Here in southern California, it’s hard to believe that the dog days of summer are almost here when you look outside and see dreary June gloom all around us. Nonetheless, before you know it we’ll soon be dealing with sweltering hot days and blackout days with the So Cal annual passes. Anticipating my seven-week hiatus away from the Happiest Place on Earth, I am trying to pack in as much time as possible in Disneyland now through June 26.
Have you ever walked by the Candy Palace and felt sucked in by the delicious aroma of the candy inside? The smell is almost intoxicating. The truth of the matter is that the sweet vanilla smell you get a whiff of is not the smell of the candy from inside at all. If you look just below the candy makers’ windows you will see what looks like small green decorations worked into the architecture. Those little green circles are actually vents that pump out a sweet vanilla scent (think one of those Glade Plug-ins on steroids). Genius, right?!
Recently, we visited California Adventure and I played the games in the Boardwalk area of the park with my family. This is something I’ve never let the kids do. In fact, my kids didn’t even know there were games to play anywhere at the resort. Up until this particular day I was always quite “bah-hum-bug” about the games. “We come here to go on rides and see the shows,” I would say. “I don’t want to spend our money on carnival games.” My husband and I would quickly avert the children’s attention toward some other landmark as we briskly walked them through the boardwalk area.
Truth be told, as a member of the press, we were given gift cards to play the games, otherwise this would have never happened. I guess I’m just way too cheap. As it turns out, the games were a lot of fun and one (maybe two–I can’t remember) even GUARANTEED a prize. And furthermore, the prizes weren’t that bad. Unlike a carnival or fair, the stuffed toys were a decent quality toy that I feel fine letting my kids play with. And…wait for it…I may let the boys do it again some time! They got a real kick out of it.
The boardwalk area is also home to the Toy Story Mania attraction. This is a very popular attraction with a very long wait. I will be honest in saying that I’m not this attraction’s biggest fan. I just don’t get it. My four year old really likes it, which is what it’s all about. I guess that it’s lost on me because I’m not into video games. Basically, guests ride through this attraction shooting at targets in different 3-D scenes along the ride. If you are competitive, you’ll love it. Unfortunately, the 3-D glasses gave me a little bit of a headache. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. Worth a 10 minute wait? Yes. Worth a 45 minute wait? Not in my book.
If you are looking for some really unique Toy Story merchandise, this area of the park has got it.
I can’t believe that it’s been three weeks since I said I’d be back with more Disneyland summer information. Since most of my readers are moms, you know how it is, life just gets in the way. Between a big project I’ve been working on at work and wrapping up the redesign of Babes in Disneyland (the site), I’ve been swamped.
I’m excited to tell everyone about a new dining experience back at Big Thunder Ranch. For those of you who aren’t well acquainted with Disneyland, Big Thunder Ranch is nestled along Big Thunder Trail, which is the trail that curves behind Frontierland and leads to the west entrance of Fantasyland. Over the years, Big Thunder Ranch has held a number of functions–from a petting zoo to a corporate picnic area to an outdoor theater for the Hunchback show back in the ’90s. Throughout the ages, it has also served as a barbeque restaurant from time to time, and that’s exactly what it’s back to today. Currently, Disneyland is featuring a new dining experience called, Celebration Roundup and Barbeque. At the recent Disneyland summer kick off event, I dined at the barbeque and enjoyed it’s ongoing entertainment offerings.
Many of you may recall the short-lived Aladdin’s Oasis lunch/dinner show of the 1990s. The food was excellent, as was the show, but it just didn’t make it. Price, coupled with hard and fast show times, seemed to sink it. The Celebration Roundup and Barbeque is the same basic concept–entertainment and a meal. Here’s the major difference. The shows and character interactions are ongoing. There is constantly something going on and there is not set show time. Guests can come and dine as their schedules see fit and will never “miss” the show. The price is still a bit steep in my book at $28.99 for 10 and older and $12.99 for ages 3 to 9.
Don’t get me wrong; the food was fantastic. We dined on tender chicken and pork ribs, corn on the cob, corn bread, watermelon, and beans. We also tried the vegetarian option of vegetable and barbequed tofu skewers. Delicious! The dessert presentation was nothing short of amazing. (See picture.) The desserts themselves were unbelievable. They are waffle cones filled about halfway with a mousse or other creamy concoction and then on top of the mouse is a cupcake topped with frosting. Seriously, it’s pretty out of control. On the plus side, we were told that Disney uses low fat cream cheese and they do not add extra
sugar to the icing or the cake. I thought it was a joke, but they were serious. Outside of Disneyland, I probably wouldn’t
be so concerned with the cost of this meal, but when the average family factors in the cost of admission tickets, this might be more than they can swing. I have a feeling this might become pretty popular with annual passholders who come all of the time and have already forgotten about the pain of paying for admission (and get a discount when dining at the park).
The meal is served family style with big bowls and platters brought to your table by happy cast members. And although it’s family style, everyone need not order the same thing (i.e. not everyone needs to each vegetarian, etc.) And in true family style, guests can eat until they are full.
I suppose if you pig out at a late lunch, you could just snack for dinner, which in the long run could save a little money. Reservations can be made in advance by calling (714) 781-DINE. Walk-up reservations are also available.
In the spring I wrote about the Bibbi Bobbidi Boutique’s (BBB) scheduled spring opening. This store/salon celebrated its grand opening in April and it’s been turing little girls into princesses and boys into knights ever since.
Geared mostly for little girls, BBB offers a complete makeover service for little girls. Girls can choose from three different hair styles – Fairytale Princess, Disney Diva or Pop Princess – in three magical makeover packages. The lease expensive packages is $45 and includes a hairstyle, shimmering make-up, princess sash, princess bag and body jewels. At the top end of the range, is the castle package which includes a hairstyle, shimmering makeup, princess sash, princess bag, body jewels, nail polish, choice of princess costume complete with wand and shoes, as well as portrait package courtesy of Disney’s PhotoPass Service. Girls receiving the Castle Package can choose to be dressed as Aurora, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, Tinker Bell or Ariel as a bride. This package starts at $195.85! Of course, if you already have a closet full of princess dresses, why not have your little girl wear what she already has?
Boys are not left out at BBB. The “Knight” look includes a hairstyle fit for daring adventure, a Prince Philip shield and a sword for fun and heroism for $13. This seems pretty reasonable and makes me pretty happy I have two boys.
Some moms and I were talking while at the media event and agreed that it seems a little unfair that the least expensive makeover for girls is more than double the cost of a makeover for a boy. It would be really nice if there was something a little less expensive for girls. Perhaps just makeup and the nail polish…
Nonetheless, I’m sure I would have died to go to the BBB as a little girl. With a magic mirror reveal, complete with pixie dust, at the end of the makeover, I’m sure it is a memory that will last a long time for those lucky enough to get the royal treatment.
BBB is located just inside Fantasyland across from Peter Pan’s Daring Journey at Sleeping Beauty Castle.