Vintage Disneyland Video

Happy Friday!!!

To celebrate the end of a great week and to bring an extra smile to your face, take a second to take a look at some captivating footage of Disneyland as it looked in 1968.

httpv://m.youtube.com/watch?v=naamRGkVxJU#

For those of you who have made the pilgrimage to Walt’s first Park, it’s amazing to see how do many details remain engagingly the same (and also fun to compare how things looked “then” compared to “now”.)

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Takeaways

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Having the chance to attend the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Disneyland was a truly amazing and humbling experience.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Shelley Castle

The 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was full of unique experiences, but the biggest takeaway for me was the inspiring speakers we had the opportunity to learn from during our General Session.

Each one brought a perspective that was truly enlightening, and I would love to share with you some of my favorite quotes from that session.

Tom Staggs: Teamwork

The key to success is supporting one another.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Tom Staggs

Jay Ward: Consistency

Decisions should be made on how they enrich your brand.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Jay Ward

Kathy Mangum: The creative process

Don’t limit where you look during the creative process.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Kathy Mangum

Thomas Smith: Connecting with your audience

People connect with people, not logos.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Thomas Smith

Donald Driver: Be passionate

We have all been blessed with purpose. Be passionate about what you do. What do you want to accomplish?

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Donald Driver

Maxine Clark: Listen to yourself

If you listen to your heart, you can find your true calling.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Maxine Clark

Doug Bowman: How technology brings us together

Twitter is a series of moments.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Doug Bowman

Gary Jerry: Creativity

Whatever you do creatively, be authentic.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Gary Jerry

I cannot thank Leanne Jakubowski and her amazing team enough for all of their hard work and dedication to creating such a memorable, inspiring, and exciting event.

Also thank you to Alamo, who sponsored the General Session, for bringing all of these great people together.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Disneyland, and was offered a special discounted rate that was offered to all attendees. I also received products during the celebration for review. These are my own personal thoughts and opinions, not those of the Walt Disney Company.

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The Disneyland Story Presents Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln And Kelly

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln debuted 50 years ago at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, and Kelly Christine Delaney is back helping us celebrate this iconic attraction’s anniversary.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
The 1964 World’s Fair is something I’ve discussed with my dad many times. I have enjoyed all of the stories he has told me of what it was like and he kept repeating “it was nothing I had ever seen before. Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln was definitely something that had never been seen before.
Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln
Walt Disney had the idea for a show that would pay tribute to the Presidents of the United States in Disneyland but wasn’t able to due to technology and space. Instead imagineers focused on a show about one of Walt’s heroes, Abraham Lincoln. While this was being worked on, interested parties discussed bringing the show to the World’s Fair. It debuted in the Illinois state pavilion on April 22, 1964 and was duplicated and opened in Disneyland on July 18, 1965.
Since it has opened, there has been some additions to the show and times that Lincoln was taken out completely. The first time I saw the show it included the Walt Disney Story. The pre and post show have since changed and now include history of the Walt Disney company and Disneyland.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
In The Disney Story you can find an model of Disneyland as it appeared on opening day.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
You can see the park bench that Walt Disney used to sit on while he dreamed of creating Disneyland.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
In the lobby of The Disneyland Story presents Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, you can find exhibits that feature pieces from the Disney Archives that change throughout the year.
Every time I experience the attraction I get goosebumps thinking of the influence Walt had on the attraction. As someone who has spent much more time in the Florida Disney parks, I rarely felt the direct connection to Walt. I really appreciate the amount of history and tradition that is throughout this attraction. I look forward to seeing the evolution of it in the next 50 years.
Have you experienced this attraction in any previous forms or the current form? What are your favorite parts of Great Moments With Mr Lincoln?
Earlier today we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of It’s a Small World, so don’t forget to take a moment to check that out!
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Wordless Wednesday – Disneyland Train Station

Wordless Wednesday – April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Disneyland Railroad April 2014

I know that I have been trying my best to keep these really Wordless Wednesday, but I can’t help myself this week! I leave tomorrow for this year’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, and I can’t wait to take a ride on the Disneyland Railroad!!!

I also hope that you’ll join me on my #DisneySMMoms adventure on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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Disney Vacation Club Disneyland Big Thunder Preview

DVC Logo

Disney Vacation Club Members in California have a really great opportunity to preview Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Disneyland before it reopens to the general public! The preview is from March 13 to 16, and you will definitely want to stop by early. It is so great to finally have Big Thunder Back open after such a lengthy refurb.

Check out the Disney Vacation Club Press Release for more information.

Disney Vacation Club Members Experience the

WILDest Preview in the Wilderness!

Hang on to them hats and glasses ‘cuz Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is back at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California! As Disney Vacation Club Members, you’re invited to preview this classic attraction before it officially reopens to the general public.

Stop by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FASTPASS distribution location, or the entrance to the attraction, between March 13 and 16, and show your Disney Vacation Club Member ID to gain access for yourself and up to five Guests.

Theme Park Admission is required but not included. Valid photo ID required. Space is limited. The event may include long wait periods, is subject to temporary closures and may be canceled at any time.

See ya there soon and while you’re here, tell us your favorite memory of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad below!

 

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A Visit to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar- Part II

And now, for the exciting conclusion, let’s head back to another sunny and comparatively warm part of the United States during early February: Anaheim, CA…

All Iimages provided by Pearson Images
All photos in this article are provided by Pearson Images unless otherwise noted.

Welcome back readers!  In last week’s post, we covered some exterior and interior details, the backstory, and the Disney magic and drinks you can find inside Trader Sam’s. This week we’ll focus exclusively on some of the hidden gems the Imagineers have placed throughout and explore some of Trader Sam’s connections to Walt Disney World (as well as other Disney Parks) and what may be in store for Orlando when the jungle’s “Head Salesman” expands his operations to the East Coast.

When you enter Sam’s the skippers behind the bar yell “Aloha!” to all who enter that happy place. Find a seat, grab an illustrated menu , then sit back and soak up the sights and sounds of Trader Sam’s.

Skipper Ramiro makes another Uh-Oa.
Skipper Ramiro makes another Uh-Oa.

It’s in the Details

Alternating tropical tunes and antique diddies like you might hear waiting in line for the Jungle Cruise comprise the soundtrack of Trader Sam’s. Patrons inside are constantly ordering one of the handful of drinks which “awaken” the tiki gods and stir up a little chaos. But, amidst all the sights and sounds, be sure to wander around and inspect the ephemera Sam has “collected”, which decorate the walls and ceiling. Including the walls behind the bar!

As we mentioned last week, there’s notes, postcards, photos, artifacts , and more that give a nod –or flat out refer- to different Disney characters, rides, and places, including Disneyland Tokyo and a photo of a familiar sight from Typhoon Lagoon!

I was originally going to list my top ten favorite Trader Sam’s artifacts, but there’s just too many to pick from. Plus, a great deal of fun is exploring the place on your own.  So, instead, I’ll let some photos do the “talking.”

Trader Sam's-58

If you're looking for a hidden Mickey here, you're cruising down the right river... And if you aren't, then you're in "de Nile".
If you’re looking for a hidden Mickey here, you’re cruising down the right river… And if you aren’t, then you’re in “de Nile”.
The glass bottle that actually camer from the Adventurer's Club. Be sure to watch this when someone orders a "Shipwreck on the Rocks!"
The glass bottle that actually came from the Adventurer’s Club. Be sure to watch when someone orders a “Shipwreck on the Rocks!”
Even the beer handles are themed and enjoy a little Disney "magic."
Even the beer handles are themed and enjoy a little Disney “magic.”
This Glass case warrants taking a gander at. Anybody know what movie that SF newspaper is from? (Hint: there's a hardback clue on the far right side of the shelf in the picture with the White Hat mentioned further below.)  Take a close look with the flash on your camera at the inside bottom right corner to look for another hidden Mickey.
This Glass case warrants taking a gander at. Anybody know what movie that SF newspaper is from? (Hint: there’s a hardback clue on the far right side of the shelf in the picture with the White Hat mentioned further below.)
Take a close look with the flash on your camera at the inside bottom right corner to look for another hidden Mickey.
Can you find the letter from an Indiana Jones character? Or the Indy voodoo doll from Temple of Doom?
Can you find the letter from an Indiana Jones character? Or the Indy voodoo doll from Temple of Doom?

 

I showed the photo of Colonel Critchlow Suchbench last week, but patrons looking up at a crate hanging from the ceiling on the left side of the bar will note some other familiar Adventurer’s Club artifacts.

Slappy the puppets dangles from the top of the crate.
Slappy the puppet dangles from the top of the crate.

There’s a letter attached to the crate via wooden arrow. I took a close-up photo with flash so it was legible. Those familiar with the old Adventurer’s Club will find it amusing.

Take a read. This is the only way you'll be able to.
Take a read. This is the only way you’ll be able to.

See how many other Adventure’s Club connections you can find throughout Sam’s. I’ve never tried to count them all, but just from the ones I’ve observed, there’s at least 12 or 13 (counting the identifiable objects in the crate separately)

Last week I mentioned TWO hidden Mickey’s inside Trader Sam’s. Well, here’s a photographic hint to one of them, also related to the Adventurer’s Club. Can you identify where this Col. Suchbench Vinylmation is “floating” around?

HIdden Mickey "floating" around inside Sam's. You will NEED FLASH on a camera in order to see this, as it's otherwise obsucred by darkness.
HIdden Mickey “floating” around inside Sam’s. You will NEED FLASH on a camera in order to see this, as it’s otherwise obscured by darkness.

 

Orange Bird Alert! He showed up here a year before his "official" return to Walt Disney World.
Orange Bird Alert! He showed up here a year before his “official” return to Walt Disney World.

 

Tiki mugs, a pirhana, and some familiar tiki gods inside Trader Sam's.
Tiki mugs, a pirhana, and some familiar tiki gods inside Trader Sam’s.

Trader Sam's-39

A lot to see stashed here. That white hat on top of the container of “Gorilla Grog” is probably just meant to be a “period” hat from the early decades of the 1900’s, but given the penchant for Indiana Jones here, I like to think that’s the hat worn by the Man in the Panama Hat  in the prologue of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, whose hat we see floating with a hole in it at the end of the prologue.

panama hat This screen capture was taken from the Indiana Jones Wiki page.

After visiting more times than I can keep track of, I still notice new things. So, whether you’ve been before or haven’t been yet, there’s always going to be more eye candy for you to enjoy. Let’s hope the same imaginative and thorough approach is taken when Trader Sam’s comes to Orlando.

Trader Sam’s in Orlando

Not long after rumors first circulated about WDW engaging in a notable renovation of the Polynesian Hotel, rumors started to abound in late-2012 & early-2013 that Disney was actively planning to bring Trader Sam’s to Orlando. Not a huge surprise given its success in Anaheim. The joint is regularly packed, sits well with locals AND resort guests, and sells an average of 200 souvenir tiki mugs each weekend (according to one skipper, and that’s JUST the weekend).  It was all too natural to pair the impending renovation of the Polynesian with plans to bring Trader Sam’s to Orlando. But, no official announcement was made regarding Sam’s.

However, shortly after Disney “officially” announced  the renovation of the Downtown Disney area (soon to be “Disney Springs”) in March 2013, there was some initial confusion about the location of Orlando’s Sam’s. A logo banner with properties designed by one of the Creative contractors working with Disney leaked out with the Trader Sam’s logo. Quickly, rumor spread that WDW’s Trader Sam’s must be going into Disney Springs.  But, to date, that does not appear to be the plan. (Apparently, the logo banner only contained projects the Creative firm had worked on previously, one of which was Trader Sam’s.)

Although Disney still has not officially announced any plans for a Trader Sam’s in Orlando, there is strong sentiment among the Disney community on-line that Sam’s will eventually show up at the Polynesian. It could end up in the Great Ceremonial House building, but it’s still anyone’s guess. For more detailed coverage of the Polynesian renovations and “Disney Springs” project, I’ve been following the Atomic Grog here, and Tikiman, who maintains the Unofficial Polynesian Resort pages here.

Given the amount of space to work with at the Polynesian and the general trend to fit the needs for WDW’s larger crowd capacity, it seems likely that any port of Trader Sam’s built in Orlando will reflect a significant increase of patron capacity beyond Trader Sam’s mere “47 occupants” inside the bar itself. And, perhaps, there could be a whole portion of Trader Sam’s with dedicated wait-staff service in addition to the bar we have already come to love. Those who have experienced Sam’s firsthand know that the tight capacity is both a blessing and a curse. It can be hard as heck to find ANYWHERE to sit (or stand) inside the bar on a Friday or Saturday night, or when there’s a big conference in Anaheim. And, the noise amplifies pretty quickly in those close quarters. But, it’s the coziness of the bar and proximity to other celebratory patrons that gives Sam’s part of its character. It creates the sense being in a place where everyone is nobody, but everyone belongs. It’s something that is hard to create in a bigger, open space where groups can keep to themselves.

Over at The Atomic Grog, there’s some pondering over whether the Orlando version of Trader Sam’s might also include some sort of a dinner show, akin to the old Adventurer’s Club or even closer to Walt Disney’s original concept for the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland (which would have been a restaurant with animatronic bird show.) There’s been no indication of any such plan so far, but it sure does excite the mind to imagine the possibilities of what THAT experience could be like!

While planning his Orlando theme park, Walt Disney engaged in a lot of research, including sourcing inspiration for the Polynesian.  It’s not inconceivable that Walt might have visited the historic Mai-Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, giving further influence to some of the initial design of the Polynesian (perhaps?) I’ve been to the Mai-Kai and it’s an amazing mid-century style South Seas dinner and show experience not to be missed for anyone visiting Ft. Lauderdale. An Orlando Trader Sam’s that looked and felt like this could be incredible! Here’s a couple of pictures to get your mind spinning.

One of the bars inside The Mai-Kai (photo courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel).
One of the bars inside The Mai-Kai (photo courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel).

maikai2  Mai Kai photo above courtesy of The Tiki Chick blog (http://thetikichick.com/)

I’d also like to imagine a dining area or bar that took some inspiration from Don the Beachcomber. There’s only two Don’s left now (Southern California and Kona, HI), but in its mid-century hey-day, Don’s was one of the biggest inspirations for the kind of “wall of artifacts” style of décor employed at Sam’s.

DTB

 Don the Beachcomber image from the Don the Beachcomber Facebook page.

Hopefully the installation of former Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis, who oversaw the transformation of Disney California Adventure, will encourage Orlando to create their new Trader Sam’s with the same sensibilities, fun, and tongue-in-cheek references that make Disneyland’s Trader Sam’s such an amazing experience.

What do you all want to see in the Trader Sam’s that’ll hopefully come to Walt Disney World? Tell me in the comments below.

Well, that’ll round out the second half of our visit with Trader Sam’s. Hope you all enjoyed it. Please do leave comments below and let us know what YOU HOPE TRADER SAM’S IN ORLANDO will be like.

As they used to say at another Orlando Disney location that was imbued with fun and “magic”, “If you come in here a stranger, you will exit as a friend.” That, friends, is the Trader Sam’s spirit of “aloha” we hope will find its way to Orlando.

Cheers until the next time!

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Week In Review And News – January 3, 2014

With the start of a new year and with so much going on after the holidays, I thought it would be a great time to restart our Week in Review and play a little catch up on this week’s highlights and news from the Orlando and Central Florida Attractions and Venues!

Week in Review – December 30, 2013 to January 3, 2014

Walt Disney World Resort

The Disney Parks Blog announced a new contest where you can win a 5-day/4-night vacation for four to either the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.

We’ve just launched disney.com/resolutions where Disney celebrities are sharing how they plan to resolve to spend more time with family in 2014. A new video will be uploaded everyday in January.

 

On disney.com/resolutions, we are also awarding a vacation-a-day from December 31, 2013 through January 31, 2014! So enter every day for your chance to win because this is the year to spend more quality time with the people you love most. Good luck!

 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not Minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (EST) on 12/31/13 and ends 11:59:59 PM (EST) on 1/31/14. Click here for Official Rules.

runDisney

With Walt Disney World Marathon weekend right around the corner, runDisney was everywhere when they released details about the Limited Edition runDisney 2014 New Balance shoes!

httpv://youtu.be/C8YXAZu9kCE

You can find out more about these shoes here.

Universal Orlando Resort

Harry Potter Diagon Alley Week in Review

With construction on Diagon Alley ramping up, A Celebration of Harry Potter drawing close, Cabana Bay opening reservations being taken, and CityWalk undergoing a HUGE transformation, the Universal Orlando Resort is buzzing with energy!

Diagon Alley Construction on December 29, 2013. Week in Review
Diagon Alley Construction on December 29, 2013.

Antojitos Update Week in Review

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for everything that is coming to the Universal Orlando Resort!!!

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando

January is Passholder appreciation month at SeaWorld Orlando, and they are offering some great deals!

Bring a friend for FREE! SeaWorld® Orlando Pass Members receive a friend for free ticket*. Online registration is required. Valid for one single-day admission by January 31, 2014. Register Now.

Double Your Discount**

  • Save 20% on dining in all of our cafeteria-style restaurants
  • Save 20% on merchandise in our gift shops

*Pass Member must be present for guest to gain admittance. Free ticket offer valid for active SeaWorld Orlando 1-Year, 2-Year and FL Platinum Pass Members. Not valid for Fun Cards, Teacher’s Study Passes or Friends & Family Passes. Free ticket is non-transferable, not for resale and may be revoked for misuse.

**Offer only valid between Jan. 1-31, 2014. Must present active SeaWorld Orlando 1-Year, 2-Year, or FL Platinum Pass to receive savings. Not valid with any other discounts or offers. Not valid on All-Day Dining offers. Merchandise offer valid for in-park purchases only.

Amway Center

The Circus is coming to town!

Ringling

Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus LEGENDS is coming to the Amway Center January 9-12, but Monday the circus train rolls into Orlando.  Fantastic photo opportunities will be available as the Ringling Bros. pachyderm performers parade to the Amway Center. 

The Ringling Bros. animal performers will unload at 8:00 p.m. and walk beginning at 8:30 p.m. Animals will unload at railroad tracks near 1035 W. Amelia,  then travel east on Amelia, south on North Hughey Ave., then west on West South St. and enter the GEICO Garage behind Amway Center. (Note: route and time are subject to change without notice.)

Tickets are still available and start at $16. Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included.  All seats are reserved. Tickets are available atwww.ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone:407-440-7900).  For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.

LEGOLAND Florida

If your house is anything like mine, you have watched the trailer for ‘The LEGO Movie’ four times daily and I was excited to see that they are going to be having a weekend of activities in February!

httpv://youtu.be/fZ_JOBCLF-I

LEGOclubweekend [3]

February 8 & 9, 2014 Enjoy fun for all with activities to celebrate “The LEGO Movie”, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO adventure featuring an all-star cast and set to open in theaters February 7. Guests will enjoy a special movie-themed building activity, movie-themed scavenger hunt in Miniland USA and meet and greet sessions with costume characters Emmet and Wyldstyle, who play leading roles in this epic movie.

Busch Gardens Tampa

BG Bring a friend for free Week in Review

January is also Passholder appreciation month at Busch Gardens Tampa!

Double the Fun – Bring a Friend for FREE

During January, Pass Members can bring a friend for free! Online registration required. Limit one free ticket per active Pass Member. Offer valid between January 1-31, 2014. Other Restrictions Apply. Log in now to register your friend’s ticket and learn more about this limited time offer.

Triple the Savings – 30% off merchandise, food, and beverages

All month long, Pass Members get 30% off merchandise, food and beverages when you visit the park! Offer valid between January 1-31, 2014. Other Restrictions Apply.

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

A Falcon 9 rocket is targeted to lift-off during a dramatic SpaceX launch scheduled for January 3, launch time is subject to change but the launch window of 5:05 p.m. to 7:17 p.m. EST. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests may view the launch from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the closest possible public viewing area, or special areas at the Visitor Complex.

Launch viewing from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, located in Kennedy Space Center, includes live mission control commentary and is available for Visitor Complex guests for $20 plus the cost of admission. Admission to the Visitor Complex is $50 plus tax for adults and $40 plus tax for children 3-11. Bus boarding for the Apollo/Saturn V Center begins at 3:15 p.m.

Launch viewing, featuring live mission control commentary, also is available from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and is included in regular admission.

Week in Review- Posts from On the Go in MCO

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Staycation

New Year’s Eve at the Walt Disney World Resort

Wordless Wednesday – Happy New Year

Merchandise Spotlight – Walt Disney World Resort

Thanks for joining us for this Week in Review, and if this is indication of how jam packed 2014 is going to be I am really excited!

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Disneyland Resort First Impressions

Disneyland
Disneyland

Instead of another comprehensive trip report from me on my recent Disneyland visit, I thought I’d do something different and interview my mom, Pam, on her first visit.

 

What was your overall first impression of Disneyland Resort?

It is a more detailed version of Walt Disney World. It is more compact. I liked it and think their Downtown Disney has a more homey feel. Disneyland has better places to eat than the Magic Kingdom.

What was your favorite show?

World of Color was reminiscent of a show called Dancing Waters from back in the 1950s that I enjoyed as a child. Aladdin in Disney California Adventure was great. My favorite characters were the Genie and the carpet. How a character without any lines can portray so much emotion in playing a carpet was amazing. I also really liked Mickey and the Magical Map in Disneyland. I loved the swing dancers on Saturday night at Disneyland too!

World of Color
World of Color

What was your favorite ride in each park?

In Disneyland, I liked Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I thought it was a nice themed ride with attention to detail. It was a long, relaxing ride. At California Adventure I liked Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Golden Zephyr and the non-swinging cars on Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

Which did you like better, Haunted Mansion Holiday or It’s A Small World Holiday?

Haunted Mansion Holiday
Haunted Mansion Holiday

That’s a tough one. I liked them both. The Haunted Mansion Holiday was really nice with the theming, but this brought such a change to the ride from the regular Haunted Mansion. The queues are also both so different from Walt Disney World. I enjoy the exteriors both, but really like the southern mansion style of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I think the theming at Haunted Mansion more immersive and complete than It’s A Small World.

What were some of your favorite food items or meals?

At California Adventure, definitely Carthay Circle. The Cozy Cone breakfast cone was good and a little different for a breakfast item. Churros were excellent. Those were always our go to snack. Bengal BBQ in Disneyland and Jolly Holiday Bakery were both places we visited twice. Flavored cokes from Coke Corner were great and brought back memories of working at a soda fountain in high school.

What were your favorite holiday decorations at Disneyland Resort?

World of Color Winter Dreams, It’s A Small World Holiday and the lights in Cars Land

What did you think about the Grand Californian?

It reminded me a lot of one of our favorite resorts at Walt Disney World, the Wilderness Lodge. It was bigger than I expected. We had a great meal at Napa Rose. It was a great location and nice that we could walk directly into the park from our resort.

What do you takeaway from the trip?

I was delightfully surprised. I thought it was just going to be a smaller version of Walt Disney World and thought I was going to be disappointed. The Cast Members really went out of their way to say Happy Birthday and your name. The theming was wonderful. I liked the more friendly village feeling to Downtown Disney. Also enjoyed Trader Sam’s theming and the holiday drinks at Disneyland Hotel.

Churro
Churro
Cars Land decorations
Cars Land decorations
Grand Californian lobby
Grand Californian lobby
Trader Sams
Trader Sams
Mickey, Minnie, Mom & me
Mickey, Minnie, Mom & me
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It’s A Small World Characters at Disneyland

It's A Small World
It’s A Small World

As I may have mentioned, I’m getting ready to head back to Disneyland in a few weeks. One of the things I really enjoy about going to the California parks is the fact there are slight differences between some of the attractions. One such attraction is It’s A Small World. Not only is their loading zone outside with a really cool clock show on the quarter hour, but this year they are even getting a new projection show for the holidays that I hope to catch in addition to the holiday overlay.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the It’s A Small World we have here in Florida, but I have to admit I was more than a bit excited when I learned that the California version of the ride features some of my favorite characters. It’s A Small World takes vignettes from different countries and regions around the world to show children and their similiarities. This boat ride showcases some classic animated characters from Disney films as well as some newer beloved Pixar pals too.

It’s A Small World is a classic attraction from the 1960s that many did not want to see changed at Disneyland to include the characters. I have seen the version without characters here at Walt Disney World literally hundreds of times in my lifetime, and I like the addition of the characters to the Disneyland ride. I know it isn’t for everyone, but I think it adds a bit more fun and that the characters, for the most part, fit in seamlessly with the other It’s A Small World dolls in that Mary Blair style.

Clock
Clock
Alice & White Rabbit
Alice & White Rabbit
Cinderella
Cinderella
Pinocchio
Pinocchio
Jiminy Cricket
Jiminy Cricket
Jasmine & Aladdin
Jasmine & Aladdin
Mushu kite
Mushu kite
Mulan & Mushu
Mulan & Mushu
Three Caballeros
Three Caballeros
Ariel
Ariel
Flounder
Flounder
Dory & Marlin
Dory & Marlin
Lilo & Stitch
Lilo & Stitch
Woody, Bullseye & Jessie
Woody, Bullseye & Jessie

What do you think of the characters? Are they a fun addition in your opinion, or would you prefer the original version?

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Roastie Toasties of Disneyland

Frontierland Roastie Toastie
Frontierland Roastie Toastie

Each day as I get closer to my Disneyland trip, I look more and more forward to the things I am going to get to see again. One of the more fun things that I enjoyed in Disneyland were the popcorn machines with hand turning little characters, affectionately nicknamed Roastie Totasties. You can check out a video here from the Disney Parks Blog about them.

There are about a dozen of these throughout the park in different lands. I thought I had gotten pictures and saw all the them, but it appears I may have missed a few or they added or changed some after my trip last August.

The first Roastie Toastie I encountered was in Frontierland. This one is made to look like Davy Crockett and fits right in with the theming of the land. I love the detail that was put in to this little guy and his coonskin cap.

Next up was New Orleans Square. This was one of my favorite of the Roastie Toasties I encountered. Outside the Haunted Mansion is a popcorn cart featuring an undertaker.

In Fantasyland I discovered two more Roastie Toasties. One was near the Matterhorn and the other was on the path towards Toon Town by It’s A Small World. Both featured clowns with different colored outfits, but similar looks.

My favorite Roastie Toastie is found in Tomorrowland. This one is themed after the Rocketeer from the movie of the same name from the early 1990s. The helmet and leather jacket look fantastic!

New Orleans Square Roastie Toastie
New Orleans Square Roastie Toastie
Matterhorn Roastie Toastie
Matterhorn Roastie Toastie
Fantasyland Roastie Toastie
Fantasyland Roastie Toastie
Tomorrowland Roastie Toastie
Tomorrowland Roastie Toastie

Have you seen the Roastie Toasties at Disneyland? I thought I had seen them all, but now I know I have a mission for my upcoming trip next month. I kind of wish they had these cool popcorn carts at Walt Disney World too. Do you have a favorite?

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Best Bathrooms in Disney

I thought I would take this time to share some of my favorite bathrooms around Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I know this may not be the most glamorous subject, but I thought it would be fun. Hey, maybe you’ll find a new favorite spot. This is certainly subjective, but I am basing my list on a few things. Theming is one parameter, location is another, and size/stall to guest ratio. They don’t all have to meet all criteria and they are not listed in any particular order.

Magic Kingdom Bathrooms

I have to say the Tangled bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom are probably the most themed I’ve ever seen. Rapunzel’s tower is illuminated at night and the surrounding area is beautifully decorated around the village near Rapunzel’s parents’ castle and the Snuggly Duckling. Lanterns are lit up at night and hang above the area to provide a gentle light at night. Outside there are seating clusters even with charging stations. Inside the theming is carried on even further (at least in the ladies room) to reflect many of Rapunzel’s hobbies featured in the opening song of Tangled. Plus, there are tons of stalls and I’ve never had to wait.

Tangled bathroomTangled 2Tangled 3Tangled 4Tangled 5Tangled 6

As a runner up, I’d choose the bathrooms in the Fantasyland train station. They aren’t quite as spacious as the Tangled toilets, but they are very pretty. Honorable mention in the Magic Kingdom goes to the New Fantasyland bathrooms behind Gaston’s Tavern.

Disneyland Bathrooms

Hands down my favorite bathrooms in Disneyland are the Alice in Wonderland bathrooms adjacent to the Alice attraction and the Matterhorn. Friends of mine steered me to these bathrooms to check them out on my first trip and I wasn’t disappointed. While Alice in Wonderland isn’t one of my favorite Disney films, the attraction is my favorite dark ride in Fantasyland. I loved these bathrooms with the cards for the stall doors and the hearts on the light fixtures.

Alice bathroomAlice 2Alice 3Alice 4Alice 5Alice 6

I haven’t seen them in person, but a shoutout to the Club 33 bathrooms must be made. Also, have to give props to the Tiki Room bathrooms as the only bathrooms to my knowledge inside of an attraction.

Epcot Bathrooms

Just recently the new bathrooms opened in the American Adventure pavilion, which might now usurp the position of my favorite bathrooms from the old Millennium Village/now World Showplace bathrooms as my favorite in World Showcase. I have to give the edge to America because the World Showplace bathrooms are often only open for special events or during super crowded times of the year like New Year’s Eve. The new bathrooms are also much prettier with a colonial theme (or as colonial as you can get with Dyson airblade hand dryers).

American Adventure bathroomAmerican Adventure 2American Adventure 3American Adventure 4 American Adventure 5

In Future World, I adore the bathrooms tucked away to the right of the entrance to the Imagination Pavilion. So few people seem to know these exist I have rarely seen more than one or two other people here. Bonus points are definitely awarded for the bright rainbow colors carrying over the theming from the pavilion and the fact I’ve never had to wait in line for these bathrooms.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Bathrooms

My pick here for best bathrooms comes down to a matter of convenience and accessibility. The restrooms outside of the American Idol Experience to the right of the attraction entrance aren’t themed at all. They are purely functional, however they are, from what I’ve found, consistently the least crowded bathrooms anywhere in the park. These bathrooms are also pretty centrally located just off of Hollywood Boulevard to the left of the Sorcerer’s Hat.

Disney California Adventure Bathrooms

On first thinking of this post, my immediate answer was the beautifully themed new bathrooms on Buena Vista Street on the right a little after the park entrance. I loved the colors and how they fit right in with the style of Hollywood in the late 20s and early 30s. When I mentioned this post to Shelley, she added the bathrooms in Carthay Circle as a suggestion. I forgot how great these were as well with pictures of Walt and other celebs from the time of the premiere of Snow White at the Carthay Circle Theatre in the 1930s.

Buena Vista Street bathroomBuena Vista Street 2Buena Vista Street 3Buena Vista Street 4Buena Vista Street 5Carthay 1Carthay 2Carthay 3Carthay 4Carthay 5Carthay 6

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Bathrooms

The best themed bathrooms are tucked away in a corner of Camp Minnie-Mickey just outside the exit to the Festival of the Lion King. These are rarely busy, except right after a show of FotLK lets out. They are representative of the decor with a camp style reminiscent of the woods that currently surround them. I say currently because these bathrooms are probably not long for this world with the relocation of Lion King to Africa. The proposed Avartarland expansion of this section of the park will surely be the end of these bathrooms, at least in their current state. I can’t imagine they’d fit in with the landscape of Pandora.

 

What are some of your favorite bathrooms at Walt Disney World or Disneyland? Did I miss any?

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Wordless Wednesday: Where It All Began

Wordless Wednesday: September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to the coolest thing at Disneyland! It looks like an old, green park bench, but it is where the idea of Disneyland began, This is the park bench where Walt sat and watched his daughters ride the carousel in Griffith Park and thought about creating a place where they could spend time and have fun together.

Well it came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always Daddy’s Day with his two daughters. So we’d start out and I’d take them to the merry-go-round and take them to different places. And as I sit there while they rode the merry-go-round, did all these kind of things, sit on a bench and eating peanuts. I felt that there should be something big, some kind of amusement enterprise where the parents and children could have fun together.

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Wordless Wednesday – I Know You

Wordless Wednesday – September 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to Disneyland! Nestled among water fountains just outside of the entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, you will find this statue of Aurora dancing with Prince Phillip as Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather all surround her. It’s such a pretty statuette in person, and it really captures the charm of the movie and the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough!

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