Tag Archives: california adventure

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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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.

June 12, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disney now states that MagicBand+ will not be coming to Disneyland in Anaheim anytime soon.  They say it doesn’t fit the demographics with most guests being local or staying off property.

*  The new Starbucks in Animal Kingdom will open on June18 in the prior location of Creature Comforts on Discovery Island.

*  Frozen Summer Fun at Hollywood Studios will return on July 17 featuring Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf.

*  The animated short, ‘Frozen Fever‘ will be shown in the ABC Sound Studio at Hollywood Studios twice every hour from 10 a.m till closing starting on June 17 and running through September 7.

*  Registration for Star Wars Half Marathon will open on June 16, 2015.  The race is held on January 17, 1016 at Disneyland in California.

*  New merchandise is now available in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

*  A world class lounge from Los Angeles will be opening a sister location in 2016 at Disney Springs  in WDW to be called ‘The Edison’ .  It will feature American food, craft cocktails, live cabaret and live music.

*  Tokyo DisneySea‘s 15th anniversary will be celebrated from April 15, 2016 through March 17,2017 with “The Year of Wishes,” and will feature a new harbor show called “Crystal Wishes Journey,” an updated Big Band Beat, and a new projection show in the Hangar Stage in Lost River Delta.

*  Mickey‘s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground at WDW has expanded from 2 to 4 days per week.

*  Walt Disney Animation Studios has released a trailer for the film ‘Zootopia‘ which is be released next.  It looks promising!

*  A preview for ‘Frozen Ever After,” the attraction set to replace Maelstrom in the Epcot Norway pavilion has been released.  I miss Maelstrom.

*  DisneyXD will premiere ‘Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything’ on Wednesday, July 22.  Cameron Boyce of Disney Channel‘s ‘Jessie will star.

June 5, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

***Second Star to the Right Disney Blog will be undergoing fairly major changes this weekend.  We are changing our name  and we are changing our theme to more of a magazine based format.  Our articles, the News Roundup, and Weekly poll will all remain the same, but hopefully in a more attractive, user friendly format.  We hope that you follow us through this transition***

*  Disney and the NBA are developing a new attraction for Disney Springs at WDW to be called the “NBA Experience at Walt Disney World.”  It will offer hands on interactive experiences to help bring the game to life.

*  WDW is testing new pricing on Rapid Refill Mugs at Pop Century, the All Star Resorts, and Port Orleans-Riverside.  There will no longer be 1,2, or 3 day options, only the length of stay option.  The price of the length of stay option has been decreased from $17.99 to 16.49 (plus tax).  It is anticipated that this will be employed at all WDW resorts later this year.

*  The 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival  will have a new experience for this fall:  Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt.  Special maps will be given to lead you through the World Showcase in search of hidden Remy statues.

*  Epcot is now showing sneak peaks of Disney/Pixar‘s ‘Inside Out’ at the Imagination pavilion, former home of Captain Eo.

*  New DVC member merchandise can be purchased at DisneyStore.com.

*  The Emotions from the upcoming Disney/Pixar movie ‘Inside Out’ will precede the Pixar Play Parade at Disney California Adventure beginning on June 19.

*  Harambe Market in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom is now open.

*  The annual attendance report from the Themed Entertainment Association shows that Disney parks are the 6 busiest parks in the U.S.: 1. Magic Kingdom 2.  Disneyland  3. Epcot  4. Animal Kingdom  5. Hollywood Studios  6. California Adventure.  Attendance rose from 2%(Animal Kingdom) up to 4% (Magic Kingdom).  Universal Studios Orlando followed at #8, but had an attendance increase of 17%.

*  The D23 Expo 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center, will feature a new concert, Silly Symphony Celebration, on Sunday August 23 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  It will feature a 32 piece band playing songs from the Silly Symphonies while showing clips from the shorts.

*  Disney Channel has announced that a new series based on “Tangled” and with the voice talents from the movie (including Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi) will premiere in 2017.

*  Disney will be making a live-action film based on the ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ scene from “Fantasia.”

*  Tron 3 has been canceled.

*  In October, Disney will release a new high-tech toy, Playmation, that is somewhat different in that it hopes to get kids away from the computer and out moving about.

Neverland2001: Disney Question of the Week for May 30, 2015.

First, the results to last week’s question, “Which is Your Favorite Disney Park?”  We would like thank everyone who voted.

Magic Kingdom       39%

Epcot           28%

Disneyland CA         17%

California Adventure   11%

Hollywood Studios     5%

All others                     0%

***Magic Kingdom is the Winner! ****  I expected this, but I am surprised how close Epcot was.  Epcot held the lead for much of the week.

The question for this week is designed to help us choose topics on which to write.   We hope to be able to inform, entertain, and be a resource for you.  We recently had a request for more information on the DVC.  Your feedback will help us be a better resource.  If I have set the poll up correctly (certainly not a given), then you should be able to choose as many options as you like, and, you should be able to add your own.  More specific comments and suggestions in the comments secton will be greatly appreciated.

The Disney Visa Credit Card

The Disney Visa credit card is an option available to save money on and for a Disney vacation. It offers 1% return on everything charged to the card in Disney Dream Reward Dollars which can be spent for anything at the parks, resorts, Disney Cruise Line, and even the Disney Store. It also offers 10 – 15% deductions on some things at the parks, resorts, or ship. I will list these later.

So, is it a good option? The resounding answer is….maybe, sometimes. Allow me to try to explain. For a rewards credit card, 1% return is not very generous. If your current card offers no rewards, then obviously, this is better. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” That is exactly what you get with the Disney Visa. On the plus side, it is a 1% return on ALL, not just select, purchases. For example, the Target Visa offers 5% off purchases from Target. We get most of our groceries and household items from Target; so, the Target Visa is a much better deal to use there. It gives no rewards on gas, dining out, park tickets, or reservations. So, it is not good to use at those times.

We usually keep two cards. I do not like to have more than two cards, because it can become very confusing quickly. No matter how generous the “rewards,” the APR financing for credit cards are horrible. So, no credit card is a good idea if you do not pay if off on time, every time. Having too many cards and forgetting a payment negates any benefit. For quite some time, we kept the Disney Visa as our secondary card to use on anything not from Target. It worked well. Perdita has since changed to an another one which fits our current situation better.

Another instance in which it may be a good option is if you have a hard time setting money aside specifically for Disney, and you want spending money for a Disney vacation. Disney is the only place that the Reward Dollars can be spent.

Now, let’s look at how much you will have to charge to “pay” for things at the parks. Let’s say that you use your card for gasoline only, like the “average” American, you drive 13,500 miles per year, your car averages 25 miles per gallon and gas costs $2.50 per gallon. That comes out to 540 gallons, $1,350 spent, and $13.50 Disney Dream Reward Dollars. This will buy you a quick service meal with dessert or a refillable mug. Most of us will use it for much more than just gas, like dining out, park tickets, and reservations.
So..
$1,000 charged = 10 Disney Reward Dollars (DRD) = a quick service meal
$3,000 charged = 30 DRD = a table service meal
$10,000 charged = $100 DRD = 1 day admission to Magic Kingdom.

Every little bit does help, though.

Another potential money saving role of the Disney Visa is for purchases only for the Disney Vacation. You can sometimes (rarely) get discounts on tickets and reservations. You just have to watch closely. They due offer 0% APR for 6 months off of large Disney purchases like vacation packages, cruises, and DVC purchases. It also offers discounts at many, but not all, shops in the parks and resorts. Saving 10% on souvenir purchases and the “free” character photo may be worth it. If you are an annual pass holder or a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member, then you already have similar, but better perks; so, it really does not make sense for you.

Again, is the Disney Visa a good money saving option? I will stick with my prior answer, “sometimes, maybe.” You will have to decide for yourself. I will list the benefits below to help.

REWARDS:
1% in Disney Dream Reward Dollars on all card purchases.
PERKS:
0% APR for 6 months on select Disney vacation packages, cruises, Adventures by Disney trips, and Aulani resort.
0% APR for 6 months on purchase of DVC membership, including member add on. This does not include purchases on the resale market.
$50 onboard credit aboard a Disney Cruise Line vessel when purchased in full with the Disney Visa.
Free 5 x 7 character photo from 1 – 7 p.m. daily at Innoventions West in Epcot at WDW and from 10:30 – 1:30 daily at Blue Sky Cellars in Disney’s California Adventure in California.
10% off select purchases of $50 or more at most, but not all shops, at WDW, Disneyland, and DVC resorts including Aulani, Vero Beach, and HHI. In general, the large stores selling Disney merchandise, like Mousegears in Epcot, will give the discount.
10% off dining at select WDW restaurants: Boma, Jiko (sometimes), and Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge; ESPN Sports Club and Flying Fish (sometimes) at the Boardwalk Resort; Shutters at Caribbean Beach Resort; The Wave at the Contemporary Resort; Trails End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness; Citricos (sometimes) and Grand Floridian Cafe at the Grand Floridian; Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West; Boatwrights at Port Orleans; The Turf Club at Saratoga Springs; Artist Point (sometimes) at Wilderness Lodge; Captain’s Grill at the Yacht Club; Hollywood Brown Derby (sometimes) and Hollywood & Vine (sometimes) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Biergarten (sometimes) at Epcot; Big Thunder Ranch, French Market, and River Belle Terrace at Disneyland California; Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Wine Country Trattoria (lunch), and Paradise Garden Grill at Disney’s California Adventure; The Lounge at Steakhouse 55 (breakfast), Steakhouse 55 (lunch), Disney’s PCH Grill (breakfast and dinner) and Storytellers Cafe (lunch) at the Disneyland resorts;
15% off select tours and experiences: (Magic Kingdom) Disney’s Family Magic Tour, Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour; (Epcot) Gardens of the World, The UnDISCOVERed Future World, Disney’s Dolphins in Depth, Epcot DiveQuest, Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, Behind the Seeds; (multiple WDW parks) Backstage Magic, Disney’s Holiday D-Light Tour at Christmas, Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy at Christmas; (Fort Wilderness) Wilderness Back Trail Adventure and Horseback rides; (Port Orleans and Fort Wilderness) carriage rides; (WDW Deluxe Resorts) spa treatments of $45 or more; (Disneyland) Welcome to Disneyland, Discover the Magic, Cultivating the Magic.
10% off certain California Downtown Disney establishments: Jazz Kitchen, Wentzel’s Pretzels, RIDEMAKERZ, Alamo Rent A Car, ESPN Zone.
15% off purchases from littlemissmatched in California Downtown Disney.

I hope this is useful.

Pongo