Tour of Mark Twain Riverboat

The last stop on our tours from our trip in February was a guided tour of the Mark Twain Riverboat sitting still on the Rivers of America in Disneyland.  For a little more than a year, the Mark Twain has been sitting dockside in Frontier Land while the Rivers of America was undergoing a reroute to make room for the new Star Wars Land.

The Disneyland Mark Twain Steam Paddle-wheeler.

It is one of the few remaining attractions that was a part of the opening day in 1955, and has fascinating past.  The paddle-wheeled steam boat is a 5/8 scale replica of actual steamers on the Mississippi river.  The hull was built at the shipyards in San Pedro and the decks were built at WED (Walt Elias Disney) Enterprises in Burbank.  The 105 foot boat was assembled at Disneyland and was operational on opening day.  When corporate funds fell short, Walt funded the completion from his own pocket.

While the boat is in “drydock,” guests can Continue Reading →

Which Is Better – Enchanted Tiki Room DL or WDW?

Welcome to Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room!

This unique attraction was designed to be a restaurant, the original “Enchanted Tiki Room,” at Disneyland is where for more than 50 years Jose, Michael, Pierre and Fritz have been entertaining guests with their familiar “In the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room…”

When the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World opened in 1971, it had its own version of the Enchanted Tiki Room (originally called the Tropical Serenade).  The Enchanted Tiki Room in the Magic Continue Reading →

Which Is Better – Pirates of the Caribbean DL or WDW?

“Pirates” at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Since this week marks the 50th anniversary of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean, we thought we would pose the question of “which is better,” to see if there is an answer. A favorite attraction among many Disney park guests (us included), Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean has been taking people to an underground world since March 18, 1967, opening just a few months after Walt’s passing.  (It is rumored that Walt’s favorite ride was whichever one he was currently working on – so this could be said to be his last favorite).  With the addition of Walt Disney World, another version of this attraction opened in late 1973 in the Magic Kingdom.

There are fans of each park that insist that their favorite is the best.  So with that, we will try to compare the POTC attractions and see if there really is a better version.

Entry into the attraction:  At Disneyland, most of the queue is Continue Reading →

Main Street Electrical Parade Home Again

Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade

Like a long lost family member, we waited anxiously for its return.  Then it happened.  With the albeit temporary homecoming, we had an opportunity to experience Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade in its original location, Disneyland.  It has been 21 years since it left this park (although it had a run from 2001 to 2010 on the California Adventure side).

We celebrated Debbie’s birthday with a Main Street Electrical Light Parade Dinner package at the Blue Bayou restaurant which was a full three course meal that included a starter, entrée and dessert.  This is a prix fixe option that includes some of the best menu options (surf & turf, filet mignon, etc) all for one price.  At the end of Continue Reading →

Walk In Walt’s Footsteps

Walt’s apartment above the Firehouse. Light in window is a tribute to Walt.

Something we had been wanting to do for a long time was the Walk In Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Guided tour.  This is a tour that is unique to all the Disney parks as this is the only park that was complete before his passing in 1966.  The tour takes guests around the park and over the areas where Walt walked and envisioned this magnificent place that would become the gold standard in theme parks.

At the beginning of our tour, each guest was issued a headset that provides clear communication from our guide and the sound clips of Walt explaining areas of the park.  We then met our guide Sam who would take us back to the early days of Disneyland.

We began outside the Firehouse.  This is significant because the top floor houses “Walt’s Apartment.”  This was an area where he could work, rest and Continue Reading →

Tour of Disneyland Railroad

There are many who lament the loss of Big Thunder Ranch and the subsequent shutting down of the Disneyland Railroad, The Mark Twain Riverboat, the Columbia Sailing Ship and Fantasmic while the imagineers and contractors build the new Star Wars Land.  But we found a serendipitous opportunity that would have never come along without these closures – a special up close tour of the Disneyland Railroad.

Disneyland has brought out the locomotives and cars for guests Continue Reading →

Cinderella’s Castle

The magic of Cinderella’s Castle goes beyond the size and scope of it as a building or the centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom.  It is also the entrance to Fantasyland, a stage for theater, television and movies, a restaurant, a projection screen, and a place to propose.  It is even a joy to photograph!  There are so many angles that natural lighting changes make every few moments a different picture, and the nighttime events add even more magic.

Cinderella's Castle - Magic Kingdom. 189 feet tall.

Cinderella’s Castle – Magic Kingdom. 189 feet tall.

Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom stands second tallest among the six Disney castles at 189 feet, measured from the bottom of the moat.  Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland is only 77 feet, although it carries the distinction of being the oldest Disney castle.  Hong Kong Disneyland has a carbon copy of Anaheim Disneyland’s original castle, also called Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, but it will be undergoing major remodeling where rumors have that it will be completely different, and scheduled to be finished in 2019.  Paris Disneyland’s castle, coincidentally is also called Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, but it tops out at 167 feet, more than twice the size of its sister edifices.  Cinderella gets another castle in Tokyo Disneyland and it comes in just a foot shorter than its Orlando version.  The newest castle is in the Shanghai Disney Resort and is also the tallest at 197 feet, but it doesn’t belong to any one Disney princess.  This castle is called the Continue Reading →

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

It’s a foodie’s dream.  Or it could be a gastric nightmare!

Welcomed to the festival by Tinkerbell.

Welcomed to the festival by Tinkerbell.

Why?  Because there is so much great food and so little time (or room in the tummy) to travel this unique world experience and taste it all!  We finally took the plunge to sample Disney’s EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival during a trip to Walt Disney World in October, and it was quite a treat!

Now in its 22nd year, this annual food festival provides Disney guests with an opportunity to taste the many flavors of the countries that line the World Showcase lagoon in EPCOT.  For 2016, it runs every day from September 14th to November 14th.

Whether you crave mild or spicy, domestic or international, sweet or sour, wet or dry, hot or cold, a hungry traveler can find something to satisfy their cravings and even try something new, especially if you don’t have the means to travel abroad.  Countries from Africa to Continue Reading →

Good Bye 60th Anniversary

They say that all good things must come to and end; and after months of great parties and special events celebrating Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, it all ends tonight, September 5, 2016.  The beautiful lights, shows, fireworks, and the make-over of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime event will all be just a memory.  With that, we must say “Good Bye” to all that we have come to love over the past year.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle - Disneyland. 77 feet tall.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle dressed for the 60th Anniversary.

Disney sure knows how to throw a shindig!  This magical celebration ran for more than 16 months, beginning on May 22, 2015, crossing into the actual anniversary date of July 17, 2015 and covering the 61st anniversary in July of this year.

The 60th Anniversary overlay of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle had to have been one of the best we have ever seen.  Every fall, the castle is decorated for Christmas, but nothing like this.  If you missed it, unfortunately it is gone forever and you may have to wait until the 75th Anniversary Continue Reading →

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

The new nighttime show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World brings all the stories of Star Wars to life in a display of fireworks, visual projections, sound and columns of fire in a way never before seen – as only Disney can.  This new show, which debuted on June 17, 2016, is the largest fireworks display in the history of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular now showing at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular now showing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.

Star Wars:  A Galactic Spectacular is best viewed from Hollywood Boulevard; the closer to the Great Movie Ride, the better as there are visual displays projected on the surrounding buildings.  If you are too far back, the side views are blocked by the buildings on Hollywood Boulevard.

Imagery from all current seven Star Wars chapters are blended into this nighttime spectacular, with the show divided into segments depicting the many facets of this good vs evil saga.  The show’s elements are broken into Continue Reading →