Green Monorail Destinations

Green Monorail Destinations

Tips, tricks, and news updates for Disney destinations. Featured Disney products and merchandise as well!

Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

There’s only one way to start your magic morning right at Disneyland and that’s with a steaming hot (or ice cold) cup of nature’s best creation: coffee. I know it’s a…

There’s only one way to start your magic morning right at Disneyland and that’s with a steaming hot (or ice cold) cup of nature’s best creation: coffee. I know it’s a little dramatic and downright grouchy to proclaim “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee,” but that sentiment rings true for me and many others. As a native to the Pacific Northwest and having lived in Seattle for the past 6 years, I can fairly say that I’m a coffee snob and a Caffeine Queen. I’ve made it my mission to find the best coffee in Disneyland and share it will all my fellow coffee lovers!

A Little Bit of Caffeinated Disney History: In 2013, Disney knighted Joffrey’s Coffee as the official coffee of Disney Parks and since then, the quality of drip coffee has increased substantially across Disneyland and Disney World. If you’re not in line for Starbucks, you can assume you’re drinking Joffrey’s. I happen to prefer Joffrey’s taste to Starbucks, so you can’t really go wrong! For all of you who share my love for freshly brewed goodness, here are the best places to grab a coffee at Disneyland.

Starbucks

Let me make me myself clear: Starbucks is never my coffee preference. I will drink it if it’s available, but it’s not my first choice. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have lived in Seattle for the past 6 years where the coffee is good. We may have created Starbucks, but we’ve perfected the art of caffeination since then. However, I still enjoy an iced grande caramel macchiato every once in a while. If you want your Starbucks fix, there are three locations on property. Two of which are under pseudonyms to blend into the Disney atmosphere:

  • Market House: Disneyland on Main Street
  • Fiddler Fifer & Practical Cafe: California Adventure on Buena Vista Street
  • Starbucks: Downtown Disney next to World of Disney

Starbucks Iced Coffee on Main Street at Disneyland | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

Jolly Holiday Bakery Disneyland

A true Disneyland classic. This where you can find light snacks, sandwiches, and the infamous Matterhorn Macaroon. They have a real cappuccino machine so you can order an espresso or a latte if you prefer something more than drip coffee. Also, I recently saw a Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake on the menu and I’m so ready for it.

Tray of Matterhorn Macaroon's from Jolly Holiday Bakery | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

Matterhorn Macaroons from Jolly Holiday

Cappuccino Cart Disneyland

If the line is too long at Starbucks then head over to the small cappuccino cart right next to the castle.  They do freshly-made lattes and mochas and you’ll find unique treats like the once trending Dole Whip Donut here as well.

Dole Whip Donut from the Cappuccino Cart in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

Hungry Bear Restaurant Disneyland

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Hungry Bear serves cold brew. The coffee itself isn’t too bad, but, if they’re serving a “specialty cold brew” made with honey and vanilla syrup, don’t do it! It sounds delicious, but man, it was bitter and bad. It could be that the proportions were off on my batch so I might be willing to give it another shot. Otherwise, just stick with regular coffee here. It’s hardly ever crowded and you get a beautiful view of Tom Sawyer Island with the new railroad track running right by you.

Specialty Cold Brew from Hungry Bear in front of Tom Sawyer Island |  Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

Cappucino Cart California Adventure

This cart is nearly identical to the one in Disneyland. There’s always some fancy treats in the display case and the line is usually pretty short. The location is perfect because it’s at the entrance of Pixar Pier. If you need coffee you won’t want to go all the way back to the park entrance to get Starbucks or Schmoozie’s.

Gourmet Cappuccino Cart near Pixar Pier in California Adventure | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

Schmoozie’s California Adventure

You know what Heaven is? Getting an iced hazelnut latte from Schmoozie’s then heading into Animation Courtyard for a midday cool-down. In my opinion, Schmoozie’s has the best coffee in all of Disneyland. The Cast Members know what they’re doing here. If you want a coffee indulgence, try the Make Mine Mocha, a frozen chocolate espresso with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Iced Hazelnut Latte from Schmoozie's at California Adventure | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

Flo’s V8 Cafe California Adventure

Schmoozie’s may have the best coffee, but Flo’s is the best place to enjoy your coffee at Disneyland. The atmosphere is adorable, the crowds are thin in the morning, you get a great view of Radiator Springs Racers and the food is fantastic. Flo’s serves regular Joffrey’s drip coffee, but for me, it’s not the quality of the coffee that makes it great, it’s the whole experience. Watching the racers zip by while guests leisurely wander the area in the warm Cali morning. *sigh* So lovely.

Coffee and Chicken Tamale Breakfast from Flo's V8 Cafe at California Adventure | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Shop California Adventure

Pro Tip: Order a scoop of the Espresso Chip and a cup of drip coffee for a DIY affogato. Or, how about a hot fudge sundae and a latte before the 9:00 PM showing of World of Color? Yes, please! The yummiest place for an after dinner pick-me-up!

Ghiradelli's Chocolate Shop Factory Mural | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

 

 

 

Hearthstone Lounge Grand Californian Hotel

Hearthstone serves coffee all day. In the morning, it’s a full-service coffee bar complete with fresh pastries and hot cocoa. Later, it transforms into a full-service lounge and coffee bar. If you want to take a break from the parks, head into the hotel via the not-so-secret entrance from California Adventure and take a load off at this lounge. Last I visited, I had a very special caffeinated beverage called the Cold Brew XO. Joffrey’s cold brew coffee with a splash of XO Patron coffee liqueur and heavy cream. It was so good.

Cold Brew XO from Hearthstone Lounge at Grand Californian | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

The Coffee House The Disneyland Hotel 

This little nook is the perfect pit stop if you’re staying at the hotel or exploring the property. I like to enjoy my coffee on the steps of the wedding pavilion located closer to the Paradise Hotel. Picture perfect morning routine! The Coffee House is also the only place where you can find a Dole Whip with a shot of rum at Disneyland. YAS.

The Coffee House Menu at The Disneyland Hotel | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

La Brea Bakery Downtown Disney

Ever had a Nitro Brew coffee? It’s basically a cold brew on tap so the coffee comes out super smooth. La Brea Bakery serves this yummy drink and also has the option to either sit down or use their quick service line for breakfast on-the-go. It’s my first choice for a quick breakfast on my way into the parks. Freshly baked pastries, sandwiches prepared to order, and fantastic coffee!

 

La Brea Bakery Take Out Bag at Downtown Disney | Where to Find Good Coffee at Disneyland

 

 

For all you coffee lovers out there, never fear! Each of the locations I listed has decent coffee whether you’re a lover of Folger’s or a lover of French Pressed. Also, although I feel like I can survive on cold brew alone, it’s better if you hydrate and eat healthy throughout the day. Coffee will perk you up, but healthy snacks will sustain that energy. Be sure to read my guide to Energizing Disneyland Snacks to keep the magic alive throughout the day!

What’s your favorite place to grab a cup o’ joe at the parks?

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13 Places to Get Good Coffee at Disneyland

 

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Disney’s California Adventure for Adults: The Complete Guide

90’s babies have grown up and the challenge to market to our interests has surfaced for a lot of companies. I don’t want to speak for everyone in my age…

90’s babies have grown up and the challenge to market to our interests has surfaced for a lot of companies. I don’t want to speak for everyone in my age group, but one way to strike a chord with us is to tap into our childhood nostalgia. If we visited as kids, we want to revisit the memories of vacations and if we didn’t, we probably still watched Disney movies. In response to “grown-ups” gaining an interest in the parks, I’ve written a series on what to do at Disneyland as an adult.

This park was a little easier to write about than Disneyland proper. First off, California Adventure is not a “dry park” like Disneyland. Meaning, alcohol is sold in this park and there’s a lot of it. If you don’t like to drink there are plenty of thrill rides and entertainment to peak your interest. Now that Cars Land has been added and the transformation of Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier is complete, this park is becoming a rival to Disneyland.

This article is focused on California Adventure so be sure to check out my previous adult guides to Disney:

Events

Most of the festivals at California Adventure appeal to an older demographic because they tend to be food & beverage-centric. We love posting pictures of beautiful cocktails and dishes on Instagram so why not make it easy for us? It’s basically free advertising for Disney anyway.

Food & Wine Festival: This is the baby version of Epcot’s Food & Wine in Disney World. Instead of featuring snacks and cocktails from around the world, this festival puts a spotlight on California-inspired food and beverages. I paired their version of the “frushi roll” with a wine slushie and all my Disney dreams came true.

Warm Bourbon Cider with a Homemade Marshmallow from Festival of Holidays in Disneyland's California Adventure

Festival of Holidays: This is my favorite festival at the parks. The food and entertainment si inspired by holidays from around the world like Hannukah, Christmas, Diwali, and Kwanzaa. Last year they featured bands like Mostly Kosher (Hannukah tunes), an all-female mariachi band, and an a cappella group that sang both Kwanzaa and Christmas songs. It was a ton of fun and I’m hoping to go back next year!

Pixar Fest (2018): I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney kept some of the elements of Pixar Fest for next year and beyond. The festival featuring Pixar-inspired beverages, food, and entertainment has been a hit. You can check out my full guides to Snacking at Pixar Fest and Entertainment for a full review.

Lunar New Year (2018): This year they rang in the Year of the Dog with food, entertainment, and character meets inspired by the holiday and culture that surrounds it. Obviously, Pluto was the star of the show. I’ll keep everyone updated if they decide to bring this one back next year!

Attractions

Soon California Adventure will feature a land devoted entirely to the Marvel canon. They’ve already transformed Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy and they’re getting ready to close down Bug’s Land to make way for more action-packed attractions.

Radiator Springs Racers in Car's Land at Disneyland's California Adventure

Attractions with Single Riders: If your travel group doesn’t mind being separated, use the Single Riders Line. This will cut down your wait time considerably.

  • California Adventure: Radiator Springs, Grizzly River Run, Goofy’s Sky School (strange, but true)
  • Disneyland: Matterhorn, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Space Mountain
Thrills

Incredicoaster: The Incredibles hype made it possible for Disney to transform California Screamin’ into an incredible roller coaster. Overall, the ride is the same as it once was with some elements added to fit the Pixar Pier environment. It’s the only large coaster on property with an upside loop.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Listen, I’m a Tower of Terror purist. When I heard they were transforming it into Guardians of the Galaxy, I was not amused. However, the Imagineers did a great job with the re-imagining of this attraction. The technology is fantastic, the ride is smooth, and I’d say it’s more thrilling than Tower of Terror. I approve of this reinvention, but if they change it in Disney World, I will protest.

Guardians of Galaxy Mission Breakout Ride at Disneyland's California Adventure

Radiator Springs Racers: This ride is like Epcot’s Test Track on steroids and an absolute must-do. The architecture and rock work alone is magnificent and the attraction features animatronic cars that look almost lifelike.

Pixar Pal-Around: Formerly called Mickey’s Fun Wheel, now with Pixar themed gondolas. If you seek a bit of thrill, try the swinging cars that rock in and out while you rotate. Even some grown-ups find this Ferris wheel a little too intense.

Chills

Soarin’ Around the World: There are plenty of attractions that will help you wind down after a morning of coasters and high-speed rides. Soarin’ is a spectacular ride for all ages, but adults seem to appreciate the technology. The ride is relaxing and gorgeous.

Animation Courtyard: I appreciate this hidden gem so much I wrote an entire post highlighting why it’s the best attraction at Disneyland (in my honest opinion). With large projection screens featuring clips of Disney movies and sweeping orchestrations, it’s the perfect place to catch your breath before heading back out into the sweltering sun.

Scene from Up Projected in Animation Courtyard at Disneyland's California Adventure

Dining

Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge: “Hollywood, 1939. Amid the glitz and the glitter of a bustling, young movie town at the height of its golden age.” This restaurant is inspired by the real Carthay Circle and yes, it’s quite romantic. If you’re looking for a cocktail, the first floor has a lounge that does not require a reservation. Up the stairs is the main dining room which splits off to secluded dining areas and private dining nooks reserved for large groups. This place shares the same Chef from the Grand Californian’s Napa Rose, Andrew Sutton, so you know the food is perfection.

Carthay Circle Restaurant Dining Room at Disneyland's California Adventure

Wine Country Trattoria: The atmosphere is inspired by wine countries in Italy complete with an extensive wine list. I love the outdoor seating, covered in winding vines. I suggest the Spaghetti Aglio Olio. Delish!

Alfresco Tasting Terrace: Before you enter Wine Country Trattoria, take the stairs on your right. The rooftop lounge feels secluded and removed from the park hustle. You will have access to the same wine and appetizer menu from Wine Country plus a great view!

Sonoma Terrace: If you’re not in the mood for a lounge setting, near Wine Country Trattoria is a quick-service bar with outdoor seating. They serve some snacks like cheese plates and Bavarian pretzels along with wine and beer.

Lamplight Lounge (Formerly Cove Bar): As we say goodbye to Cove Bar, we greet Lamplight Lounge with open arms. The re-conceptualized lounge is stunning and features unique cocktails, sushi, and the old Cove Bar favorite: Lobster Nachos. There’s even a secret door that leads to a private dining area. I’d give this place a 5 star rating if they didn’t charge $20 a dish. Yikes!

Lobster Nachos from Cove Bar and Lamplight Lounge at Disneyland's California Adventure

World of Color/Paint the Night Dining or Reception Party: The World of Color package is temporarily unavailable until the show is done with refurbishment. Hopefully, it will be back soon! Much like the Tomorrowland Lounge, for an additional cost, you can indulge in specialty cocktails and snacks then watch the Paint the Night parade from a private viewing area. The dining packages are a great deal if you already plan on eating at either Wine Country Trattoria or Carthay Circle. Great way to beat the crowds and have a unique experience!

Coffee

I feel like I can never write a post without mentioning my one true love, coffee. There are three great places to find coffee at California Adventure I’ve listed below and if you want more ideas for coffee take a look at my full guide to good coffee at Disneyland.

  • Starbucks (Pseudonym: Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe): Located towards the entrance of the park and shares a building with Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream (also delicious).
  • Schmoozie’s: Best iced coffee available at California Adventure, in my humble opinion. You can also indulge in one of their frozen blended mochas.
  • Gourmet Coffee Cart: Located at the Pixar Pier entrance. This will have always have a shorter line than Starbucks and they also have some breakfast pastries and other goodies.

Iced Latte in front of Schmoozie's at Disneyland's California Adventure

More Libations

There are a lot more places that serve alcohol in this park, so I made a short-list of every place you can find it. You can do a “Drink Around California” excursion akin to the “Drink Around The World” at Epcot. Best of all, you can get your drinks to-go and carry it around the park. Just like Vegas! Here’s evidence of me carrying around an Island Sunset from the (now deceased) Cove Bar.

Karl Strauss Beer Cart from Pacific Wharf at Disneyland's California Adventure

Pacific Wharf Cafe: Grab an infamous soup in a bread bowl and either a “hazy” unfiltered IPA or a blood orange blonde beer.

Rita’s Baja Blenders: Frozen or on the rocks? These margaritas go well with some tamales from Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill.

Mendocino Terrace: I’ll take a cheese plate and sparkling white wine!

Bayside Brews: A Mickey pretzel and beer kiosk. Perf!

Karl Strauss Beer Truck: Need I say more?

Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta: Pizza and beer, or, pizza and sangria. The choice is yours.

Lucky Fortune Cookery: Tofu and the Japanese beer: Sapporo

Paradise Garden Grill: Two kinds of Dos Equis and red sangria!

Smokejumpers Grill: Waffle fries and beers!

Flo’s V8 Café: The 50’s style diner serves wine and beer, but I’d opt for a milkshake here.

Carthay Circle Restaurant Ceiling Mural at Disneyland's California Adventure

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Maybe you think I’ve drunk the Disney Kool-Aid, but I think the parks have a lot to offer to both young and old! Whether you seek thrills, a relaxing day out, or frozen margaritas, you have a ton of options. Make it a honeymoon, a trip with friends, or go rogue and do a solo Disney trip. All you need is a touch of magic,  a shot of tequila and a sprinkling of pixie dust to make the perfect Disney vacation for grown-ups!

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Downtown Disney for Adults: The Complete Guide

Downtown Disney is my favorite place to visit the minute I land in Anaheim. There’s no cost of admission and there are plenty of options for food, drink, shopping. It’s…

Downtown Disney is my favorite place to visit the minute I land in Anaheim. There’s no cost of admission and there are plenty of options for food, drink, shopping. It’s basically a big party and bustling with street performers. It’s the perfect way to get you excited about your vacation. If you have some time before checking into your hotel room drop your bags off at the front desk and visit for dinner and drinks! Even though it’s not quite as expansive as Disney Springs in Florida, Downtown Disney has a lot to offer. It is also designed with an older demographic in mind.

This is only one part of my Disneyland for Adults Series. Be sure to check out the rest of the guide here:

Entertainment

Splitsville: This is a brand-new bowling alley restaurant and lounge recently replaced House of Blues this year. The retro concept is gorgeous and it’s open until midnight for all you night owls. With crazy cocktails and bar food, this is a great place for a night out with friends or a friendly date night! And don’t worry, House of Blues just moved down the street if you miss the old concert and restaurant venue.

Splitsville Bowling Alley in Downtown Disney - A Guide to Disneyland for Adults

Star Wars Hyper-Reality Experience: This experience is for Star Wars fanatics over the age of 10. This is a “fully immersive” experience where you’re sent on a mission for the rebellion. You get to see, touch, and interact with the Star Wars environment along the way. Your travel group can go as a unit or join another party if you’re traveling solo is sent undercover on a mission for the rebellion.  You can find tickets for the experience here.

A Capella Groups and Street Performers: Every few steps you’ll run into either a singing group, a band, and entertainers. The performers heighten the energy which gives Downtown Disney a party atmosphere.

A Cappella Group Singing at Downtown Disney - Nightlife at Disneyland

Shopping

The Disney Dress Shop: They added this new shop to Disney World and Disneyland and I’m absolutely in love. Finally, an adult version of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique! (Without all the Fairy Godmother’s, of course.) The dresses, mostly designed by Her Universe, are inspired by the retro/Dapper Day aesthetic with a Disney twist. Some of the dresses and accessories are sold throughout the parks as well. If you like vintage, you’ll love this.

Orange Bird Purse from the Disney Dress Shop at Downtown Disney in Disneyland

WonderGround Gallery: Gorgeous Disney-inspired art pieces like custom Vinylmations, giclées, mugs, and more. Also, if you fall in love with a giant painting, Disney can ship it to your home so you don’t have to worry about bringing it on a plane.

Sephora: There’s nothing too different about this Sephora, except perhaps, that it’s placed on Disney property. So it’s somehow more magical, eh?

Disney Home: More Mickey mugs for me! This store has taken all of the Disney themed home goods from around the parks and placed them in one centralized store. The products change throughout the year to fit the seasons.

Disneyland Home Good Store at Downtown Disney

Pandora Jewelry: If you’re a charm junkie you can get all the Disney park-exclusive charms here. I was never too big on charms, but it’s the coolest idea if you’re looking for something to collect every time you visit the parks. Even though they’re spendy, it’s good quality jewelry.

Coffee

The most important meal of the day! I’m gutted that my favorite place to get coffee, Haagen-Dazs, is now closed but I’m delighted that they’re replacing it with Salt & Straw. The next place I suggest is either the Starbucks next to World of Disney or La Brea Bakery where you can pick up fresh pastries and breakfast sandwiches! For great coffee choices in the rest of the parks check out my full guide to good coffee at Disneyland!

Sandwich, Salad, and Iced Coffee from La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney at Disneyland

Dining

Salt & Straw: Opening late 2018! This specialty ice cream shop started near my hometown in Portland, Oregon and will surely be a great late-night treat after a day at the parks! I have a feeling that Disney acquired Salt & Straw because Universal opened Voodoo Doughnuts, another Portland favorite albeit less family-friendly, at both of their locations.

Ballast Point: Opening late 2018! Disneyland is opening their first brewery and outdoor beer garden. This brewery is popular among Californians and based out of San Diego. The menu will also be inspired by SoCal cuisine.

Black Tap Burgers & Beer: Opening late 2018! This is a great option if you’re traveling with a mixed group of drinkers and non-drinkers. Black Tap is another local chain that will add to the new Downtown Disney vibe. The diner themed restaurant will have tons of burgers, including a vegan option, and their signature “CrazyShakes” topped with piles of cotton candy and candies.

Uva Bar: This is my favorite place in Downtown Disney. It’s an outdoor bar located right in the middle of the walkway, between Catal and Build-A-Bear. It’s a great place to take in the atmosphere, listen to the street musicians, and people watch. However, if you’re looking for a quiet dinner, this might not be a great choice.

Bustling Uva Bar at Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney - Nightlife at Disneyland

Catal Restaurant: With menu items like assorted paellas and filet mignon, Catal is slightly more upscale than Tortilla Joe’s. Outdoor seating at Catal is located on the 2nd floor and a prime spot for taking in the sights and sounds of Downtown Disney. Some say they’ve caught the Disneyland fireworks from upstairs.

Naples: Due to lukewarm reviews, Naples is getting a lot of renovations. Reopening Fall 2018, Naples will have a new outside bar and patio and also 3 new wood-burning pizza ovens. This means that the food is also getting an upgrade. I can’t wait to have a glass of wine and gorge myself on a freshly made pizza under the Southern California stars.

Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria at Downtown Disney - The Complete Guide to Downtown Disney for Adults

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen: This is an optimal venue for a date night. There is nightly jazz and gumbo, all set under an open-air atrium design. If you’re in a hurry, they have an express window that serves yummy cajun fried goods and their popular beignets.

Tortilla Joe’s: For a lively night out this place is an old standby. Fresh guacamole is made tableside and there’s a dedicated tequila bar where you can get margaritas made frozen or on the rocks. On Saturdays, an all-female mariachi band wanders the restaurant. Loads of fun!

Coming in the next few years, Downtown Disney will have a brand new hotel in place of Rainforest Cafe and ESPN Zone (both have already closed down). Once the hotel opens, this area will hardly be recognizable and I honestly can’t wait. They’re slowly transforming it to what Disney Springs has become in Disney World: a shopping and food mecca for young adults. I can’t wait to watch this place transform over the years!

What’s your favorite adult-friendly thing to do at Disney? Comment below!

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10 Disneyland Hotel Activities for Adults

Long gone is the assumption that Disneyland is just for kids. You know who has to bring those kids into the parks? Parents! And it’s not just for parents either….

Long gone is the assumption that Disneyland is just for kids. You know who has to bring those kids into the parks? Parents! And it’s not just for parents either. Disney is for young honeymooners, groups of friends visiting SoCal, retired folks coming back for their annual visit, or solo travelers looking for an escape from reality. As someone who doesn’t have children and often travels alone, I’ve found tons of things to do in the parks that keep me coming back. So, I compiled a series of posts about what to do as a grown-up at Disneyland.

Now, I’m finally getting to my favorite part of the series! Disneyland Resort Hotels. Disneyland has three official hotels with a fourth hotel coming in 2021. All three are a little bit pricey, but even if a Disneyland Hotel is outside of your budget, there are a ton of activities, food, and drink to be explored at the resorts. Most of them completely suitable, if not made for, adults.

Check out our other three Guides to Disneyland for Adults here!

Paradise Pier

Paradise Pier is severely lacking in dining and entertainment and really doesn’t hold a bar to Grand Californian or The Disneyland Hotel. If you’re looking to stay at a Disney hotel, I would say due to the high prices, you’ll get a lower value compared to the other two. There other nearby hotels like Four Points Sheraton that would be a better choice. I will also say that it still has the Disney touch and it’s close to Downtown Disney, so it’s not a bad choice, just not the best one. There are two

Paradise Pier Hotel Entrance with Palm Trees - Disneyland Resort Activities

1) View the Fireworks from the Rooftop Pool: The firework viewing is the best thing about this resort. In true Disney fashion, they also pipe in the soundtrack while you watch. Arrive about 20-30 minutes early if you want a seat and there is plenty of standing room if you come late. This is technically for resort guests only, but I somehow found myself on the rooftop one night and I wasn’t turned away. I don’t know if everyone will be that lucky, however, so visit at your own risk!

2) Surfside Lounge: If you’re looking to a Disney bar crawl and hit up every lounge in the area, this will be the place to start off. However, if you’re looking for a good Disney cocktail, I suggest heading across the street to another resort or Downtown Disney.

Disneyland Hotel

Walt’s flagship hotel has fantastic park views and located just steps away from the monorail. The hotel is defiantly Disney in a way that’s neither cheesy or oversaturated. The rooms are filled with “magical” elements like the light-up headboards and Hidden Mickeys. If you’re a grown-up Disney fan you’ll love the theming and the historical elements scattered throughout the hotel. Last I visited, they were having a special showing of Disneyland’s opening day documentary in one of their conference rooms. It was extremely nerdy and awesome.

3D Map of Disneyland's Frontierland at The Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Frontierland 3D Map

3) Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar: You’ll find the best mixed drinks at Trader Sam’s. On the patio, you’re treated to a live band and tiki torches. The indoor bar is very tiny so you will most likely have to wait in a line to be admitted. Even then, you’re not guaranteed a seat and you might have to cozy up to the bar. Once you’ve made it inside, you’re transported to an immersive tropical hideaway with really great food. Try the Chinese Long Beans or just get the sampler Pu Pu Platter. Also, I don’t want to give away too much, but if you order a Krakatoa Punch, you’re in for a surprise!

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar and Lounge Entrance and Sign - Activities for Adults at Disneyland

4) Rum Dole Whip – The Coffee House: This the one place on property that serves the classic Dole Whip with a shot of rum. Extremely dangerous! They also have coffee (duh) and specialty pastries and treats throughout the day.

5) Fancy Dining – Steakhouse 55: What’s more adult than a fancy steakhouse? The specialty is the 24 layer chocolate cake (YAS). If you want to be extra fancy, try the Afternoon Tea where you can indulge in a spread of scones and tea sandwiches. I have a preference to Napa Rose for fancy feasts, but I know plenty of others who enjoy this place.

6) Explore the Wedding Pavillions: Spread out among the finely tamed lawn are small wedding gazebos, usually abandoned, and ready for you take some Instagram pics in a picturesque setting. Sure, they may not be as grandiose as Grand Floridian’s wedding pavilions, but they’re still pretty cute. I’ve had the opportunity to run into a couple wedding ceremonies. I creepily watched from the bushes while the bride and groom made their happily ever after come true!

The Grand Californian

Napa Rose Restaurant Outside Patio and Fire Pits - Disneyland Hotel Activities for Adults

Napa Rose Terrace

The most adult-centric resort is the Grand Californian and if you have the budget, this place is worth every penny. There’s poolside service, a gorgeous lobby to rest your feet, and a private entrance to California Adventure. If it’s not in your budget, you can still enjoy some of the things the resort has to offer.

7) Napa Rose: This is my favorite restaurant in Disneyland and the best place you can go for a quiet evening out. Everything is delicious and the service is excellent. On a slow night, I took my champagne to the firepits on the outside terrace. Right on the other side winding grape vines is California Adventure and you can hear the ambient music and chatter from the parks. Pure Disney bliss. If you don’t want to splurge on a full meal visit the lounge for cocktails and appetizers. I can’t suggest a single meal because the menu changes often and also because everything I’ve tried is so darn good.

Napa Rose Lounge and Restaurant at the Grand Californian - Disneyland Activities for Adults

8) Get Up and Go Power Walk: This is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done at Disneyland. If you happen to stay at any of the resorts you have the ability to see the parks before anyone else that day. I mean, you still have to work for it, but it’s still pretty cool.  Every morning, a Cast Member leads a group of hotel guests through the special entrance of California Adventure and on a guided power walk. The Cast Member who lead my group worked in the corporate office and told us fun facts and stories about his life at Disney. I promise you it’s not that difficult of a workout either. As long as you can keep up with a quickened step for about 20 minutes, you should be good. I am definitely not an athletic person and I did just fine. To sign up, visit the Concierge at your hotel when you arrive and they’ll let you know if they have open spots.

9) Hearthstone Lounge: In the morning, grab a coffee or pastry and in the afternoon, grab a drink! The lounge is located inside of the lobby with decor that matches the rest of the resort. It’s a great place to escape to when you’re about halfway through your day and in need of a good, solid cocktail. Best cocktails to try: Pina CoLava or the Bourbon Flight!

Rum Swizzle Cocktail at Hearthstone Lounge at The Grand Californian - Disneyland Activities for Adults

10) Mandara Spa: On my last two visits I booked a massage at Mandara and I’m officially hooked on this spa. Get a massage with your partner or a pedi with your best friend then relax in their steam room and sauna. It’s a great way to experience the luxury of the Grand Californian without completely emptying your bank account. Also, be sure to check out Groupon before booking here! I’ve found a few discounted packages in the past.

Mandara Spa Sign at the Grand Californian Hotel -Disneyland Hotel Activities for Adults

Whether you’re drinking at a resort or taking in a spa day, there are plenty of things to do at any of the hotels. And most of them don’t require the price of admission or even a one-night stay! Take the day off and do some shopping at Downtown Disney, grab some lunch at Napa Rose, take a walk around The Disneyland Hotel, and cap off your night at Trader Sam’s! Also, if you’re traveling with kids they can join you for most of these endeavors, so there’s no need to find a babysitter on date night. 😉

Pin it for later!You don't have to splurge on a stay at The Grand Californian to enjoy the tasty cocktails or full-service spa. All three Disneyland hotels have a ton to offer couples, friends, and even solo adventurers! #disneyland #disney #california #californiaadventure #cocktails #nightlife #solotravel
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Disneyland for Adults: The Complete Guide

Walt’s inspiration for Disneyland sparked when he was sitting on a bench watching his kids ride a carousel. He decided at that moment that his calling was to create a…

Walt’s inspiration for Disneyland sparked when he was sitting on a bench watching his kids ride a carousel. He decided at that moment that his calling was to create a park that everyone could enjoy, both kids and adults, together. Over the years, this idea has adapted with the times. We’re seeing more adults enjoying Disneyland, whether they have children or not. In doing so, Disney has responded by adding food and entertainment to keep the attendance high and their new and modern audience engaged. As a frequent guest, I can attest there are plenty of things to do at Disneyland as an adult with or without kids! I’ve highlighted food, events, trends, and entertainment that makes Disneyland great for couples, groups of friends, or solo trips.

I intended to write one post including an Ultimate Guide to Disneyland as an Adult, but it was enormous, so I’ve broken it up into four parts. Be sure to check out the other three!

Haunted Mansion Side View of Entrance at Disneyland

Attractions

Single Riders Lines: First and foremost! You can turn a 90 minute standby line into a 20 minute wait using the single rider queue. If your group doesn’t mind being separated that is. Occasionally, you’ll get lucky and board together or at least in the same car.

Rides with a Single Riders Line:

  • Matterhorn
  • Splash Mountain
  • Indiana Jones
  • Space Mountain
  • California Adventure: Radiator Springs, Grizzly River Run, Goofy’s Sky School (strange, but true)

Thrills

The Mountain Rides – Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Matterhorn: The Mountain Rides are the best thrills Disneyland has to offer. Space Mountain tends to be the most popular with the longest wait. Unless it’s the middle of summer then Splash Mountain will also be crowded. Pro Tip: If you can, try to time your ride on the Matterhorn during the fireworks. You get a view of the castle and fireworks up close and it’s a pretty cool experience. I’ve somehow managed to do this twice.

Matterhorn Mountain and Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage Lagoon

Indiana Jones Adventure: The perfect ride for 80’s/90’s babies. It has a bit of a thrill factor and throwback to some of our favorite Harrison Ford moments. The vehicle throws you around quite a bit so if you have any chronic back pain or motion sickness, I might avoid it.

Star Tours-The Adventure Continues: Disney has been updating this ride since the new movies came out and it now features some of our favorite new lands and characters. This attraction will satisfy your Star Wars needs until the new Star Wars land, Galaxy’s Edge, opens in 2019.

Haunted Mansion: This one is somewhere between thrill and chill. It has the “spooky” factor, but it’s no Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal. It’s still an all-time favorite for most. The technology was very innovative at the time it was built and proves to be impressive today. I’m also a big fan of the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay that happens every Christmas.

Chills

About halfway through the day, I start to feel overwhelmed with crowds and heat so I seek out calming dark rides, the railroad, and log ride attractions. You gotta pace yourself a bit if you want to last until closing!

Tom Sawyer Island: This is easily one of the most beautiful and underrated areas in Disneyland. The island is hardly ever crowded and features activities or hideaways that you can explore. I like it because it’s a great place to relax. Buy a chimichanga at a nearby food cart and venture to the island for a quiet picnic!

Tom Sawyer Island and Pirate Lair surrounded by the Rivers of America at Disneyland

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln: This attraction was Walt’s pride and joy. Abraham Lincoln was one of the first Audio-Animatronics and I can only imagine the reaction it got the first time guests saw a robot stand up by itself. This show is filled with so much American and Disney history you could just burst.

The Enchanted Tiki Room: If you’re already standing in line for a Dole Whip, you might as well stick around for the Tiki Room. Another classic that has been open since day one at Disneyland. The air conditioning is welcoming and there’s never a long wait to see the show.

Coffee

The most important meal of the day! Many of us, whether we have kids or not, depend on coffee to make our day a little more magical. If you’re looking for an excellent cup of joe in the parks check out my guide to good coffee at Disneyland.

Dining

Disneyland may never accept alcohol into this park because every time they mention the concept, people lose their minds. This is due to the idea that Disney once intended Disneyland to be a “dry park.” That was a long time ago and they certainly allow alcohol at Club 33, so we may see a change in the future. Never fear! You can still walk 50 yards across the Esplanade and grab a cocktail at California Adventure if you so desire.

Insta-Snacks: It seems like every week Disney is cooking up another trendy dish for people to snatch up and post on Instagram. Many will scoff at those who #doitforthegram but I say bring it on! I love looking at pictures of food, especially when it’s Mickey shaped. Lately, the hype has been the Dole Whip donut and Disney World’s Millenial Pink Champagne and both are limited-time treats (I believe the donut is no longer available). Keep your eyes peeled for Insta-worthy snacks around Disneyland. The most common place to find beautiful treats are Jolly Holiday Bakery and the cappuccino cart.

The Dole Whip Donut - Disneyland for Adults: The Complete Guide #vacation

Blue Bayou: The coolest thing about this restaurant is that it’s located inside Pirates of the Caribbean. The “nighttime” environment is dark, moody, and incredibly romantic. However, much like Rainforest Cafe, you’re paying for the atmosphere, not the food. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the Monte Cristo. It’s the only thing worth shelling a pretty penny for.

Cafe Orleans: What this place lacks in atmosphere, it gains in food quality. The menu is absolutely incredible and catered to an adult appetite. They serve the same famous Monte Cristo as the Blue Bayou and also the infamous Mickey beignets. If you can’t get a reservation at Blue Bayou, try this one! (I like their entrees better here anyway!)

Stack of Mickey Shaped Beignets with Powdered Sugar at Carnation Cafe in Disneyland

Mickey Beignet | Cafe Orleans

Carnation Cafe: This restaurant has been around since the park’s opening in 1955. It’s lead by Chef Oscar Martinez, the longest-tenured Cast Member who just celebrated 60 years with Disneyland. If you’re a Disney nut like me, you’ll love the sentimental values of this restaurant. If you’re a foodie (also like me) you’ll love the food here. They serve comfort foods like fried pickles, baked potato soup, and Walt’s favorite meatloaf.

Fantasmic! Dining Package: If you plan on having dinner at either Blue Bayou, River Belle Terrace, or Cafe Orleans, you might as well book it with the Fantasmic! Dining Package. The package includes a 3-course meal and a reserved spot in the preferred viewing area. Unless you want to camp out for an hour, it’s difficult to find a clear viewing spot for the show so the dining package is the way to go.

Blue and Green Pirates of the Caribbean Ship at Disneyland's Fantasmic Night Show

Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience: For an extra price, you can indulge in some Disney snacks and watch the fireworks from a private viewing area in Tomorrowland. The reservation allows you to come and go as you please, from 8:00-10:00 at night. Great option for a group of friends!

Events & Entertainment

Disneyland After Dark: This year Disneyland launched a special-ticket event series where they keep the park open late to host a themed night-out. The first theme was Throwback Nite where guests were encouraged to wear their Dapper Day best and the second was Star Wars Nite. Each event hosts themed entertainment and photo ops. You can check out the official website here for any updates regarding upcoming events.

Late-Night Shopping: The shops on Main Street usually remain open after close for about an hour, so don’t rush out after the fireworks! It’s the perfect time to peruse the stores and collect your souvenirs. It’s also the best time to get your castle pictures since the crowds will have died down.

VIP Tours: This is a fantastic idea for big Disney fans or frequent visitors who are looking for something unique to do. The most popular tour is Walk In Walt’s Foot Steps, which takes you on a guided tour through the history of Disneyland. I hope to someday take The Grand Circle Tour which explores Walt’s love for trains and also where you’ll get to ride in the special parlor train aboard the Lily Belle.

Golden Horseshoe Review: If you’re looking for a fun date night this campy dinner show might be a good option. If your party is full of introverts you might want to try Blue Bayou though! The show involves a little bit of audience interaction, so don’t be surprised if they call you out!

Photo Shoot: I’m a big fan of perusing Disney Instagram’s before dozing off. Now that everyone has semi-pro phone cameras, a lot of Disney fans have gotten creative with their photography. There are dedicated walls and popular spots to take selfies and portraits around the parks and it’s a fun way to pass the time. For inspiration, Disney Style explored some fantastic places to take your Disneyland photos.

My generation was born in the height of Disney’s second golden era with classics like Beauty & the Beast, Toy Story, Lion King, and so on. It makes our heart melt when we hear the sweeping orchestration I Can Go the Distance or watch Ariel and Prince Eric dance together in Fantasmic. More grown-ups are visiting without children and those with children are enjoying the parks more than ever. Disney seems to have taken advantage of this and as time progresses, so will the parks. I’m interested to see what they will add to spark the interest of future generations!

Also, if you’re looking for tips for visiting Disney World in Florida as an adult, head over to Lissy Through the Looking Glass for Disney for Adults -7 Things to Try if Thrill Rides Aren’t Your Thing.

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Disneyland for Adults: The Complete Guide

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Energizing Disneyland Snacks That Won’t Give You a Food Coma

By the time you’ve rope dropped Space Mountain, ran to Matterhorn, and hiked Main Street, you’re gonna feel a little cranky. In the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring ways…

By the time you’ve rope dropped Space Mountain, ran to Matterhorn, and hiked Main Street, you’re gonna feel a little cranky. In the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring ways to decrease the stress-level that goes into a Disney vacation. I’ve written two posts explaining ways to alleviate stress on vacation and my favorite place to recharge: Animation Courtyard. But, there’s another incredibly important way to keep your energy up and the magic going. Snacks. Oh yes, I’m getting to the good stuff now. You don’t want to poop out before lunch and there are plenty of snacks at Disneyland that will lift your energy. I also want to preface that I’m not a huge health nut. I take care of myself, but I will also indulge in marshmallow Tigger Tails, thank you very much. So, I’ve compiled a list of some healthy and semi-healthy Disney treats that will keep you active in the parks. If you want to last until the fireworks, heed my advice!

Water: I can’t stress how important this “snack” is. If you’re feeling especially low on fuel, it’s more than likely you’re dehydrated. It’s good to drink plain water, but it’s also imperative to drink electrolytes. One essential I pack in my Disney bag are the Propel electrolyte packets. They’re travel-sized so you can easily add them to a water bottle. I mention this tip a lot because it’s crucial!

Fruit, Veggie, and Beverage Stand at Mortimer's Market in Disneyland's California Adventure

Fresh Fruits and Veggies: Disney has made an effort to add healthier snacks to their quick service carts and restaurants. There are few dedicated fruit and veggie kiosks and carts located throughout the parks. Notably, Mortimer’s Market at California Adventure, Filmore’s Taste-In in Cars Land, the “flower” cart on Main Street, and the large marketplace near Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland. Bengal Barbecue is also where you can grab a Tiger Tail, a doughy and cheesy breadstick snack!

Wooden Box of Red and Green Apples at Mortimer's Market in Disneyland's California Adventure

Corn on the Cob: Another healthy snack is the fresh grilled corn served with or without butter. They’re usually sold alongside the turkey legs and chimichangas. While all three are excellent snack choices,  the turkey and chimichangas generally produce a food coma. Grilled corn is sold across from Big Thunder Mountain, Edelweiss Snacks in Fantasyland, and various other food carts throughout both parks. Last year, they even had a deep fried cilantro-lime corn cob at Paradise Grill. Hopefully, they’ll bring this one back!

Disneyland Corn on the Cob, Turkey Leg, and Chimichanga Sign - Disney Snacks

Dole Whip Float: A Dole Whip is lighter and fresher than ice cream, but still has a good kick of sugar and citrus to boost your energy. Make it a float and the pineapple juice will quench your thirst and pump you up! Make it a double with a shot of rum at The Coffee House in The Disneyland Hotel. (The rum is more of a “winding down” snack, but I thought ya’ll need to know this important tip.)

Dole Whip Float with a Cocktail Umbrella at Disneyland

Salad in a Bread Bowl: The salads at Pacific wharf are enormous so I don’t know if I can consider them “snacks.” They’re good for sharing though and fairly healthy. Fun Fact: All the sourdough bread served in the parks comes from the Boudin Bakery in California Adventure. They make so much bread that they donate the leftovers to groceries stores throughout Anaheim.

Salad in a Bread Bowl at the Pacific Wharf Cafe at Disneyland's California Adventure

Mint Julep: Sometimes a midday cocktail will suck the energy out of me, so I’ll opt for something without alcohol. The classic non-alcoholic Mint Julep is a great alternative to a refreshing drink. It’s a bright and citrusy lemonade with a splash of fresh mint. The drink is sold at the Mint Julep Bar towards the train station in New Orleans. You can also pick up some of the infamous Mickey Beignets at this window.

Mint Julep Drink with a Lemon Wedge in front of New Orleans Fountain in Disneyland

Edamame: Lucky Fortune Cookery in Pacific Wharf has a wide variety of meals and snacks that aren’t deep-fried or loaded with carbs. The Asian Rice Bowls come packed with rice, veggies, protein and your choice of sauce. I hear the coconut curry is the sauce to try! As for a pick-me-up, the fresh edamame is boiled and lightly salted to satisfy your salty cravings.

Frozen Banana: A giant banana saturated with chocolate and hazelnuts, frozen to perfection. Ok, so the banana is no longer a healthy snack once dunked in sugar, but the treat is quite filling and at least it’s not as heavy as say, a churro. The fact that it’s frozen keeps the chocolate from melting away in your hands, so you can nibble on it while waiting in line at the Jungle Cruise. Which, by the way, is always the hottest and most crowded cue in the park.

Frozen Chocolate Banana at Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride in Disney World

Fresh Smoothie: Schmoozie’s is my favorite place to get iced coffees, but they also serve killer smoothies (hence the name). They are blended to serve and comparable to the smoothies served at Jamba Juice.

Schmoozie's Sign at Disneyland's California Adventure

Pineapple Spears: I know I mentioned fresh fruits and veggies, but these pineapple spears deserve their own special attention. If you’ve already had two Dole Whips and you want something citrusy to wake you up these little babies are extremely fresh and sweet. Just to die for.

Fresh Fruit and Veggies in Ice at Mortimer's Market in Disneyland

Iced Coffee: I saved the best for last. I will not and cannot start my Disney day without a cup of coffee and when it’s hot enough to melt your Dole Whip mid-bite, you’ll want an iced coffee. I dMy favorite places to get coffee at Disneyland: On my last visit, I was struggling to find a definitive list or guide to finding a good cup of coffee at Disneyland. So, as someone who can survive on cold brew alone, I made it my mission to find the best places to grab coffee in the parks and share this vital information with everyone else! You can find my full guide to good coffee here!

Starbucks Iced Coffee on Main Street at Disneyland

Redd’s Apple Freeze: This is Disneyland’s answer to Disney World’s Le Fou’s Brew. The Apple Freeze is sold at the Cozy Cone in Cars Land and consists of frozen apple juice, a touch of marshmallow, and topped with passion fruit-mango foam. You can also try Cozy Cone’s Fuelin’ Groovy Pomegranate Limeade, topped with a lemon-lime foam. Both drinks are refreshing with less processed sugar than soda.

Cars Land Cozy Cone Queso Motel at Disneyland's California Adventure

Disneyland has really stepped up their food game in the last 10-15 years. Everywhere you turn you’ll see a different Toy Story cake pop or cookie or macaron. All of them gorgeous and tantalizing. I’m not saying you should avoid these treats. My usual goal is to see how many Dole Whips I can stuff down before my trip ends. However, there are plenty of other options that will feed your cravings and also perk you up. I’m going to emphasize one more time that the most important thing you can do is to keep hydrated. You will feel so much better if you’re drinking enough water and electrolytes. Despite the snacks you choose, it’s important to take care of yourself throughout your vacation. Don’t want to burn out early and miss out on the magic!

What’s your favorite pick-me-up at the parks? Comment below!

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Energizing and Healthy Disneyland Snacks

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Snack Guide: 13 Popular Treats at Pixar Fest in Disneyland

If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff. -Remy  Pixar Fest is easily one of the best Disney Festivals I’ve yet to experience. I…

If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff. -Remy 

Pixar Fest is easily one of the best Disney Festivals I’ve yet to experience. I don’t say this lightly. Dear Lawd, the food was good. Disney, in general, has really stepped up their game on the food quality and it seems like every month they’re coming up with new creations. To get the most out of Pixar Fest, head to the Paradise Garden Grill, which is to the right of the Goofy’s Sky School in California Adventure. This is where they feature a lot of the unique food, a special character spot, and a Pixar themed band. There’s a picture of the full menu below as well.

After the first week of the festival, I wrote a little guide to entertainment and shows available during the festival, which you can read here. But now, I’m ready to cover the really serious stuff. Let’s talk sweets. My title says top 13 snacks, but there are loads more than I mentioned here.  Pixar Fest runs now through September 2018.

Lots-O-Straw-Bear-Y Funnel Cake (Hungry Bear Restaurant-Disneyland): Layers of strawberries, blueberries, strawberry butter and pink sugary crumbles. This was really good, but honestly, the best part was the fried dough (duh!). I could only get through half of it, so try to share! They have another version called Jessie’s Berry Jubilee Funnel Cake served at the Stagedoor Cafe next to Hoop-de-Doo review. That one has oreo crumbles and creme anglaise, dusted with gold sugars.

Lots-O Strawberry & Blueberry Funnel Cake with a Disneyland/Pixar Fest Park Map

Tres Leches Parfait (Paradise Garden Grill-California Adventure): If you’re one for rich desserts, this is the one to try! I had already eaten breakfast, so I didn’t think I’d get through all of it, but oh man, this is an amazing treat. It’s vanilla cake layered with a caramel cream and dark rum. Basically a caramel tiramisu. I will never stop dreaming about this treat.

Tres Leches Coco Parfait Dessert at Disneyland's Pixar Fest

Spicy Corn Dog (Corn Dog Castle-California Adventure): Let me try to paint a picture for you: This was a spicy hot link sausage, with a layer of pepper jack cheese, and then a cajun chicken sausage, dipped in housemade batter and fried to perfection. You start off eating a corndog, eat a fried cheese stick, then another corndog. It comes with a blackberry-serrano chile dipping sauce that is the right amount of spice and sweet. It’s a euphoric experience.

Three-Flavored Spicy Corn Dog with Blackberry Serrano Dipping Sauce in front of Pixar Pals Sign at Disneyland

Agua de Jamaica (Paradise Garden Grill-California Adventure): It was too hot for the Mexican hot cocoa, so I opted for the hibiscus tea slush. In essence, it was a fruit slushy. This was nice and refreshing in the hot Cali sun, but doesn’t compare to the other treats I indulged in.

Agua de Jamaica Slushy Drink Pixar Fest at Disneyland

Cheeseburger Pizza and Alien Macarons (Pizza Planet – Overlay at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Disneyland): I’m gonna get a little critical here because I had such high hopes for the Pizza Planet overlay. We all thought we were getting the Pizza Planet we deserve, but alas, all we got was a sign and some decals on the walls. The Alien Macarons seemed to have a weird, gooey blackberry filling and the pizza was their regular pizza with hamburger meat and pickles. Neither appealed to me, so I didn’t want to wait in the long line. The macarons looked super cute though! “Pizza Planet” was, unfortunately, one of those things where Disney builds a lot of hype and gives you minimal effort with low-quality results. Yikes. Maybe someday, Pizza Planet!

Pizza Planet Overlay at Redd Rocket's Pizza Port in Disneyland for Pixar Fest

Confectionary Treats: Pixar Cake Pops and Candy Apples! The Pixar Ball cake pops are the treat that you’ve now seen in 1000 Instagram pics. Both treats are adorbs and worthy of a photo, so that’s all that really matters anyway, right? The Pixar themed treats can be found in most confectionaries around the park.

Finding Nemo and Luxo Pixar Cake Pops in a Display Case at Disneyland's Pixar Fest

Mexican Hot Cocoa (Coco Inspired): The cutest Pixar Fest souvenir is the Coco jarrita ceramic mug which comes filled with delish Mexican hot cocoa. Imagine snuggling up with this Coco while enjoying the Paint the Night parade with your loved ones. Pure Disney-hygge bliss. These are sold at Paradise Garden Grill and you can see the whole menu here:

Paradise Garden Grill Special Menu at Disneyland's Pixar Fest

Other Food-Related Souvenirs:  Throughout the parks, they are selling things like a Mike Wazowski Souvenir Sipper, the connecting Mike & Sulley Popcorn Buckets, and a reusable Pixar Luxo Lamp Straw that people are going crazy over. You can find these at places like Schmoozie’s, popcorn carts, and the Disneyland cappuccino cart (left of the castle) or California Adventure cappuccino cart (entrance to Pixar Pier). There are plenty of other Pixar exclusive souvenirs sold as well, which I cover in my entertainment post.

Souvenir Coco Refillable Plastic Cups for Disneyland's Pixar Fest

Honorable Mentions:

  • Various Churros: Chocolate with Chocolate Dipping Sauce (Frontierland Cart), Strawberry (Tomorrowland), Lemon Dusted with Fruity Pebbles (Main Street-Near Mr. Lincoln), Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce (Liberty Square), “Specialty” Churro with Frosting and Cocoa Pebbles, and OMG the Pineapple with Marshmallow Dipping Sauce (Sleeping Beauty’s Castle)
  • Mike Wazowski Whoopie Pie (Schmoozie’s)
  • Mint Chip Shake (Schmoozie’s)
  • Pixar Layered Lemon & Raspberry Cake (Paradise Garden Grill, Plaza Inn, Pacific Wharf Cafe)

Schmoozie's Menu for Pixar Fest at Disneyland

Some of the festival dishes I highly recommend due to their deliciousness. Other items just come with some extra toppings that are yummy, but not quite as unique. As always, don’t get discouraged if you can’t hit every single thing they have to offer! There will always be new Disney food trends, whether it’s the dole whip donut, millennial pink champagne, or the rainbow-unicorn churro. That last one doesn’t exist, but I wish. As mentioned before, the main hub for Pixar Fest celebrations and festival food is at the Paradise Garden Grill. They had a lot to offer back there! Also, be sure to read the rest of my guide to Pixar Fest here so you don’t miss anything awesome!

For a full list of the Pixar Fest foods, Disney Food Blog is always on top of things with their guides and reviews of Disney food. You’ll even see a picture of my funnel cake on there! 🙂

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Top 13 Snacks available at Disneyland's Pixar Fest #disneyland #pixarfest #california #food #foodie #snacks

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The Biggest Mistakes You’ll Make on Your Disney Vacation and How to Avoid Them

“YOU RUINED MY VACATION!” Ask any Cast Member, past or present, and they’ll most likely say they’ve heard this phrase before. Either said directly to them or in their vicinity….

“YOU RUINED MY VACATION!” Ask any Cast Member, past or present, and they’ll most likely say they’ve heard this phrase before. Either said directly to them or in their vicinity. And look, I get it, it’s sweltering, crowded, expensive, and you’re staying in a cramped hotel room with your whole family and no way to escape. I understand why people break down when their vacation isn’t perfect. But, here’s something else to consider: Disneyland isn’t a perfect, beautiful place.

Blasphemy, you say! No, it’s true. The only reason people believe it’s perfect and beautiful is due to the memories they’ve connected to it. Nostalgia takes us over and like being in love for the first time, we see no flaws. Much like a romantic comedy, when visiting this magical land, you must manage your expectations of reality. Colin Firth won’t always be waiting in the snow with a chunky sweater ready to sweep you off your feet. It may be some version of that, but it will never be exactly what you had in mind, which can feel frustrating.

So, how do you stop yourself from feeling like your vacation has been ruined and take it out on the nearest, innocent Cast Member? Some of these tips feel like no-brainers, but don’t take them for granted. I guarantee you’ll start feeling better if you apply most of these to your vacation.

Huge Bouquet of Disneyland Balloons in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Dusk

Drink Electrolytes: Most of my “tips for Disney” include drinking water because this is vital for enjoying your vacation. If you find yourself fading and exhausted, more than often than not, you’re dehydrated and lacking electrolytes. Buy a pack of the to-go Propel electrolyte packets and pop them into your water bottle once in a while. I guarantee you’ll feel better.

Avoid Disney FOMO: Disney FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is the most toxic thing that can happen to your vacation. If you miss a parade or can’t get a FastPass to a certain ride, don’t fret. There are 100 other things to do that will be just as lovely. You won’t be able to see and do everything in the park so enjoy whatever you can. Shake it off and buy another Dole Whip, friend!

Matterhorn Mountain Toboggan Ride Seats

Non-Park Day: If you can, plan for a day in the middle of your vacation to not enter the parks. Or, try to go in halfway through the day. Sleep in, spend time at the pool, eat at Disney Springs or book a massage at one of the Resort spas! Your body will thank you for the extra rest and you’ll enjoy the rest of your week much more.

Fewer Pictures, More Memories: I’m a blogger so I have to take a lot of pictures, but it sometimes detracts from the experience if you’re too busy seeing your vacation through a lens. Try to capture moments of the people you’re with, rather than just shows and rides. There are thousands of videos and pictures of Disney online that you can peruse later if you’re feeling the Disney blues.

8 Ways to Alleviate Stress on Your Disney Vacation and Start Making More Magic

Take Lots of Breaks Within the Day: On average, you will walk about 8-10 miles a day at Disney. This is a huge influx of activity for a lot of us. Find a place to nest for a bit in-between rides and meals. Here are a few of my favorite places to rest:

  • Hub Grass in front of Cinderella Castle (Magic Kingdom): Grab some Corn Dog Nuggets and take in the castle view.
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch (Animal Kingdom): Take a relaxing train ride to the remote Conservation Station and enjoy the a/c and chill atmosphere.
  • Mexic0 Pavilion (Epcot): Dark, indoor pavilion with a gentle Three Caballero boat ride that usually doesn’t have a wait time.
  • Walt Disney Presents (Formerly One Man’s Dream – Hollywood Studios): A historical self-guided exhibit tour of old Disney artifacts and whatnot. At the end of the tour, there’s a 20 minute documentary about Walt Disney’s life you can cool off at.
  • Tom Sawyer Island (Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, CA): Lots of shade and places to sit. Pack a picnic and take a raft over!
  • Animation Courtyard (California Adventure -Disneyland, CA): Indoor air conditioning, dark lighting, and Disney music.
  • Your Resort Pool: Pop back to your hotel for a pool cocktail and a cool dip!

Pirate Lair on Tom Sawyer Island Surrounded by Rivers of America in Disneyland

Plan Ahead: If there are shows and attractions you really want to experience you have to plan ahead to have a better chance of seeing them. That means, booking your FastPasses in advance (60 days for onsite guests and 30 days for offsite guests), making dinner reservations, and drawing out a general timeline for each park day. If you need help with resources, check out my planning guide here.

Stay Flexible: Even if you’re the most organized person in the world, not everything is going to go according to plan. If you miss your FastPass, or a roller coaster is down due to rain, don’t sweat it! There are a ton of other things you can and will do on your vacation. Enjoy yourself and take things as they come.

Be Kind to Cast Members:  Circling back to my first point…Cast Members are just people. Do not blame them if you have to pay $20 for corn dog nuggets. You don’t want to expel your happy Disney energy taking it out on someone else. Also, if you’re kind to a Cast Member they may end up making some magic for you too!

Jambalaya Jazz Band playing in New Orleans Square at Disneyland

Use a Travel Agent: I know it sounds like I’m advertising since I’m a Travel Agent myself, but I’m actually quite honest about this one. There are a lot of factors that go into planning a Disney vacation and they can be overwhelming. Having an Agent might put you at ease. You can feel free to contact me if you’re interested, or, find another trusted source that can help you.

Breathe and Smile: You’re at Disney. Take a breath and hug your kid, or partner, or friend, or nearest Cast Member (just kidding, don’t do that), and enjoy the memories you’re making in this beautiful environment.

Last month I visited Disneyland on my first solo Disney trip and had an absolutely miserable time. I consider myself a Disney expert and know all the tricks and tips to make a Disney vacation go perfectly, but somehow I was unhappy in the happiest place on Earth. And why? Because I wanted it to be perfect and I wanted to do it all at once. Truth is, there’s so much happening at the parks, you really can’t do it all. You shouldn’t try to do it all, so take a deep breath and use these tips to start making some magical memories!

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The Biggest Mistakes You'll Make on Your Disneyland Vacation and How to Avoid Them

 

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Best and Worst Disney World Value Resorts

“How do I save money on my vacation?” is unsurprisingly one of the most frequently asked questions when planning a Disney trip. Park tickets are expensive, quick service meals cost…

“How do I save money on my vacation?” is unsurprisingly one of the most frequently asked questions when planning a Disney trip. Park tickets are expensive, quick service meals cost too much, and you’re probably gonna want a pair of Mickey Ears to feel like you’re doing it right. One small way to save money is to eat outside of the parks and pack your lunches. But honestly, due to lines, parades, and FastPass reservations, you usually don’t have enough time to pop in and out for a cheap meal.

So, if you’re budget-minded, what’s the easiest way to spend less money? Choose a value level resort. Choosing a resort in this category (the lowest price with fewer amenities) can decrease the cost immensely and take a little stress off the idea of going on vacation. There have been plenty of blogs that outline money saving tips and tricks. This is one of the easiest ways to do so. Which brings me to another frequently asked question: “Where should I stay?” Here’s a ranking of all the Disney World Value Resorts to help you decide.

Something To Remember: Value resorts are more often booked by large families with kids in an effort to save money and for a kid-friendly atmosphere. Just making this clear so you don’t expect a tranquil getaway. It is, after all, a Disney vacation.

But first, if you’re not sure what I mean when I say “on and off property…”

On Property vs. Off Property: Each on property resort (owned by Disney) features multiple pools, shuttles to the parks, free transportation to/from the airport, 1 quick service restaurant, use of the Magic Band system and the Disney touch. The off property resorts (not officially owned by Disney) are a little cheaper, have a few more food options, free shuttles to the parks, and offer a break from the magic if you’d rather not fully immerse yourself in the Disney experience.

World Showcase Panorama at Disney World's Epcot at Sunset

World Showcase at Sunset

Ranked Value Resorts

Best Western Lake Buena Vista (Off Property “Good Neighbor” Hotel): Most of us have an idea of what a Best Western is like. You can trust that this hotel will be clean and have decent service. The rooms and overall “décor” of the hotel are outdated and remind of the 90’s and not in a nostalgic way. But, it’s still a decent place to stay because it’s a step above some other Best Western’s. This one has an onsite restaurant and lounge along with a quick service pot and a Pizza Hut Express. The pool is decent and provides free shuttles to the parks. I don’t think it’s a bad choice, just not the greatest.

Wyndham Garden Lake (Off Property “Good Neighbor” Hotel): The only reason I’m putting this one after the All-Stars is purely nostalgic reasons. I love staying on property because it reminds me of my childhood family trips. But, I’ve sent quite a few of my clients to this hotel because I think it’s quite nice for the cost and people love it. The official Disney Value Resorts don’t have a poolside bar and grill, but this one sure does! The rooms seem to be updated recently, they have a 24-hour café, and a Lakeview Restaurant that features character dining on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays. What more could you possibly want?

Place Pizza Box Here Trash Can at Disney World's All Star Music Resort

Disney World’s All Star Movie Resort

Good news! They are renovating the All-Star Resort rooms as well! The insides are looking much better than what they used to be and the design is very similar to Pop Century’s upgrade. Note: The All-Star Resorts sometimes share buses during the day, but have their own bus in the morning and evening.

All-Star Sports (On Property): I rank this one last out of the All-Stars because it’s the least “Disney” of all the Disney Resorts. There are a few character statues throughout, but it doesn’t quite capture the magic. But, I do know plenty of people who like the sports atmosphere and stay here every visit. They have a large open “football field” to play on and I’m a big fan of the Mighty Ducks pool. Other than that, staying at Sports really isn’t my cup of Gatorade, so I’m putting it last. The biggest perk to this resort is that it’s the first stop on the bus line during the day.

All-Star Music (On Property): This resort is rumored to be slightly quieter than the other two, but I honestly can’t tell the difference. I prefer rooms in the Calypso building because you’re near my favorite pool featuring The Three Caballeros fountain. The Calypso rooms do cost a bit more because they’re also near the food court and bus stop, FYI.

All Star Movies (On Property): Movies is my go-to cheap Disney stay. I love the larger than life Toy Story statues and I always stay in the Herbie the Love Bug building. Mostly because it’s towards the back of the property and a little calmer, but also because Herbie himself sits back there.  P.S. If you haven’t heard, you can ask for the “secret menu” at their quick service spot. The Cast Member will pull out a briefcase equipped with a couple of old View-Masters inside. The pictures you’ll see inside the View-Master are of the secret menu items available. A fun thing to do with kids!

Pop Century (On Property): What’s the best inexpensive Disney Value Resort? 9 times out of 10 a Disney veteran will answer with “Pop Century.” It’s a newer value resort and most of the rooms have been recently renovated. You also have the added plus of having your own bus line rather than sharing a line at the All-Star Resorts. My favorite feature is that the “Generation Gap Bridge,” which had the original intent of connecting the current themed buildings (decades ranging from the 50’s to the 90’s), to future generation buildings (2000’s and beyond) on the other side. Instead, they decided to build Art of Animation in that place and kept the bridge up. Meaning, you can pop over to Art of Animation if you’re staying at Pop Century any time you want.

You’re Probably Wondering Why I Didn’t Mention Art of Animation

Although Art of Animation is considered a value resort the prices do not reflect the same idea. The Little Mermaid Room, which is a standard non-suite, usually starts at about 150/night. Compare this to an All-Star that can sometimes go down to about $80/night. The family suite can be worth it if you have a larger family though. The suites accommodate 6 people so that means you won’t have to purchase two rooms. If you love the atmosphere of this resort, but can’t afford a room, then stop by for a visit!

Spaceship Earth at Night at Disney World's Epcot

Just because they’re easier on your wallet, doesn’t mean value resorts aren’t enjoyable places to stay. The amenities are generally good, onsite restaurants available, pools are nice, and the service is great. Besides, you’ll most likely be spending most of your vacation in the parks and only use your hotel to collapse after a long day.

If you’re looking for more ways to save money on vacation, feel free to contact me. As a Disney Travel Planner, I can help navigate current Disney World discounts and promos throughout the season.

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Best and Worst Disney World Value Resorts

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Embassy Suites Anaheim South Review: A Cute Little Hotel with Good Amenities

This week I had the great fun of writing a guest post for Practically Perfect Meg regarding my stay at The Embassy Suites Anaheim South. Megan and I share a…

This week I had the great fun of writing a guest post for Practically Perfect Meg regarding my stay at The Embassy Suites Anaheim South. Megan and I share a love for Disney and if you’re planning a trip to Disney, her expertise is something to look into. She writes great tips and reviews regarding the parks and has a lot of insider info. To get the whole picture, read my highlights below and visit Megan for the whole post here: Embassy Suites Anaheim South

Full Disclosure: This an unsponsored post. Meaning, Embassy Suites didn’t pay to me write this review nor did they comp my stay. My opinions are my own.

Embassy Suites Anaheim South Hotel Lobby with an Animatronic Lion near Disneyland

Here’s a little teaser of the full post:

If you can’t afford to stay in a hotel built by Disney, I suggest staying in a Disney “Good Neighbor Hotel.” These are hotels that have been given the stamp of approval by Disney, making them reliable and good places to stay, but not quite as spendy. Good Neighbor Hotels also allow you to book your stay directly through Disney if you purchase tickets as well. When searching for one of these go to disneyland.com > Places to Stay > Good Neighbor Hotels. This will give you a full list of resorts knighted by Disney. You don’t have to book through Disney’s website to stay at these resorts, but you may receive a package discount if you do. I was able to get a 4th night free when booking through Disney’s website.

Embassy Suites Anaheim Hotel South Hotel Suite Room with a Mickey Suitcase

The Embassy Suites Anaheim South is a good neighbor hotel, owned by Hilton, so you can have the confidence that this place has decent service and decent amenities. My favorite part is that the Embassy provides 1 free meal for their hot breakfast buffet and a complimentary happy hour with snacks and a free drink every night. This moderately priced hotel gave me a lot of reasons to come back.

Highlights from the Full Post:

  • Transportation Tips: To/From the Parks
  • Room Types and Room Views
  • Onsite Restaurants and the Complimentary Meals Provided
  • Nearby Establishments (Restaurants, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores)
  • Overall Experience of Staying at This Hotel

I also provided some pro tips to make sure your stay goes smoothly. If you’re looking for a good place to rest your feet after a long day in the parks check out my full review. If you’ve already stayed at this particular Embassy Suites, comment below and tell me what you’re experience was! I’m curious to know if yours was similar to mine!

In case you missed the link: Full Review of the Embassy Suites Anaheim South

Embassy Suites Anaheim Hotel South Pool and Patio

Pin it for later!Embassy Suites Anaheim South: Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review
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