Best Disneyland Christmas Snacks

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One of my favorite things about Disneyland Resort at Christmas is the food. Yeah, yeah, “it’s a small world” holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and World of Color – Winter Dreams are all good, but is there really as big of an E-Ticket at the Plaza Inn Yule Log? Is there anything more ‘magical’ than playing with goats and then heading to the Big Thunder Ranch for Peppermint Ice Cream and Brownie Skillet? Not only are there a lot of great desserts at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for Christmas, but there are interesting special items available for the holidays.

Eating all of the special Christmas menu items at Disneyland Resort would be a herculean task, and this is a task we’ve proudly(?) attempted to undertake in the name of research. There are probably an upwards of 40 special menu items available for Christmas each year, with most on special placard menus at the restaurants. Many of these items ostensibly have nothing to do with Christmas (like the Hot Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich at Jolly Holiday Cafe). Others sound delicious in theory, but are sort of duds (like the Golden Horseshoe Ice Cream Nachos). Others still just sound like really bad ideas (like the Cherry Cobbler Flatbread at Village Haus).

This post takes a look at some of our favorites that we recommend seeking out if you have the chance…

plaza-inn-yule-log

Yule Log – Any day of the year, Plaza Inn is a gift to mankind thanks to its amazing fried chicken. During November and December, it approaches dangerous levels of awesomeness due to the fried chicken plus the Yule Log. How does the Yule Log taste? Succinctly put, the yule log had us saying “yum” and “wow” about every seven seconds! Less succinctly put, the Yule Log is the perfect combination of sponge cake and cream, with rich pumpkin or chocolate mousse. None of the flavors overpowers or is too rich, meaning a single guest can easily conquer this entire largely-sized dessert. Usually, November is a pumpkin yule log and December is a coffee or chocolate one. Plan trips both months to try them each. Worth the airfare. (more…)

Top 10 Disney Theme Parks

Want to plan the perfect Disneyland visit? Here are 101 of our BEST tips! http://www.disneytouristblog.com/101-best-disneyland-tips/

Disney has 11 worldwide theme parks at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Hong Kong Disneyland. While each of these 5 resorts has a Disneyland/Magic Kingdom style park, not all of these parks are of the same quality, and their second gates and beyond are all fairly different. Some of you have been asking me to rank all of the Disney Parks for a while, and while this technically won’t do that since it’s leaving one off to fit within the “Top 10″ format, it really will since it’s only leaving one off.

Think of this list as like my ‘power rankings’ for the Disney Parks. It’s my attempt at objectivity in ranking the parks, but my personal biases and most recent impressions undoubtedly will creep in a little. Like power rankings, my actual rankings could vary month to month or even week to week depending upon maintenance, new attraction announcements, seasonal improvements, and a litany of other variables. It’s all very scientific. ;)

Keep in mind that this list is all in good fun. Like sports fans, most Disney fans have strong allegiances towards their home park and take offense when they feel it’s slighted. Although I view the parks of Walt Disney World as my “home” parks, I don’t really think I have allegiance to these parks that prevents me from seeing their faults (although I do have admittedly strong nostalgia for 3 of the 4 parks). In any case, remember that this is one random dude’s opinion on the internet. At the end of the day, it doesn’t impact your enjoyment of your “favorite” park if I rank it at number 8, nor does my opinion matter (at all) in the grand scheme of things.

With that said, here are my rankings of every Disney Park, minus the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris… (more…)

Ultimate 2014 Disneyland Christmas Guide

Disneyland Resort’s Christmas season runs November 13, 2014 through January 6, 2015 with tons of holiday entertainment, decorations, and attractions. Is there anything better than experiencing Disneyland and Disney California Adventure during the holiday season? Perhaps only experiencing Walt Disney World, which, with its four parks and myriad of resort hotels, has a bit of an unfair advantage over the more compact Disneyland Resort. Pound for pound, though, Disneyland Resort arguably has the better Christmas offerings, especially in 2014 now that Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land and Buena Vista Street fully embrace Christmas.

This “Ultimate Guide” will give you tips about visiting Disneyland at Christmas, including Jingle Cruise, World of Color – Winter Dreams, Haunted Mansion Holiday, ‘it’s a small world’ holiday, the Believe… In Holiday Magic fireworks, A Christmas Fantasy parade, Candlelight Processional, The Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour, Disney California Adventure’s decorations and offerings, and everything else Disneyland has to offer at Christmas! Along the way we’ll offer some of our tips and tricks for best-experiencing the Disneyland Resort at Christmas-time, and we hope this thorough guide will prove helpful for everyone from first-time guests to yearly visitors.

This isn’t merely the Disney-marketing copy you’ll find on every other site offering the same generic information about Christmas at Disneyland with “helpful” tips such as making such to check out Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle. Of course you will check it out…any idiot who strolls into the park is sure to check it out by virtue of strolling into he park. Instead, we’ll try to offer things that are less intuitive or well known. Unfortunately, we haven’t visited Disneyland Resort at Christmas since Cars Land or Buena Vista Street opened, so we don’t have photos of its decorations, but we’re heading back for Christmas this year, so we’ll update the guide once we have photos of everything new!

Unlike a Christmas overlay to Captain EO (fortunately, there isn’t one!), this guide will be sure to make your holidays at Disneyland better!

When To Visit



If you’ve read our When to Visit Disneyland or Disneyland Trip Planning Guide posts, you may know that the holidays at Disneyland are a veritable “Tale of Two Seasons” when it comes to crowds. There are times when crowds are relatively low, and times when the parks are so slammed that you’ll think it’s spring break all over again! (more…)

Tips for Buying Discount Disneyland Tickets

Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets by Buying from Authorized Third Parties (AAA, Costco, etc.)

Looking to save money on your trip to Disneyland? Given the ticket prices following the most recent Disneyland ticket price increase in Summer 2014, this is a rhetorical question–we doubt anyone wants to spend more money than necessary. Lucky for you, discount Disneyland tickets can be found through a variety of vendors, including online, at Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels in Anaheim, AAA, Safeway, Costco, online, and authorized websites. If you live in SoCal (and proof of residence), special offers are sometimes made available to SoCal residents during times when attendance is predicted to be light. So if you’re a local, you might be in luck.

AAA, Safeway, and Costco have small standard discounts of a couple dollars per ticket. From time to time, Costco stores on the West Coast will offer a gift card with purchase (this is never offered online and was last offered in-stores in March 2013). If you live on the West Coast and this is available when you’re planning to purchase tickets, it’s by far the best deal. Currently, for the best deals we recommend buying safely and securely from Park Savers, an authorized seller of Disneyland tickets with the best prices that we’ve found (for an authorized seller).

Where you shouldn’t buy tickets is as important as where you should buy them. While Disneyland authorizes a number of third parties to sell its tickets at slight discounts, there is a huge black market for bootleg and partially used “rental” tickets. You might be familiar with this because Disneyland’s crackdown on these tickets has garnered national media attention. Whatever you do, do not buy Disneyland tickets on eBay, Craigslist, or on the side of the road near Disneyland Resort. Any ticket “rental” is a scam, and you will be throwing your money away. Disney Cast Members will not have any sympathy for you if you’re caught with these “rental” tickets, and you will have to purchase new tickets at the gate, at full price. Not exactly a fun way to start a vacation.

Much like Walt Disney World, Disneyland offers tickets with a “hopper” option (the ability to visit both parks in the same day) and one-day, one-park tickets that don’t allow hopping. Unsurprisingly, non-hopper tickets are cheaper. As of early 2014, 1-day non-hopper tickets are around $92, whereas hopper tickets were over $100.

Remember, this guide is for Disneyland Resort, encompassing Disneyland (park) and Disney California Adventure. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World in Florida, check out our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. With that said, here are my thoughts on which Disneyland tickets you should purchase… (more…)

1-Day Disney California Adventure “Daily Trip Blueprint”

If you’re visiting Disneyland Resort, chances are that you will have one day to spend at Disney California Adventure, the park across the Esplanade from Walt Disney’s Original Magic Kingdom. If we had one day to enjoy at Disney California Adventure these are the attractions we would do, the restaurants where we’d dine, and the metaphorical roses we would stop to smell. This post continues our series of single-day itineraries designed to answer the frequently asked question, “what would you do if you only had one day in ____ Disney park?” We call this series our “Daily Trip Blueprints,” or DTBs for short. 

These Daily Trip Blueprints aren’t touring plans or strategy guides for doing as much in a single day in Disney California Adventure as possible. In fact, if you follow this guide, you won’t come close to doing every single attraction in the park (just the ones we like best). However, as we view Disney California Adventure as the “atmosphere park” at Disneyland Resort, we think this is a good thing. Plus, a lot of attractions at DCA are off-the-shelf filler that are best skipped. Most park strategy guides focus solely on number of attractions, and totally ignore the great things that make Disney Disney. If you’re only after our ride ratings and reviews of each attractions, read our comprehensive Best Disney California Adventure Attractions & Ride Guide post. If you need comprehensive help for planning every aspect of your visit to Disneyland Resort, from where to purchase discount tickets to transportation from the airport and more, read our Disneyland Resort Trip Planning Guide.

Instead, this is a rough blueprint of our favorite things to do in an “ideal day” at Disney California Adventure with low to moderate crowds (adjust expectations downward on busier days), and when you should do them for the ‘best experience,’ but not necessarily the most efficient experience. In other words, this strives to be subjective rather than objective. If you’re looking to develop a plan of attack for visiting attractions in the most efficient order, you should consult TouringPlans.com for Disneyland, which has years of experience and the statistical expertise in terms of “attraction order.”

If budget is no issue, we recommend staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel for your visit. Note that we recommended Disneyland Hotel in our 1-Day Disneyland Plan, and that’s because we think that hotel is a better “fit” for Disneyland. If you’re visiting both parks, we don’t recommend changing hotels…that would be excessive and unnecessarily time consuming. Staying at one of these hotels puts you in a good position to utilize Morning Extra Magic Hours to see more (make sure to consult the official Disneyland Calendar to see when these are offered). Plus, these hotels have great location and are just flat out fun. If these hotels are outside of your budget, our pick is the Anaheim Desert Inn, an off-site hotel that is about a 10 minute walk from the parks.

Once you wake up from wherever it is that you are sleeping, here’s what to do… (more…)