Monday, July 26, 2010

Recipe Share - Tigger Tails

I stumbled upon Tigger Tails at DLR while we were waiting to meet Pooh and Tigger.  Little Man and I went into Pooh Corner to get a drink, and there they were.  These little sticks of orange joy. 

I happened to run across a recipe online for them, and I can't wait to make them!

How to Make Disneyland Tigger Tails at Home
Making Tigger Tails like the ones found at Disneyland is fun, easy, and cheap!
Read More

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grand Californian Hotel - Disneyland

As I mentioned before, we just returned from our first trip to Disneyland!  We did do more than just the Mouse while we were out there - quick trip through LA, Malibu, Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Legoland, San Diego, La Jolla - it was definitely a whirlwind trip!  

For the first five nights of our trip, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel (GCH) was our home base.  We had considered non-Disney hotels while in the LA area since Disneyland is right in the middle of town and surrounded by hotels, but Disney offered a great deal this summer - pay for three nights, stay for five.  It brought the GCH down closer to what we would pay at an Embassy Suites or similar, so we chose the GCH.  Boy, we were NOT disappointed!

The GCH was designed by the same architect who designed both the Wilderness Lodge and the Animal Kingdom Lodge in WDW, and you can see some similarities in the designs, such as the impressive lobby (see pic below).  Unlike the two Florida resorts, the GCH is designed in the Craftsman style that is so prevalent in California.

Like WDW, DLR also bases room rates on the view from your room.  The primary room views are standard (overlooks front entrance), pool view, Downtown Disney view and Disney California Adventure (DCA) view.  We booked a standard view room, and to our surprise, we were told at check in that we had a 4th floor room with a pool view!  Love free upgrades.  And to make things more fun, we were able to see part of DCA from our room as well if we looked to our left. 

GCH's pool complex is expansive.  There are three pools and two hot tubs.  The pool in the picture above is also home to the Redwood Slide.  The slide is only open during the day, as it is manned by a lifeguard.  At night, the pool complex is dimly, but safely, lit.  Cabanas are available for daily rental.  During the day, there is also chairside food service.  Another difference between all pools at DLR versus WDW is that they are gated with restricted access.  One must slide a room key to gain access to the pool - see gate below.

Once in our room, we were pleasantly surprised at its size.  The rooms were larger than what we had at the Wilderness Lodge, but they were not as large as the Polynesian or Contemporary.  We had two queen beds, flat screen TV mounted above a dresser, as well as two chairs and a writing table.  Outside on the balcony, there were a few chairs and a small table.  The decor continues the Craftsman theme with very little obvious Disney influence.  There were Mickey heads on the carpet, and there was Bambi and Thumper on the shower curtain.  The dresser hid a small dorm fridge.  

One of the best features of GCH is its proximity to both DLR parks.  Our room was essentially four floors above the private entrance in to DCA!  While this entrance is available to all current guests of any of the three DLR hotels, few can say that it only took them 5 minutes from room to park!  Going to Disneyland Park itself takes a few minutes longer - walk out from the hotel in to Downtown Disney, swing a right, and tada!  You are in the promenade between the two parks.

GCH's proximity to DCA is proving to be a bit problematic with the new World of Color show.  Currently, there are three shows a night, and it is LOUD.  The rides you see in the picture are in the Paradise Pier section, and WoC plays out on the lagoon in that area.   Even though we were not overlooking DCA and were actually a decent distance away from the lagoon, we could still hear the music during the shows, even with the doors closed to the balcony.  Luckily, it was not loud enough to keep us awake at night, but we both commented that it had to be loud in the rooms that overlooked the park on that side. 

We experienced two of the three dining options at GCH.  Whitewater Snacks is the quick service location, and we ate dinner there our last night of our stay.  We found it to be better than average as far as Disney hotel quick service goes.  We also had dinner one night at Storyteller's Cafe.  Three of us chose their buffet, while E Belle ended up with standard chicken nuggets.  The buffet had a carving station, salad, desserts, pasta, vegetables, etc.  Pretty decent, we felt that we got our money's worth considering we left stuffed!  Napa Rose was the only one we did not try, is considered to be the nicest of all DLR restaurants and serves California style cuisine.

I am so glad we chose GCH!  I'd stay here again in a heartbeat.  While it is definitely more expensive than most rooms on Harbor Blvd., it is still cheaper than a deluxe room at WDW.

Coming Soon - Your Chance To Explore the Savannah at AK!

This is cool!

Disney Parks blog is reporting that later this year, small groups of guests will be able to experience Animal Kingdom's Harambe Reserve at WDW up close and personal.
They're still working out the details, but guests can observe wildlife on Disney's savannah and learn about the animals who live there and their behaviors.  From the description, it's a combination of walking through a part of the Harambe Reserve that's not typically open to guests, then riding in a specially designed vehicle for the duration.

More information, including prices and reservations, won't be available until later in the year.  But this definitely sounds like an exciting tour!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free Dining had been extended at WDW!

Just heard that Free Dining has been extended through December 21, 2010!!

The offer is valid on most nights August 15 through December 21, but you MUST book your trip by August 14.  And remember, if you use this discount, you won't be able to use any other discounts such as AAA, but this is better anyway.

If you book at a Value level resort, the free dining is Quick Service.  Choose a Moderate, Deluxe or Villa, then you get standard Disney Dining for free!

We were able to take advantage of this back in 2006, and it saved us more than $600 for two adults and one child.

Old Key West is being renovated!

Just saw on the disneyparks blog that Old Key West (OKW) is finally being renovated!!  OKW was the first of the DVC resorts, and I've heard over the past few years it was in need of some tender loving care.  The report states that in addition to a standard refurb (paint, carpet, etc.), they're also bringing in flat screen TVs, a sleeper chair in some units and granite countertops.  This is great news!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm Back!!

Just returned from Disneyland!!  Well, it's was technically a trip to southern California, but we spent five nights at the Grand Californian Hotel and three days (plus a bit) in the parks.  I'm getting my pictures together - all 800 of them - and my brain out of this travel fog so I can get some great info up on here about DLR!!