Disneyland Explored

Disneyland explored.

Photo Tour: 2016 Disney CA Adventure Food & Wine Festival

These are the final days to experience Food & Wine as Sunday, May 1st will be the last day.

The 2016 Food and Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure (DCA) has been a fun event offering. First, I think it's great that DCA finally has something exciting offered at this Park (vs. Disneyland). Second, how can you not love an event that has special food and wine offerings?

Each event booth has been inspired by California cuisine. There is a special Food & Wine Map that you can pick up to guide you. Here is my photo tour of the Festival Marketplace.

LA Style:  Celebrating the ethnic food fusion in the LA scene.

The Vineyard and Wine Country: Celebration of the Northern California vineyards and farms.

!Viva Fresca!: Experience Mexican inspired favorites made with some street flair.

Gold Rush: Try some small plates that reflect the California spirit.

The Farm: These dishes are packed with flavor and have that "farm to table" note. 

By the Bay: Delicious food offerings to celebrate the San Francisco area. 


There are a total of 8 Festival Marketplace booths to visit. Two of them sell only alcoholic drinks while the other six have a combination of food and drinks. Some of the nearby restaurants offer Festival inspired items. 

Go early to beat the crowd. The last weekend is sure to be busy. Pace yourself and go with a friend. Visit my post, My 3 Tips for Food & Wine Festival, for more.

Happy Eats!


Green Glass Elephant Spotted in Adventureland

Last spotted at the former Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, the faux green glass elephant was lovingly referred to as "Penny" by many Disneyland fans. 

Photo image from

Photo image from

Regardless of her official name, I spotted the famous elephant in Adventureland. Looks like she now has a new home.

Looks like she now greets Guests as they enter the area near the Jungle Cruise. She sits above the Tropical Imports food stand. Her new home makes sense.  Penny (I'm still gonna call her that) looks happy to be back.

So next time you are in Adventureland, make sure to look up so you can get a glimpse of Penny, the green glass elephant.

Sending you pixie dust!


Music Monday: Jabba Flow from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope (IV) is a famous scene in part due to the music. Most people can recognize the music that was playing in Mos Eisley's Cantina. That particular tune was written by legendary composer John Williams. In the process of Williams writing the score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (VII), he told director J.J. Abrams that he wanted to concentrate on the overall score. 

As a result, you hear a tune in the background during the scene when the characters enter Maz Kanata's pirate Castle. It is called "Jabba Flow" which was co-written by J.J. Abrams and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is best known for being the creator and composer of the Broadway hit, Hamilton. The tune is not available on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack. You have to watch the movie to view the specific scene to hear Jabba Flow. However, there was a recent release called Star Wars Headspace. It is a compilation of original electronic dance music (EDM) infused with Star Wars sound clips. 

If you don't have name "Lin-Manuel Miranda" on your Disney radar, start now. Tony award nominations will be announced next week and Hamilton, the musical is favored to dominate the categories. Miranda has also been hard at work by composing some of the music for Disney's 56th animated movie, Moana (November 2016). Today, it was announced that Miranda will also be part of a new Mary Poppin's movie production. It's not a remake of the original but a new movie based off of another P.L. Travers Mary Poppins story. Miranda is slated to co-star in this new movie. Hopefully he will also help write some of the music, too. 

Happy Music Monday!





Star Wars Land Progress: View from Big Thunder Mountain ride

Last week, Disneyland Parks Blog posted this really cool 360 view of Star Wars-Themed Land groundbreaking. If you haven't seen it, take some time to see all the fun details only Disney would put in their photo.

I went to Disneyland yesterday and took the following photos. The most interesting one is this very quick glimpse while riding Big Thunder Mountain. 

The following photos were taken after I got off the ride and walked over to the wall that blocks off Big Thunder Trail.

Finally, if you find yourself parking in the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, You can go up to the top floor and get a really good view of the construction. It is really exciting to see how things are progressing. It's happening!

Believe in the Magic!


Music Monday: Disney Music Books

I have a different kind of post for Music Monday. My kid sings and she is a student at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts) in the Classical Voice Conservatory. On her free time, she loves to sing a lot of other songs like Disney songs. She is also learning to play the ukulele. I have to admit that I love hearing the sound of the ukulele. We found this music book that combined both Disney and the ukulele.


We usually go to the Hal Leonard site because they have just about every kind of song and every kind of music genre available. They have music books available for every level and instrument, too. Sheet music for singles are also available. Hal Leonard has been around awhile and is a major publishing force in the music world. Sometimes I will go on their site to find a song or song book but will end up buying it from Amazon. Hal Leonard sells through Amazon. 

Music stores went the way of the fax machine. If you need some sheet music or song books, it is all on the internet. If you need some Disney sheet music, check out Hal Leonard. If you are looking for any kind of music , bookmark Hal Leonard as a great resource for all your sheet music needs. 

Happy Music Monday!


My 3 Tips for Disney CA Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2016

I was excited to hear that the Disneyland Resort was finally going to host a Food & Wine Festival. I've been to the one a Walt Disney World and really enjoyed the international theme there. I knew the west coast addition would have to be smaller and quite different. I looked forward to having a fun new event in California.

This food festival is a month (April 1- May 1) long event at Disney California Adventure. There are booths (referred to as the Marketplaces) for food and wine that are open everyday. Special events, guests and presentations only occur Friday, Saturday & Sunday. They have had special Food & Wine info and maps available at the turnstiles. After having experienced it the last two weeks, here are 3 of my personal tips to enjoy the  Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. 

1) Go with a friend or 2 or 3... Sharing is caring.

Not only will it make the event more fun but going with a group will allow you to enjoy a small bite so you don't get too full. Then you will also have room to sample more food offerings. If you want to sample wine and beer, sharing sips will help you get to the next drink without having had too much at one booth. Friends will make standing in lines more entertaining.

2) Do some homework before you go.

The menus are online HERE so you can make a list of some dishes that intrigue you. Plus, if you or your friends have any food allergies, likes or dislikes, you can figure that out before you go and you won't be disappointed. Knowing the food offerings and also how much they cost will help you figure out how much money you'll need for this food adventure. Make a list of some things you really want to try. The food locations are divided up into 5 main booths and 1 alcoholic beverage booth. There is usually some sort of protein, appetizer and dessert offering. Suggested wine pairings are available, too. 

If you want to see detailed pictures and some reviews, I recommend visiting the Disney Food Blog (not official) and read their post.  Bookmark their site if you are a Disney foodie. They cover just about anything Disneyland and Walt Disney World food topics. 

3) Create a food & wine budget. 

Purchase a wearable event wristband. It will help you stay on a budget and make each food transaction easier. You won't be pulling out your wallet at every location. There are several designated locations to purchase these. You decide how much you put on it (if you did your homework, you'll know how much $$ you need). If you don't use it all up, you can still use it at any food or store location. It works like a gift card. 

Food & wine wearable gift card & 2016 event baseball cap (all separate purchases). 

BONUS TIP: Get a Boudin Baguette

Some of the food items have some delicious sauces. You'll have it leftover on your small plate. If you go purchase a bag of fresh sourdough sliced bread from the Pacific Wharf (Boudin Bakery), you can use that to dip into some of the festival dishes. The bakery will slice up their baguettes for you. It's also a good way to share a small plate with your friends. You can make sure not to waste any of those delicious sauces or festival food. 


Some other notes:
  • Pace yourself. Getting caught up in the fun atmosphere can happen. Everything always looks good and when you are Food & Wine and you'll want to try almost everything. Your eyes are usually bigger than you stomach. Go on a ride or see a show in between sampling the Festival Marketplace (food booths).
  • While the food booths are open everyday (11-8), the special events, wine and beer seminars are only available on the weekends. Check the website for reservations and more info.
  • Some of the restaurants at Disney California Adventure are also offering special menu items that are "festival inspired" entrees. 
  • If you are an Annual Passholder, make sure to stop by the Blue Sky Cellar and pick up a commemorative button and recipe card. You can also purchase an event lanyard that includes food tickets. 
  • Check out some of the third-party vendors that are participating this year. There are several small businesses that have things like olive oil and sauces available for purchase from their carts. 
  • Finally, there are some special event merchandise available. It's a small and basic offering of event logo caps, t-shirt, kitchen towels and plastic appetizer holders. 

There are only a couple more weekends to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival. If you have been to the one at Walt Disney World, leave that experience and expectations there. Hopefully this will be a Disneyland event that will continue to evolve and grow every year. 



Music Monday: Oo-De-Lally (Robin Hood)

I was at the WonderGround over the weekend and saw that there was an artist, Sydney Hanson, who did a piece with Robin Hood characters. Released in 1973, Robin Hood was he 21st animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It may not be as well known as other classic Disney movies but the animation is beautiful. There are some lovely songs in the movie, too.

One of theme is "Oo-De-Lally" that was written by Roger Miller. He also voiced the character of Allan-a-Dale, the rooster in the movie who narrates the story in song. You might have heard this song used in an Android commercial last year that showed off two furry friends and their playtime together. 


On this Music Monday, "Oo-De-Lally, Hoo-de-lal-ly, Golly what a day!"


DIY Disney Gift: Peter Pan Dry Ease Board

Gift giving is fun, especially if it for someone who is a Disney fan.

In the world of "all things Disney" there are lots of choices. My Disney friends all collect different things and like specific Disney-related items. So last week, one of my friends had a birthday to celebrate. This specific Disney friend loves all things Peter Pan. She already has a collection of Peter Pan things but she doesn't need all things Peter Pan. 

So I came upon this piece of stationery on eBay. If you do a search for "Disney letterhead" or "disney stationery" on eBay, you can see all kinds of offerings. Remember before email and marketing campaigns lots of companies had special stationary to correspond with the others and their fan community. "Walt Disney Productions" was changed to "Walt Disney Company" in the 1980s so I also knew that this piece of paper was cool.

I didn't know how I was going to gift this special piece of paper until the day before her birthday. I was looking for some picture frames for some of my photos when the idea came to me. Picture frames have glass and you can clean paints and markings off of glass. So I went and found a nice frame for the letterhead.

After cleaning the frame, I inserted the Peter Pan stationary. I also bought some fun dry-ease markers. This pack had built in erasers on it so that was a bonus. You can use these markers on glass and erase it. It was a fun way to display and enjoy the collectible piece of paper.

I wrote a little message on my DIY dry ease Peter Pan board so that my friend can figure out what it is. Now my Disney friend can enjoy her special Peter Pan letterhead without actually writing on it.

Half the fun of gift giving is searching for something special for that someone who has a specific interest. Seeing them enjoy it makes the hunt worth it. Finding a special Disney gift for a Disney fan doesn't have to be expensive. You just need some "faith, trust and pixie dust."


Music Monday: The Unbirthday Song

"Unbirthday" was a term used in Lewis Carroll's novel Through the Looking Glass. It's a very fun and interesting term that makes reference to the fact that everyday of the year besides your actual birthday is your "unbirthday." 

Alice in Wonderland was Disney's 13th animated film released in 1951. When Alice first encounters the Mad Hatter and March Hare, they are in the process of having a party and singing "The Unbirthday Song." Words and music were written by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston. The trio had collaborated before on Cinderella with songs like "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" and "A Dream Is Wish"

This song can also be heard at Disneyland when you get on the Mad Tea Party attraction. You can't go past the spinning tea cups without a smile on your face when you see everyone having so much fun on their "unbirthday."

Happy Music Monday and have a VERY MERRY UNBIRTHDAY! (unless it is your birthday than HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)