Category Archives: Mouse-Next-Door

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.





Mad T Party Arcade

Have you ever walked around the Disneyland Resort and thought, “Man, I wish I could party like it’s 1999”?

Well you can!

Yep, I’m once again referring to the Mad T Party, as you no doubt deduced from the clever title of this entry and/or have read Mad T Party (Part I) and Mad T Party House of Cards. (the House of Cards entry really should have been Mad T Party Part II, but I’m just full of contradictory continuity errors)

But what makes this part of the Mad T Party most like 1999 is the arcade.

Come on in


It’s like my mother always said–it’s not a party until someone busts out the Skee-Ball machine


My mother didn’t actually say that


Once upon a time, I was very good at Skee-Ball, or as it’s known in Mad T Land, Queen’s Croquet. I’m still decent at it, but in my younger days, I was a Skee-Ball champion of epic proportions.

Like many retired athletes, I peaked too soon.

Anyway, the Mad Arcade is where you want to go when you love the vibe of the Mad T Party but are tired of dancing, or maybe you just have a bunch of quarters weighing you down with a need to play Skee-Ball and win  nothing.


There’s also the Smile Smash, where you shoot balls at the creepy-looking Cheshire Cat


If you can’t get enough of the Lewis Carroll references, here’s a Jabberwocky game


Callooh! Callay!

Shoot the thingies!


The children’s writer in me wants to take a moment to point out that some of what the public has come to believe as a part of the original text of Alice in Wonderland (since I’m being really picky, properly-titled Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) is really just Disney’s mishmash of the original book and its follow-up, Through the Looking-Glass (properly-titled Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There) (told you I was picky). Jabberwocky is one of the things found in Looking-Glass but not in Wonderland. Most notably, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are also in Looking-Glass and not Wonderland.

Incidentally, while I’m being snobbish, Tigger was a very minor character in the Winnie the Pooh series. In fact, he didn’t even show up until the second book. His Disney-elevated sense of importance remains a mild irritation to me.


There’s also one of those electronic jump-roping games. I once had a co-worker who was INSANELY good at these.


By this time of the night, my photography skills had started to wane. For example,



That, like, literally hurts my eyes looking at it.


Did I mention you can also play Sony Kinect?


Because you can.


Outside of the arcade, there are Cast Members in funny outfits


Like this


A snack and drink cart/window/thing




And face painting.




Here is a picture I took of the projections on one of the walls outside of the Mad Arcade


They move. It’s cool.


So that wraps up my 3-part series of the Mad T Party. If you’re wondering about whether or not the Mad T Party is for you, here’s a handy quiz.

The Mad T Party is for you if:

  • You’re in California Adventure and it’s night and you’re looking for something to do.
  • You really, really like neon. REALLY like it.
  • You love to dance and would love an excuse to dance except you’re old, like too old for clubbing, and all of your friends have gotten married except for the ones who aren’t going to throw big weddings anyway and when else do you get a chance to just dance?
  • You like Alice in Wonderland (and Through the Looking-Glass)
  • You own a pair of Glow with the Show mouse ears and want to hang out somewhere they actually do something
  • You’re thirsty and the idea of drinking alcohol inside a Disney park is so appealing you’ll pay a LOT of money to do it
  • You wanna wanna wanna have fun fun fun!










Lights Here, Lights There, Lights And Lights Everywhere!

It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for–lights! Or to be more specific, lighting fixtures on Buena Vista Street.

I know you’re on the edge of your seat. You’ve probably already scrolled down to go straight to the pictures. It’s okay, I still love you.

But seriously, lights? Who cares?

Disney, that’s who.

In the children’s section

Corresponding with the above–sun and moon


I’ve talked a lot about detail on this blog. So obviously I’m going to…yeah, talk about detail some more.

But love is in the details; is it not? What do we love the most about people, or about places or things? The fact that Disneyland is a theme park, or that Disneyland is so full of lovingly curated details?

What’s really awesome about this fixture is not just the fixture itself, but the reflection it throws onto the ceiling.

Who looks up at Disneyland? I’ll admit it–not me. Not until I started this blog. I had NO IDEA that so many amazing things happen within 6-12 inches of the ceiling.


But people, I’m telling you, LOOK UP.

The rustic look of the fixtures coordinates nicely with the open-beam ceiling

What’s really fascinating and inspiring to me is that Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) pays just as much attention to the tiny little details that, let’s face it, the vast majority of guests are not even going to notice, as they do in the things that people see and touch every day.

Individual lighting makes each booth in the Fiddler, Fife and Practical Cafe that much more cozy

Who does these things?

Disney, that’s who.

The slim dropping fixtures echo the tall feeling of the high windows

Details? Here’s stuff I never looked at.

Buy your jewelry here.

Geometric shapes abound in the dining area

Look up. You’ll be amazed by what you see.









Mad T Party House of Cards

So over in CA Adventure there’s the Mad T Party, see part 1 here, a rockin’ dance party in Hollywood that lights up the night. I’ll admit I went in rather suspicious. I love Alice in Wonderland and this funked out version could have gone either way for me. I haven’t actually seen the whole latest Alice movie, the live action one. We were at a friend’s backyard movie night and Theo just hit his wall so we had to go home. But I totally digress.

House of Cards

I like to throw in a picture when I’m getting off on a tangent.

Anyway, Mad T Party is quite awesome. It’s got a very high energy vibe. In the earlier entry I talked about the main stage with the live band, and the Drink Me bar. This time I’m hitting the smaller stage and other bar, the House of Cards.

The House of Cards stage is front and center, and you can walk all the way around it. People dance there.

Here’s another view

The dancers play to different parts of the stage.

4 dancers, 4 sides

And the bouncers are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

I love these guys

The House of Cards also has a bar with the same menu as Drink Me.



You can also play air hockey in this area, which reminds me of the number of quarters I dropped into the air hockey tables at the Starcade back in high school. Because I was awesome like that.

I kind of suck at air hockey

Not surprisingly, they did a great job carrying through the card theme of this house of cards.

Cards and dancers

Dancers and cards

And once the dancers are done, they show a close-up of the white rabbit DJ over on the other stage.

I just completely love this. I can’t really explain why.

And if you’ve got a pair of Glow with the Show ears, they work here too!







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