Goodnight Disneyland

One last post about our Disneyland trip. I wanted to make some recommendations to anyone planning to take their kids to the Magic Kingdom. Plus, I have a bunch more photos to post!

FOOD

Our first night at Disneyland, we stumbled into one of the most expensive restaurants I’ve ever eaten at — Storyteller’s Cafe at the Grand Californian Hotel. The prime rib was awesome, and the cheesecake was excellent, but the prices were astronomical! My eyes popped out like Roger Rabbit when the waiter brought the check.

Silly me, I soon learned that the prices there were right in line with every other eatery in and around Disneyland. In other words, take a deep breath and just eat. You can’t worry about how much the food costs, unless you plan to starve your family for the week.


Kids PB&J; Palette at the Carnation Cafe

The best meal we had was at Yamabuki, the Japanese restaurant in the Paradise Pier Hotel. The worst was at Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port inside the park. In fact, that pizza was the only bad meal we can remember. The whole week we were constantly surprised at how good the food was everywhere we went. Other awesome meals are to be had at: Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, LaBrea Bakery, Carnation Cafe, and Cafe Orleans. I highly recommend the Monte Cristo sandwich at the Cafe Orleans.


Singing pirates!

RIDES

All the rides are great, but none reach the perfection of Pirates of the Caribbean. I’ve been on this ride well over a hundred times in my life and I never tire of it. Disney added a few movie tie-ins, like an audio-animatronic Captain Jack Sparrow, but it’s tastefully done and takes nothing away from the classic feel of the ride. The same can’t be said of Space Mountain, which was recently transformed into Rockin’ Mountain. Gone is the sensation that you are rocketing through outer space. Now it feels like you’re down at the local planetarium watching a laser light show. Ugh. I hope it’s a temporary change.

Tomorrowland needs to be completely overhauled. AstroBlasters was fun, and Star Tours is turning into an old friend, but the rest of the place is sorely lacking. It was my favorite area of Disneyland when I was a kid. But now, it was where we spent the least time.

Oh. Wait. I forgot about ASIMO. I take it all back about Tomorrowland, because it was my son’s ultimate thrill to see ASIMO, the state-of-the-art robot made by Honda, live and in person at the Innoventions exhibit. I haven’t been inside that rotating building since a family friend was killed there, but I made an exception for ASIMO.


ASIMO the robot waves to the crowd

BATHROOMS

Do yourself, and your kids, a big favor. Study the park map and memorize the locations of every single bathroom. At home, my daughter can hold her pee for hours and hours. At Disneyland she was good for about fifteen minutes. Hey, to all those people behind us in line at the Storybook Land Boats, sorry about the puddle. Goofy distracted her.


“Hey Pluto, did you make that puddle over there?”

SHOPPING

Don’t worry too much about shopping for souvenirs and gifts. You will have an opportunity to give Disney more money at EVERY TURN. There are literally gift shops within gift shops. Half the rides seem to exit into gift shops. All of Main Street seems to be one long gift shop. And if you miss anything inside the park, just outside the gates in Downtown Disney is the massive World Of Disney store, which has everything you can imagine. Except Donald Duck shirts. Donald is apparently persona non grata in the Disney merchandising department. I think it has something to do with his refusal to wear pants.

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

The new park across from Disneyland is an afterthought to most folks. It was for us … we spent just one of our five days there. But I was pleasantly surprised by the place. It might have been the fact that everything was new to me. A few of the rides were spectacular, including Soarin’ Over California, Tower of Terror, and Screamin’ California. The kids loved the Monsters Inc. ride, the Mulholland Madness coaster, and the child-friendly Bugs Land area. We could’ve used another day to explore California Adventure a bit more.

PARADE

Definitely find time for the Parade of Dreams that runs through Disneyland each night (and during the day on weekends). It was a dazzler for the kids. I’ve never seen their eyes open so wide. Hand it to Disney, they know how to put on a good show. We staked out a curbside seat on Main Street about 45 minutes before the parade started and dug into some snacks while we waited.

Goodnight, Disneyland. Thanks for the unforgettable family vacation. And the credit card bills… did I really tip that much?!

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