Category Archives: Disneyland Resort

Have an Amazing Stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

If casual luxury is what you look for in a resort, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the place for you.  This stunning Craftsman-style hotel is the home of the Disneyland Resort’s premier accommodations.  Wonderful service, beautiful rooms, gorgeous public spaces and convenient access to the Disney parks all make Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa special.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The lobby of the hotel will take your breath away…

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

You will feel as though you have been transported to a stunning respite in Northern California and at certain times during the day, Guests are treated to live music in the lobby.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The seating near the huge fireplace is a wonderful spot to relax before or after a day of touring the Disneyland parks.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The newly refurbished pools are extremely inviting.  Comfortable, cushioned lounge chairs entice you to linger by the pool.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

There is even a fun water slide that impresses kids and adults.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The newly redecorated cabanas are a wonderful spot to rest in your own private paradise.  Cozy furniture, tv, fridge, and ceiling fan make then the perfect place to spend the day.  The shade is often very welcome on a sunny Southern California day as well.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Think about renting a cabana on your arrival day – you then have space to relax and enjoy the pool area even if you are too early to check into your room.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Disney has done a beautiful job refurbishing Guest Rooms at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa.  They have a fresh look – with a lot more light and wonderful amenities.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

You will no longer have to fight with your family for who gets the electric plug for your devices… Disney has thought of everything and has increased electric and usb plugs.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The room is so pretty and comfortable.  I want to get right into that bed!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

There are even some surprises if you look closely around the room.  Hi Chip!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The beds are on higher risers and you can place your suitcases underneath the beds, very similar to what Disney offers on their cruise ships.  This is a great space-saver.

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The couch is a nice spot to hang out with the family during the day, but it has a secret…

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

It easily folds down into a super-cute single bed.  I love the garden theme.

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A small but functional desk space with more plugs!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

This counter holds a Keurig coffee maker and the mini fridge is below.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The bathroom is spacious with a modern double sink located outside of the toilet/shower area. This is a great design that allows several people to get ready for the day (or bed) at once.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The new trend is to refurbish the hotel bathrooms to have only large showers and no tubs.  The space is beautiful and has modern shower heads and rain showers.  If you would like a tub, please make a request because the majority of the resort rooms with have these showers.  House Keeping will be able to bring a tub insert that would work for bathing small children if you get a shower-only room and it isn’t working for you.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

This gorgeous hotel is the perfect place to stay while visiting the Disneyland Resort.  In addition to the beautiful look and feel of the resort, there are benefits to staying here.

If you are looking for fine dining, the amazing Napa Rose is located right in the hotel (if you don’t have a reservation for the dining room, you can get the same delicious menu in the lounge).  Character dining is found at Storytellers Cafe and casual Quick Service dining is available at Whitewater Snacks.

There is a full-service Mandara Spa inside the hotel which is a great place to unwind.

Last, but not least, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the only resort located *inside* a Disney Park – Disney’s California Adventure park.  Obviously, it is very convenient to walk to the parks and there is even a special entrance for Guests from the Grand Californian to Disney’s California Adventure park.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a very special property and any stay here is bound to be a great one.  What is your favorite Disney resort?

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The best waffles are Mickey Waffles and you can make them at home!

Mickey Waffles are a favorite breakfast treat on our family Disney vacations and I love to recreate some of the Disney magic at home.

Copy of Disneyland Mickey Mouse Beignets

Mmmmm… Mickey Waffles.  An absolute “Must Eat” treat on any Disney vacation.

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Did you know that there are also different character waffles that can be found around Walt Disney World, and they taste great as well?

At the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can find cute Simba Waffles.

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And at the Art of Animation Resort food court, waffles are made into fun Finding Nemo and Cars designs (to go with your Nemo or Cars family suite!).

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But why do they taste so good?  So much better than our waffles at home?  It can’t just be the shape… can it?

This is the secret – the actual waffle mix that they use at the Disney Parks and the Disney Cruise Line!  The slightly sweet, malt flavor of Carbon’s Golden Malted mix is what makes Mickey Waffles taste so special – well, that and a little bit of Pixie Dust 🙂  I was able to purchase this on Amazon – so you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to search for it.

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Of course, you need a Mickey Waffle Maker to make the perfectly shaped Mickey Waffles.  The ones they use in the parks are super expensive commercial grade waffle makers, but there are some affordable alternatives.  I have two different versions and I just had to make both shapes to compare!

First, make the batter.  The mix is very simple…

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Take a rare tour of the Disneyland Dream Suite!

Have you ever wondered what is hiding up at the top of the grand staircase near the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland Park?  For those of us who have visited Disneyland for awhile, we know that from 1987-2007 it was the Disney Gallery – a beautiful space that held various Disneyland art exhibits.

However, that was not the intended use for that space.  Walt Disney himself had wanted to build a larger apartment in the park to accommodate his family and friends.  His original apartment over the firehouse on Main Street was just too small.  Walt commissioned set designer Dorothea Redmond to help create the special look of the apartment, which was dubbed the “Royal Suite”.  It was not given this name because Walt considered himself royalty, but because the suite was located on Royal Street in New Orleans Square.

Dream Suite

Unfortunately, Walt passed away before the suite was completed, and the Disney family decided to stop work on the project.

In 2007, the Disney Gallery was turned into the Dream Suite, using the original Dorothea Redmond drawings as inspiration.  The suite has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms a living room, outdoor seating area and balcony.

No amount of money can get you a night’s stay in the Dream Suite – it is only used by the occasional prize winner or celebrity.  So, I didn’t get to pack my pj’s and spend the night, but I was lucky enough to get a rare tour of the apartment.  Let me show you the highlights…

First, you walk through a short hallway that is lined by Dorothea Redmond’s artwork.  This gives us a preview of what we are about to see.

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The best travel capsule wardrobe for a trip to Disneyland

 

Have you noticed that Capsule Wardrobes are all the rage right now?  I’ve been a bit obsessed myself lately, perusing Pinterest and trying to organize my closet with the perfect blend of minimalism and functionality.

Planning for my own trip to Disneyland which is coming up in a few weeks, I thought it might be fun to create a travel capsule wardrobe for my vacation.  I wanted to create the perfect visual packing list to help me… and others… pack for their Disney adventure!

This is Step One of my packing  – clothes for me, or as I am most often called… Mommy.  I will obviously pack much more than what is pictured here because I will also bring items for my kids, but this post is just for my stuff.

Here we go… a nice travel day outfit.  Comfortable clothes for the plane (with a cardigan and scarf if the plane is chilly), slip-on shoes for security lines, and a roomy backpack for my carry-on essentials (laptop, snacks, etc).

 

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Yay!  Now we are in sunny California at the Disneyland Resort!  A day of park-hopping necessitates easy-to-wear shorts and a Mickey t-shirt.  Comfortable walking shoes (I highly recommend Sketchers shoes), sunglasses, and backpack are important too.  The Minnie ears are optional, but everyone is a kid at Disneyland, so go for it!  I have been to the parks so many times that I have quite the collection of hats and ears, so I bring a favorite with me from home.

Dinner at the fine-dining establishment Napa Rose requires something a bit more special than shorts and a Disney shirt.  A stretchy, non-wrinkling dress works for dinner and walking in the parks. Dressed up a bit with some nice sandals and you will fit right in with all of the rest of the diners.

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On a cooler day or for touring the parks in the evening, you may want to cover up a bit more. A cozy sweatshirt does the trick.  The skort dresses things up a bit, but is just as comfortable as shorts.  I bought this particular skort at Duluth Trading Company and it is my favorite piece of park clothing.  It is fast drying (great for humid weather or the occasional wet ride), the shorts under the skirt make it easy to be active (and modest when getting in and out of the attraction vehicles), and the cargo pockets are great for stashing essentials.  When wearing this skort I can often forgo bringing a bag with me to the parks at all.  When someone says skort I think of a matronly piece of clothing, but I think this one is cute.

Although it never rains in Southern California (ha ha), it is smart to bring a lightweight rain jacket or poncho with you.  The Colombia brand jacket that I own folds very small and I don’t mind packing it in my luggage.

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Hopefully it doesn’t rain during our trip, so we will have a nice pool day after touring the parks for a day or two.  I like to pack two bathing suits with me, even when packing light, because there is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to squeeze into a damp bathing suit if you swim two days in a row.

I am also pretty casual with my pajama choices.  When packing fewer items I try to have clothes that can do double-duty if needed.  So, my pajama bottoms can be joggers that could be worn during the day if it became unusually cool.  The tank can be worn in the parks and the cardigan can be used as a sweater and a robe inside your hotel room.  Flip flops function as slippers, pool shoes and rainy day foot ware.

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Here is a visual of the tops, bottoms and accessories that I would pack for a week-long trip to the Disneyland Resort.  It is basically casual, comfortable clothes that can be mixed and matched as needed.  Now that I am pretty well organized… on to the kids!

That will be Part Two 🙂

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It’s National Popcorn Day – What’s the best Popcorn in the world?

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Yep. That’s right!  Popcorn in the Disney Parks just tastes so much better than any other popcorn (yes, Movie Theater Popcorn… I’m looking at you).

There is something about walking down Main Street, U.S.A. with a carton of Disney popcorn that means your vacation has begun!

Disney has made getting popcorn even more special by selling souvenir popcorn buckets, which I love to collect.  Holiday buckets, Cinderella Coach buckets, Star Wars buckets… they are all so fun to see.  I want them all.  Do you love Disney popcorn and what is your favorite souvenir bucket?