8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Disneyland

Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland in California is where it all began, it’s the only park that Walt Disney opened and dedicated himself.  It was a challenging opening with many issues on that day, but it has remained a constant site of magic in Anaheim since 1955.

It is difficult not to compare Disneyland to Walt Disney World during my visits, and I always worried that it would be distracting.  The size difference is very noticable, but it doesn’t take long to realize that Disneyland has some amazing things that make it SO very different from Walt Disney World.

Below are 8 reasons you should visit Disneyland!

1.  Walk In Walt’s Footsteps

Walt Disney World (WDW) has the Keys to the Kingdom tour that I have done many times but the “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour” had something that WDW didn’t – Walt himself.  Throughout the tour there were many stops along the way where we stood in the park and listened through our earpieces to Walt’s own voice talking about the very place that we were standing in. As we listened to his dedication speech, there were quite a few misty eyes in the group and I found myself covered in goose bumps as we walked in his footsteps.  The tour was an additional cost to the park admission, but worth every penny.

Throughout the park you can FEEL the history of Walt, you can see his influence.  Once of my favorite spots to visit is the Main Street Opera House where you can visit Walt’s Griffith Park bench where he dreamt up Disneyland.

Disneyland Walt Disney Influence


2.  Cars Land

While I know this is technically in California Adventure – I still consider it all part of Disneyland.  In my opinion, Cars Land is one of the BEST themed lands in Walt Disney World or Disneyland.   Walking up Route 66 and approaching the Cadillac Range mountains while passing Flo’s Café – it doesn’t get any better!  You honestly feel like you’re right in the middle of the movie – the animated movie.  How is that possible?  I don’t know, but they make it happen.  Radiator Springs Racers is the big feature attraction here and it does not disappoint.  It’s such an immersive experience; I don’t think they could have possibly made it any better!

Radiator Springs California Adventure

3.  The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is a different layout and building than you see at Walt Disney World.  Without the overhangs, you get to watch as you walk toward the Mansion and enter through the front door.  While much of the attraction is similar – it does reside in New Orleans Square in Disneyland and Liberty Square at Walt Disney World.  

Haunted Mansion DL

It looks like a big mansion

The other fun fact about this Mansion is that it gets transformed for Halloween for Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – it was ghoulishly fun to see the additions of these characters in to the already wonderful mansion.  The Hatbox Ghost who originally made a short appearance in the mansion in 1969 has materialized again and is one of the 999 happy haunts that live there. Remember though…there is room for 1,000 and they’re always looking for volunteers!


4.  Attractions I Miss

I can’t talk about Disneyland without covering the fact the Mr Toad still lives at Disneyland. One of my absolute favorite attractions when I was a kid was replaced by Winnie the Pooh at Walt Disney World, but it’s still at Disneyland!  It’s so much fun to experience some of the old dark attractions that are long gone from Walt Disney World.  Between Toad and Snow White’s Scary Adventures – I can spend my whole morning in Fantasyland enjoying them again and again.

Mr Toad Disneyland

  5.  Fantasmic


Fantasmic was a similar show to WDW, but with some very different elements.  The first noticeable difference was that due to the size of Disneyland, I felt much closer to the show than I do at WDW since we usually sit near the back of the theatre for an easy exit.  When you’re sitting that close to the show, it’s larger than life and feels incredibly immersive.  You have a much different perspective when you can clearly see all of the elements of the show.   At Disneyland they had Peter Pan – a giant pirate ship with Peter, Wendy, Captain Hook, Smee and all the others fighting on top of the masts. I have to say – I was impressed with what they were able to do with such a small space!

Disneyland Fantasmic

6.  The Food

The dining experiences at Disneyland are delicious.  From restaraunts to snacks – there is something for everyone and THEN some!  The Blue Bayou (inside the Pirates of the Caribbean) and Carthay Circle Restaurant in California Adventure were incredible experiences.  From Mint Juleps and Beignets at Cafe Orleans to the BEST character breakfast at the Plaza Inn – you will never be lost looking for a good table service spot.

Disneyland Food

Now if quick service and snacking are more your speed – there are plenty of things to keep you going!  Corn Dogs at the Corn Dog Castle, Mac & Cheese at the Cozy Cone Motel, Churros everywhere and popcorn?  Yes – sweet treats, salty snacks and dole whip of course.  If you want to grab and go with some BBQ – Bengal Barbecue was one of my favourites.  A vegetable or beef skewer hit the spot perfectly.  The variety of options was impressive, you would never go hungry.

Disneyland Snacks



7.  The Grand Californian

In fairness, I have only stayed at the Grand California and Paradise Pier – but the Grand Californian is my favourite.  The hotel is not onloy gorgeous but it has it’s own enterance to the California Adventure park, that’s how CLOSE you are to the parks.  When you stay at the Grand Californian you are right in the middle of Downtown Disney and Disneyland park is just a short walk away.  It makes it very easy to take a break mid day and go back to the resort to unwind and relax.   The Disneyland hotel hosts Trader Sam’s Tiki Enchanted Tiki Bar and it’s close by, I highly recommend stopping by for a drink here!

Grand Californian Hotel

8.  The Relaxed Vibe

It’s difficult to explain the feeling – but there doesn’t seem to be the ‘frenzy’ of planning that there is at Walt Disney World.  We have guessed that it’s due to the fact that so many of the visitors at Disneyland are locals – but we never felt pressure or rushed to get things done.  The characters wander around (most without cast members) – the Max Pass you arrange that day, you can get dining reservations without being up at 6am 6 months in advance.  Imagine that?  A “go with the flow” experience!  Honestly – as much as I love Walt Disney World, I absolutely adore the relaxed way I can spend my days at Disneyland.  I’m not a planner by nature – so this suits me just fine.  I love to get up in the morning and decide what to do – without having it all planned in advance.  THAT is a big plus for me.

An honorable mention…. Oswald

Before there was Mickey – there was Oswald.   Oswald made his debut in 1927 as one of Walt’s first animated stars and he signed a contract with a distributor who brokered a deal with Universal.  During contract negotiations the following year, Walt discovered that he no longer owned the rights to Oswald.  It was on that train ride home that a devastated Walt Disney first drew Mickey Mouse.  In 2006 Disney regained the rights to Oswald and he used to appear at Disneyland! The fact that this lucky rabbit came before Mickey felt like such a big piece of Disney history – I was thrilled to meet him and have my picture taken.  I’m hopeful that he will return for photo ops soon.


Meeting Oswald in Disneyland

Have you been to Disneyland??  Do you agree with my thoughts?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa 1 Bedroom Villa

If you are looking for a luxurious stay at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, you must check out the villa accommodations at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

GCV 1 Bedroom kitchen dining

The 1-bedroom villa is a stunning 865 square feet (bigger than my first apartment!). Inside you will find accommodations to sleep up to five people: a king size bed in the master bedroom, a queen size pullout sofa & a single pull down murphy bed both in the living room. The room also comes with a pack & play for a child under age 2.

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa master bedroom 2

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa Living Room

Living Room

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa murphy bed

Murphy bed

The rooms are themed as the hotel is in a rustic craftsman style with rich wood colours & fabrics, along with unique glass lamp accents and of course a hidden Mickey or two!

Grand Californian Lamp

Grand Californian hidden Mickey

Grand Californian Details

It truly is a home away from home. The full kitchen comes complete with a fridge, stove, microwave, toaster and dishwasher. Full sets of dishes/glassware/cutlery are also included along with an assortment of pots & pans and cooking utensils. There is a dining area with a large table, or you can sit at the raised breakfast bar. The open concept includes the living room with a large window and a walkout to the balcony (some that overlook California Adventure Park).

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa kitchen

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa kitchen

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa dining area

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa kitchen area

Grand Californian theme park view

Theme Park View

There are 2 full bathrooms in this unit so everyone can get ready at their own pace! One is a 3-piece with a tile & glass shower while the 4-piece master ensuite boasts a both a tile & glass shower & sumptuous jet tub. The master bedroom is very spacious with a sliding door walkout to the balcony.

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa bathroom

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa full master bathroom

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa full master bathroom

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa full master bath

GCV master bedroom

Master Bedroom

There is plenty of storage in the unit with large closets both in the master bedroom and foyer. And feel free to pack light there is a stacked washer/dryer in the room as well.

Grand Californian 1 bedroom villa laundry

The best part about staying at this spectacular resort: guests get their own dedicated entrance into Disney California Adventure Park & the Downtown Disney District!

Carsland Sign

The magic of Disney came to Michelle later in life, having done her first trip to Walt Disney World as an adult in 2000. The next visit was with her then 4-year-old daughter and experiencing it through her eyes had her hooked!

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Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel And Spa – 5 Reasons To Stay

Disney Grand Californian SignAs a frequent Walt Disney World visitor, I always struggle with selecting a resort when I’m going to Disneyland.  I always start by looking at Disney’s Paradise Pier or Disneyland Hotel, I’ve even looked at offsite options too, but the Grand Californian always seems to be screaming my name.   While I have yet to try the others, I’m comfortable sharing why I think you should stay at Disney’s Grand Californian.

My top 5 reasons you should stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

1.  The Rooms

These rooms are a fair size, plenty big for 4 adults to share if needed.  On my recent trip there were 3 of us and we had lots of room.  There was even plenty of space for 3 women to have all their toiletries at the vanity! 

Grand Californian Vanity

The vanity area – we had no problem storing all of our stuff!

The beds are queens and we couldn’t even use all the drawer space we had.  Your luggage can be stored under the bed – leaving space for other things (like shoes and purchases) in the hall.   The decor and artwork was fun, and not over the top, there was a classy elegance with Disney inspiration.

Disney's Grand Californian Room

Room under the bed to store your luggage!

And the sofa bed?  How CUTE is it?

Grand Californian Sofa Bed

The sofa bed was so cute – and could sleep an adult in a pinch if they weren’t too tall.

2.  The Arrival

There is something about pulling up to this resort, walking through that big entrance and seeing that magnificent lobby, the grandeur of it all is breathtaking.  Lots of seating to relax in the lobby and you can get food and drinks there too! 

Grand Californian Piano Player

The piano music was a great touch in the lobby

If you’re there in the evenings and the piano player is there, you’re in for a treat!  With those ceilings and open space, the acoustics are amazing!

3.  The Amenities

Granted, I have not swam in the pool or taken advantage of the gym (who DOES that on vacation??) – but the amenities are great for those who want them!  The pool, the gym, the spa (why have I not done that?) Valet parking and the laundry rooms are all there to make your stay more magical.  WiFi is available throughout the hotel, I never had an issue connecting.

Grand Californian Carpet

The carpet in the hall – it’s so FUN! Can you spot the characters?

4.  California Adventure Park Special Entrance 

A special entrance to Disney’s California Adventure Park is a nice touch.  As a Walt Disney World guest, you can’t get anywhere NEAR that close to a park from your resort.  Even with the Beach Club or Bay Lake Tower – it’s still quite a walk to a park.  With this entrance – you are 30 steps from security to the inside of the park.  It’s amazing and unbelievably convenient.

Grand Californian Security to California Adventure

This is the security entrance and the hotel – taken from INSIDE of California Adventure Park

5.  Location, location, location

Aside from the entrance to California Adventure Park, you are right IN Downtown Disney.  All of that shopping and food is right at your doorstep!  We walked out one night for cupcakes at Sprinkles and another night for a pretzel to take back to the room, the pretzel was still hot!

Grand Californian Shopping

Shopping was a bit TOO easy at Downtown Disney!

It was a 15-20 minute (or so) walk to Walgreens to grab a few cases of water and a $7 Lyft ride back.  It was a leisurely walk and we saw all the other offsite properties that we had looked at staying at.

Disneyland Walk to Walgreens

The walk to Walgreens, all these palm trees – you KNOW you’re on vacation then!

The walk through Downtown Disney to the park entrances is quick, you’re really right there.  If you wanted to pop back to your room for an hour to rest, you could do it so easily!  Where else can you walk to a castle and back to your room without breaking a sweat?  You could just walk in to get a churro and back to the pool if you wanted!

Disneyland Drive

It’s all about location!

There you have it – my top 5 reasons for staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.  Have you stayed here?  

Check out my room tour here 

Disneyland Resort Increases Ticket Prices Before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opening

Disneyland Ticket IncreaseDisneyland has just announced an increase to ticket prices that has the internet all a buzz.

The increases to the single and multi day tickets are not unreasonable when you consider the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge this year. Disneyland Single and Multi Day Ticket IncreaseThe largest price increases came to the annual passholders.

Disneyland Annual Pass Price Increases

The premier pass is the one that offers access to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and has the biggest jump in price.

It happens every time there is an increase, fans are up in arms saying they’ll never visit again, but sometimes you have to put things in to perspective like this Twitter fan.

It is clear that the increase is meant to curb the crowds they anticipate will visit for Galaxy’s Edge.  The over zealous Star Wars fans will not be discouraged by a price increase, in fact I know many who would pay extra for the opportuity to visit with lower crowds – myself included.  I suspect this increase is to encourage more locals to purchase the tickets with blackout dates – this way Disney can control the crowd levels to some extent.

What do you think of the increases?  Will it deter you from visiting Disneyland?



Pixar Fest Classic Afternoon Tea Celebration at the Disneyland Hotel

I was travelling to Disneyland with my mom and aunt, and since I was away for Mother’s day I thought I’d schedule a belated mother’s day date with afternoon tea at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel.  After I made the reservation, it was announced that the afternoon tea was going to be re-themed to a Pixar Fest tea for the duration of the summer.

When we arrived for our 12:25 pm reservation, only a few tables were seated so we were able to take a good look around the restaurant.

They have pictures of Walt Disney as you walk down the hallway to the restaurant and the booths around the restaurant all have large photos hanging above them of classic movie and music stars.

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea Classic Pics

They had a subtle nod to Pixar Fest on each table to not take away from the beautiful décor.  Our table had a tiny Cars arrangement with succulents. Other tables had Finding Nemo, Up! and Toy Story centerpieces with flowers.

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea Cars Table Setting

There are two types of tea:  The Classic Tea Party ($52 per adult) and the Premium Tea Party ($65 per adult).  We opted for the Premium Tea Party, which in addition to the classic tea fare include sparkling wine, a salad and an irresistible Remy straw to take home!

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea Remy Straw

We didn’t expect such a large list of tea so that took a bit of deciding, but that was the only choice we had to make. I chose the Organic Lychee Green, my aunt picked Tangerine tea, and my mom decided to keep it traditional with an English Breakfast tea. We were each brought a teapot that held quite a bit of tea – about three cups.  We are not big alcoholic beverage drinkers so we sipped our sparkling wine leaving quite a bit left at the end of our tea.  It think we all felt the sparkling wine was quite tasty and we really enjoyed our tea choices too.

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea Salad

After our drinks were delivered our salads arrived. It was a large portion and thought the edible glitter on the berries was a fun touch.

The tea fare is served on a three tiered stand with the scones on the top level, then the savoury  canapes on tier two, followed by the sweet treats at the bottom.

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea Tiers

We really liked the scones, mostly because of the Devonshire cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd  that accompanied them. I had never eaten Devonshire cream before. Wow! The colourful scone was to represent the abstract thoughts from Inside Out. It had chocolate chips so we wondered why they chose such a sweet scone since there were so many desserts to enjoy. But it didn’t stop us from smothering the scones in jam and creams!

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea Scones

I think the three of us all enjoyed the savoury plate the most, with the winner being the Sweet Ginger Avocado Toast. The canapes were also themed to Pixar characters. The avocado toast was to represent the Little Green Men, the roasted vegetables was a ratatouille, the bright blue deviled egg was Dory, but the server noted most felt it looked like the Pixar ball, and the carrot cream cheese was Merida (with the crispy carrot strings as her hair). All were great flavours and combinations. This received two thumbs up from around our table.

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea canapes

For the dessert plate our two favourites were the cheese cake and the dipped strawberry. The cheesecake was made to look like a quarter of a ring of cheese and if you look closely at the strawberry there was an image of Mr. Fredrickson’s house and all the little sprinkles were to be the balloons. The Up! inspired éclair had a jelly filling as did the Sully cupcake. We left a few of the desserts untouched.  They were good, but not a great as the savory plate (well except the cheese cake — it was great)

Disneyland Hotel Afternoon Tea Sweets

This was my first time going for tea so I do not really have any prior experience for comparison. I was glad that I had planned this special reservation to enjoy with my aunt and mom. I think it is great for a special occasion and now that I have been to tea, I may be interested to see how other Afternoon Tea’s fare!

The Pixar Fest tea takes place Fridays thru Sundays until September 2, 2018. Tea reservations can be booked between 12 noon and 3:00 p.m.

This review was written by Carrie Leblanc

Find her on Instagram @MuppetCrazy

Disneyland Cast Member Retires After 60 Years

Oscar Martinez DisneylandThe longest-tenured Cast Member at the Disneyland Resort has retired after 60 years of service.

Oscar Martinez began working in the Fantasyland quick service locations but spent the last 50 years working at the cafe on Main Street U.S.A.

On January 19th, 2017, Oscar was presented with an award that was created for him at Walt Disney Imagineering – to celebrate his achievements with the company.

Oscar had many fond memories of his years spent at Disneyland, especially watching Walt himself walk the park.

After 60 years, Oscar retired on September 27th, 2017.


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