Goofy’s Kitchen (Part 1)

Try not to fall out of your seats–it’s a new post!

Exactly one year ago today, our family and lives were made complete with the adoption of our daughter, Violet. This year we just had to do something special for “Violet Day,” the day we became a forever family. Doing something at Disneyland was a no-brainer, so we decided to eat at Goofy’s Kitchen, the character meal inside the Disneyland Hotel.

Here we are!

Here we are!

We were greeted at the door by the Goof himself.

Not our best family photo

Not our best family photo

Now there are two basic aspects of Goofy’s Kitchen–the characters and the food. This post I’m going to cover the characters–next will be the food.

The very first character we saw was Violet’s favorite princess, Snow White.

For real, I can never get everyone looking at the camera at the same time

For real, I can never get everyone looking at the camera at the same time

After Snow White, Chip came by. Theo has now learned to tell Chip and Dale apart. I remember them because a reader pointed out to me that Chip has a small black nose like a chocolate chip, while Dale has a reddish-brownish bigger nose.

Also at Goofy’s Kitchen they wear aprons with their names conveniently embroidered on them.

Violet didn't want to be torn away from her food here.

Violet didn’t want to be torn away from her food here.

After Chip was the Pièce de résistanceViolet’s personal hero Minnie Mouse. This girl LOVES Minnie. I mean LOVES. She calls her “Mow Mow” (she’s got a speech delay and Minnie is one of the few words she has).

At first Theo is looking a little funny but you can see the adoration on Violet’s face.

You are my hero.

You are my hero.

Then Violet got to share some one-on-one time with Minnie.

Big hug!

Big hug!

Holding hands

Holding hands

A sweet little kiss!

A sweet little kiss!

A great thing about Disney is that they don’t rush kids through the character experience. Violet loved every second of Minnie’s visit.

Next to come by was Aladdin. He playfully made fun of Violet’s “genie hair”.

Hey, that's my ponytail!

Hey, that’s my ponytail!

And then Dale came by.

Theo is explaining that he knows Chip and Dale apart

Theo is explaining that he knows Chip and Dale apart

And for one last character visit, Pluto came by. I told Violet to smile and instead she said, “Da da da” which is her rather ineffective version of “cheese.”

Da da da!

Da da da!

Much to Violet’s delight, Minnie took another swing through the room and shared another hug and kiss.

Mwah!

Mwah!

In short, Goofy’s Kitchen is awesome. It doesn’t require park admission, since it’s in the Disneyland Hotel itself, and it’s a great way to catch a few characters while enjoying a fantastic buffet (especially the desserts–stay tuned for those). They do brunch and dinner and I’ve had both. I probably prefer the brunch because I basically think that breakfast is the best meal of the day, if not the entire universe, but the dinner was great too. The characters vary, but my kids didn’t really care who showed up and were thrilled with everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Club 33 (Part 2)

Back in Part 1 I told you all about getting into the club, dinner, Fantasmic!, and the restroom. Now we’re on to dessert.

It's dotted with raspberry stuff--SIGN ME UP!

It’s dotted with raspberry stuff–SIGN ME UP!

And as any good Disneyland fan knows, following Fantasmic! is…

FIREWORKS!!!

FIREWORKS!!!

I didn’t bother going outside for these. I missed the audio, but I was still enjoying my meal and after the break we took for Fantasmic!, it really was time to enjoy the meal. Plus, you see that nearly empty wine glass in the forefront? Tragic.

At this point we realized that other people were taking pictures inside the restaurant, so as gauche as it may have seemed at the time, we just went ahead and took pictures. Starting with asking the server to take a picture of us.

The situation with the flash got weird

The situation with the flash got weird

Not our best shot. Also, no more wine. Sad.

I made Kevin take pictures of the dining room because he’s a better photographer than I am.

I want this lighting fixture. Yes I do.

I want this lighting fixture. Yes I do.

I also want every single exit sign in my life to look like this

I also want every single exit sign in my life to look like this

Our bill arrived in a lovely Club 33 bill holder thingy. I totally wanted to steal this one too, but that would have been way obvious.

Lovely!

Lovely!

Back in the day, you got a commemorative matchbook with your meal. Now you get this.

Chocolate!

Chocolate!

I was all excited about this chocolate until I bit into it. It’s mint chocolate. Just an FYI. I hate mint chocolate. It makes the chocolate taste cold. So that was a bit unpleasant, unfortunately.

Kevin had to use the restroom at this point, so of course I made him take the camera. Sadly, this is the only evidence he returned with:

He has more class than I do. Which apparently isn't hard.

He has more class than I do. Which apparently isn’t hard.

It was awesome just looking around at all the details of the club.

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Walt eating at Club 33? Actually he died before he ever got the chance.

 

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There was a telephone booth. I forgot to ask if the phone actually worked.

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Menus and billfolds

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Actually I recently broke a sconce at the cabin. I think this would be the perfect replacement, don’t you?

There’s also another room to Club 33, the Trophy Room. It’s pretty gorgeous.

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Sort of a safari theme

Club33-40

Definitely going for that Jungle Cruise look

This vulture was the start of it all. It was actually intended by Walt to be an audioanimatronic bird like those in the Tiki Room, to listen in on people’s conversations and then respond.

Because how bizarre would that be? And by bizarre I mean awesome.

Club33-38

Also, an eagle

 

This duck, as far as I know, is completely innocuous.

Club33-39

Quack?

And other stuff in the room:

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This amazing buffet, and the lone table of people eating in the room. That was awkward.

 

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Obviously I need one of these

Club33-43

The plant totally completes the tableau

 

But finally, we could drag our feet no longer. There’s a set of Club 33 merchandise you can buy and I was DESPERATELY hoping to get Club 33 mouse ears, but the cast member said that they had completely sold out. Instead we got a commemorative wine glass and a keychain.

All in all, it was truly a magical night. What an amazing experience, with an amazing meal. I am so thankful to my reader (I don’t know if she wishes to be identified or not :)) for giving us this opportunity of the ultimate date night.

Did we want to take the elevator downstairs?

Yes.

Yes we did.

Bye-bye!

Bye-bye!

Club 33 (Part 1)

I’m afraid I’ve been very remiss in writing this entry, but it is finally here. I have loved this blog and all of the wonderful people I’ve met through it, but I never expected this blog to make one of my lifelong dreams come true.

What's this?

What’s this?

That’s right–thanks to an incredibly generous and sweet blog reader, I finally got to eat at Club 33. This exclusive club is open to members only and I have coveted an opportunity to eat there. When one of my readers offered to sign me in as a guest, I just about wet my pants from excitement.

The happy couple

The happy couple

It really was ideal start to finish, especially with my mother-in-law wrangling the little Mouseketeers at home.

Ringing the special doorbell was a real trip. It was like knocking on the wardrobe leading to Narnia. In fact, the whole thing was rather surreal. It’s one of those things that you’ve dreamed about and waited so long to do that when you’re actually doing it, it barely seems real. Because it’s so awesome.

The table is set

The table is set

Did you know that those placeholder plates are called “chargers”?

I did.

But I don’t know why.

I want, like, 10 of these

I really really really really really really want one of these

Our seats were perfect. We were right against a window looking out over New Orleans Square to the Rivers of America (which would become important later).

Love the wrought-iron balcony

Love the wrought-iron balcony

We were in the main dining room, which was not large, but grandiose.

Elbow not included

Elbow not included

Also the menus were very classy. You had to order a minimum of $80–or the general equivalent of a park admission, since members are allowed to invite a certain number of guests into the park for free to dine at the Club. We conveniently had our annual passes, but decided it might be a little tacky to ask if they had an AP discount. Instead we both decided to order the prix fixe chef’s menu. What a fantastic choice.

The wine list was also quite satisfying and we found a nice bottle to share.

And I’m not gonna lie–this was back in May so I honestly don’t remember what it was that we ate. I’ll have to ask Kevin.

It was small

Wow, I was having a great hair day!

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from the food. Everyone said the food was excellent, but I’ve found that I occasionally have different taste opinions than many others.

I’m delighted to say that everyone was right.

Appetizer

Duck appetizer. I love duck.

I think the Napa Rose in the Grand Californian serves some of the best food in town, and Club 33 was definitely of that quality.

These short ribs were amazing

These short ribs were amazing

It was at that point that we had to take a break in our dining, because Fantasmic! started and for realz, people–how often do you get the opportunity to watch Fantasmic! from your dinner table at Club 33 (well, probably often if you’re a member, but not often if you’re me).

Skinny balcony

Skinny balcony

At first I just scooted my chair over, but then I realized that people were going out on the balcony! Well, when in Rome…

Crowd view

Crowd view

The balcony is very skinny, no more than two people long. Wide? I mean the distance between the building and the rail–about two people or one chair. The other problem was that there was a giant tree directly in our view.

Obstructed view! I demand a discount!

Obstructed view! I demand a discount!

The only way to get a good look at Fantasmic! was getting close to the floor of the balcony and peeking through the bars. And you know what? I’m not too proud to do that.

It did get a little chilly

It did get a little chilly

It was amazing seeing the show from up there. Especially with the zoom lens.

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Club33-15

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As usual, the photography is not great, but I can’t convey how exciting it really was up there.

Afterwards we headed back inside to finish our meal. I couldn’t help but savor every minute. And then we decided to take a few pictures of the place.

The bar

The visible wine racks

Did you know that Club 33 is the only place you can buy alcohol in Disneyland Park?

Of course you did.

They do serve alcohol in CA Adventure though.

The gorgeous bar

The gorgeous bar

And then…yep, I had to use the facilities. And yep…I brought my camera with me.

I mean seriously people, you’re talking about the person who parked her rear on the balcony to watch a show she’s seen several times already.

Like I’m going to pass on this experience.

The art on the way was fabulous. I completely want this:

Yo ho!

Yo ho!

The ladies room had an entrance area, then a small vanity and two stalls. It was all quite lovely.

This was just regular Kleenex

This was just regular Kleenex

Nice and private

Nice and private

The toilets had an old-fashioned feel. Actually they seemed a bit weird, but I got used to it once I realized that I was using the restroom in CLUB THIRTY-THREE.

They flushed normally though

They flushed normally though

Cheese!

Cheese!

I almost did take one of these, but what would I do with it?

I almost did take one of these, but what would I do with it?

And cool little decorations

And cool little decorations

And I hate to leave you in the restroom, but this entry is getting quite long, and we still haven’t covered dessert and the grand circle tour! Stay tuned…

Lunar New Year at DCA

I think it’s great that DCA is getting more love these days, and holding the Lunar New Year festivities there was a great idea.

Okay, okay, Lunar New Year was like a month ago. I’m busy y’all, and you’ll see why below.

Anyway, Lunar  New Year is also called Chinese New Year but since it’s also celebrated in Vietnam and Korea, Lunar New Year is the more appropriate name. I was very pleased that DCA honored all different kinds of Lunar New Year celebrations.

I dressed Violet up in her qipao and off we went!

This was also the first time I successfully got her hair up in a little top ponytail to get her bangs out of her eyes

This was also the first time I successfully got her hair up in a little top ponytail to get her bangs out of her eyes

The festivities were held in the walkway next to The Little Mermaid

Archway to the festivities

Archway to the whole shebang

Closeup (sort of) of a pillar

Closeup (sort of) of a pillar

I loved the Mickey head design.

I kept trying to get a picture of both kids standing still and smiling, but as anyone who’s tried to take pictures of multiple kids know, it was a challenge.

We'll interpret Violet's squint as a smile

We’ll interpret Violet’s squint as a smile

Probably should have moved them out of the sun or something. Oh well.

The Lunar New Year celebration had some crafts you could do. They were very cool. Since this is the year of the snake, Theo got to make a paper snake.

The helper was extremely helpful

The helper was extremely helpful

She spent a lot of time with Theo helping him, which he needed but still made him feel like he made it himself

She spent a lot of time with Theo helping him, which he needed but still made him feel like he made it himself

Proud boy and cute snake!

Proud boy and cute snake!

Then he insisted on making one for Violet, which was a pain because I had to then keep her from eating it the whole time.

There was also a lantern-making booth where you colored a piece of paper and then cut it up for a lantern. I don’t want to pick on my child, but Theo is pretty much the World’s Worst Colorer. He doesn’t have any patience for it so he just randomly scribbles and calls it done. I already had my hands full because he decided to bring along his kid camera (a kid-proof real digital camera with questionable quality photos), I was holding two paper snakes, and Violet is a runner so you can’t let go of her hand at all. So, I forbid the lantern. He pouted for a while but got over it when I bought the special almond cookies in the cool little white Chinese take-out box.

No lantern for you!!

No lantern for you!!

They had women wearing traditional outfits twirling ribbons. They invited the kids to twirl the ribbons too, but Theo wanted no part of that. I have no idea why.

But twirling ribbons is fun!

But twirling ribbons is fun!

They also had special characters. We missed getting a picture of Mulan and Mushu, but we got both Mickey and Minnie. Violet actually stopped moving for once while we were in line for Mickey

After this she immediately took off

After this she immediately took off

She was fascinated by Mickey’s outfit. Unfortunately that meant she wouldn’t turn around for a picture.

Mickey Attempt #1

Mickey Attempt #1

Mickey Attempt #2

Mickey Attempt #2

Mommy steps in

Mommy steps in

I realized later I was wearing my Hong Kong Disneyland shirt. I promise, that was a complete coincidence.

Theo was very impressed that Mickey even took a picture with the “helper doggies”

He spent a lot of time petting them while we were in line

He spent a lot of time petting them while we were in line

And here’s a montage to explain how I spend my days now. Violet likes to run. She never stops moving. My dad calls her Hurricane Violet. It’s difficult when I’m by myself with both of them to take pictures because she’s usually taking that opportunity to make a break for it.

Making her escape

Making her escape

Theo tries his best to hang on

Theo tries his best to hang on

There she goes!

There she goes!

And she's off!

And she’s off!

She never misses an opportunity to dash

She never misses an opportunity to dash

I’ve lost over 10 pounds chasing her around.

Minnie did turn into a more successful photo shoot.

Minnie being non-intimidating

Minnie being non-intimidating

I had to step in again

I had to step in again

One of Theo’s favorite parts was taking along his camera. It doesn’t have a strap of any kind so it’s a pain in the butt to carry around, so this is the first time I’ve let him take it to the parks. He promised to hold it the whole time, which means that I ended up lugging it around most of the time. But we might have a budding photographer in our midst! He was fascinated by the Photopass photographer taking pictures of Minnie and begged to take his own picture of Minnie. I lined him up on the other side of the stanchions thinking he could just grab a shot whenever, but the cast member/handler overheard us and invited him in. She asked the next guest in line to hold off a second, then the Photopass photographer moved over and showed Theo where to stand. Minnie posed, and he got his picture. It was adorable.

So cute!

So cute!

Finally, we watched a troupe of Lucky Lion Dancers perform. They were fantastic!

LNY (2 of 27)

LNY (21 of 27)

LNY (22 of 27)

Violet was a little unsure about the whole thing though.

Or maybe she was just mad that I cramped her style by strapping her into the stroller

Or maybe she was just mad that I cramped her style by strapping her into the stroller

All in all, it was a great celebration and we had a really good time!

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