Monthly Archives: August 2012

What I Learned From MYWTM That Made My Visit Awesome (A Guest Post Of Sorts)

My BFF Wendy, who has the gall to live 6 hours away from us (I mean really, where are her priorities?), really wanted to be on MYWTM. And things seemed really awesome when she and her husband made plans to come down to Disneyland right before their 6-year-old Sadie started school–except that our annual passes are still blocked and they had to go by themselves. So then Wendy was all “I’m going to write a guest post for you! Like all of the things I learned from MYWTM that made my day awesome! And then I can be on your blog!” and I was like “Yeah, that would be great!” and then she calls and she’s like “I don’t have time to write a post for you, but can I just tell you about it and then you can write the post?” and I was like, “Oh fine, just USE me to further your own dreams of bloggy fame. And what the hell are you doing, living 6 hours away anyway?” and she was like, “Thanks, you’re awesome!” and I was like “You know, there’s a house for sale a couple of blocks away–we could be neighbors!” and she was like “Um, we have jobs…”

Well, it didn’t go down quite like that, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, here’s Wendy’s Trip Report written by me. First, meet Wendy, Marc, and Sadie.

Aren’t they cute?


These are the things Wendy told me.

Castle Secret Passages = Princesses!

I have written in the past about the little secret passages that lead from either side of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, one into what used to be Carnation Plaza on the way to Frontierland (which is now closed), and one to Tomorrowland via Snow White’s Grotto. In my tips, the secret passage is a great place to find surprise princesses, often with little or no waits. Well, apparently on Wendy’s trip, Marc left some stuff in the car, so Wendy and Sadie thought they would check out the secret passage to Tomorrowland and sure enough…

Ariel, Snow White, and hardly any other guests!


Sadie was hyper-focused on the fairies, though, and she couldn’t wait to get into Pixie Hollow (post coming up), so she was less impressed by finding these princesses than Wendy was.

Castle + PhotoPass = Great Pictures

I’ll talk more about PhotoPass (I mean, Wendy will talk more about PP, but through me, but not in a Madame Leota way), but taking a picture in front of the castle is both iconic and pretty much mandatory. The nice thing about the PP photographer is that they will take a picture with your camera, and get a great family shot like this one


This was taken later in the afternoon when there were fewer people around

“I ate a churro at 10:30am because I could”

Many readers know my love of churros. While churro-eating at 10:30am is not generally Wendy’s MO, she reported that she saw a churro cart and “knew this would be a churro moment for Shelby.” Indeed, it is. She also reports the churro being awesome.

Check out the exit signs!

Inspired by my Looking Up post, Wendy said she took special care to look up and look around, and was delighted to discover things like how exit signs are all themed. Yep, Disneyland puts love and care into every detail, even down to the exit signs. Unfortunately, Wendy did not take any pictures of any interesting exit signs, so I suppose I’ll have to go do that myself. Thanks for making extra work for me, Wendy.

Chose not to go to California Adventure

Wendy and fam were only available to go to Disneyland for one day. Wendy says that MYWTM convinced her that there’s more than enough to do in one park for the day, and rather than rush around trying to do everything between two parks, they just decided to slow down and enjoy Disneyland itself. This allowed for being able to do things like watch the parade without feeling like they were missing something else. Which brings me to…

Watch the parade

Prior to writing this blog, I had never watched a daytime parade, and neither had Wendy (incidentally, Wendy also grew up in Southern California so she’s been to Disneyland many times–we’ve even gone together). I was always too busy getting to my favorite rides to waste time on something like the parade. Well, after reading MYWTM posts about Soundsational (another post with a video here), Wendy decided that they would, gosh darn it, sit down, relax, and watch the parade. Sadie got bribed with cotton candy.

Marc and Sadie

Marc steals a kiss (at least I think that’s what he’s doing)


Wendy says that this was her favorite moment of the day–just sitting there, being present, and living in the moment–which is what MYWTM is all about. She loved how the performers made eye contact and waved directly at you as they were going by, and that the parade is much more interactive than she thought it would be.

PhotoPass and Magic Pictures

While they didn’t buy an entire PhotoPass CD or use the new PhotoPass+ service, Wendy says they really enjoyed the PhotoPass photographers and did buy one special “magic picture.” She said that the best part of PhotoPass is that you can get your whole family in the picture and they are perfectly nice and willing to take pictures with your own camera–“It was great to just hand the camera over.” the PP photographers also took more than one picture with your camera for each pose, and even took candids without being asked.

Family picture at the Rapunzel meet and greet

Candid by the PhotoPass photographer


I love the look on Sadie’s face in that picture, don’t you?

And finally, PhotoPass does these things called “Magic Pictures” where they can digitally insert special characters into pictures. I knew about them but haven’t blogged about them yet, so Wendy didn’t get the idea from me–it was suggested by a PP photographer. But this is the one picture they bought:

Sadie’s holding Tinkerbell!

Holding the balloons

This is another tip Wendy didn’t get from me but got from someone else–realizing her lifelong dream of holding the Mickey balloons. I personally have always wanted to do this but never even thought to ask. Also, in an effort to seize the day, Wendy treated herself to one of these balloons. I have also always wanted one and never bought one–why not? Go for it! They stay inflated forever.

Look! I’m holding the balloons!

This is so cool

“The Jolly Holiday was really good, not as expensive as I thought it was going to be, and the sandwiches were huge”

My new favorite place to eat is the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, and on my suggestion, Wendy and the fam headed there to eat. They were pleased, as the above quote illustrates.

Worth the money

Wendy said that while she always thinks of Disneyland as being very expensive, and it is, she really felt that it was worth the money. For being there all day, the way they were treated, and how happy Sadie was, she said was totally worth every penny. For example, they ate at the Blue Bayou, where Sadie got a glowing Tinkerbell clip on her drink. They had been taking it on and off all day until later in the evening when Wendy discovered they’d lost it. Sadie decided to try going back to the restaurant and asking for another one, and sure enough, the cast member was more than happy to pull one right out and give it to her. Of course, Wendy found the original Tinkerbell in the bottom of her purse after they got home, but the replacement was awesome.

“You’re at Disneyland–live it up!”

Wendy said that her biggest takeaway from MYWTM was to really live it up. You’re there–enjoy it! Participate and have fun. The rides are great, but so is the whole experience. Eat a churro in the morning. Buy the balloon you’ve been wanting since you were a kid. Wave at the parade performers. Pay a few dollars to get that magic Tinkerbell picture. Act like a kid.


Wendy and Sadie


You can’t get these days back–enjoy them!




Oswald’s Service Station (Apparently Again!)



This, my friends, is what happens when you auto-post! For those of you experiencing deja vu, I had two versions of this post written, one I auto-posted in July  when I was back in Vermont at my graduation. And not remembering that I had done that, I posted this one today.

So feel free to skip this one–the writing is different but it basically says the same things. I’m going to go clean up my files and see what else I’ve already posted before any more embarrassing incidents occur…

Raise your hand if you know who Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is?

Yep, those are my Disney fans!

Before Mickey Mouse, there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald is kind of a strange-looking rabbit, like what Mickey might look like if he were a rabbit instead of a mouse. And what’s the deal with Oswald?

Well once upon a time, Walt Disney was an animator, and he and his partner drew Oswald for Universal Studios. To make a long story short, Walt left Universal, Oswald stayed, Walt and his partner created Mickey Mouse, and Buena Vista Street got Oswald’s Filling Station.

Paraphrasing a little

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit belonged to Universal for a long, long time, until 2006 when Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, decided to get Oswald back by trading sportscaster Al Michaels from ABC/ESPN to NBC Universal.

I’m not kidding about that. Oswald was traded for a sportscaster.

About the trade, Michaels said, “I’m going to be a trivia answer some day.”

So true. So true.

Gas Pump

But back on Buena Vista Street, Oswald’s Filling Station is the first building you see on your left.

Please ignore the fact that the first picture is at night and the rest are in daylight. What can I say, I have an annoying tendency to photograph every inch of something except for its entrance and sign. So I backfill. Deal.


Oswald’s is a small this-and-that kind of store. A few mouse ears, some Route 66 swag, etc.

And of course, full of great details.

I love the Mickey bell here

Oswald’s first dollar

And outside, for your picture-taking pleasure, is a real 1937 Packard Coupe

In mint condition, of course

Oswald’s is a great opening store for Buena Vista Street and will put a smile on your face every time you walk past it.

Search Engine Roundup

It’s that time again. For the newbies, the phrases in bold are search terms that people used to find and click on my blog.

how much are pillow pets at disneyland

A bit pricey, IMO, but a reader reports that they are softer and nicer than the ones at Wal-Mart

The price of pillow pets

essential items for disney worls

Oh that pesky “D” key, right next to the “S” key! And this is Disneyland, but here’s my advice.

scary halloween parade floats

If you’re looking for scary, Disneyland is not your place, unless you’re riding Snow White’s Scary Adventure (which lives up to its name) or Pinocchio’s Daring Journey (which is sneaky with its scary, since you don’t realize it’s scary until you reach the seriously creepy jack in the box clown dude, and then it’s all downhill from there). And here’s the Halloween parade floats.

which do people like better pillowpets or those other things

Well I don’t know about you, but I like those other things better.

going to disney with in laws, not excited

My condolences. I really lucked out when I got married because my in-laws are great people. Not annoying at all! Plus they live close-by and babysit frequently, so that’s cool. But here’s my in-law advice (oh, and when people say “Disney” they usually mean Disney World, but it’s my blog so I’m going to talk about Disneyland)–one, develop a mystery condition that requires you to take frequent “naps” during which you can go to the other park (CA Adventure if you’re in Disneyland or Disneyland if you’re in CA Adventure). Two, Profess loudly that you’re not leaving the property until you ride [whatever] 20 times, with [whatever] being either the ride they hate or the one they can’t go on (it’s not necessary to actually ride this ride). Three, CA Adventure has alcohol, if you’re into that.

caterpillar cupcakes

Yes! My great triumph for The’s 2.5th birthday!

It took me 4 and 1/2 hours to make this. I started at 10pm the night before the party.

what will become of aladdin’s bazaar in disneyland

I just love this phrasing. “What will become…” It’s so Victorian or something. Well, the bazaar is a store and I think that’s pretty much staying, but the meet and greet is the former Tahitian Terrace, then Aladdin dinner experience (not its real name) and now it’s just taking up space looking like it would be a great place for a dinner show (which it would). Although actually, there’s a fundraiser where for some large amount of money you can eat at the Tahitian Terrace with a private show for One! Night! Only!, but I don’t have that kind of cash. And to answer the question, Disney hasn’t made any announcements as far as what they want to do with the space.

electronica: tron legacy dance party

Just missed it–sorry. It’s now the Mad T Party.

shelby familyphoto

Awww. Although I kind of get the feeling they’re not looking for me.

tower of terror my year with the mouse

Haven’t done it yet. And I’ll admit it scares the crap out of my and my touchy stomach, so when I do finally blog this ride, y’all better appreciate my sacrifice.

best time of year to visit disneyland paris?

No clue

what does a emporiums look like

Any emporiums? I don’t know.

disneyana highway 101 california

Big red barn not far from Gilroy

walt disney ichabod mr toad

He’s not in the ride.

bear country disneyland

Sadly, ’tis no more. It was renamed Critter Country. But you can find it on Yesterland.

open rafter ceiling lighting

You are aware you clicked on a Disneyland blog?

where do u find a perry the platypus pillow pet at walmart

Aisle 9. Your location may vary.

cruise ship shuffleboard

Every day I’m shufflin’

how long are the churros in disneyland

Interesting question! Remind me to measure one next time I go.



Ghirardelli Soda Fountain And Chocolate Shop

Once upon a time, in Pacific Wharf at California Adventure, you could go see how tortillas were made. I mean, like, mass-made. They had these giant machines and you kind of followed these metal pipes with your eyes and at the end, a nice steaming tortilla popped out.  It was kind of like something out of Willy Wonka, except it was tortillas. You could get a free tortilla, and I even heard that on your birthday, you could get a whole package of free tortillas.

Well, I like tortillas as much as the next guy, but let’s face it, they’re kind of plain all by themselves.

And then the tortilla factory closed. Gone are the pipes and tanks. Gone are the pictures giving the history of tortilla-making. Gone are the displays of the different tortilla ingredients (if I’m remembering correctly, they left out the lard part). And in its place, we get…


I’d call that an improvement.

It’s right here on the corner

I wasn’t necessarily going to stop in that day, but then there was the cast member outside and she was like “Hey, have a piece of free chocolate” and I was like “oh let me think about that okay give me one” so I felt a little obligated to go inside and check it out.


She also handed me a menu and it was one of those awkward situations where I really did feel like I might hurt her feelings if I walked away, which was ridiculous because it’s Disneyland and it’s not like they’re working for tips or anything.

But I figured I needed to blog it anyway, so in I went.

The back wall is one big serving area.

This is a terrible picture. Sorry.


Okay, there we go.

You start at the registers and then move to a window to collect your delicious chocolatey treat.

Like window 2

This actually works quite well for crowd control. Especially in an area where some orders take longer to fill than others.

Behind the counter area, they have beautiful murals

And cast members in cute white hats

This mural depicts how chocolate is made. I think.


This is the original Ghirardelli factory in San Francisco

And on a side note, please don’t ever call San Francisco “San Fran.” The only people who call it that are people who don’t live there. Same with “Frisco.” Tourists seem to use these phrases as if they believe they are very cleverly using an insider nickname. Locals never use either of these two phrases. It’s like wearing a neon pink shirt that shouts “TOURIST” right above your fanny pack and athletic socks pulled all the way up to your knees. It kind of makes my head explode. Just call it San Francisco, or as locals call it, The City.


There are pictures on the walls.

I assume the dude in the beard is like Mr. Ghirardelli or something

Chocolate is wonderful. Even Theo likes it. Last Halloween he got some Hershey’s miniatures, and unwrapped one to see “HERSHEY” stamped on the chocolate. He said:

“Look Mommy! It has letters! It says…I…Love…Chocolate!”

I love chocolate too.





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