Christmas at Trader Sam’s

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It’s a Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou at Trader Sam’s this time of year! Since I never pass up an excuse opportunity to visit my second favorite Disney bar in the world, we headed to Trader Sam’s recently to test out its Christmas menu.

I won’t rehash my love for Trader Sam’s here–you can read my Trader Sam’s Backstory & Details and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar Review posts for the reasons why this is one of our top stops at Disneyland Resort. Suffice to say, I’m really excited for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to open at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World so everyone who has yet to experience it at Disneyland Hotel can understand why this place is so special. I just hope the Walt Disney World location is as special as the Disneyland Resort one.

We didn’t make it out to Trader Sam’s during our last Christmas trip to Disneyland, which I assume upset the Tiki Gods, so we were committed not to make that same mistake again this year. It came as no surprise that not only were there special drinks for Christmas, but the tiki bar had also been decorated for the holidays. If this were anywhere else, it would probably seem like cheap and thoughtless Christmas decor thrown into the bar. However, it’s the perfect kitschy Christmas, and the decorations fit perfectly in Trader Sam’s.

Let’s take a look at the Trader Sam’s Christmas decorations and drinks… (more…)

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…

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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…)

The Disney Jumbo Turkey Leg Review

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I have a confession: until recently, I had never consumed a jumbo turkey leg at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or any other Disney park. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid carnivore and a huge fan of eating large chunks of meat off the bone, but something about the turkey leg just looked…unappetizing. However, since I always want to do what the cool kids are doing, and since I wanted a somewhat fitting post for Thanksgiving, I decided to give one a try. This post covers my review of the ubiquitous Disney turkey jumbo leg, plus about 900 words of filler since the review itself only needs to be like 2 sentences.

First, let’s start with a bit of unnecessary background. According to a recent New York Times article, the turkey leg made its Walt Disney World debut in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom near the Big Al stand in the 1980s. As a Country Bear Jamboree fan, I could not be any prouder that the prolific history of this snack involves the Magic Kingdom’s most storied attraction. I’m also not surprised that Big Al is mentioned in the same sentence as the jumbo turkey legs. He seems like a jumbo turkey leg kind of bear. Since every red-blooded American enjoys a good piece of bone-in meat from time to time, the turkey legs were an immediate sensation, and eventually became somewhat of a culinary symbol of the Disney Parks, much like the churro.

As an “eating things that are awful for you” craze swept America in the 2000s, sales of the turkey leg exploded, with an estimated two million plus turkey legs sold per year in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. With this has come coverage in mainstream media, as well as controversy from animal welfare groups that have wondered just what kind of mutant turkey is producing legs that large. I remain fearful of the day one of these artificially bred turkeys is fed after midnight and transforms into something truly terrifying. (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…)

1-Day Disneyland “Daily Trip Blueprint”

If we had one day in Disneyland and were looking for the perfect way to spend that day, these are the attractions we would do, the restaurants where we’d dine, and the metaphorical roses we would stop to smell. The idea behind this post is to answer the frequently asked question, “what would you do if you only had one day in ____ Disney park?” We are starting with Disneyland for the first post in this series of “Daily Trip Blueprints.” (Or DTB for short. Get it? We thought about calling it the “DTB by DTB.com,” but felt that would cross that line from clever into lame and corny territory…but we probably are so far across that line already that we can no longer even see the line.)

Note that this Daily Trip Blueprint isn’t a touring plan or strategy guide for visiting Disneyland, nor is it a thorough listing of every attraction at Disneyland. For our ride ratings and reviews of each attractions (which will give you a better idea of what to prioritize), read our comprehensive Best Disneyland Attractions & Ride Guide post. If you need comprehensive help for planning every aspect of your visit to Disneyland, from where to purchase discount tickets to transportation from the airport and more, read our Disneyland Resort Trip Planning Guide.

Instead, what we are providing is a rough blueprint of our favorite things to do in an “ideal day” at Disneyland with low to moderate crowds (on busier days, it will be more difficult to accomplish all of this), 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 Disneyland Hotel (our favorite) or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel (closer to the parks) for your visit. If you only have 1 day for Disneyland (hopefully you also have a day for Disney California Adventure), your time is fairly limited and you won’t be able to see it all, but at least 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…)