Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pack The Magic into your Day at Disney!

You didn't think we were going to have a day dedicated to California and not cover Disneyland, did you? Our next featured author is Laura, who's currently in the process of setting up her own blog. She's a big fan of Disneyland and visits often. We're excited that she offered to share her tips with you today!

All stories and posts shared during the Virtual Tour are those of the many authors who volunteered to write for the tour. These posts are not sponsored in any way. They are the opinions and thoughts of those that wrote them. (Check out the bio at the end of the post to learn more about today's author!)

So, You Want To Vacation in California...

Summer’s here, school’s out, and you are ready to ROCK this family vacation. What better place than the Sunshine State? With a plethora of activities and almost every atmosphere you can think of, you will find no shortage of activities for adults and children alike. In fact, what if I told you there was one magical, fantastical place where the whole family could enjoy their vacation TOGETHER?? Well there is, and it’s called Disneyland!

Sixty years ago, Walt Disney stood in the middle of an Orange Grove, and dreamed of a magical place where families could have fun together. On July 17th, 1955, that dream came true, and he called it Disneyland. To this day, the Disneyland Resort continues to be one of the most popular family getaways, bridging generation gaps and allowing people from all over the globe to experience a world of fantasy and imagination, and to discover the beauty of California.

If you’re looking for a vacation that guarantees all-inclusive family fun, look no further than the Disneyland Resort. From a hearty breakfast with Mickey and his friends, to a rustic lunch overlooking the Rivers of America, to an elegant dinner at the Blue Bayou right inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, Disneyland is your one-stop-shop for a fun-filled, stress-free family vacation. Of course, there’s so much more to the Disney experience than food. Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure pack a full schedule of parades, shows, and innovative attractions into every day.

In fact, the Disneyland Resort is filled with so much to see and do, it’s almost impossible to fit it all into one trip, especially if you’re not familiar with the parks. Sure, you could pay for one of the guided tours...but that expense can add up quickly, and you miss a part of the magic when you’re attached to a tour guide. Well, with faith, trust, and a pinch of pixie dust (plus a bit of help from yours truly!) you can take your Disney experience to the next level. Just follow along!

That’s right, I’m going to give you my pro tips to ensure that your day is as jampacked with Disney magic as possible! After being a Disneyland Annual Passholder for about twenty years, I’ve learned a TON of great tricks of the trade to make sure that you make the most out of every Disney moment!

Now, come along with me as I map out the perfect day at the Disneyland Resort, as done by a seasoned Disney fan. From food to attractions to souvenirs, I’ll show you how to make the most out of your stay at The Happiest Place On Earth!

Where to Eat
Nothing ensures getting your day off to a good start better than a healthy breakfast! Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel offers a great breakfast shared with Mickey and his friends. Storyteller’s Cafe, located in Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa, has a delicious buffet with a wide variety of classic breakfast items; the french toast is my personal favorite. You can also enter California Adventure just outside the entrance to the restaurant!

Once you’ve packed enough attractions into your morning and you’re ready to break for lunch, my recommendation is to head over to the Pacific Wharf at California Adventure for some amazing soup in a fresh-baked sourdough bread bowl! If you’re still in Disneyland at lunchtime, head on over to the Corn Dog Stand right outside Plaza Inn. Seriously, if you like corn dogs or, even if you don’t, these are the BEST you’re going to find. They are definitely worth the wait!

When dinner time comes around, there are plenty of places you can rest your weary legs! My personal favorite is the Plaza Inn on Main Street, designed by Lillian Disney, Walt’s own wife! The best fried chicken in town served with all the fixins’, it’s the perfect wholesome meal to restore your energy after a day of play. Of course, if you find yourself over in California Adventure at dinnertime, head on over to Flo’s Diner off Route 66 in Cars Land, for great food with a 50’s style!

Now, if you get hungry in between meals, there is no shortage of concession stands offering the classic theme park fare, and even soft pretzels in the shape of Mickey himself!  There are 3 Starbucks locations in the Disneyland Resort, all offering the full menu, plus some awesome Disney memorabilia. And not to worry: Gold Card member benefits and Annual Passport Holder discounts still apply! In my opinion, no trip to Disneyland is complete without a pineapple Dole Whip float. Insider Tip: the line is usually really long, so get yours while you’re waiting for the show at the Enchanted Tiki Room to save time! As you can see, there’s enough menu options at the parks to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters!

Fast Passes: The E-ticket of the 21st Century

When Disneyland was young, the system for getting on rides was similar to a carnival’s ticket system. Each attraction was rated A-E, and the respective tickets were required to ride. The E Tickets were the gold that got you on the good stuff. Now, the ticket books have long since been retired, but in their place, Disney developed its own unique FastPass system to allow you to get onto as many attractions as possible and avoid some of the really long lines!

A FastPass is a FREE option available to every park guest on most major attractions. You can have one FastPass active in each park at any given time, and as soon as your allotted return time hits, you’re cleared to get the next one! The main idea behind the FastPass system is to cut down on the wait time for an attraction by giving guests a specific return time to enter the queue. The number of passes for each attraction is limited, and some run out sooner than others, so here’s my recommended game plan: Right at park opening, head straight into Tomorrowland and get a FastPass for HyperSpace Mountain; like the original, with an AWESOME Star Wars twist. Then, go over to Cars Land in California Adventure to secure your spot on Radiator Springs Racers, where you get to ride right through the Cars movie.

The Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, and Star Tours are all great Disneyland attractions with FastPass, and don’t miss Tower of Terror, California Screamin’, and Soarin’ Over California in California Adventure. In between FastPass times, be sure to hit all the smaller attractions that don’t have it available. Think Fantasyland in Disneyland and Bug’s Land in California Adventure!

What To Watch and Where To Shop

The Disneyland Resort has a ton of parades and shows you can watch throughout the day. In California Adventure, you can catch the Pixar Play Parade during the day and the World of Color water show at night. My personal favorites are Disneyland’s Paint the Night Parade and their 60th Anniversary Fireworks special, Disneyland Forever. I recommend standing on Main Street anywhere between the Starbucks and the Castle. A little tip: keep your eyes on the buildings during the show!

Of course, one of the best parts of going on vacation is buying souvenirs. For the best selection, head to the Emporium on Main Street in Disneyland, or Elias & Co. on Buena Vista St. in California Adventure. Both offer a variety of items suited to fit the needs of everyone on your list! Another really fun shop is the Mad Hatter on Main Street, where you can get your Mickey ears embroidered on the spot. And, obviously, don’t forget to check out the candy shop!

My last bit of advice is to keep your eye out for “Hidden Mickeys” that have been placed throughout the park, both on and off attractions. You might even find some of his friends, too! Now of course I haven’t covered every best-kept Disney secret, but I’ve definitely provided you with enough information to set you up for success on your Disney vacation. You’ve now got insider tips on where to eat, how to get on the most attractions, and even where to sit for the parade. With this guide, you are now ready to earn your ears and set forth into the Magical Land of Disney!

“To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past...and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America...with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” - Walt Disney, July 17th, 1955

About the Author
Laura is an administrative assistant and aspiring blogger/entrepreneur. She is a Disney enthusiast, animal lover, and proud member of the Harry Potter fandom! Having long struggled with anxiety, bipolar, and eating disorders, she is determined to use her skills in writing to help others who suffer with these conditions. Family is everything for her, including of course her two amazing furbabies. Born and raised in Orange County, California, Laura loves all things outdoors, especially laying on the beach with a good book! We look forward to the launch of her blog,, in the coming weeks!

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