Battle of the Lands – Disneyland vs Disney World

Battle of the Lands – Disneyland vs Disney World

Hot Hubby and I were having dinner with friends last night and the question came up, “What is the difference between Disneyland and Walt Disney World.”  Once, I got over the shock that there were grown ups, who did not know the answer…I decided to answer the question on this blog.

First:   Disneyland is in California.  Disney World is in Florida

Second:  Disneyland is the original, opened in 1955.  People say it is more magical, because it is the park that Walt Disney built.  Walt lived at Disneyland during construction and his apartment keeps a light on in tribute to his genius…but I digress.

Disney World did not open until 1971 and it is newer, bigger and closer to Floridians.

Third:  Disneyland consists of two major Parks – Disneyland and California Adventure which have their own flare and rides.   Disneyland is broken into 8 majors lands: Adventureland, Critter Country,  Fantasyland, Frontierland, Main Street USA, Mickey’s Toon Town, New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland.  Soon there will be 9 when Stars Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019 at Disneyland (first).  Disneyland can be conquered in a day but Hot Hubby prefers the two-day approach.

Disney World has 4 Major Parks and 2 Water Parks:  Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park and Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.   The Disney Company learned a lot when building Disneyland and they secretly bought millions of acres for the Disney World Development.  So there is a lot more walking and  you can easily fill a week in Florida with everything there is to do.

Florida’s Magic Kingdom most closely matches Disneyland with seven lands:  Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Main Street USA, Liberty Square, MickHot hubby and castleey’s Toontown Fair and Tomorrowland.   Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is also opening in 2019, but after the Disneyland one opens.

Finally, the most important detail:   The center of Disneyland is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Cinderella’s Castle is the center of Magic Kingdom.

Hot Hubby and I are standing in front of one of the castles, do you know which one?  Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella?

Adulting at Disneyland

Adulting at Disneyland

One of my favorite parts about being a grownup is that I can eat good food.  I don’t know about you, but I get so tired of hamburgers, spaghetti & meatballs and french fries.  I am not a health nut and I do sample occasionally from the above assortment.  But the best part about Disneyland are the grown up restaurants.

Now if you have young children, please skip these establishments.  These are the places where I sit with Hot Hubby, away from the noise and the crowds.  And I will give you dirty looks if you bring a child and they don’t behave.  Children love Goofy’s Kitchen and belong there.

Our favorite adulting is done at Carthay Circle in California Adventure.  Carthay Circle Restaurant occupies the 2nd floor of a detailed reproduction of the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre.  In 1937, Disney’s first feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered there.  The restaurant has hundreds of pictures from that evening and takes you back to a slower pace.  Downstairs, there is a gorgeous bar and waiting area.  But upstairs is the place to be.

I always begin my visit with a walk upstairs to the bathroom.  The wooden paneling, the full length doors on the stalls, the luxury helps my heart beat slower.   Once the my smile has returned, I head downstairs to let the staff know we am here for our reservation.

After a few minutes of hand holding in a corner with Hot Hubby, we are whisked upstairs to begin our immersion.   Upstairs is a quiet respite from the real world.  The waiters are attentive, the food is delicious and the pace is leisurely.

We always start with the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits.   Can you imagine how good it is to have cheese, bacon, jalapeno all baked into a biscuit?  It is heaven on earth!  We have tried a variety of dinners and each features an amazing assortment of tastes that tickle your tongue and leaving you wishing for cooking lessons.   The menu changes seasonally, so it is always a new experience.

Next time you head to Disneyland and want a little luxury….try Carthay Circle.  Your taste buds and your Hot Hubby will thank you!Hot Hubby in carthay circle

Disney World Planning – Which Days?

Disney World Planning – Which Days?

I am so excited to be going to Disney World in Florida for 7 days in November.  But after the excitement, comes the planning.  I have already made my dining reservations, which you can do 180 days before your trip.

Next step, planning your Fast Pass selections, which you can do 60 days before your trip.  First, I have been researching and have determined which rides I want at each park and I wrote about that in a previous post.   Second, now I need to pick a day for each park, so I can choose the correct ride on the correct day.  It wouldn’t ruin my trip to just wing it, but this is my first trip with my new Bonus children (Hot Hubby’s children) and I am trying to look good….ha ha.

There are Four Parks.  During our visit , Epcot has the Food & Wine Festival, the Food & Wine Marathon and the Very Merry Christmas Party is going on at Disney  World.  These are definitely something to notice and schedule around.  The Food & Wine Festival will be fun, but will make Epcot very crowded on the weekend.   Very Merry Christmas party closes Disney World early and requires a separate ticket, so we will avoid that area, except for the day we have tickets!

We are traveling with little ones, so we will plan to be at the park early, leave after lunch for nap time (not sure who will need this most the kids, or Hot Hubby).  Then return to the park for late afternoon fun.

Here is my plan:

Sunday – Animal Kingdom – 9 am – 7 pm  start small and build up

Monday – Hollywood Studios – 9 am – 8 pm

Tuesday – Magic Kingdom 9am – 9 pm Late start to see Fantasmic

Wednesday –  Epcot – Princess dinner reservations

Thursday – Magic Kingdom – Very Merry Christmas Party

Friday – Magic Kingdom

I probably need to put a day off in there, but what should I move?  I am too excited to think about a day at the pool instead of a day with MICKEY!  Maybe if I just put two late start days into the schedule, I won’t be totally exhausted by Saturday…..but if I am….i can sleep at home!

image (1)

Meeska Mooska!  Planning Disney World Fast Passes

Meeska Mooska! Planning Disney World Fast Passes

I am so excited to be taking my bonus granddaughters to Disney World for the first time.  I live in the Southwest, so we are Disneyland aficionados.  Disney World, on the other hand, has changed a little since we last visited.

There is a new Fast Pass system, that allows you to reserve 90 days before arrival, three fast passes for every park you are visiting.  To be successful, you need to pick three rides for each land (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom).  You also need to know which day you are visiting each park.  This creates a matrix effect in my little brain and it says, “Danger Will Robinson!”

So I decided to take this a step at a time.  Today, I am just tackling which three rides I want fast passes for, then next week, I will decide which park, which day.  So when it comes time to schedule, I will be prepared.

Here is my list:

fastpass

Start with the Easiest:  Animal Kingdom
1)  Avatar Flight of Passage – the newest, latest, greatest Disney ride
2) Kilimanjaro Safari
3)  Expedition Everest?  This is a roller coaster that has a height requirement of 44″.  So we could get this for the adults and then swap off entertaining the children in Dino Land

Hollywood Studios
1) Star Tours
2) First Time in Forever
3) Toy Story Midway Mania
4) Fantasmic!
Epcot
1)  Soarin’
2) Spaceship Earth
3) Journey into Imagination with Figment
or 3) Test Track which has a height requirement of 40″ but again, the adults can trade off
Magic Kingdom  Day 1
1) Peter Pan’s Flight – this has the longest line in the park and the girls will love it
2) 7 Dwarfs Mine Ride – height requirement 39″
3) Enchanted Tales with Belle
Day 2
1) Thunder Mountain Railroad – height requirement 40″
2) Splash Mountain
3) Haunted Mansion
4) Pirates of the Caribbean if kids aren’t tall enough/don’t want railroad or Splash
Oops, I just realized that the Mickey Mouse Christmas Party and the Epcot Food &Wine Festival are during our visit.   So I will need to see when we can fit those in!
I am so excited to be visiting Disney World with kids….I hope they can keep up with Hot Hubby and me!

What is a D23?

I think the people who run Disney are genius!  They created a fan club for themselves and they named it D23.  D is for Disney and 23 is for 1923, the year that Walt Disney founded the company.  But more than just a fan club, D23 has an Expo twice a year that is AMAZING!  Fans pay to have the opportunity to hear the semi annual report.

I work for a large company and we endure the quarterly meetings with the CEO.  We listen for information about what is coming next and the predictions for the future. D23 Expo is the ultimate Disney Fan Event and it is a massive quarterly report.

Disney has thousands of people buying tickets and spending an entire weekend in the Convention center, wearing their best costumes, listening to panel discussions, meeting and questioning the geniuses behind everything Disney.  Fans spend the night in line to get seats at the best sessions.  And it is worth it!

Fans get exposure to everything Disney from movies, television shows, video games, animation, hotels and theme parks.  This year, you could spend 90 minutes with the amazing Alan Menken listening to him playing his multitude of Disney hits.   You could attend a panel with Disney Princesses, telling you how they created their princess.  Or a panel finding out how to become an Imagineer.  This year Disney unveiled a Star Wars Themed Hotel and more details about Star Wars Land.   John Stamos led a fascinating discussion with Disney Legends Tony Baxter, and Marty Sklar.

I have not yet attended a D23 Expo, but I follow along on-line at D23.com in my Mickey Mouse Pajamas!  Are you fan enough to be a D23?D23-logo-official-fan-club

Halloween at Disneyland

Halloween at Disneyland

Minnie halloween 2001
Minnie in Costume with my girls

I don’t know if you have heard, but Disneyland gets even better at Halloween and Christmas.   For Halloween, Disneyland has a special event that they call Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party…at least that was the name the last time we went.  Now it might be simplified to just Mickey’s Halloween Party.

So why in the world, would  you pay extra to go to your favorite parks?  Each party costs $100, but it includes both Disneyland and California Adventure for up to 3 hours before the start of the party.  Then you party  like a Rockstar in your favorite parks for up to 5 hours of Halloween themed attractions, Characters in Costume, fireworks, the Ride of the Headless Horseman and more.  You can go around and trick-or-treat with the characters, there are special decorations and the year we went, they had an imagineer carving amazing Disney Jack-o-Lanterns.

Main Street USA becomes a pumpkin patch like no other.  The rides even get in on the act with the conversion of the Haunted Mansion featuring Pumpkin King Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.  The villains come out to play and even have their own parade.  We are hoping to see Hades from Hercules this year.

Halloween parade 2001
Disney Villains parade

I love Halloween at Disneyland.  What is your favorite time to visit?

 

 

Do you have a Disney Visa?

Do you have a Disney Visa?

My mailbox is full of credit card offers and promises of 50,000 rewards for this or discounts for that.  And I admit, I have multiple cards that I use for different reasons.  I use one card for the travel points.  I gave my kids a different card for emergencies.  But my secret favorite is my Disney Visa.

I don’t put much on it, mainly my Disney trips.  And I earn a few dollars a year as a reward, that I can then spend at Disneyland.  But the main reason that I have the card is for the Cardmember-exclusive Character Experiences in Disneyland.  I can’t tell you how many vacations we have taken and I am not in a single photo.  But not anymore!  I check the website before every trip, and then I drag my family to the Character Experi

IMG_0497 (2)

ence.

Recently it was to meet Darth Vader in the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland.  I had a hard time smiling, because Darth Vader was so scary. And Cardmembers get to download all of the pictures for Free.  Here is one of the pics that Hot Hubby and I took.  Aren’t they fun!