We’re back with more updates all about what’s happening at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Lines! We’ve got dates for the new shows (Rivers of Light), new attraction openings (Pandora, anyone?), and more!
Ready for some more Disney music inspiration for your runDisney or Disney themed playlist? Well look no further! Here is part II with a new list of upbeat and fun songs to help pass the time while you are training or just doing some exercising.
I hope you’ve enjoyed adding some new music to your playlist! Happy Trails runners!
Did you miss Part I? No problem, check it out here.
Have you been curious about what club level is and what it has to offer? This week we give you the low down on what you can expect if you stay club level at a Disney resort. From the rooms, amenities, and food offerings, staying club level offers you a special something extra for your next Disney vacation.
During my visit to Disneyland in August 2016, I made a dinner reservation for myself and my roommate. It was a toss up for me where I was going to choose since I’d heard great things about Cafe Orleans, but also as well as Blue Bayou. I’d heard that Cafe Orleans had the better food but Blue Bayou had the better atmosphere, overlooking the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and all. In the end, I went with Cafe Orleans because I’m all about the food.
First of all, being that I’m from Louisiana and a frequent visitor to New Orleans, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of authenticity for the decor. I will say that it’s very nice and homey feeling to me, which is good. It doesn’t look unlike a cafe in New Orleans so I guess that’s saying something.
To start, my roommate and I shared an order of Pommes Frites served with a remoulade dipping sauce. These start out as your basic Disney Parks french fries, but then they’re coated with parmesan and garlic and let me just say, all fries really should be coated with garlic and cheese. We couldn’t stop eating them!
Next, we thought we should probably have something green so we shared La Salade de Maison, or the house salad. It had a raspberry vinaigrette with goat cheese and caramelized pecans. It was delicious but I’m a huge fan of fruit dressings and candied nuts on my salad.
For our entree, we shared a famous Monte Cristo sandwich. This is a ham, turkey, and swiss sandwich that’s battered and fried then topped with powdered sugar and served with berry puree. There’s also some fruit on the side in case you care about being healthy, but let’s face it, you’re eating a fried sandwich. You’re not being healthy.
This sandwich is obviously delicious, but it’s a very large portion. Granted, we had fries and a salad, but my roommate and I couldn’t finish this one sandwich. So we got dessert, of course.
That is a Mickey shaped beignet with a dollop of vanilla frosting on the side. If you don’t know what a beignet is, it’s basically a French doughnut. Fried dough. Because everything we eat should be fried. In my defense, I did not order this. Our waitperson brought this out to me (free of charge) because I was wearing my birthday button. But me, being the kind person that I am, didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I ate it. I’m quite familiar with beignets due to where I live, and this one did not disappoint. It was hot, flaky, and covered in powdered sugar, just like a beignet ought to be.
Overall, I was quite pleased with my experience at Cafe Orleans. The food was great and the atmosphere fun and laid back, just like New Orleans itself.
We make it a point to try new things at Disney each time we visit so we can report back to our readers and listeners about our findings. Join us this week as we talk about the most recent new experiences we’ve had for the first time while at Disney!
2016 is coming to a close and now it’s time to look forward to what the new year has in store for us. To help make sure we make all our Disney dreams come true, we’ve come up with some Disney resolutions we hope to keep in 2017! Listen in and see if you want to make some Disney resolutions of your own!
As you’ll recall, I had the opportunity to do an Agent Education Program at Disneyland a few months ago. As part of the program we got to do a “Heritage Experience.” In Disney-speak, that means “You’re going to see something really cool and exclusive.” What we got to see is the Disneyland Dream Suite. Let me tell you all about this amazing hidden treasure!
First, a little history. So, back in the 1950’s when Walt Disney was building and maintaining his “baby” aka Disneyland, he kept a little apartment above the fire station on Main Street USA. At that time, the apartment was fine because it was mostly just Walt and his wife and two daughters staying there. In the 1960’s, Walt felt like he needed a bigger space for his family and his daughters’ eventual grandchildren, and just a larger space for entertaining so he commissioned the apartment to be built right above New Orleans Square, which was already under construction.
The Royal Suite, as it was named at the time, never saw completion as Walt passed away in 1966 and several of his ongoing projects were abandoned. The family felt too devastated by Walt’s loss to continue the construction, so even though the apartment was nearly finished, it sat vacant for nearly 20 years.
In 2007, Disney hosted their “Year of A Million Dreams” event and for that, the Dream Suite was renovated into an actual hotel room. Winners were picked at random to spend the night in the Dream Suite for free. As with the room in Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World, the Dream Suite cannot be booked. A stay there has to be awarded.
Now the best part! Let’s take a look inside!
The apartment is two bedrooms, two baths, a living room and a little hallway. We entered via the hallway. This is right as you come up the elevator by the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean.
The entrance door. I loved the stained glass.
There’s a little courtyard located between the rooms. It was incredibly quiet in here despite the hustle and bustle of the park located below. In fact, you couldn’t hear ANY park noise inside the suite itself! It’s all soundproofed!
I absolutely adored the fabric on these lounge chairs!
As I mentioned, there are two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Each room in the house, including the living room are themed like a different park “land.” The first bedroom is Adventureland themed.
Now, it’s a beautiful room, but here’s where things get magical. Each room has a “Goodnight Kiss” switch. When that switch is flipped, something magical happens. The lights dim, and music plays…it’s wonderful! In this particular room, a Peter Pan inspired light show happens. They wouldn’t allow us to take video of the magic and my photos didn’t come out well. But it was so breathtaking!
Of course, there’s magic in the bathroom as well. When the switch is flipped here, the tub surround lights up with twinkling lights and Hidden Mickey appears spontaneously!
The second bedroom is Frontierland themed. It includes two beds instead of one so this is meant more for a children’s bedroom, I think. There is also a “Goodnight Kiss” switch in here which dims the lights and sends a little train on a trip around the perimeter of the room. You can see the tracks located on the shelf above the beds. Each little vignette has some little touch of Disney inspiration and magic.
This piece of artwork is a map of Disneyland park…with a bit of magic! It looks like any ordinary map, however, when the “Goodnight Kiss” switch is flipped…
…it lights up with twinkling lights and flowing water!
And the theme continues on to the bathroom.
To the living room! Check out this fireplace. It’s not a real fireplace, but a screen with a fire video on it. Occasionally, the sparks from the crackling fire look like fireworks! Another interesting thing is the little birdcage on the mantel. That is a replica of a toy Walt purchased at a flea market. The bird inside was mechanical and when you pressed a button it would chirp. That bird was the idea that later became Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room!
Just like all the other rooms, there’s a special switch in this room too. Here’s what it does to the grandfather clock!
Possibly one of the most interesting things about this suite is the view. It’s located right across from the Rivers of America where Fantasmic is shown nightly. From the balcony of the suite, you get a dead center perfect view of the show. The other thing is that you can look down upon all the park goers and get a bird’s eye view of what’s happening, but almost no one looks up. That would have been perfect for Walt to have watched the happy folks in his park without being the center of attention.
This insignia was inlaid into the wood of the balcony. Just beautiful!
And that’s a very short overview of the Dream Suite at Disneyland Park! This is truly a Walt Disney fanatic’s delight! So much history and so much Disney magic all in one 2200 sq ft apartment! If you would like to see it for yourself, you can purchase a VIP tour during your stay at Disneyland. I highly recommend it!
Recently I visited the Disneyland Resort and had the opportunity to stay in all three of their onsite hotels. In this last installment, I’ll give you my review of the Paradise Pier hotel.
Paradise Pier was previously a different brand of hotel that Disney purchased and put their own spin on. It’s directly across the street from the Grand Californian, and while not far from the parks, is the furthest Disney property from the park gates.
This hotel overlooks Paradise Pier in California Adventure park, hence the name. Of course, that’s only on the one side of the building, and unfortunately my room was on the opposite side. It was still a lovely view of the city.
This hotel has a seaside feel. The rooms were clean and comfortable, but lacked the charm of the Disneyland Hotel and the sophistication of the Grand Californian.
One cute little thing they had off the lobby was a little room for kids to wait while the adults check in to the hotel. There’s a screen for watching Mickey cartoons set inside a replica of a sand castle. Cute little beach chairs made an adorable little room.
This hotel also has club level accommodations and a club level lounge. Unfortunately during my time there the pool area was being renovated. I did see a portion of it and it was your standard hotel pool. Nothing really special.
Overall, this was my least favorite of the three Disneyland resorts. The location isn’t great and there isn’t much of that Disney feel to me. It is the least expensive of the three, however, for the price difference, I think the Disneyland Hotel is a better choice.
During my recent visit to the Disneyland Resort, I had the opportunity to stay in all three of their onsite hotels. In this post, I’ll be giving you my thoughts on the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.
Let me just start by saying this is quite possibly the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure to stay in. The lobby alone is incredibly impressive and gorgeous. If you’ve ever visited Animal Kingdom Lodge or Wilderness Lodge over at Walt Disney World, the design will look familiar to you as all three were designed by the same architect.
Though not quite as sprawling as some of the Walt Disney World resorts, this is the biggest resort on Disneyland property. It’s home to Storyteller’s Cafe, the character meal location, as well as Napa Rose, considered one of the best restaurants in the city. I did have breakfast at Storyteller’s and it was delicious. Characters there included Chip and Dale, Pluto, and Koda from Brother Bear.
The rooms were fairly standard size, though I felt they could use a bit of a refresh. The rooms were not quite as luxurious as I thought they should be for as much as they cost per night, however, the beds were comfortable and the rooms were clean. The nightly turn down service with chocolates on the pillows was a nice touch.
For me, the main draw of this hotel is the gate to California Adventure located within. In fact, my room was located just a minute’s walk from the gate so I could be inside California Adventure park within 5 minutes. The gate location is right near Grizzly River Run Rapids and steps away from Soarin. In the mornings, only hotel guests are allowed to use the gate, so if you’re trying to beat the morning rush, this is a fantastic perk. It’s also very convenient for a midday break if you’re so inclined.
The hotel also opens up to Downtown Disney so it’s very conveniently located for shopping. From there, it’s just a couple more minutes walk to Disneyland Park. This is the closest onsite property so if location is worth more to you than price, this is where you want to stay.
Overall, it’s a great resort but I don’t think it has as much charm and personality as Disneyland Hotel. I think this hotel would be fantastic for adults only trips or couples just due to the sophisticated decor, however, the location makes it perfect for families with small kids.