Tag - Disneyland

Faux Disney Day
Stormtrooper Photo Op at Disneyland
The Tastiest Foods at Disneyland
Disneyland Popcorn Guys
Hidden Places in Disneyland

Faux Disney Day

Warning:  This post contains some highly skilled iphone photography.  Brace yourself.

I had to get up early last weekend and take Pumpkin Girl to dance at the mall.  Usually, this is not that noteworthy, nor does it require any special effort on my part. However, that day was not just window shopping with her dancing along instead of walking.  She was actually in a show, with costumes and makeup and music.

When we arrived, the mall was unlocked but not really open.  All of the stores were closed and the only people around were those associated with the day’s festivities.  I had Pipsqueak in tow because Boo was hiking up Pikes Peak, as he does, and Bip and Phil were having fun at Pinewood Derby.

The mall is actually a very cool place first thing in the morning, but really, there is no call for being up that early unless you’re going to Disneyland.

I thought maybe I could make the best of it and pretend that Pumpkin’s performance was the rope drop show and later we could ride the kiddie train around the mall to complete the effect.

And then this happened…
MickeyAtMallWe spotted Mickey!  Really and truly, there was Mickey Mouse (or a somewhat close facsimile).  In this picture, he’s chatting it up with Tchaikovsky.  I don’t know why, I didn’t ask.

So Pipsqueak and I watched Pumpkin’s show and I got this high quality picture.

Her dance is hip hop and she’s quite cute in it, though it amuses me muchly to see my graceful ballerina of a daughter hip-hopping. But when you’re in a dance company, you dance what you’re cast.  And you work it.

Later, we tracked down Mickey for a little character meet and greet.


Then Pumpkin got ears.


I decided against the train ride because it would have set us back $12 and I was saving up for a Dole Whip, which we never did find. If only we could have found one, or at least a churro, our fake Disney day would have been complete.

When there is no planned Disney vacation in sight, you have to do what you can.

Stormtrooper Photo Op at Disneyland

How to get your picture taken with a Stormtrooper

Stormtroopers at Disneyland are a bit elusive and if you do find them, getting a posed picture is even harder.  But it can be done!

Timing is everything. The Stormtroopers are part of the Jedi Training Academy, and unlike the other characters there, they sort of wander off towards the end of the show.  If you don’t have a child in the Academy at the time, you want to be waiting directly behind the stage or in the area of Star Traders.  StormtrooperAtDisneyland

They will head off towards Star Tours and hang out there for awhile.  However, being Stormtroopers, they aren’t exactly friendly and are more concerned with security than with taking pictures.  Don’t take offense if they turn down your request for a photo!  Try a little Jedi mind trick  – with a slight wave of the hand and a comment like, “I really want to take a picture with you”, you might get lucky. Or you might have to position yourself or your child right in front of them and they will comply.  Just be quick with the camera and know that you will probably only have one chance.

StormtrooperLookingAtMe I was able to get a picture of a Stormtrooper with Bip.  Even though our Stormtooper agreed to the picture, he kept sort of moving off.  I had to get out my Mom Voice, complete with Stern Face, and tell him to stop moving around!  He obeyed my order and held still long enough for a good picture.StormtrooperWithBip

The Tastiest Foods at Disneyland

The Tastiest Foods in Disneyland

Disneyland food is not cheap, so if you’re going to be spending a lot of money, it better be worth it, right? People are always asking me about my favorite restaurants and food at Disneyland.  They’re not stopping me in the streets or anything, but if someone I know is planning a trip, they ask me about food.  Now, I’m not a foodie or a gourmet or anything fancy like that. I’m pretty easy to please, food wise.  So all that being said, these are my Disneyland food favorites.

1.  Mickey Bars, of course.  You can go for the ice cream dipped in chocolate or the ice cream sandwich, but both are shaped like Mickeys.  No trip to Disneyland (or Disney World or the Disney cruises) is complete without a Mickey Bar.

Mickey Barphoto courtesy of K!ngrum

2. Dole Whips.  If you haven’t had a Dole Whip, you really haven’t lived.  You can buy these at only one place in Disneyland, and that is at the Tiki Juice Bar at the entrance to the Enchanted Tiki Room.  You can stand in a long line outside the ride if you want.  But it is far better to go through the turnstyle to the shaded waiting area for the show.  You can order your Dole Whips from inside the waiting area, eat while you wait and *you can bring your treat into the show*.  Just be nice and throw your trash away on your way out.

Disneyland Dole Whip

3.  Kabobs at the Bengal BBQ.  This counter service restaurant is in Adventureland, approximately across from the Indiana Jones ride.   The kabobs are tasty and filling and not what you’d consider your average park fare.

Disneyland chicken skewers Bengal BBQ

4. Cream cheese filled pretzels.  You’ll either love these or hate them.  I happen to love them.  They are ooey-gooey, sweetness in a carb.  What’s not to love?  You can find them in a pretzel cart near Star Traders in Tomorrowland, across from the AstroBlaster ride, or in California Adventure, over by Goofy’s Sky School, in a little food hut.  You can also get plain, Mickey shaped pretzels, if that’s more your style.

5.  Churros.  Yes, you can get these anywhere now, even Costco and Sam’s Club for much cheaper and much bigger.  But they taste better at Disneyland.  Trust me on this.  I did extensive research, just for the blog.  See how much I love you?  Churro carts can be found all over Disneyland.

Disneyland churro

6.  Chicken sausage in a pretzel bun at the Village Haus in Fantasyland.  Mmmmm. Chicken sausage, pretzel bun, add some sauerkraut and mustard.  Almost good enough to make me wear leiderhosen and play an accordian.  Almost.


7. Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou.  First off, this is our favorite resturant, in or out of Disneyland.  The atmosphere is amazing.  You are indoors (with air conditioning!), but it looks like you are actually outside, dining next to a Louisiana bayou. But the bayou is actually the water of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and the boats are floating right by!

Blue Bayou Restaurantphoto courtesy of davelandweb.com

 All of the food is good at the Blue Bayou but my favorite is the Monte Cristo sandwich.  The first time I ordered it, I thought I was getting a croque monsieur, which is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  Turns out, I had the name wrong.  So when I got a ham, turkey and cheese sandwich, dipped in batter and fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served with jelly on the side…you can say I was a bit surprised.  And delighted!  It was delicious.  Don’t even think about the calories on this.  Think instead about how much exercise you’re getting walking around all day.  Oh, and you can also get this sandwich at Cafe Orleans.  Both restaurants are in New Orleans Square.

Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou

8.  Clam chowder in a sour dough bowl at the Royal Street Verandah, New Orleans Square.  My mouth waters just thinking about this!  I haven’t actually had one in a long time, but hopefully they are as good as I remember.

clam chowder sourdough bread bowl Disneyland

 9. Anything at the Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel in Downtown Disney (and connected to California Adventure).  My friend Shanti is a self-described food snob and this is her favorite restaurant in the Disneyland Resort. In her own words, Napa Rose has “good food, good wine, and really good service.”  They change the menu all the time, so she couldn’t tell me her favorite meal. She does say they are good with kids there, too.  We might just have to check it out soon.

So what do you think?  Did I miss your favorite Disneyland food?

Disneyland Popcorn Guys

A little while ago I told you about some of our favorite lesser-known spots at Disneyland. Those are the little details that I love! Another detail I make sure not to miss are the little characters that turn the popcorn in the popcorn cart.What would you call them, anyway? Popcorn crankers? Popcorn turners? I’ve always been fond of them. When I was younger I would try to figure out how the popcorn got out of their little machine and into the warming area.  (I will neither confirm nor deny that I was over 18 when I figured out that those little guys weren’t actually making the popcorn.)

Each Disneyland popcorn cart has a different theme to coordinate with the land they are in, and the popcorn cranker is different in each one.

This is the Rocketeer from the movie of the same name.  He is the first one I ever noticed as being different from the others.  You can find him in Tomorrowland.  I love his little boots!

Check out the creepy undertaker!  He is found in New Orleans square, next to the Haunted Mansion (of course), in front of the train stop.

During Halloween, the undertaker is replaced by…the Oogie Boogie!  He might just cook a special batch of snake and spider stew!


This guy can be found in Toon Town.

The clowns are usually found near It’s a Small World.

Scary Yeti is next to the Matterhorn.  Just take your popcorn and back away slowly…

Dapper Dans can be found around Main Street, USA.

But during Christmas, Santa takes at turn at the popcorn!

As far as I know, the popcorn turners are unique to Disneyland.  Have you ever noticed them?

Hidden Places in Disneyland

Hidden Places in Disneyland that you don't want to miss!It’s no secret that we love Disneyland. I can’t even begin to count the number of times we’ve been.  We even went last January.  Over the years we’ve come up with a list of our favorite things. You can look anywhere for the best rides to go on for different ages, how to beat the crowds, and where are the best places to eat. But want to share my family’s top 10 out-of-the-way places and things to see. These are lesser known things to experience, the kinds of things left out of guide books, or overlooked by park goers. Enjoy!

1.Storybook Land Canals after dark. What sets Disneyland apart from other theme parks? The ambiance. They create a scene so beautifully that it can take your breath away. For a truly magical experience, ride the Storybook Land Canals after dark. The ride is lit with little fairy lights, probably by Tinker Bell herself. If you can manage it, ride without the kids and hold hands with your honey.

2. The Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through. This is overlooked by most people, but fun. The entrance is to the right, as you are leaving Fantasyland, just before you go under the castle. Dioramas tell the story of Aurora and her Prince as you walk up and through the castle. Don’t be too surprised if something jumps out and startles you! And watch for Malificent’s shadow moving across the wall…SleepingBeautyCastleEntrance

3. When You Wish Upon a Star. As you pass under the castle arch, pause for a moment and listen carefully. You will hear Jiminy Cricket singing “When You Wish Upon a Star”. I’m such a sap, hearing that brings a tear to my eye every time.

4. The Wicked Queen is watching! While you’re in line for the Peter Pan ride, look over at the Snow White ride. Up in the castle window, Snow White’s wicked step-mother will open the curtain and glower down at the crowd!WickedQueen

5. Poisoned Apple. Right at the entrance to Snow White’s Scary Adventures is a brass poisoned apple. Touch it…if you dare. PoisonApple

6. Now you see him…In the Mad Hatter hat shop, take a look at the mirror on the wall. The Cheshire Cat will appear and disappear. But if you want a good picture of him, go around to the left of the Alice ride. He’s sitting in a niche in the rock.

7. Square trees? Check out the trees in Fantasyland. They are cut into squares. This is to go along with the artwork in the Sleeping Beauty movie, which is all straight up and down and angular, reflecting the tapestries of the time the movie is set.

8. Photo op. Trying to get a picture of your kids on the Dumbo ride is difficult. Instead, look for the Dumbo set up just for pictures to the left of the ride.

9. South of the Border. A fun Mexican restaurant hides between the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain and the Castle. Even if you don’t eat there, take a stroll through the quiet passageway next to the restaurant for a change of pace.RanchoDelZolcaloPassage

10. Stroll through NOLA. Don’t miss the streets of New Orleans Square! Pay attention to all the details that Disney does so well. Rest your feet in the shade while sipping a soda on a curving staircase.


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