Last December, I found myself booking a four-day trip to Disneyland. During the holidays, the Walt Disney Company offers 60% off select hotels for Cast Members. It had always been my dream to stay at the Disneyland hotel, how could I say no?
In dreams you will lose your heartache…
The Disneyland Hotel
For the four days we spent in Disneyland we stayed at The Disneyland Hotel. The original Disney hotel. The rooms here are so magical, literally! The throw cushions on the bed recite lines from Cinderella. The best part was the headboard, carved into it was the Sleeping Beauty castle. Each night before we would go to bed, we’d turn the lights off and at the click of a button the castle would twinkle and play the tune to “A dream is a wish your heart makes”. Call me emotional, but it really made me want to cry. Even the light fixtures in the bathroom were Mickey hands.
Our room was in the Fantasyland Tower and overlooked the pool. Disneyland Resort hasn’t upgraded to Magic Bands yet, so our key to the room was a key card (or key to the world if you remember those)
Where did we eat?
Jolly Holiday Bakery
This bakery opened a few years back. I love anything Mary Poppins themed and I think it suits Main Street practically perfectly in every way.
Here we had a tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch. Being the foodie I am, I had to buy a fancy chocolate cake, one of the many amazing snacks in Disney. It was good but far too big.
When in Disneyland, one must try a Monte cristo sandwich and a mint julep! This was my first time trying the Monte Cristo, it was actually really good, a mix of sweet and savoury. The portions here were far bigger than we’d expected.
Very similar to Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian resort in Walt Disney World, Tangaroa Terrace is mostly Hawaiian inspired. The menu features kalua pork sandwiches, pork steamed buns and tuna poke. We decided to have lunch here on our second day, and naturally wandered into Trader Sam’s next door…. What a coincidence.
Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar
We visited Trader Sams several times during our trip. After check in, our first stop was Trader Sam’s. Trader Sam’s is our favourite spot in Walt Disney World. I took Hannah to The Florida counterpart for her first time and it became a very special place for us. So it was obvious she was going to love the Disneyland version just as much.
Trader Sam’s is located next to the pool in the Disneyland Hotel. This is the “Tiki Bar” while the Orlando version is the “Grog Grotto”. This is a big deal to Disney nerds okay. So much so, that I ended up purchasing three tiki mugs, simply because they say “Tiki bar”. Yes I realise I need to get a life. Trader Sam’s is always a must for every visit.
My bartender, Kelly, made me an off the menu drink called a Mie Hana, which is Anaheim backwards. Three cocktails later we were rather tipsy. So what do three tipsy girls in Disneyland end up doing? Wandering into the hotel gift shop and buying $75 bathrobes. No Regrets (I’m wearing it right now)
The Blue Bayou
The Blue Bayou is one of my favourite spots in the Disney Parks, the theming is impeccable. This restaurant is inside the Pirate’s of the Caribbean, but made to look as though you are dining outside. I’d eaten here once before but this trip we were doing the Fantasmic Dining Package. It’s a fixed priced that guarantees a viewing spot for the show. And cast members also receive a discount on the package.
At the end of the meal, we were given a Disneyland Fantasmic parade cushion to sit on while we enjoyed the show. Amazing. I still have mine.
All Disney Parks now have a Starbucks. A perfect opportunity to use the Orange Bird koozie my friend Emily got me for Christmas. If you know the Orange bird, then you know!
Where To Shop?
The Emporium is the big shop towards the front of the park that sells just about anything. There’s generally one in every park, but each one may have a different appearance. We stopped for rose gold spirit jerseys. Call us basic, but these were amazing. The three of us pretty much wore matching jerseys the whole time. When in Disney, go all out!
While in the Emporium, we had cameras follow us everywhere. I wonder if we’ll ever be on TV?
World Of Disney
World Of Disney at Downtown Disney sells just about anything that you can get in the Parks. If you didn’t buy something, then wished you had, rest assured WoD will likely have it.
The Perks Of Construction?
During our time at Disneyland, they were refurbishing the lines along Main Street leading up to the castle. We were forced to sing “Walking right along the side of Main Street” instead. (Yes, I’m a nerd, and if you get my poor joke, you’d also fall into that category)
It was a shame we didn’t get that view of the castle, but Kay and I had been here numerous times before and Hannah was to return in June.
The perks of construction like this just means one thing, fewer crowds! This was actually the quietest I’d ever seen Disneyland.
The Max Pass
As Disneyland doesn’t have Magic Band technology, I’d highly recommend buying the max pass. Disneyland now has an app like the Walt Disney World app. You can purchase what is called a “max pass” through the app. It is $10 per person per day. I spent $40 on this and it was more than worth it. This pass will allow you to make online fast pass selections. They still have paper fastpass in Disneyland; however buying this pass allows you to bypass this. You’ll still get a paper counterpart but it’s just a receipt. Your actual fastpass will be attached to your park ticket. It also allows for unlimited photopass photos per day. So I paid $40 for four days of photopass. Which is great for shorter trips.
Have you ever visited Disneyland? What are your must-dos?