Cocina Cucamonga Review

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Cocina Cucamonga is a counter service Mexican restaurant in Disney California Adventure’s Pacific Wharf at Disneyland Resort. This review features photos of the food, plus my thoughts on the cuisine here, and to whom this purported “Mexican” restaurant will most likely appeal. The menu here has a lot of options, including tacos, burritos, tamales, salads, and more.

I mentioned this in the Lucky Fortune Cookery Review, but I’ll reiterate: the Pacific Wharf “land” is very simple. It’s essentially an outdoor mall food court where there are multiple places with ordering windows and an abundance of common seating in the middle. There is no indoor seating, nor is there any theming to speak of at Cocina Cucamonga.

As a preface to this review, how you view the food at Cocina Cucamonga is largely going to be dictated by perspective and background. In terms of background, if you’re a Disneyland local living in Santa Ana, for example, or anywhere that has an abundance of Mexican fast food, this restaurant won’t strike you as even remotely authentic. If you’re from a small town in the Midwest where the only Mexican food around is Taco Bell, your opinion of Cocina Cucamonga will likely be much more favorable and issues of authenticity aren’t likely to arise. Regardless of your background, if you approach this restaurant from the perspective of whether Cocina Cucamonga has quality cuisine, your opinion is likely to differ from someone who approaches it from the perspective of whether it has authentic cuisine.

With those caveats about the restaurant out of the way, let’s take a look at the food, and see how it holds up… (more…)

The Ultimate Guide to the Goats of Disneyland

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Disneyland’s best attraction. Instagram’s top photo spot in the world. A trending topic on Twitter for a record 37,945 days. The sole subject of an upcoming edition of the Guinness Book of Records. Yes, of course I’m talking about The Goats of Disneyland. Officially, it’s known as The Goats of Disneyland Park® at the Disneyland Resort® in Disney Big Thunder Ranch® Presented by Brawny®, aka Goat Galaxy. What more can be said about the Goats of Disneyland that hasn’t already been said? Welp, hopefully something, as I have a ton of photos of them to share and need to surround them with some words.

To start, yes, there are actually goats in Disneyland, and not just the Audio Animatronics ones on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The live goats are located in Big Thunder Ranch, along with a slew of other animals, including cows and those cocky sheep. The goat portion of this attraction is informally known as “Goat Galaxy” by its many fans and anyone who is even remotely cool. If you’ve missed them on your past visits to Disneyland (shame on you) don’t feel too bad, as most guests overlook this hidden gem of an area.

At this point, some of you might be thinking, “gee, Tom, why would I take time out of my limited vacation schedule to go see goats, when I can see them literally just about anywhere?” You can also play Wii carnival games at home and get pineapple ice cream all over the place, but that doesn’t stop you from waiting in long lines for Toy Story Midway Mania or Dole Whips, does it? As with those things, there’s something to be said for the Disney experience of interacting with goats. If that’s not enough to sell you on seeing the goats…uhh…they are magical goats that poop pixie dust?

Honestly, this isn’t so much an “Ultimate Guide” as it is a bunch of photos of Goat Galaxy with me making attempts at humor that will probably fall flat. You’re probably wasting your time by reading the rest of this article… (more…)

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review: Park Vue Inn

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Park Vue Inn is literally the closest hotel to Disneyland, and it’s pretty nice as far as the nearby hotels go. This review features photos of the hotel, plus thoughts about our experience of staying here. If you’ve been to Disneyland, you’ve probably seen Park Vue Inn before…it’s the hotel directly across the street that has a Cold Stone Creamery attached to it.

For a while, I’ve touted Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites, calling it my favorite off-site hotel because of its combination of distance, price point, and decent-enough quality for commando trips to Disneyland. Well, Park Vue Inn has replaced it as my #1 pick. It rivals some of the nicer Convention Center hotels in terms of quality, while being extremely close. It’s tough to appropriately categorize Park Vue Inn: like the other hotels on Harbor, it probably could be called a budget, but Park Vue Inn describes itself as a boutique hotel (I guess that explains the chic spelling of “Vue” in the name), and given what it offers and the iconic mission-inspired architecture, I’m inclined to call it a “moderate” hotel.

Let’s start with the location. When I say it’s literally the closest hotel to Disneyland, I mean it. The walk is less than 10 minutes from the hotel to the turnstiles at Disneyland, which makes it closer than every single on-site hotel, including the Grand Californian (although the Grand Californian is closer to Disney California Adventure, so perhaps this is a bit of a technicality). Another caveat is that whether it or Best Western Park Place Inn or Park Vue Inn is closer is really a question of which room you get. Again, minor detail.

I think all of the hotels in that cluster right across the street are “close enough” in terms of distance, as there are several that are about 10-12 minutes away, and it’s not really worth paying a premium to save 2 minutes, so in this case, it really comes down to quality and price, and Park Vue Inn excels in at least one of these regards. Although it’s not listed as one of the 39 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels, Park Vue Inn is a Good Neighbor Hotel–they just don’t participate in the vacation packages through Disneyland. Regardless, it’s nice hotel that would earn that distinction regardless of location. You can get an idea of how it stacks up to the competition, plus our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

So what are the pros and cons of staying at Park Vue Inn? Let’s take a look… (more…)

Lucky Fortune Cookery Review

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Lucky Fortune Cookery is a counter service restaurant in Disney California Adventure’s Pacific Wharf at Disneyland Resort. This review features photos of the food and ambiance, plus my thoughts on this restaurant. The menu is very basic, consisting solely of made-to-order Asian rice bowls. You start by choosing a protein: chicken, beef, and tofu. Then you choose a sauce: Mandarin Orange, Spicy Korean, Thai Coconut Curry, or Teriyaki.

Much like the entire Pacific Wharf “land”, the restaurant here is also very simple. It’s an outdoor ordering area with limited seating adjacent to the restaurant plus a ton more in the middle of the restaurant area. Think of it as a glorified mall food court.

As far as Disney California Adventure dining goes, Pacific Wharf is often overlooked. Despite the limited menu here, Lucky Fortune Cookery is actually a bit of a hidden gem… (more…)

Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Orange County

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Hyatt Regency Orange County is a hotel near Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center, and is arguably the nicest Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel in the area. This review features photos of the hotel, plus thoughts about our experience of staying here. Up front, I want to point out that there is one big downside of the hotel, and that’s the location. It’s about a mile away from Disneyland’s Esplanade, and out of walking distance for most people. However, because of its overall quality and being a Hyatt (meaning many guests might be able to use free nights here), we feel it’s worth covering in the context of Disneyland.

Let’s first discuss it from the perspective of its proximity to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Anaheim Convention Center. As mentioned above, it’s about a mile away from the parks, and although it’s often utilized by conventioneers (last time I went to the hotel, there were about a thousand teenage cheerleaders…yikes), it’s a bit of a hike from the Anaheim Convention Center, too. It’s a fairly easy walk if you are so inclined–it’s on the same side of the same road as Disneyland–but it’s a long walk.

Since the Hyatt Regency Orange County wants to tout itself as a Disneyland hotel, it does offer a shuttle to the parks. This shuttle is nice and efficient, but it charges $5 per adult per day, which is sort of irritating. Since Southern California has nice weather and we don’t mind walking, we only utilized this shuttle once and walked the rest of the time during our stay. I timed it as being a 30 minute walk from the front door to bag check at Disneyland, but we walk at a fairly brisk pace, so your mileage may vary.

That distance is the biggest downside to the Hyatt Regency Orange County. The upside is that this is a really nice hotel. Of the 39 Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels, there are only 7 in the highest “Superior” tier, and this is one of them. All of the walking distance hotels right near the parks are varying degrees of okay, as what you’re paying for is the location, not room quality. By contrast, Hyatt Regency Orange County is legitimately a nice real world hotel. You can get an idea of how it stacks up to the competition, plus our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

What’s so nice about the Hyatt Regency Orange County? Let’s take a look… (more…)