parks.  Shoes can make or break your WDW vacation!

Disney Food Blog shares their Gingerbread Crawl…a highlight of the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2012!

Weekly Review
I’ve been feeling better this week, but I’m definitely not at 100%.  I saw the doctor on Monday and got a ton of blood work done.  I have a follow up appointment on Thursday and hopefully I can get some answers about what is going on.  I also was able to get my blood drawn for a food allergy test, which I’m really excited about.  It tests 90 different foods.

Speaking of food, I received a copy of the book It Starts With Food and I can’t wait to dive into it.  I’m a firm believer that what you eat has an effect on everything that goes on with your body.  I feel like I’m finally making the right steps to try and get to the bottom of all my health issues.

This morning I ran the local Christopher Martin’s Christmas Run for Children 5K and felt really great.  I PR’d my 5K time by 20 seconds!  This was the same race I ran last year when I first started this whole running and I shaved almost 4 minutes off of that time.  It’s pretty amazing what a year can do 🙂

That’s a PR smile!

Here’s my full week of workouts and to see my full WODs, head over to my page on dailymile.

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Dead Lifts, Shoulder Press & Snatches
Wednesday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Thrusters
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

This week is looking like it will be just as hectic as last, but I’m going to try and stay focused.  I need to get more training runs in!!!  I have a great holiday giveaway coming up in the next few days so keep an eye out for that.  I’m also going to be doing some features on WDW Marathon weekend that I really think you will enjoy.

Hope you all have a great week!  Stay healthy out there!

Friday Feast: Craving Disneyland Counter Service & Cheribundi Giveaway Winner

Sadly, I’ve never been to Disneyland.  I grew up in the Northeast and Walt Disney World was always our home park.  I’m dying to visit, not just for the unique attractions or to walk in Walt’s footsteps, but for the food!  Shocking I know…me making food a priority, who would’ve thought?

Because of the Disneyland Half Marathon last weekend, I was doing a lot of research on the Disneyland Resort for my fantasy trip and of course found myself looking at menus from the various restaurants.  Yes, my top priorities on my visit (whenever that may be) will be to eat at Napa Rose and Carthay Circle, but I was excited to see all of the amazing counter service options available.  I tend to stay away from counter service in Walt Disney World because of all the generic and uninteresting food.  Sure you can find a few good choices at places like Tangerine Cafe in Morocco and the new Landscape of Flavors at the Art of Animation Resort, but for the most part you will find unhealthy options like burgers and hot dogs.  This is why I was surprised (and a little jealous) of the variety available in the parks at Disneyland.  Let’s look at some of my favorites.

Given my love of all things Mexican food, I’m going to start off at Rancho del Zocalo in Fronierland.  The first thing that stood out to me about this restaurant even before I looked at the menu was the beautifully themed restaurant itself.  El Zocalo means “town square” in Spanish, so the decor is made to look like a an open air market in a rural Mexican village.  The tile work, fountains and glass lighting fixtures are quite charming.  Seems like the perfect place to grab a margarita…oh wait, no alcohol in Disneyland Park.  Boo.  Anyway, the menu is quite impressive for theme park fare featuring Citrus Fire-Grilled Chicken, a Burrito Sonara with “fajita-style” beef or chicken, and various enchilada platters.  Of course, I would go for the Grilled Fish Tacos, one of my favorite all time dishes.  YUM!

Citrus Fire-Grilled Chicken at Rancho del Zocalo

Keeping with the Mexican theme, let’s move over to Disney California Adventure.  The obvious choice would be to go to Cucina Cucamonga, but their menu is very similar to Rancho del Zocalo without the ambiance.  I’m actually more interested in Flo’s V-8 Cafe in the new Cars Land.  Did you know that they have a Chicken Tamale Breakfast on the menu?!?  That sounds amazing…I LOVE Mexican breakfasts.  This is a chicken tamale topped with scrambled eggs, salsa verde and pico de gallo.  I need one of these stat.

Staying in DCA, let’s visit the Paradise Garden Grill in Paradise Pier.  This is a fairly new addition to the restaurants in the area and the menu offers a variety of fun Mediterranean skewers, including grilled steak, lemon-oregano chicken, ground beef (Kefta), and vegetables with tofu for vegetarians (finally!).  You can then choose your sauce to go with the skewer like Tzatziki or Chimichurri.  All skewers come with rice, cucumber salad and a pita.  I love that it is healthy and that you can customize your meal!

Chicken Skewer with Chimichurri
©Heather Sievers
The Disney Food Blog

Lastly, I want to head back to Disneyland Park for more meat on a stick at Bengal Barbecue.  Here they have chicken and beef skewers on the menu, but the most interesting one of all is the the Safari Skewer.  This is grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon.  Yes please!!  That looks and sounds so good, but really how is anything bad once it’s wrapped in bacon.  Everything is is great to just grab as a snack to walk around the park with, and with all the skewers under $4 you can’t go wrong!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Skewer
©Lynette Johnson
The Disney Food Blog

So this leads me to wonder why Walt Disney World can’t offer the same unique counter service cuisine as Disneyland.  Is it because Disneyland is more of a “locals park” and they want more variety than the average WDW guest?  Is California really that far ahead of the curve when it comes to good food?  Is WDW just producing for the masses?  I can’t figure it out!  All I know is that it makes me sad to see all of these wonderful dishes available in Disneyland and not at Walt Disney World because I am CRAVING good, quick food.  I guess this is even more incentive for me to go out west!

Why do you think Walt Disney World doesn’t offer these kind of options in their quick service restaurants?

 

Giveaway Winner

There was a HUGE response for the case of Cheribundi tart cherry juice in last week’s Friday Feast!  I loved all of your comments and the Ginger Cherry and the Whey Cherry were the clear leaders for flavors that you all wanted to try.  I can’t argue with you there since those are my 2 favorites.  And now the anticipation is over…the winner is:

Andi S. from Indiana

Congratulations Andi!!  I know you are going to enjoy all of that delicious tart cherry juice from Cheribundi.  Make sure to come back after you tried them and let us know what you thought.

Thank you again for everyone who participated in the giveaway.  I hope to have many more coming your way soon, so stay tuned!

If I Was Running the Disneyland Half Marathon…

I must admit that I am pretty jealous of everyone heading out to California today for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  Not only because I really want that coveted Coast to Coast medal, but because I’ve never been to Disneyland!  I know this is crazy for a huge Disney fan like myself to never have been to the place where it all began, but Walt Disney World has always been my home.  It wasn’t until recently that I’ve gotten the itch to visit the west coast park.

So this got me to thinking…what if I WAS going to Disneyland this weekend to run the half marathon?  What would I do?  Here’s my dream weekend…

Thursday, August 30th 

  • Arrive at the Disneyland Resort around 3:30 pm after my early morning flight from the east coast.
  • Check in at the Grand Californian Hotel.
  • Head over the Disneyland Park (DL) to take a walk down Main Street USA and walk in Walt’s footsteps. 🙂
  • Finally have dinner at Napa Rose…something I’ve been dying to do!  The menu changes seasonally, but here’s a sample.
  • Watch World of Color from the balcony of my room before crashing after a long day of travel.

Friday, August 31st

  • Get up bright and early for rope drop at Disney California Adventure (DCA) and beeline it over to Cars Land.
  • Get a Fastpass and wait standby for Radiator Springs racers.
  • Grab breakfast in Cars Land.  I’m thinking the Bacon Scramble Cone at the Cozy Cone Motel or the Chicken Tamale Breakfast (YUM!!) at Flo’s V-8 Cafe.
  • Explore the rest of Cars Land and some other areas of DCA.
  • Head over to the Disneyland Hotel around noon for the Health & Fitness Expo to pick up my race packets and do some shopping!
  • Visit Trader Sam’s for a light lunch and libations!
  • Return to DCA to explore more of the park before our dinner reservations at the Wine Country Trattoria as part of the World of Color Dinner Package.
  • Catch the early viewing of World of Color in our reserved viewing area.
Saturday, September 1st

  • Another early morning for the Cars Land 5K Rally!
  • After the race, head to Storyteller’s Cafe in the Grand Californian for breakfast.  This reminds me of my Whispering Canyon post WDW 5K breakfast tradition 🙂
  • Relax by the pool for a bit to rest the legs for the big race tomorrow.
  • Return to DL to experience many of the attractions!  I definitely want to savor everything in this park.
  • Have an early dinner at the Blue Bayou.  The menu looks pretty heavy, but hopefully I can find some lighter fare.  I really want to experience this restaurant!
Sunday, September 2nd

Disneyland Half Marathon Course Map

  • An even earlier morning for the Disneyland Half Marathon!  The nice thing about this resort compared to WDW is that you don’t have to leave as much time to travel to the starting line, which means more sleep 🙂
  • After having a killer PR for the race (this is a dream trip remember!), head back to the hotel for an ice bath and a nap!
  • In the afternoon, return to DL and go Rancho del Zochalo for some fish tacos…my fav!  Why can’t WDW have food like this?!
  • Take in any attractions I missed in both DL and DCA, especially a walk around Cars Land at night.
  • Have an amazing dinner with celebratory cocktails at the Carthay Circle Restaurant.
  • Return to DL for the Magical fireworks show and Fantasmic to end an amazing trip!
Monday, September 3rd

Breakfast of Champions!

  • Sadly pack my bags as I get ready to check out and head home 🙁
  • Take one last walk down Main Street USA and grab a quick breakfast at the Jolly Holiday Bakery before having to head back to the airport for my early afternoon flight home.
So what do you think?!?  Doesn’t this sound like a GREAT trip?!  I think I’m going to put this one in my pocket and save the plan for the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon.  Next year is my year to grab that Coast to Coast medal!  Who’s with me??
What is your dream Disneyland trip?

 

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