Posts Tagged ‘Disneyland’

Celebrating the Holidays at Disneyland!

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

We’re all huge Disneyland fans in our family, and I can tell you, the only thing more fun than spending a day at The Magic Kingdom (and California Adventure — I have to have my Soarin’ Over California fix!) is exploring the parks during the holidays.

(By the way, as you can see, I have no problem looking as ridiculous as possible when it comes to either Disneyland or the holidays…)

Well, there is one thing that’s even more fun — going with my brother, Lee, who hasn’t been to Disneyland since he was a kid, and my sis-in-law, Anya, our 6-year-old nephew, Christian, and our 18-month-old niece, Valentina, who have NEVER been there! Seeing all the Disney magic through the eyes of young kids is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

Now, in case you didn’t know, Team Sena has been in the World Series spirit, big time. And what better place to celebrate the Giants’ big win than at our favorite place?

(See those shirts on my husband, Randy, and my son, Matt, above?) Apparently we weren’t alone. It was fun to walk around the park and see how many families were wearing their Giants gear after the big win. (And the guys had to pick the ORANGE tea cup, of course.)

So what did we do to celebrate the big win? At Disney’s Holiday Mom Blogger Event,

we created, with the help of Disney’s wonderf

ul camera crew and Disney ambassador Danielle DuBois (who is a total sweetie — and so knowledgeable about all things Disney), a fun video:

After that, Matt (who is such a Disney fan he asks for “behind the scenes” books about Disneyland for Christmas) interviewed Danielle about the Holidays at Disneyland Resort:

Of course, actually visiting attractions like the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World was the best part. They’re both completely decked out for the holidays — along with Main Street (amazing Christmas tree!), New Orleans Square and, well, everywhere else! Check out this video:

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle looks SO gorgeous and magical at night, and it was fun to see the kids’ eyes light up when they saw the fireworks over the castle. (And did I mention the SNOW that follows the fireworks? Christian ran to catch the snow as it fell. Very cool.)

And the Disneyland holiday parade, featuring Santa, of course, is a fantasy come true, with wooden soldiers, all your favorite characters and more.

Matt is 14, so he’s into Space Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Haunted Mansion. He pays so much attention to the Haunted Mansion, and how it differs between the “regular” version and the Haunted Holiday version, that he can tell you what items in the mansion got moved each year and what replaced them! Impressive.

And I’m happy to report that we took Christian to the Haunted Mansion (with a bit of a warning up front about the scary part at the beginning), and he LOVED it. (Thanks to the folks at Disneyland, by the way, for providing some of the great pics, here. It’s so much fun to add them to the shots my family took so you can see more cool stuff. Guests aren’t permitted to take flash pictures in the Haunted Mansion, so it’s fun to get to share this photo.)

Now, I like all the attractions, but what really made my socks go up and down this year was a particular treat you can only get at a certain time of year…

Over at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square, Chef Martha L. Sigala creates the most mouth-watering Mickey Mouse cinnamon beignets with an incredible eggnog sauce. Forget the calories. (Hey, you’ll burn ‘em off walking around the parks, right?) You can’t miss these beignets.

And Chef Sigala has even been kind enough to share her recipe for the beignets (although you’ll want to go to Cafe Orleans to have them with that fabulous eggnog sauce, trust me):

You’ll want to spend plenty of time in New Orleans Square this time of year. Little Valentina loves any kind of live music, and this is a great place to take a break, enjoy a meal (we recommend the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, which Christian scarfed up), and listen to the music.

And New Orleans Square is decorated SO beautifully for the holidays. It’s a don’t-miss “land” for me this time of year.

All the lights and ornaments will dazzle the little ones, too. It was such a treat to see all the babies’ and toddlers’ eyes light up as their parents strolled through this area of the park.

Not to be outdone, California Adventure is in the holiday spirit as well, and Santa is busy greeting kids over at the Paradise Pier Boardwalk.

Speaking as a mom who’s always on the lookout for the perfect Christmas-card photo, I know you can just picture the wonderful shot you’ll have of your child on Santa’s lap in this beautiful setting. I love the Victorian style of Santa’s coat and vest. (Well done, Mrs. Claus!)

Our family has certain “musts” when we visit Disneyland, and that includes the Enchanted Tiki Room. No, the birds and flowers
aren’t decked out in holiday finery, but when you’re with a toddler who makes bird noises whenever she sees any bird, how can you resist?

Even the waiting area outside the entrance is fun, with flowers, water and even fire attractions to entertain you while you wait for the doors to open. Here’s Valentina waiting, with her Uncle Randy, for the show to begin. Yep. She’s lovin’ life.

Of course, there’s plenty to do for teens, too. (Just ask Matt, AKA “Mr. Fast Pass.” His record on Space Mountain in one day — so far, anyway: five times.) And as you can see, the Disney characters are happy to pose for those great shots with kids of all ages. Here’s Matt and Goofy. (It’s now Matt’s Facebook photo.)

Speaking of photos… Here’s something really cool to look forward to in the new year:

In 2011 (starting around late January), Disney guests will become the stars of a nightly spectacular when photos taken in the park during the day become larger-than-life projections, right in the park. At Disneyland, the façade of “It’s a Small World” will be the canvas for the show. (At Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the guest photos will be projected on Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom.)

In both locations, Disney PhotoPass photographers will capture guests’ memories during the day, and as many as 500 photos will be used in each location every day. The nighttime show will use the latest in high- intensity projection technology to create vivid visuals.

The company also has launched a website for sharing and viewing memories, and it’s available now. Upload your photos, videos and text memories at You can even categorize your memories by theme, emotion and location.

The website (also available soon in Spanish and French) has a simple-to-use interface for uploading, viewing and searching Disney memories. The functionality also will be part of the Disney Parks pages on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. Check it out, then upload your family’s memories!

At the end of our day, souvenirs in hand (gotta get that Disneyland tree ornament each year), great family holiday  memories in our heads — and tons of great photos in our camera — we headed home with tired feet, snoozing kids and happy hearts…

…and visions of Mickey Mouse Beignets with Eggnog Sauce dancing in our heads.

Mickey’s Halloween Party is Here!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Do you live in Southern California? Plan on visiting in October? Here’s something you and your family won’t want to miss…

Mickey’s Halloween Party is a private-party celebration (how cool is that?) held for 10 nights in October at Disneyland, offering adults and children a chance to dress up in costume and trick-or-treat at the resort. It’s scheduled for Tuesdays and Fridays in October (1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26 and 29) plus Halloween night, Sunday, Oct. 31.

Highlights include:

—  Trick or Treating at Disneyland, with even more treats along “Mickey’s Hide-and-Go-Treat Trail.”

—  Looking for Boo on the Bayou Trail, Enchanted Sweets Trail and elsewhere.

—  During the 10 nights, guests will enjoy nearly half a million pounds (yikes!) of candy — and even some healthy treats such as apple slices, carrots, raisins and dried fruit crisps.

—  The “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, hosted by “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington (presented exclusively for guests of  Mickey’s Halloween Party)

—  Dance parties (for all ages!):

°  Club Skellington, at the French Market, features Skellington Crew dancers, DJ Dirge and Miss Twisted (host), Jack & Sally Skellington

° Buzz Lightyear’s Intergalactic Space Jam includes Buzz Girl dancers, Green Army Men and Space Diva DJ, at Tomorrowland Terrace

—  New surprises in “Mickey’s Costume Party” cavalcade, performed twice nightly

—  Character photo locations featuring Mickey and his pals, princesses, pirates, Disney villains and more

—  The opportunity to arrive three hours before the party starts to play in Disneyland. (I know my son would make the most of THAT time…) Nearly all your family’s favorite Disneyland rides and attractions will be available.

Tickets purchased in advance for Mickey’s Halloween Party are $49 most days, while tickets purchased on the event days are $54.  For Oct. 31, all tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party are $59. Children under age 3 are free.

Save some bucks by buying your tickets in advance and then splurge on some Mickey Mouse ears!

Blogging Buddies Can Be the Real Deal

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Have you popped over to check out the Ladies’ Home Journal Ladies’ Lounge blog recently? One of my favorite writers, and a blogging buddy of mine, Louise Sloan, has a terrific post, “Best Mom Bloggers (and BFFs!).”

Reading the post reminded me of the fact that I have closer friendships, and more frequent contact, with some fellow bloggers whom I rarely (or never) see in person than I do with some friends who live nearby. What would I have given, back in 1995 when I was the mom of a newborn, to have had these connections, these wise women writers who shared so honestly about the very things I was going through? These women who would be there, at least in blog form, at 2 a.m. when I was up feeding Matthew?

Of course, this virtual embarrassment of riches now stretches far beyond parenting tips for me. From my blogging buds, I learn about everything from how to make the best use of a day at Disneyland to how to organize my finances to how to get the best deal when buying a car.

And sometimes it goes much deeper than the “how-to” stuff: When a child becomes seriously ill and the blogging community rallies around a worried family. When a blogging buddy is walking to raise money for cancer research and we all spread the word and help fill the coffers. When someone takes a deep breath and reaches out to discuss a personal challenge — and receives support from around the world.

With blogging, when it’s done right, we’re not just consumers of information. Those of you who leave comments here become part of a “the gang.” Sometimes we take the conversation to email or phone. And sometimes connections are made that become as valuable and meaningful as any “in-real-life” friendship. Blogging, done right, is a two-way street. And as Louise points out, there are some pretty terrific potential friends waiting for you on your virtual block.

Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival: A Perfect Mother’s Day Gift (But Honey, Don’t Make Me Wait That Long!)

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I love food. I love wine. I’m nuts about all things Disney-related. So, really, honey, it’s a no-brainer: Take me to Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival for Mother’s Day, OK?

Although if you’d like to go sooner, I’m good with that, too… The Festival runs from April 16 through May 31, with lots of cool events. Tickets for the Signature events are on sale here.

If you’re really into cooking, check out the Napa Rose Cooking School with Chef Andrew Sutton. And there’s much more:

Daily Events

  • Complimentary demonstrations featuring culinary experts and celebrity chefs, including Guy Fieri (love him! I’m a big “Triple-D” fan), Cat Cora and Robert Irvine
  • Seminars that feature wine, beer and spirits

Signature Events (additional fee required)

Taste Food-Wine-Life May 29, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

Presented in “grand-tasting” style, this event offers delectable creations from Disney chefs, outstanding wines and live entertainment. Theme park admission not required.

Festival Wine Walks and Beer Walks Daily

Enjoy tastings of your favorites, and discover the flavor of new wines and beers as you stroll through Stage 12, at the Festival Showplace.

Winemaker Dinners

Fridays: April 23, 30, May 14 and 21
6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Award-winning wines paired with delectable culinary creations at Steakhouse 55, with Chef Jason Martin

Brewmaster Dinner

Friday May 7
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Join experts from Karl Strauss Brewing Company for delicious food paired with beers, at Steakhouse 55

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...
Image via Wikipediaia

Riedel Glass Tasting

Saturdays, April 24, May 28
6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
In this fascinating class led by an expert from Riedel, learn why the glass matters when it comes to wine tasting. Guests at this event will go home with a tasting set of four Riedel Vinum series lead crystal wine glasses.

Sweet Sundays

April 18, May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Enjoy Sunday morning buffets featuring elegant dessert items from acclaimed pastry chefs, at the Festival Showplace inside Disney’s California Adventure.

Taste Wine Like an Expert

Saturdays: May 1, 8, 15 and 22
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Entertaining education with Sommelier Joy Cushing of Napa Rose restaurant

Napa Rose Cooking School

Saturdays: April 17, May 1, 8, 15, and 22
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Executive Chef Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose leads guests in preparing a four-course gourmet meal. Guests receive a commemorative chef’s coat, embroidered with the Festival logo.

Whether you love to cook, want to learn more about wine — or just love to eat(!), there’s something here for you. Happy (early) Mother’s Day!

Disneyland’s Chocolate and Coffee Yule Log

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

New Image3

Ready to throw calorie caution to the wind and bake up a truly magical dessert with your kids?

My family and I were recently invited to Disneyland and California Adventure for a special event for parenting bloggers, and a wonderful Disney pastry chef taught us how to make this yummy dessert. What a fun demonstration! It takes some time, but it’s a great family project for a weekend afternoon during the holidays.

Silly me, I was so busy looking at the chef’s finished yule log that I forgot to take a picture of it to share with you! But this photo shows a similar finished log. There are lots of ways to decorate it and add your own touches.

This recipe makes one 15-inch yule log.


Weather Report: It’s Snowing at Disneyland!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

snowing at disneyland

Such an amazing site: Sleeping Beauty’s castle, all decked out for the holidays, with “snow” falling all around us.

After Thanksgiving, I’ll be reporting a lot more on our recent visit to Disneyland, and sharing all the cool stuff they’re doing for the holidays. But for now, I just had to share this photo.

Giveaway! Join Me For a VIP Experience at Disneyland!

Monday, October 12th, 2009

10-12-09I’m so excited! And you will be too. Disneyland has invited one lucky Parent Talk Today reader and three guests to join me, along with other selected parenting bloggers and their guests, for a special VIP day at Disneyland on Saturday, November 21.

That’s right! A family of four. For free. You’ll get the VIP treatment while previewing Disneyland’s holiday happenings. What a great way to get in the holiday spirit!

If you’ve never been to Disneyland at the holidays, you’re in for an amazing experience. Sleeping Beauty’s castle and It’s a Small World will be decked out with unbelievable lights. The smell of gingerbread on Main Street will entice you to stop by the bakery for a bite. And don’t forget the Haunted Mansion, all set for the holidays in true Jack Skellington fashion…

And did I mention carolers? A parade? Santa? It will be an unforgettable day for you and your guests.

Want to enter? Here’s all you need to do:

1)    Subscribe to Parent Talk Today.

2)     In “Comments,” tell us your favorite Disney-related memory. It doesn’t have to be specifically about Disneyland. One of my favorite Disney memories is seeing my son Matt, at age 3, watching “Toy Story” and then (wearing his “Woody” jammies, which he got for Christmas) riding his stick horse around the house.

10-12-09-1This giveaway will remain open through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21. The winner will be drawn at random and will be announced here on Friday, Oct. 23.

Hey, I’m a mom. I have my rules! The winner will receive parking and admission to the park that day (for 4 people) along with participation in our activities and one meal as part of the Holiday Celebration reception on Saturday. While you don’t have to live in Southern California to enter, you must provide your own transportation and lodging if you are coming from out of the area. The winner and guests must attend the event and must be willing to remain with the VIP group for the entire event. You must be willing to be photographed by Disneyland Press Relations and by Parent Talk Today. This giveaway is non-transferable.

I can’t wait to hear your Disney memories!

10-12-09-3P.S. Want more shots at winning? Some of my favorite parenting bloggers are running their own contests:

Domestic Chicky

in Wonderland

Babes in

Metropolitan Mama

Glamorous Life Association

Rules vary on each blog, so be sure to read the entire post on each one before entering. Good luck!