Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Disneyland Tips, Tricks and TREATS!


{Pictures from our most recent trip-February 2018}

I can't stress enough that I am no Disney expert and there are amazing Disney resources online for tips and tricks. I do get a lot of friends and family ask for my advice on their first trips and things like that and I usually send them a long long long series of texts or something so I thought I would put it all in one place. These are my opinions only and things that have worked for us! There are a lot of changes happening this summer-Pixar Fest, refurbishments, return of some awesome parades, Bugs Land closing (I'm devastated) etc. I recommend going to Magic Kingdom Mamas site, they keep up with EVERYTHING and are the best resource!

FOOD

Go follow "Disney Hungry", "First Comes Disney" and "Magic Kingdom Mamas" on Instagram. I have my favorite treats that I will tell you about and a few of the great food finds we have loved and not loved so far.

Treats and Snacks:`

Favorite FAVORITE-Matterhorn Macaroon (sold at Jolly Holiday at the end of Main Street) It is a coconut macaroon covered in white chocolate and it is amazing. Ben and the kids love it too so I usually grab two.

Mickey Beignets. You can get these at the Mint Julep Bar or Cafe Orleans. The only difference is they are more expensive at Cafe Orleans but they do come with two dipping sauces. We usually just get them at the Mint Julep Bar. I love them in the morning as breakfast haha. Warning-powdered sugar EVERYWHERE.

Pooh's Corner. Right when you get off the Winne the Pooh ride there is the cutest little confectionary with every Disney treat you could dream of. I haven't tried everything I have wanted to but I surprisingly loved the Tigger Tail. The Mickey Rice Krispy was really good but not the best I've ever had. The peanut butter square that people rave about, I didn't love like I thought I would (I still really want to try the s'mores square). The cookies I have tried were good, but not the best ever.

Jalapeno and Cheese Stuffed Pretzel. I mean the pretzels at Disney are all good but this one is amazing. I think there might be more locations but the one I know of is the cart in Frontierland right outside the Mark Twain Riverboat entrance. It is exactly how it sounds, not too spicy at all (the kids eat it) but such good flavor.

Churro-overrated in my opinion. I seriously think Costco churros are just as good and 1/5th of the price. Although I know this opinion is definitely in the minority.

Dole Whip-I like this but don't love it (also an unpopular opinion) It is great on a really hot day, I just wish you got more for your money. It is refreshing, I am just more of a baked treats kind of girl. If you do get the Dole whip, make sure to go into the Tiki Room waiting area and order on that side, it is always way less of a line than the outside line.

Ice Cream-If you like Ice cream you have to have a sundae or a cone at Ghiradelli's in California Adventure. I'm not a huge ice cream person but I love getting a cone here. The scoops are ginormous and you can easily share. They have unreal looking sundaes too, on my list!

I tried the Mickey Raspberry Rose Macaron from Jolly Holiday last time. It was my very first macaron ever and it was really really good! They just came out with a rose gold lemon/strawberry one that looks even too pretty to eat.

The kids always want popcorn or cotton candy, and they are just normal popcorn and cotton candy!

Treats Bucket List:
Chocolate covered pineapple skewer from Pooh's Corner or Candy Palace
Smore's Square from Pooh's Corner or Candy Palace
Churro Funnel Cake from Big Hungry Bear
Peanut Butter Heaven Ball from Pooh's Corner
Ghiradelli's Crissy Field Sundae

Food Food:

Like I said, we have tried such a tiny fraction of all the food but this is what we have liked.

If we need something for breakfast, the breakfast Burrito from the Galactic Grill is soo good and filling (we can share it). We also tried the french toast sticks there and they were delicious (but sooo messy with the kids).

We don't usually eat breakfast at the parks but I have read every Disney blog out there and the most popular options seem to be Flo's in Cars Land and the Carnation Cafe (on my list one of these days).

I love the Chilli Burger and onion rings from Hungry Bear. (I also have been dying to try their funnel cakes).

I love the sandwiches at Jolly Holiday too. Ben doesn't though, they are too girly he says haha.

I have liked most everything we have had at Rancho Del Zocalo. It is fast and not crazy expensive.

We have eaten a few times at the Plaza Inn. Ben and I split the Fried Chicken meal (so good) meal and get some pasta for the kids to split. It is not crazy filling but perfect because you have room for dessert.

I tried the popular Chile Cone Queso for the first time at Cozy Cone this last time and loved it. I have heard good things about the Bacon Mac and Cheese Cone there too.

Best Corndog I have ever had at Little Red Wagon Corndogs.

I have not liked any of the dinner or lunch options for myself at Flo's in Cars Land but you can get a Mac and Cheese side there for $2 and it is big enough for the kid's lunch (we get one for each of them)! They love it and it is the same Mac and Cheese that is $6 at other places in the park.

They have famous soup in a bread bowl at Pacific Wharf. I don't like the popular clam chowder (only because I don't like any clam chowder) but such a fan of broccoli cheese and sometimes they have chicken pot pie in a bread bowl which is my favorite. Another great soup option is the loaded baked potato at Carnation Cafe (with a side of fried pickles) The perfect lunch! (You need a reservation here)

Seriously go follow those accounts I mentioned, they have reviewed basically everything in the parks. We usually try to eat "cheaper" for meals so I can have more treats and snacks, so I don't know much about the sit-down places. I have heard good things about the Beef Dip at French Market, the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich at Cafe Orleans and people love Carnation Cafe. I have heard Blue Bayou (the one inside the Pirates ride) is overrated for the price.

My food bucket list is still:
Gumbo in a bread bowl from Royal Street Veranda
French Dip from the French Market
Famous Monte Cristo Sandwich and Pomme Frites at Cafe Orleans
Breakfast at Carnation Cafe-especially their apple granola pancakes
Ben is dying to try the Lobster Nachos from Cove Bar (currently closed, but will reopen under new name and still serve these)
Bengal BBQ Pork Belly Skewers
The Paradise Garden Grill (Gyros, and skewers and rice and greek salad etc)

FAST PASSES

Ok here is my two cents about rides, fast passes, and schedules.  Park Hoppers are awesome but not necessary if you don't want to spend the extra money. It is nice to be able to hop back and forth from the parks if one is busy/not as busy etc. as well as for shows and dining options. If you do park hop, I highly recommend getting the max pass ($10 per person) as you can get all your fast passes from your app, rather than walk back and forth to parks for 100 miles.  Everyone says head to Fantasyland first but that is where EVERYONE goes first. It is always busy, Peter Pan will basically always have a 30-40 minute wait whether you go first thing or later in the afternoon. I say head to Adventureland or Tomorrowland first! Go get a fast pass for Space Mountain, then go over and go on Pirates and Haunted Mansion with no lines, then Big Thunder Mountain (or fast pass it later). Then go on Space Mountain with your FP, get a new FP for Star Tours, go on Buzz Lightyear, Autopia etc. Basically just stalk the wait times, and go with the flow.

Here are the rides you get Fast Passes for:

Remember you can only have one fast pass at a time. For example: At 8am you go get a fast pass for Star Tours. The fast pass will say "You can use this fast pass from 9:30-10:30am" so that is when you can go on the ride and "redeem" your fast pass. The fast pass will also tell you "You cannot get another fast pass until 9:30am.  Sometimes the FP's will be an hour from when you get it, sometimes they will be 3 hours away. If they are more than an hour away, it will usually be about 1.5 hours until you are allowed to obtain another one. So just plan your route accordingly.

If you are planning on going to see an evening show like Fantasmic or World of Color that night (which you should they are amazing!) Go get fast passes for the shows sometimes soon in the morning for the best spot. Although more important than the fast pass is starting to line up early. At least an hour before showtime, an hour and a half if you want the best seats in the house.

Fast Pass these rides in Disneyland (in no particular order):

Space Mountain
Star Tours
Splash Mountain (also there is single rider line)
Indiana Jones (single rider line)
Big Thunder Mountain
Matterhorn (If you even want to go on this ride, I DO NOT like it)
Haunted Mansion if there are waits over 20  minutes and you have the option to pull another fast pass.

California Adventure

Get Radiator Springs FP first, very first thing of your day (They sell out of Fast passes first and often)
World of Color
Guardians of the Galaxy (These also sell out so get these next)
Soaring Over the World
Toy Story Midway Mania
California Screaming (reopens June 23rd, 2018) (Also single rider line.)
Goofy Sky School if the line is over 20 minutes and you have a fast pass to use.

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS

-Get there early. Be in the parking garage at least an hour before the gates open. The least crowded times of all day is the first few hours after opening.
-If you don't have magic morning, go on the opposite days. Example: If there is a magic morning at Disneyland, start in CA, and vice versa.
-If your kids still nap, go to the Abe Lincoln Theatre on Main Street, it is air-conditioned and quiet, same with animation studios in CA.
-We always eat breakfast before we come, bring in sandwiches and a ton of snacks and then eat dinner somewhere at the parks.
-Bring big, huge water bottles! Water is so expensive there and you will need A LOT!
-Also, bring a portable charger. It sucks to have your phone die when you want more pictures, plus you will need to check the Disney app about 1000 times a day.
-Start getting your seats for parades and shows at least an hour before start time.
-Fantasmic-GO!
-We still haven't decided if the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure or The Toy Story Parking structure is better. There are pros and cons to both. The Mickey one only has one tiny elevator (and you can't take your stroller down the escalators. Then you have to take a tram where there is only one car that holds strollers so if there's a line it can take a long time. The Toy Story one you take buses and not trams (you still have to take down your stroller though) but not as long lines and they take you right to the gates!
-Park hopper tickets are awesome, but not necessary if you don't want to spend the extra money.
-The baby care centers (one in each park) are great for nursing, changing diapers, they have little toilets for toddlers and sell wipes/diapers etc. that we somehow always end up having to buy.
-Go stalk magic kingdom mamas website, they have information on absolutely everything.
-FANNY PACK!!! I cannot stress this enough. They don't do paper fast passes anymore (they still print them out but just as a reminder) you have to scan your park pass for everything. So keep your passes and your phone in your fanny pack and it will save you so much time!
-Go to Target beforehand and buy the disposable rain ponchos (they're less than $2) in case it rains, also we wear ours on splash mountain and Grizzly River Run like little nerds and it will save you chaffing in soggy wet clothes. The ponchos they sell in Disneyland are like $15.
-Bring a sweater for everyone, even in the summer, it gets cold at night fast, especially for the kids. If you have room, we usually bring a thin small blanket to sit on while we wait for parades/shows.
-At the end of the night, after fireworks, main street and the trams are completely insane. We have found taking the monorail out to Downtown Disney and then walking is quicker (only if you're in the Mickey and Friends lot though).
-Take advantage of Rider Switch. So if you are with a baby or even a toddler you can do this. So if we are going on a ride that the baby can't go on, you go to the cast member at the front of the ride and ask for a rider switch. So I go with Everett while Ben watches Patrick, and then Ben gets to go with Everett while I watch Patrick.
-If you haven't been recently, rider switch has kind of changed. If you want to fast pass something, everyone who is riding needs to have a fast pass on their card. So if you have paid for max pass, you have to buy one for the kid too. Does that make sense?  Before you could get away with only 2 of the people getting fast passes, and then switch with people who don't have fast passes, but you can't do that anymore.
-Another nice place to chill and take a break is Toontown. We usually sit in Goofy's house on a bench there in the shade and eat our lunch we brought while the kids play.
-In my experience Roger Rabbit, Mr. Toads and Pinnochio are too scary for little kids.
-Hidden Mickey's are on a lot of the rides, especially the older ones. Everett discovered them this last trip and it was his favorite part of the whole trip. You can look them up on youtube beforehand so you know where to look. Some of them are really hard, but it adds a fun element to the ride!
-If the park is crazy and you want a break here are some rides and areas that consistently have short or no wait times and can always count on are Turtle Talk with Crush Show, most rides in Bugs Land, It's Tough to be a Bug Show (CLOSED-SO SAD) Tiki Room, Red Woods Challenge, Chip and Dale's Treehouse, Tom Sawyers Island, Mark Twain Riverboat and all the houses in Toontown.





























  

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