Category Archives: Disneyland

A Stroll Through Disney’s California Adventure

Disney’s California Adventure, along with Disneyland Resort, are the two parks making up Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  It has not always been very popular, but with the addition of Cars Land and the re-imagining of Grizzly Peak, it is much improved and gaining popularity.  For those better acquainted with Walt Disney World in Florida, there are parts of Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot, but it definitely has its own personality.  Here is a brief pictorial stroll through Disney’s California Adventure.  Enjoy!

Buena Vista Street

Open entering the park, you are on Buena Vista Street which is themed on 1930s Hollywood and includes a replica of the Carthay (To continue reading, check out our new site…)http://www.familytravelescapades.com/a-stroll-through-disneys-california-adventure/

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Photos from Recent Disneyland Trip

This post is just to illustrate how beautiful Disneyland is and how the 60th anniversary decoration of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is. I will also show some of the better photos of the three night time entertainment venues: Disneyland Forever, World of Color, and Paint the Night. I have already written about these, but more photos is never a bad thing. More to come later!IMG_4149 IMG_3960 IMG_4025 IMG_1061 IMG_0462 IMG_1060 IMG_1171 IMG_1177

Check out our new website.http://www.familytravelescapades.com

Disneyland Trip Report and Blog Update

Just as an update-I am probably going to keep this site up for a long time. We are still getting our new website going familytravelescapades.com. I am going to keep posting on here as well.
I may post some things other than Disney.

As a quick note, we just got back last Monday late from a visit to Disneyland. It was our second visit out there and I must say I will never go in the summer again! It was hot and crowded. There was still a lot of Disney Magic though!

We have both written articles about the comparison of Disney World and Disneyland and our articles were brief. I love both parks for different reasons. I feel like I am “cheating” on WDW to love Disneyland, but I can’t help it. There is a different sort of charm at Disneyland.

We stayed at The Grand Californian and loved it so if anyone is thinking of visiting, I highly recommend this as a place to stay.

The 60th anniversary celebration was going on and there were some new nighttime celebrations. The World of Color was new and re-imagined. Disneyland Forever was the new fireworks show with outstanding projections on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, The Matterhorn, Main Street U.S.A., and It’s A Small World. The projections were truly amazing. There were projections of orange groves, clips of favorite characters, etc. There was also a nighttime parade called Paint The Night that was spectacular. It looked like an amped- up Mainstreet Electrical Parade that is a staple at The Magic Kingdom.

IMG_0545IMG_1060IMG_1171In summary, I am going to continue writing for this blog. I wanted to also tell you a little bit more about our recent trip to Disneyland. If you get a chance I would suggest a visit to ; just wait for the fall.

Although I will continue to write on this blog as earlier stated, I still hope you check out our new website http://www.familytravelescapades.com. On the website you can also follow us on twitter, Facebook, instagram, and pinterest. I hope you will check it out!

5 Ways Disneyland Is Better Than Disney World

We just returned from our second trip to Disneyland. I love Disney World and will always consider that “home” but there are some ways in which Disneyland is “better” in my opinion. This list of 5 is not inclusive, but is the 5 most obvious to me. I would urge any Disney fan to visit Disneyland and Disney World and judge for yourselves.

1)The Events On Main Streetimage

Main Street at Disneyland is an attraction in itself. There are horse-drawn trolleys, double-decker buses, and other vehicles transporting people from the entrance to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. There is something charming and peaceful about riding on a horse-drawn carriage to the castle and watching the people and the stores pass by. The same is true for the other modes of transport, but not quite as much. We rode a trolley once and the Dapper Dans of Disneyland (an old-fashioned barbershop quartet) jumped on and serenaded us during the ride. You can’t beat that!

There are also many character meet and greets that you never see at Disney World and characters such as Cruella DeVille tend to walk through frequently. Overall there is a lot more emphasis on the characters; especially the more classic characters.imageimage

2)Fantasylandimage

While Fantasyland at Disneyland isn’t better as a whole, there are many unique rides that make it an exciting experience for a huge Disney fan. They don’t have “new fantasyland” like Walt Disney World which is a negative, but the presence of the extra and old classic rides makes it a thrill. Such rides as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Alice In Wonderland, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Casey Jr. Train, and The Canal Boats makes this a worthy visit for a Fantasyland fan.image

3)Close Proximity of Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and Resort Hotelsimage

There is something to be said for walking across from one park to the other in 2 minutes. Also Downtown Disney isn’t a bus ride away, but is literally connected to the Disney Parks. The 3 official Disney Resort Hotels are also within an easy walk, with The Grand California Hotel being actually connected to the California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney.

4)More intimate feel at Disneylandimage

The castle and the heights of the buildings are smaller and everything is closer together so it feels more cozy and intimate. At first I saw this as a negative, but after a couple of hours I felt the intimate setting was a positive.

5)Much more seating at Disneyland

For some this may not matter, but for someone like me who has back problems this is a huge asset. The first time we visited I couldn’t believe all of the benches everywhere. It is hard to find a seat at Magic Kingdom, but at Disneyland there are benches lining the area around the central courtyard when you first enter and also around Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, as well as other areas in both parks. This makes it more restful and gives you a nice place to sit and eat a snack. You can also hear the Disneyland Band or just watch the horse-drawn carriage go by as well as watch other things going on around the entrance and the castle.

In summary, I love Walt Disney World and do feel it is really a home away from home. There are many things better about Disney World, but I wanted to point out some of the things that I think might just make a visit worth it for you.

Disney Parks Tip: The Single Rider Line

Some rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World offer single rider lines. For the single rider line, you have to be okay with being seated where-ever there is a space. You will not be seated with anyone else from your party When there is an empty seat on a ride such as when there is a party of 3 on a ride with 2 seats per row, you are seated in the seat next to third member of that party. It is a great way to decrease wait time, if you don’t mind riding “alone.” The reason to do this is to cut your wait time. In general, I have found that you can usually cut your wait time compared to the stand-by line by 1/2 to 1/3.

The California parks employ this on more rides; so, we will start there. Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventures, and Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland, and Soarin’ over California, Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly River Rapids Goofy’s Fly School, and California Screamin’ all have this option. Radiator Springs Racers has an obvious labeled line to enter. For the other rides, you will need to ask the cast member at the beginning of the queue. We used it on Radiator Springs Racers, Indiana Jones and California Screamin’. The first two were simple. California Screamin’ involved stairs and elevators and was confusing, but still cut our wait time drastically. imageimage

In Walt Disney World, the single rider line is available on Test Track in Epcot, Rock n’ Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, and Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. The lines to Test Track and Rock n’ Roller Coaster are pretty obvious and easy to find. The Expedition Everest line is a little removed from the stand-by and fastpass queues. If you don’t see it, ask a cast member. We have used it on all of these several times. Since these are rides with some of the longest wait times, it really can save you quite a bit of time.image

The International Disney Parks have this option, too. Someday I hope to use these.
Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris: Crush’s Coaster, Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, RC Racers, and Ratatouille.
Tokyo Disneyland: Splash Mountain.
Tokyo DisneySea: Indiana Jones Adventures, and Raging Spirits.
Hong Kong Disneyland: Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Car, Splash Mountain, and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop.

Here are some ideas of when this could be useful: If no one else in your group likes thrill rides, but you are busting for some excitement; if everyone else is tired; if younger members (or older ones I guess) are waiting in a long character meet and greet line; if you have already seen the parade or fireworks. The list could go on. I wish that this option was available on more rides with long waits, but I will take what I can get. So, if you don’t have a fastpass and you want to ride one of the above named attractions, but not spend the entire day waiting in line, then think “single rider line.”

Roly’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Review

This picture shows Angus Macbadger.
This picture shows Angus Macbadger.

Hey, Roly here, and today I will be giving a short, overall review of Mr. Toads Wild Ride. (I will go into more depth about the ride in future posts.)

The outside of the ride itself is wonderfully themed-unlike Fantasyland rides in WDW which I covered in my Disneyland Fantasyland review- in order for it to look like you are walking into Toad Hall. The queue itself is themed to look like Toad Hall, where the ride starts.

Mole is interrupted in his dinner.
Mole is interrupted in his dinner.

The whole ride is based around the part you never see in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad; Toady’s ride in his motorcar. You drive by and through some of the scenes from the movie while trying to escape the police. You narrowly escape mowing down a few people, escape an explosion, and almost collide with a car. At the end of it all, you go to the place where all bad little toads go. The Hell scene is said to be one of the main reasons they took out the ride in WDW. That was before my time though, and the Disneyland version is all I have to go by.

Now, I love thrill rides, and I love rides based on my favorite movies. This ride is neither of those, and yet it is my favorite ride in the either of the California parks. In my opinion it is the third best ride at all six of the disney parks I have been to, right behind Peter Pan and Tower of Terror.

My favorite part of the ride.
My favorite part of the ride.

If Disney ever takes out this ride, I will be extremely mad. I believe I know now why there was such pushback against Disney removing the ride from WDW.

Roly’s Storyteller’s Cafe Review

Hello, Roly here, and today I will be reviewing something my dad, Pongo, has been bugging me to write about for some time, and I’ve never gotten around to. My family and I went to a character breakfast for the first time. You see, my mom, Perdita, had had trouble with Disney and for the trouble, we got a free character breakfast for the trouble.

This is a picture of where we were seated (we are not in the picture.)
This is a picture of where we were seated (we are not in the picture.)

The character breakfast was a breakfast buffet, and since I have loved any buff

et I have ever been to, I really liked this. Right when we entered the door, we were greeted by Chip (Chip has the black nose and one tooth, Dale has the red nose with two teeth.) we got a quick picture with Chip, and were seated. The waiters were very friendly, and we got several drink refills. Some of my favorite foods were: Eggs Benedict, which I have never had before; cupcakes, there were four flavors; and bacon, mmm bacon

This is a photo of Kenai and Koda, the Bears from Brother Bear.
This is a photo of Kenai and Koda, the Bears from Brother Bear..

Characters came and posed for a picture with us at our table frequently as well. These characters included: Koda and Kenai from Brother Bear; Pluto; and Chip. Some came to our table more than once, and Koda and Kenai led a game of following the leader (I was the oldest one participating.)

The restaurant itself is a craftsman style restaurant named the Storyteller’s Cafe inside the Grand Californian. Each section of the restaurant is separated by wooden panels with some sort of scene, based upon the saying written above it. The room my family and I were seated in had paintings of people like Davy Crockett on the wall. It was a very nice restaurant, a very good experience, and I highly recommend it.This is a photo of Kenai and Koda, the Bears from Brother Bear.

Roly

A Growing Disney Addiction

Pondering Disney’s addictiveness-

Here you can see Alice's cottage, and the countryside from Alice in Wonderland. (Hopefully!)
Here you can see Alice’s cottage, and the countryside from Alice in Wonderland. (Hopefully!)

I have noticed that each time we return from Disney World we want to go back even sooner, think about it more, have more collectibles for our home, anticipate our next trip more, talk about it more, etc. Is this the sign of an addiction? This sounds like a joke but I think we as a family (my son and I with the worst addiction) are truly addicted to the whole Disney World “magic”.

We started ramping up our Disney visits in 2012. We went from the magical Christmas visit of 2011 when we returned for Christmas of 2012 to then going for the Flower & Garden Festival that same year. We did that for a couple of years and then last year went to the Food & Wine Festival in 2014. We still went over Christmas in 2014 and shortly thereafter went to Disneyland for the first time. We were so in love with Disneyland we are planning a return trip this summer. We are even fantasizing about someday going to Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Tokyo. I am afraid that will take some time but it is fun to look at the layouts for the parks and the hotels, etc.

It is really a treat to see all seven of the dwarfs, or any; however at special events such as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party you can catch a rare picture with them.
It is really a treat to see all seven of the dwarfs, or any; however at special events such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party you can catch a rare picture with them.

An addiction is usually thought of as harmful and something destructive like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. An addiction can be healthy and fun like running or visiting Disney. Of course anything can be done to excess; even the above mentioned things. But really

when is it excessive? Four visits per year? Five? For now, we are enjoying every minute of our visits, our memories of our last visits, and our planning of our next visit. Why spoil things with too much analysis, right?

Perdita

Perdita’s Disneyland Fantasyland Review

My favorite “land” in both Disneyland and Disney World by far is Fantasyland. The reason is simple: to escape into another world of sorts is one of the biggest allures for me to go to theme parks. Therefore, Fantasyland accomplishes this escapism more than anywhere else, as well as providing an outlet for my desire for innocence and “to be a kid again.” Most everyone has that desire at least to some extent. Along with the escapism angle I really enjoy the appearance of Fantasyland in both theme parks the most. I also love the films the attractions celebrate such as “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and “Peter Pan.”

Fantasyland at Disneyland was architecturally more impressive than Disney World with every building being of complex design. Disneyland also had several attractions that unfortunately are absent at WDW such as Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Pinocchio, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Alice in Wonderland. These were all four well themed with Alice in Wonderland being the biggest surprise for me as to how well it is done. (It was recently renovated and improved in 2014.) Pinocchio was a delightful retelling of the movie with the ending montage being the best. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was indeed a “wild ride” simulating how Mr. Toad would drive through the streets of London ( I was anticipating this ride the most in some ways because so much ado has been made about its removal from Magic Kingdom at WDW). Snow White’s Scary Adventure was the least impressive of the aforementioned rides but still enjoyable.

Fantasyland also has other attractions/rides some of which we did and others we didn’t get a chance.
My favorite attraction that I haven’t covered thus far is Storybook Land canal boats. In this attraction you board a boat which rides past miniature montages such as Pinocchio’s village, the London park from Peter Pan, Arendelle and other scenes. You may also board the Casey Jr. train and see these same scenes, but the wait is longer and the view not as good. You also have a guide on the boats which tells you what each miniature scene is.

It’s a Small World is in the back of Fantasyland. It was quite a bit different than the Disney World version with characters from famous Disney movies represented in their countries of origin such as Alice from Alice in Wonderland in the Great Britain section, Peter Pan in the Great Britain section, Cinderella in the France section, etc. This ride starts and ends in the outdoors and is decorated with topiaries shaped like various animals.

Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Tea Party looked a lot different than at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World but was essentially the same spinning ride.

Other rides in Fantasyland we didn’t get a chance to experience, some of which were closed such as the Matterhorn and Peter Pan’s Flight. King Arthur’s carousel, Dumbo’s flight, and Fantasy Fair we didn’t get a chance to do.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle was closed due to renovation as well, so we only saw the tarp covering it. We hope to visit again soon when everything will be open. We still loved Fantasyland and Disneyland even with some ride/attractions closed.