Disney for Adults

Disneyland’s Pixar Fest is the Nostalgia Generation’s Dream Come True

I’m not a big fan of overlays or the over-saturation of seasonal festivals. I give exception to the holiday overlays like it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion, or Epcot’s…

Pixar Fest is a blast this year! A food and entertainment guide to this awesome new festival at Disneyland and California Adventure. #foodie

I’m not a big fan of overlays or the over-saturation of seasonal festivals. I give exception to the holiday overlays like it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion, or Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival,  but other than that I think they’re kinda cheap and lazy. I probably wouldn’t feel this strongly if Disney didn’t raise the ticket prices every year and CEO Bob Iger didn’t have the potential to earn 423 million dollars in bonuses while his employees go hungry. End rant.

But I digress, because here’s the thing, despite all the politics that Disney has been haphazardly battling, I absolutely fell in love with Pixar Fest last week. How do you keep pulling us in, Disney? How do you continually win us over with your spirit and tenderness and make us spend thousands on park tickets and food? Obviously, I was skeptical going in because I expected it to be a couple of banners and regurgitated old parades. And yes, it was basically that as far as the atmospheric elements. But, I think it’s a good time merely for the fact that the festival is Pixar themed. The movies and the music from those movies captured our hearts, so naturally, if we see a Bing Bong themed parade float or hear a Dapper Dan rendition of You’ve Got a Friend in Me, you’ve won us over. Due to this alone, the festival had just the right amount of heart, charm, fun, and nostalgia. Watching the crowd light up when Owl City’s When Can I See You Again began as Tinker Bell lead Paint the Night preview was incredible. I’ve never seen so many Disney fanatics lose their mind over a parade. It was magical and we were all crying over our churros.

And the food. 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. The only disappointing factor was the highly anticipated Pizza Planet overlay that really fell flat. More on that below. The festival runs now through September 3rd, 2018, so take a look below at our guide to get yourself better prepared!

Pixar Fest Sign California Adventure

Atmosphere

There are some hidden touches here and there adding to the Festival, but not enough that will hinder your experience if it’s your first time. I know people who have only ever ridden the Haunted Mansion with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay because it’s the only time they’ve ever visited. There are some decorations and of course, the giant Pixar Fest sign hanging above the entrances. My favorite touch is that the Esplanade (the large walking area connecting the two park entrances), which plays a fresh new background soundtrack featuring Pixar soundtracks as opposed to their normal backtracking. It’s a subtle and super sweet detail. And of course, there are the Pixar monorail makeovers. Other than that, there are themed banners hanging about and the new Pixar Pier sign has been branded on the future Incredicoaster.

Pixar Fest Incredibles Monorail Disneyland

Food

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!

Here are a few that I tried last weekend:

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.

Hungry Bear Funnel Cake at Disneyland for Pixar Fest

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.

Pixar Fest Tres Leches Dessert Disneyland Green Monorail Destinations

Spicy Corn Dog (Corn Dog Castle-California Adventure): Let me try to paint a picture for you: This was a spicy hot link sausage, a layer of pepper jack cheese, and then a cajun chicken sausage, dipped in their 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.

Spicy Corn Dog at Pixar Fest in California Adventure

Agua de Jamaica (Paradise Garden Grill-California Adventure): It was too hot for the Mexican hot cocoa, so I went with 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 Pixar Fest at California Adventure

Pizza Planet (Overlay at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Disneyland): I had such high hopes for this one. We all thought we were getting the Pizza Planet we deserve, but sadly got a sign and some decals on the walls. There’s a cheeseburger pizza that’s supposedly ok, but the line was too long to attempt it. This is one of those moments where Disney builds a lot of hype, makes you feel like you absolutely must see this brand new attraction (spend more money) and they give you low effort with low-quality results. Yikes. Maybe someday, Pizza Planet!

Pizza Planet at Disneyland for Pixar Fest

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! 🙂

Entertainment

Initially, I thought bringing back two former parades is a bit of a cop out, but they did add a couple of new floats and characters that are quite adorable.

Luxo Lamp Pixar Fest Disneyland

Luxo Lamp Float on Preview and Media Day

Pixar Pals Character Spot (Paradise Garden Grill at California Adventure): Throughout the day, this new spot features characters like Woody, Mike & Sulley, and Russel from Up. It’s a good chance to meet some friends that are more difficult to find.

PhotoPass Spot (Cars Land): The cars parked at PhotoPass spot at the “Welcome to Cars Land” entrance are dressed up and looking adorable!

Cars Land PhotoPass Entrance Dressed Up for Pixar Fest

Dapper Dans and Disneyland Band: The regular Disney musicians will perform some Pixar soundtracks and songs in their daily performances. A very cute touch.

Pixarmonic Orchestra (Paradise Garden Bandstand at California Adventure): This was the best discovery for me. The most adorable ragtime band that plays their renditions of Pixar songs and jokes in short, 30-minute sets. They were hilarious, ridiculous, and super talented artists. Here’s a short video I got of their performance last week.

Pixar Play Parade (Disneyland Day Parade): This is another old parade that they spruced up a bit. It was cute and all, but it was no Paint the Night, of course. They added a couple new floats and characters including Inside Out and Up. And also, you guys, the moment I saw Russell riding Kevin, I flipped the heck out. It’s so cute.

Joy and Sadness Inside Out Float at Pixar Fest Disneyland

Paint the Night Parade: If anything, I think the whole festival is worth it if you can catch this parade. Fans were furious when they prematurely removed this gorgeous and technologically advanced parade a few years ago. But now it’s back! Imagine grabbing a cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate in your Coco souvenir mug and settling up for that 10:30 showing on a warm summer night. *sigh* Pure Disney comforts.

Mike Wazowski Paint the Night Parade for Pixar Fest in California Adventure

Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular: The special fireworks that feature all the beloved Pixar movies is full of heart. So much heart that the person standing next to me was sobbing through the entire show. I definitely teared up a bit myself, don’t get me wrong. It has that extra special Disney touch where they combined touching images, well-timed fireworks, and just the right amount of sweeping orchestrations to pull at your heartstrings and say  “Ok Disney, take all my money, you’re worth it.” The best part is that the same projections that are displayed on Main Street and the castle are also projected on the front of it’s a small world, the water features used in Fantasmic on the Rivers of America and The Matterhorn. So it’s easier to get a nice view of the show.

Reason being, Disneyland’s castle is much smaller than Disney World’s so the projecting mapping technology doesn’t work quite as well for big crowds. Disney had to figure out how to bring the same experiences of Disney World’s firework displays to Disneyland. Their solution is brilliant, which is to apply the projections to other areas of the park, not just the castle. If you want the castle experience, I had a great time watching from the middle of Main Street. I could see all the projections, have a bit of the castle experience, and didn’t have to wait 3 hours to see it. Also, there’s an awesome surprise during the Coco segment on Main  Street!

Green Alien Together Forever Fireworks for Pixar Fest in Disneyland

Pixar Shorts (Sunset Showcase Theatre – previously Muppet Theatre- at California Adventure): I never quite got over the fact that they turned the Muppet Vision 3D Theatre into a regular movie theatre to show previews (i.e. advertisements) for upcoming Disney movies. It seemed so unnecessary to me. I did really enjoy watching the Pixar Shorts in this venue, however. Throughout this summer, they are having a special showing of 3 Pixar shorts which are For the Birds, Lava, and Piper. This is actually quite cute because they made the show 3D and use other special effects like wind and wall televisions to add to the presentation. Best way to experience this? Grab an iced coffee from Schmoozie’s and settle in for an air-conditioned 20-minute break.

Pixar Shorts Disney Pixar Disneyland Green Monorail Destinations

Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar: This little cozy cove tucked away next to the Wine Country Trattoria is only open when the parks are previewing new attractions. The last time it was open was in 2013 they were displaying the new Starbucks that were moving into the parks. They’ve reopened the walk-through attraction to preview all the concept art and concept models for Pixar Pier and also play a short movie depicting the Imagineering process. It’s a cute display and also offers some escape from the heat for a short bit.

Pixar Pier Concept Model for Pixar Fest California Adventure

Souvenirs

In honor of Pixar Fest, California Adventure has opened their new souvenir shop, Knick Knacks, located on Pixar Pier (formerly known as Paradise Pier). They added some new merch to the shop and a kiosk where you can print some Pixar art and take it home with you. Throughout the parks, they are also selling things like a Mike Wazowski Souvenir Sipper, the connecting Sulley Popcorn Bucket, and the Pixar Luxo Lamp Straw that people are going crazy over. You can find these at places like Schmoozie’s, popcorn carts, and the Disneyland (left of the castle) or California Adventure (in front of Pixar Pier) cappuccino carts. The cutest Pixar Fest souvenir is the Coco jarrita ceramic mug sold at Paradise Garden Grill. For more details on the special merchandise, you can visit Disneyland News.

Pixar Fest Merchandise California Adventure in Disneyland

Pixar Fest Merchandise California Adventure in Disneyland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Experience

  • No need to stand in line! If there’s a line for that Sulley Popcorn Bucket or the Paradise Garden Grill, come back later. Throughout the day, the line will come and go. Especially if it’s a bit later in the summer.
  • When To Go: Pixar Pier in California Adventure along with the renovated Incredicoaster and Lamplight Lounge (formerly Cove Bar/Ariel’s Grotto) will open on June 23rd. The parks are likely to be a madhouse the first week of opening so if you do visit during that time, I highly advise purchasing the MaxPass to help with the lines. If you have the chance, go later in the summer. Pixar Fest lasts until September 3rd and the crowds will go down closer to fall. And it will be slightly (slightly!) cooler.
  • Check out disneyland.com for parade and show times throughout the summer and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter for future updates! (See how I snuck that in there?)

This festival won my heart and I have a feeling it will for you too! Hopefully, they can pull some more events like this in the future and it will only get better once Pixar Pier is open!

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Disneyland for Adults: The Complete Guide

As someone who spends a lot of her vacations at Disneyland, I often get the same question “Adults go to Disney??” And yes, they do! Couples, singles, bachelorette parties, and…

Complete Adult Guide to Disneyland and California Adventure | Dining, Drinking, Attraction, and Shopping Suggestions!

As someone who spends a lot of her vacations at Disneyland, I often get the same question “Adults go to Disney??” And yes, they do! Couples, singles, bachelorette parties, and sometimes solo adventurers frequent the parks. All have a great time, no doubt.  And of course, the park is located in Southern California, so if your adult mind can’t take a minute more of the magic, you can take a drive down to the beach or visit Los Angeles.

In response to my previous post about enjoying Disney World as an adult, here are some great things you can enjoy at Disneyland!

Disneyland

The biggest deterrent to Disney World fans is that Disneyland is smaller and only has two parks. However, there’s still plenty to do for adults and kids alike. Even Toon Town has a Roger Rabbit ride, which appeals to the millennial demographic more often than children.

New! On January 18th, Disneyland began an event-series called Disneyland After Dark. These are hard-ticket events that allow guests to stay in the parks until 1:00 AM and each one will have a fun theme. The first event was themed after “vintage Disneyland” and featured posters and entertainment from the Dapper Dan era. You can take a look at PopSugar’s pictures of the event here

Attractions

First and foremost! Disneyland isn’t just a bunch of kiddie ride. They have some thrills as well. They may not be Six Flags, but they’re definitely a good time!

The Mountain Rides: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Matterhorn are the best thrill rides Disneyland has to offer. Pro Tip: Try to time your ride on the Matterhorn during the fireworks. It’s like they’re exploding right in front of you. I’ve somehow managed to do this twice.Matterhorn Mountain | Green Monorail Destinations

Haunted Mansion: So spooky! I mean, it’s no Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal, but it’s an all-time favorite for most people. The technology was very innovative at the time it was built and still proves to be impressive today. And I do love a good dark ride to escape the sun.

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. Fun Fact: The Indiana track is the same exact track as the Dinosaur ride in Disney World!

Star Tours-The Adventure Continues: Disney has been updating this ride since the new movies came out and now feature 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!

Cool Down Rides: After you’ve had your thrills, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by park chaos. Three attractions that are perfect for a break are Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, The Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Mark Twain Riverboat.

Dining

Market House on Main Street (Starbucks): Alright, I have to start this section off right. Many of us, whether we have kids or not, depend on coffee to make our day a little more magical. Although I’m a Seattleite and we tend to dislike Starbucks (because we’re coffee snobs), Starbucks will definitely do the trick. I’m glad they added the franchise to the parks. They were also able to use pseudonyms to help the shops blend into the Disney atmosphere. If the line is long, and it usually is, pop over to Jolly Holiday Bakery where they serve giant Mickey macarons and yummy mochas!

Cafe Orleans: So, this place is lacking in a romantic atmosphere, but the food 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.)

Mickey Beignet | Cafe Orleans

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 that previously mentioned Monte Cristo.

Carnation Cafe: This restaurant has been around since the park’s opening in 1955 and 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. Also, the food is fantastic, with comfort foods like fried pickles and Walt’s favorite meatloaf.

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

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 spot in the preferred viewing area for the show. You can also do the Fantasmic On-the-Go Package if you don’t want to splurge. The new Fantasmic! 2.0 opened last summer, and it’s wildly successful. Unless you want to camp out for an hour, it’s difficult to find a clear viewing spot for the show. Fantasmic! is a great show to see whether you book the dining package or not.Fantasmic | Green Monorail Destinations

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. Just make sure the fireworks are scheduled the night you book. The reservation allows you to come and go as you please, from 8:00-10:00 at night.

Corn Dog Cart: Maybe you want to save money on dining and blow it all on margaritas in California Adventure instead. The famous corn dog cart at the end of Main Street serves freshly hand-dipped corn dogs that live up to the hype.

Californa Adventure

This park is a little more grown up in regards to the dining, theme, and attractions. Now that Cars Land has been added and the transformation of Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier is soon underway, this park is becoming a rival to Disneyland park.

Attractions

Incredicaoster (Closed for Renovations): Opening summer of 2018, California Screamin’, the largest and most thrilling roller coaster in both parks will be transformed into the Incredicoaster. The highly anticipated Incredibles II will inspire the new mid-century modern design.

Guardians of the Galaxy | Green Monorail DestinationsGuardians of the Galaxy: Listen, I’m a Tower of Terror purist. I remember riding this attraction the year it opened, and I couldn’t stop talking about it. 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 the tower. The technology is fantastic, the ride is smoother, and even a bit more thrilling than Tower of Terror. I approve of this reinvention, but if they change it in Disney World too, I will protest.

Radiator Springs Racers: This ride is like Epcot’s Test Track on steroids. This is an absolute must-do. The architecture and rock work alone is something to see, and the attraction features animatronic cars that look almost lifelike. It also has a Single Riders Line, which is ideal when traveling with adults-only.

Soarin’ Around the World: This is a spectacular ride and a favorite among all ages. The technology makes you feel like you’re paragliding over the Matterhorn and the soundtrack is uh-mazing.

Animation Courtyard: I love this secret cove so much I wrote an entire post about it here. When I was a teenager, I stumbled upon this building with a friend, and we felt like we found a secret hiding spot in Disneyland. The entrance walkway opens up into a giant gallery room where giant projections show clips of Disney movies and play music. There’s a lot of comfy seating, generous floor space to take a load off, and it’s gloriously air-conditioned.

Dining

Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge: The restaurant is themed after old Hollywood, “amid the glitz and the glitter of a bustling, young movie town at the height of its golden age.” In other words, it’s quite fancy inside. The restaurant splits off to secluded dining areas and even has private dining nooks if you book a large group. They also share the Chef from the Grand Californian’s Napa Rose, Andrew Sutton, so you know the food is perfection.Very romantic and very delicious. The menu changes often, but last time I went I had the Thick-cut Berkshire Pork Chop and it was the best Disneyland meal I’ve ever had.

Carthay Circle | Green Monorail Destinations

Carthay Circle

Wine Country Trattoria: The atmosphere is inspired by wine countries in California and Italy, making this place also subtly romantic. I love the outdoor patio with winding vines covering the building. I suggest the Spaghetti Aglio Olio. Delish!

Alfresco Tasting Terrace: The rooftop lounge is a bit of a hidden secret. Before you enter Wine Country Trattoria, take the stairs on your right. Most people don’t know it’s there, so it feels secluded. Great wine bar with a view of the park.

Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe (Starbucks): California Adventure’s Starbucks is towards the entrance of the park and shares a building with Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream (also delicious) and the Kingswell Camera Shop (if you need a spare memory card or charger). If the line is long, try the Gourmet Coffee Cart usually located in between Pacific Wharf and the Paradise Pier entrance. They also serve on-the-go pastries.

World of Color Dining or Dessert Party: Much like the Tomorrowland Lounge, for an additional cost you can indulge in specialty desserts and watch World of Color from a private viewing area. However, the dining package is a better deal if you plan on eating at either Wine Country Trattoria or Carthay Circle.

Sonoma Terrace: If you’re not in the mood for a lounge setting, outside of Wine Country Trattoria there’s a walk-up bar and outdoor seating. They serve some snacks like cheese plates and Bavarian pretzels alongside an extensive wine and beer menu.

Other Places that Serve Alchohol in California Adventure

Although Disneyland only serves alcohol in the super-duper-exclusive Club 33, it doesn’t stop California Adventure from having all the fun.  I’ve listed all the places that currently serve alcohol below.  Best of all, you can get your drinks to-go and carry it around the park like Vegas! Here’s evidence of me carrying around an Island Sunset from the (now deceased) Cove Bar.

Island Sunset To-Go | Cove Bar | Green Monorail Destinations

Island Sunset To-Go | Cove Bar

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

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

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.

Food Festivals Throughout the Year: They are bringing back California Adventure’s version of the Food and Wine Festival, Lunar New Year, and Festival of Holidays. All provide food, drink, and entertainment that are themed with each festival. The new Festival of Holidays is my absolute favorite special event. Last year they had concoctions like hot fried turkey sandwiches and bourbon cider with homemade marshmallows.

Warm Bourbon Cider with Bourbon Infused Marshmellow | Festival of Holidays

 

 

 Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney is designed for an older demographic in mind, for sure, but not quite as expansive as Disney Springs in Florida. It still offers some good options for dining, shopping, and is free to the public. This makes it the perfect place to visit on your first day in town. Especially if you have some time before checking in to your hotel room. Drop your bags off at the front desk and visit for dinner and drinks!

Entertainment

Splitsville: The bowling alley (which also resides in Disney World) is replacing the House of Blues this year. Splitsville in Florida offers a full bar, and late-night eats until 12:30 every night, so I’m hoping it will be similar to that. And the retro concept art looks fantastic! I imagine this will be the new happening spot for a night out.

Star Wars Hyper-Reality Experience: This brand-new experience allows guests to journey through a choice of 4 themed lands. The idea is that your team is sent undercover on a mission fro the rebellion where you’ll interact with sets and experience sensory and immersive technology along the way.  You can find tickets for the experience here.

ESPN Zone: For the longest time I thought this was just a sports bar. It actually houses a pretty cool arcade and some indoor sports, like a four-person air hockey table. And yes, there’s a lounge and huge t.v.’s that show the games everywhere you turn. ESPN will close in the next year or so to make room for a new resort coming in 2021.

Shopping

Haunted Mansion's Ballerina Dress | The Disney Dress Shop | Green Monorail Destinations

Haunted Mansion’s Ballerina Dress | The Disney Dress Shop

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. I bought this Orange Bird bag my last visit!

Orange Bird Purse | The Disney Dress Shop | Green Monorail Destinations

Orange Bird Purse | The Disney Dress Shop

Disney Homegoods Store (Coming soon!): D-Street will soon be replaced by a Disney homegood store sometime this year. The Disney themed products will change throughout the season. More Mickey mugs for me!

WonderGround Gallery: This store sells Disney-inspired art pieces like custom Vinylmations, giclées, mugs, and more. Also, if you fall in love with a giant painting of Snow White, Disney can ship it to your home, so you don’t have to worry about bringing it on a plane. Although, that can be a bit spendy, FYI.

Other adult-friendly shops include Pandora Jewelry, Sanuk, and Sephora

Catal Bar | Downtown Disney | Green Monorail Destinations

Uva Bar | Downtown Disney

Dining

Catal Restaurant: With menu items like assorted paellas and filet mignon, Catal is slightly more upscale than maybe say, Tortilla Joe’s. (Although, that tableside guac is amazing.) Outdoor seating at Catal is located on the 2nd floor and a prime spot for taking in the energy of Downtown Disney. You might also be able to catch the fireworks from the patio!

Uva Bar: I love this bar. 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.

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen: This is an optimal venue for a date night. There’s nightly jazz, gumbo, all set within an open-air atrium design. They also have an express window that serves yummy cajun fried goods on the go. A great place to stop by for a quick breakfast beignet.

Resorts

Disneyland has three official hotels, with a fourth coming in the next few years. The most adult-friendly resort is the Grand Californian. 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. The Disneyland Hotel is the flagship hotel, designed when Walt was still around and also has a nice restaurant and lounge. The last hotel, Paradise Pier, is lacking in dining and entertainment values. Although, I still enjoy it because it has the Disney touch.

The Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

A delicious roast from Napa Rose

Napa Rose: This is my favorite restaurant in Disneyland. Everything was delicious, and the service was excellent. It’s also very elegant, and there’s an outside patio with some fire pits. On a slow night, I took my champagne outside and listened to the ambient sounds of Californian Adventure, right on the other side of the bushes.

Hearthstone Lounge: The lounge located inside of the lobby with decor that matches the rest of the resort. Cozy seats and good drinks! What more could you want?

Mandara Spa: The spa is a great place to experience luxury even if you’re not staying at the resort. After you’ve been pampered, you can use their sauna and steam room facilities. I indulged in a massage here and it was completely worth it.

Get Up and Go Power Walk: It’s a little-known fact that anyone staying at a Disney resort can partake in a guided power walk through California Adventure before it opens. Seeing Paradise Pier at sunrise was my favorite Disney experience I’ve ever had in my life. Completely unforgettable.

Disneyland Hotel

If you’re a kid-at-heart you’ll love this hotel. With park views and being steps away from the monorail, it’s like you’re living in Disneyland. The rooms are spacious and the elegantly Disney-themed rooms have a magical touch without being tacky. The monorail slide at the pool is also pretty cool!

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar: On the patio, you’re treated to a live band and tiki torches. On the inside, the bar is tiny, so you might have to wait in a line until people leave to be admitted. Even then, you’re not guaranteed a seat and you might have to cozy up to the bar. What it lacks in seating, it makes up in the atmosphere. 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

The Coffee House: This the one place on property that serves the classic Dole Whip with a shot of rum. Extremely dangerous.

Steakhouse 55: What’s more adult than a fancy steakhouse? The steaks are friggin’ delicious, as you might imagine, and they feature a 24 layer chocolate cake. If you want a unique experience, you can try their Afternoon Tea featuring a spread of scones, tea sandwiches, and assorted teas. The atmosphere is pretty nice and the lounge has a lot of comfy seating, but in all honesty, I prefer Napa Rose for a nice dinner.

Paradise Pier

Fireworks on the Rooftop: The coolest thing about this resort is that you can see the Disneyland fireworks from the rooftop pool. They also pipe in the fireworks soundtrack while you watch. Arrive about 20 minutes early if you want a seat, and there is plenty of standing room if you come late.

Paradise Pier | Green Monorail DestinationsSurfside Lounge: If you’re paying the price for a Disney cocktail, I suggest heading across the street to another resort or Downtown Disney. If for some reason you cant make it out the door, the Surfside Lounge will do. You can order food from PCH Grill next door, and they have some wine and cocktails available.

The Sand Bar: The pool bar, serving pretzels and cocktails. I’m really happy they have a bar up here. Otherwise, the pool would be pretty lackluster.

Some appreciate the engineering and attention to detail, some get their heartstrings pulled when they watch the fireworks, and others love to party. Whether you think I’ve drunk the Disney flavored Kool-Aid or not, the parks have a lot to offer to both young and old!

Ready for that bachelorette trip or romantic getaway? Contact me here and I’ll help you book your next adult-exclusive Disney World trip! All my travel planning services are free!

 

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