Disney Vacation Club has revealed never-before-seen renderings of the new guest rooms coming to The Villas at Disneyland Hotel, opening in September 2023.
The newest tower at the Disneyland Hotel will blend timeless Walt Disney Animation Studios classics with contemporary designs, delicately curating a celebration of Disney history and immersing guests in the creative storytelling process.
For Disneyland Resort Magic Key holders, early bookings will open on March 15, 2023, to Disney Vacation Club Members and on March 16, 2023. Reservations will open to the public on March 17, 2023.
Located just a quick stroll away from the entrance of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will welcome guests to a variety of themed accommodations, such as duo studios, deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, and multi-level grand villas.
Each room includes just-like-home amenities with touches of magic sprinkled throughout, inspired by Disney Animation classics like “The Jungle Book,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Fantasia,” and more.
The newly imagined duo studio will bring the story of “The Jungle Book” to life. Perfect for two guests, this cozy retreat features a split bathroom with themed tile accents, and a queen-size bed that conveniently tucks into the wall to reveal a sofa when not in use. The deluxe studios will celebrate the stories of “Sleeping Beauty” or “The Princess and the Frog.” Deluxe studios will include a kitchenette, split bathroom, and two queen-size beds to sleep up to four guests.
One- and two-bedroom villas offer roomier accommodations for larger families, sleeping up to five and nine guests, respectively. The villas include a full-size kitchen and living areas with comfortable sofa seating that can be easily pulled down to reveal a queen-size bed, complete with a story-themed mural above, inspired by “The Princess and the Frog” or “Fantasia.” The comfort continues into the main bedroom, which includes a spacious en-suite bathroom featuring double vanities, a soaking tub with a themed mosaic-style tile mural, and a spa-like shower.
The three-bedroom grand villas feature multi-level accommodations, sleeping up to 12 guests. Families can enjoy a full-size kitchen on the first floor, large dining area, and a double-sided fireplace connecting the living area to a private outdoor balcony. The first floor is also home to the primary suite, inspired by “Bambi.” Guests will discover more magic as they venture up a spiral staircase to discover a full-size washer, dryer, and two themed bedrooms. One bedroom is inspired by “Frozen” and one by “Moana,” each with two queen-size beds and en-suite bathrooms.
This will be the fourth tower at the Disneyland Hotel, adding 344 themed rooms to its existing 973 guest rooms. This AAA Four Diamond landmark hotel, exuding the nostalgia, charm, and magic of Disneyland Park, currently features specially-themed Disney suites and a courtyard plaza with two retro-themed pools and two water slides reminiscent of the Monorail Station’s early days. The hotel is part of the Disneyland Resort, steps from the Downtown Disney District and the gateway to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.
Rental reservations for The Villas at Disneyland Hotel can be made beginning on March 15 for Disney Vacation Club Members by contacting Member Services at (800) 800-9800 and on March 16 for Disneyland Resort Magic Key holders by contacting (714) 956-6425. On March 17, all guests can book online at Disneyland.com or by contacting (714) 956-6425. Villas are limited in availability, and restrictions apply.
It was 65 years ago that Disneyland first welcomed guests to enjoy a new kind of experience: the theme park. And to mark the occasion, D23 Disney twenty-three has created a one-of-a-kind, stand-alone issue, filled with rich stories and stunning photography that look at the development and evolution of the Disney theme park.
Disney artist Ricky De Los Angeles created an exclusive wrap-around cover for the issue featuring colorful illustrations of iconic attractions (and snacks!) from Disney parks around the world.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro penned a special “Editor’s Letter” for readers, highlighting his deep connection with the theme parks, and stories include exclusive interviews with Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Wing T. Chao; Imagineers Tom Fitzgerald and Bhavna Mistry; original Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess; and Walt Disney Imagineering President Bob Weis.
The Disney twenty-three team pulled together a robust selection of stories written by subject matter experts including:
Walt’s Map to the Magic: A deep dive into the inspiration, planning, and creation of Disneyland penned by Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline and publication editor Max Lark
Dateline Disneyland: July 17, 1955: A guided tour of Disneyland on opening day by D23’s Manager of Content Curation (and former Disneyland Park tour guide) Justin Arthur
Picturing the Parks: A curated look at some of the most beloved attraction posters from Disney’s parks around the world written by Disney Publishing’s Editorial Director Wendy Lefkon
National Treasures: Stunning images from several of National Geographic’s many trips to the parks from National Geographic’s Caitlin Holbrook
Rooms with a View: The evolution of Disney’s immersive resorts and vacation experiences from the Disneyland Hotel to a galaxy far, far away by Disney Vacation Club’s Ryan March
Character Analysis: Park Stars: Beloved characters created just for Disney parks, from the Orange Bird and Figment to the Country Bears and Chandu, written by Disney Parks’ Charles Stovall
And much, much more including a roundup of every glorious Disney castle, a look at our remarkable cast members around the world, the Disney spectacular examined, and an advance peek at the new book Holiday Magic in the Disney Parks
Expanded Digital Storytelling: More than a dozen original features on D23.com looking at the Disney theme park, from a look at movies filmed at Disney parks (Saving Mr. Banks and Tomorrowland) to delicious vintage parks recipes.
An Exclusive Pin Set: Available only to D23 Gold and Gold Family Members, this 6-pin set features some of the colorful artwork from Ricky De Los Angeles’ cover of Disney twenty-three, including Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort, Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Resort, Ratatouille: The Adventure at Disneyland Paris, Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World Resort, Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and one inspired by Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. The limited-edition set will be available for $49.99 on August 31 at shopDisney.com.
Disney Imagineers Celebrate 65 Years of Disneyland Park: From August 21 through August 23, D23 Gold and Gold Family Members will have the chance to watch an exclusive virtual panel created by Walt Disney Imagineering celebrating the 65th anniversary of Disneyland with Imagineering leaders Jeanette Lomboy, Kim Irvine, and Scott Trowbridge, along with Disney Legend Tony Baxter, and moderated by Leslie Iwerks, director and executive producer of The Imagineering Story on Disney+.
D23 Trivia Night: 65 Years of the Disney Theme Park: Disney parks trivia aficionados are invited to join a fun evening of trivia spanning every Disney park around the globe. On August 28, D23 Gold and Gold Family Members can join the fun to celebrate 65 years of favorite places and attractions—classic and new.
D23 Magical Summer Sweepstakes: Starting August 10, all D23 Members will be able to enter to win exciting prizes, including a new D23 Gold Membership and the exclusive 6-pin set.
Special Gold Member Gift: Just for D23 Gold and Gold Family Members, this issue of Disney twenty-three will include a set of six postcards—each representing a different Disney resort around the world.
Additional details will be available at D23.com. Disney twenty-three, which is delivered directly to fans’ doorsteps, is offered exclusively to D23 Gold and Gold Family Members as a benefit of their membership. The latest issue will begin arriving before the end of August.
The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.
Fans can join D23 at Gold Membership ($99.99), Gold Family Membership ($129.99), and General Membership (complimentary) levels at D23.com. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
This holiday season, ABC and the Disney Channel will transport the magic of Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line to viewers with three magical Disney Holiday Specials featuring star-studded performances, merry entertainment and more.
During the Disney Holiday Specials, viewers will get exclusive looks at upcoming Disney Parks attractions, including Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opening soon at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.
ABC officially kicks off the holidays with “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration,“ THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC; followed by “Disney Channel Holiday Party @ Walt Disney World,“ premiering FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EST), on Disney Channel and in the DisneyNOW app. As part of the annual tradition, the “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” airs Christmas morning, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25 (10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST; airtimes vary, check listings, on ABC and on the ABC app).
“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” kicks off the holiday seasonThursday, November 28, from 8:00-10:00 p.m. EST, on ABC and on the ABC app.
Join hosts artist Matthew Morrison, singer-songwriter and TV host Emma Bunton, and TV host Jesse Palmer as they present the two-hour prime-time special on Thanksgiving night from Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California.
This magical celebration will feature celebrity musical performances among a flurry of Disney holiday entertainment. During the prime-time special, viewers will be treated to several Disney Parks sneak peeks, including a behind-the-scenes look into Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opening in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on December 5, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and January 17, 2020, at Disneyland Park in California.
Musical performances include the following:
GRAMMYAward-winning icons Sting and Shaggy perform duets and solo numbers from Walt Disney World Resort, including a new festive reggae version of “Silent Night (Christmas is Coming).”
GRAMMY Award-winning rock band Portugal. The Man performs “Happy Christmas” and “Merry Christmas Everybody” from Disneyland Resort.
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning group Pentatonix will sing a cappella renditions of “Deck the Halls” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Singers Ingrid Michaelson and Andy Grammer perform an all-new original holiday song from Disneyland Resort.
International pop star Ally Brooke sings “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Singer-songwriter and TV host Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) performs “Santa Baby” from Walt Disney World Resort.
The Tony, Emmy, and two-time Golden Globe-nominated artist Matthew Morrison performs a medley from Walt Disney World Resort of “When You Wish Upon A Star” from the upcoming album “Disney Dreamin’ with Matthew Morrison” and the classic “Let it Snow.”
Acclaimed two-time Billboard Award-winning electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling pulls all the strings for “Carol of the Bells” from Walt Disney World Resort.
“Disney Channel Holiday Party @ Walt Disney World“ airs Friday, December 13, from 8:00-8:30 p.m. EST/PST, on Disney Channel and in the DisneyNOW app. Disney Channel’s “ZOMBIES 2” stars MegDonnelly and Milo Manheim will co-host this holiday party with artist Matthew Morrison, treating fans to a magical holiday celebration featuring performances from Shaggy, Pentatonix andDisney Channel stars Issac Ryan Brown (“Raven’s Home“), Ruby Rose Turner (“Coop & Cami Ask the World”), and Kylie Cantrall (“Gabby Duran & The Unsittables”) broadcast from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and aboard the majestic Disney Fantasy – part of the Disney Cruise Line fleet.
During the special, viewers will enjoy exclusive Disney Parks sneak peeks, including a first look at Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in spring 2020 and Disneyland Park in California in the future. Viewers will also get an exclusive look at the Disney Channel Original Movie sequel “ZOMBIES 2,” premiering on Disney Channel in 2020.
Additionally, “BUNK’D” stars Scarlett Estevez and Israel Johnson will host a special family segment highlighting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program.
Musical performances include the following:
Disney Channel’s “ZOMBIES 2” star Meg Donnelly sings “Home for the Holidays” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Channel stars Issac Ryan Brown (”Raven’s Home”) and Ruby Rose Turner (”Coop & Cami Ask the World”) perform “12 Days of Christmas” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Channel’s “Gabby Duran & The Unsittables” star Kylie Cantrall performs “Santa Claus is Coming to Town“ aboard the Disney Fantasy.
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning Pentatonix performs an a cappella renditionof “Here Comes Santa Claus” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning reggae star Shaggy sings “Jamaican Drummer Boy” from Walt Disney World Resort.
“Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” airsWednesday, December 25, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST; airtimes vary, check listings, on ABC and on the ABC app.
Disney’s annual Christmas celebration airs Christmas morning on ABC hosted by artist Matthew Morrison,singer-songwriter and TV host Emma Bunton, and TV host Jesse Palmer. Joining as co-hosts are ABC’s “black-ish” star Marsai Martin with Hollywood Records Artist and Disney’s “The Lion King” star JD McCrary, who voiced young Simba in the live-action film.
Presented from Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California, the show features the Christmas Day Parade down Main Street U.S.A., heartwarming stories and amazing celebrity performances. Among the exclusive Disney Parks sneak peeks planned for this special are Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in spring 2020 and Disneyland Park in California in the future, plus Avengers Campus coming to Disney California Adventure Park in California in 2020.
Viewers will also get a special look at “the most magical flight on earth”: the newly opened Disney Skyliner gondola system, connecting Walt Disney World Resort guests to two Disney theme parks and four resorts, including the new Disney’s Riviera Resort, opening December 16.
Musical performances include the following:
Seventeen-time GRAMMY Award-winning Sting performs “Soul Cake” off his platinum-selling album “If On A Winter’s Night…” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning reggae star Shaggy sings his new Caribbean-flavored original song “Christmas with Friends” from Walt Disney World Resort
Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning a cappella group Pentatonix performs “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Walt Disney World Resort.
Singers Ingrid Michaelson and Grace VanderWaal sing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” from Disneyland Resort.
GRAMMY Award-winning rock band Portugal. The Man performs “White Christmas” and “Feel it Still” from Disneyland Resort.
International pop star Ally Brooke performs “Christmas Through Your Eyes” from Walt Disney World Resort.
The cast of the new Disney+ original “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” performs a high-energy medley from Disneyland Resort.
The Disney Holiday specials are a collaboration by Disney Parks, ABC, Disney Channel and Endeavor Content, and I can’t wait to tune in!
I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the things I am looking forward to this year as it is almost time to spring forward.
This year I am hoping to participate in at least one race per month, and doing more local races too. This weekend I will be walking the 5K for the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. Next weekend I will probably also walk the Best Damn Race 5K in downtown Orlando near Lake Eola. April I think will be the 5K that goes through Legoland and the rest of the year is up in the air.
Spring Training is about to shift into high gear. Teams are practicing and I’ve got tickets to see my Braves play the Cardinals at home next month. I hope to catch at least one other spring training game and to make it to Atlanta once this year.
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is starting in a couple of weeks and this is always a fun special event. Last year I got to meet one of my HGTV personalities, David Bromstad. I look forward to trying to see him again this year and to try out some of the new food offerings.
I would love to get to Busch Gardens as it has been almost a year since I last visited, despite this being the closer theme park to where I live. I need my coaster fix and to feed some kangaroos too.
A first for me this year will be to visit Universal Studios Mardi Gras. I haven’t been to Universal since 1992 other than a few trips to City Walk over the past decade. I am long overdue and hope to finally get to taste butterbeer and maybe one of those giant donuts from the Simpsons.
Summer will bring the return of Summer Nightastic at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, both of which are a lot of fun. I would like to get back to SeaWorld to see their Viva La Musica celebration.
Coming soon, hopefully, will be the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom. This new coaster will be something between the thrill level of the Barnstormer and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but with some dark ride elements I’m hoping similar to Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.
Late spring into summer brings the return of the beloved Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Last year I missed out on Hyperspace Hoopla in its entirety and I won’t let that happen again this year.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom I am looking forward to the new nighttime spectacular that should be arriving sometime this summer. I also really want Festival of the Lion King to come back soon, but I know it is still a few months off.
July will bring the WWE Raw live in Orlando from the Amway Center. I hope to see this and compare it to my recent experience for WWE Live.
Also in July will be the Destination D event at Walt Disney World for D23. I hope this is as fun if not more so than the event in 2011.
Of course the fall will bring back the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot that this year is extended to even more of September. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts up again in September into October. November and December will see Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom as well.
One of the things that is on the back burner, but I’m still trying to work into my schedule is a trip back to Disneyland sometime in the next few months or so. Also, a cruise, or two, will be happening this year!
What events are you looking forward to this year? Did I miss any of your favorites?Follow us for more updates:
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…
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!Follow us for more updates:
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!
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?
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.
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.
What do you think of the characters? Are they a fun addition in your opinion, or would you prefer the original version?Follow us for more updates:
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!
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?Follow us for more updates:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?Follow us for more updates:
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.
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!
Disney Design Group artist Mark Seppala created this Haunted Mansion Disney Dooney and Bourke bag with such attention to detail it is amazing! The creepy color palate, the pop of red in the interior of the bag, the subtle wallpaper patter, and especially the hang tag with the attraction logo!
I am in love to say the least!!!
The bag will have a retail of $330.00 (plus tax), and will be released at the following merchandise locations starting September 13, 2013.
With so many of us and our friends traveling out to Disneyland this week, it’s got me thinking about my upcoming trip. I had my first trip to Disneyland last summer, and wow was it amazing! You can read my detailed trip reports from last year here, here and here. This fall I’m heading back to California the week after Thanksgiving. I’m so stoked that I will get to see the Disneyland Resort in a whole new light at the holidays!
Last trip was solo with several groups of friends traveling on overlapping dates, which turned into only one day where I was truly on my own. This year, my mom is coming with me for her first trip to Disneyland. We are also celebrating both of our birthdays since it is the week after mine and the week before hers. I’m excited to see it through her eyes for the first time as she has been coming to Walt Disney World since the early 1970s and has been a passholder on and off over the past 15 years. We are staying on property at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and splurged for a theme park view room since I was able to book at a discount through work.
I am looking forward to going back to experience some of my favorites from last time like Pirates of the Caribbean, Radiator Springs Racers, Alice in Wonderland and many more attractions. Even just the thought of exploring New Orleans Square, which is one of my favorite places on the entire planet, gets me excited for this trip! I cannot wait to see and do the special things just for Christmas time. They haven’t released any info yet, but I’m hoping I’ll be there while Disneyland is doing the Candlelight Processional. I love this show at Epcot and would like to see the differences and often they have great celebrity narrators since they’re so close to L.A.
Haunted Mansion is going to be transformed for the Nightmare Before Christmas layover called Haunted Mansion Holiday. I’ve seen the ride through on my NBC special edition dvd, but experiencing it in person has been on my list for a while. I also cannot wait to see Sleeping Beauty Castle draped in icicle lights and the special Believe fireworks show in Disneyland.
Over in Disney California Adventure I am probably most looking forward to seeing my favorite section of the park, Buena Vista Street, decked out in decorations reminiscent of the heyday of Hollywood. I saw pictures from friends last year and videos of bell ringers and I see myself with a peppermint mocha from Fiddler, Fife and Practical Cafe’s Starbucks spending a good amount of time just soaking in the atmosphere. Also, I’m interested to see the all new World of Color show for the holidays. I have to admit I’m going to miss the regular show, but I’m sure they’ll produce something just as awesome for Christmas.
And then there is the food. I will definitely be returning to Jolly Holiday Bakery for my beloved Matterhorn macaroon, Mickey beignets and a mint julep will be happening, and skewers from Bengal Barbecue again will make another great snack. I am debating making a reservation for either a character meal, which I didn’t do last time, or maybe Steakhouse 55 since I’m still unable to find a way into Club 33. I really loved Napa Rose and may do just appetizers and drinks there again and same thing at Carthay Circle since I enjoyed them both so much. Oh yes, and churros must happen too. Team churro forever!
I think I hit all of the attractions last summer, but there have been some additions since then like Mickey and the Magical Map in Disneyland and the new location for the princess meet and greet. I am also hoping that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will be open then after its lengthy refurbishment. It’s A Small World Holiday is another thing I’m really looking forward to seeing for the first time.
Most of all, I just cannot wait to be back in Disneyland. For someone who has been coming to Walt Disney World for thirty plus years, it is like traveling home, but to a different home than what you know, and you are instantly welcomed and at ease. I’m also toying with doing either a special holiday tour or the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour. The ambiance and feel and coziness of Disneyland is something that I think we are missing here in Florida. I love the parks here at Christmas and can’t wait to experience the magic of Disneyland when I head back in a few months. The thought of returning to Trader Sam’s doesn’t hurt either. 😉
Have you been to Disneyland at the holidays? What are some of your favorite things to do? Leave me a comment if there’s anything I’ve missed that special for that time of year or if you have any restaurant or tour recommendations for me.
Best of luck to everyone traveling to Disneyland this weekend for the runDisney Dumbo Double Dare races!!!Follow us for more updates:
New Sweepstakes Offers D23 Members the Chance to Unlock the Magic of The Happiest Place on Earth With a Once-In-a-Lifetime Tour
In celebration of Disneyland’s 58th anniversary today, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club has launched the “Off the Map Sweepstakes.” Twenty-five lucky D23 Members and their guests will be invited to Disneyland Park to visit four of the park’s little-seen but widely heard of locations: Walt Disney’s private apartment, the Lilly Belle VIP parlor car on the Disneyland Railroad, Circle D Ranch, and the Disneyland Dream Suite.
“Our friends at Disneyland will give the winning D23 Members a special glimpse at some of the park’s most amazing hidden gems, special places that most guests never get to see,” said Steven Clark, Head of D23. “Our first ‘Off the Map’ member event in 2012 was such a huge hit that we wanted to reprise it with this special sweepstakes so even more of our members have a chance to visit these truly magical and historical Disneyland locations.”
Winners will be able to explore:
Walt Disney’s private apartment: Built during the initial construction of Disneyland, Walt Disney’s private apartment is a quaint studio dwelling, filled with Victorian decor, family photos, and antiques selected by the Disney family.
Lilly Belle VIP parlor car: Disneyland guests have long taken grand circle tours on the Disneyland Railroad, but few ever enjoy the ride from the elegant Lilly Belle VIP car parlor. Named after Walt’s wife, Lillian, the Lilly Belle is truly a piece of history, built in 1955, and refurbished to its modern state of luxury for America’s bicentennial celebration in 1976.
Circle D Ranch: From the friendly goats at Big Thunder Ranch to the horses who carry guests down Main Street, U.S.A., Circle D Ranch is home to Disneyland’s beloved “four-legged cast members.”
Disneyland Dream Suite: This private space above Pirates of the Caribbean was originally planned to be another apartment for Walt Disney, but he passed away before its completion. In 2008, Imagineers used some of Walt’s original ideas and some truly magical surprises of their own to transform it into a fantasy villa like no other.
D23 Members may enter the sweepstakes beginning today through August 23 at D23.com. The tour will take place on Wednesday, October 2. Winners will be able to attend with one (1) guest. For complete rules, details, and eligibility please visit D23.com. No purchase required; guests may join D23 for free at D23.com.
The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s nearly 90-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 9–11, 2013.
People often ask what Disney items I collect. I don’t really do pins, other than for the races I’ve done or special occasions like Epcot’s 30th. Vinylmations aren’t really my thing because I know there are ones I like, but I can’t deal with the blind boxes and not knowing what I’m going to get. My weakness, when it comes to Disney, and other things, is my affinity for t-shirts. I’ve collected them since I moved to Florida in the late 1990s and thought I had a few added to the collection over the years. It wasn’t until I went to take pictures for this post that I realized that the number of Disney t-shirts I now own is pushing fifty.
Most of my Disney t-shirts have stories behind them as to when and where I purchased them. Others, I have no recollection of how I acquired them, but I am fairly certain that I purchased them all, if not all but one or two. At an average price of probably $20-25 each after discounts, I am a little embarrassed at the amount of money I’ve probably spent (well over $1,000.), but I do love them and the memories they bring. So I thought I’d take this time to share my t-shirt collection and what a few of them mean to me.
I wish I had a picture, or could find the shirt, but the first Disney t-shirt I actually remember getting (or having my mom possibly buy it for me) was in middle school on my first trip to Epcot in 1993. I loved the France pavilion so much and was a scholar of French at the time, so it was a perfect fit (or so I thought at the time) when I found a shirt that featured helpful phrases and words in French with their translation into English. The brilliant thing about this shirt was that the words were printed upside down, so I as the shirt wearer could read it a little easier. Dorky, I know, but I loved it and really wish I could lay my hands on it. I’ve spent over an hour looking and I’m temporarily calling off the search.
When I was in middle school and high school, my favorite Disney character was Winnie the Pooh. I had a stuffed Winnie the Pooh that even sang when you pushed a button on the hunny pot he was holding. I’m sure I still have him around here, but not sure where. These three shirts have survived a good two decades almost now.
The older I got, the more I realized that Mickey Mouse was actually my favorite character. I would say he probably makes up the character on the highest percentage of my shirts.
Over the years I have acquired a love for Disney t-shirts from the parks, whether to celebrate anniversaries or just favorite attractions.
My favorite sports team trains at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, so they even have Disney Atlanta Braves shirts.
Even my favorite actor, Sean Connery, was featured on a t-shirt I got at MGM about fifteen years ago.
Then there are the holiday shirts. The one that was the hardest to get and to wear after earning it was the 24 hours Leap Day in 2012.