The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge – Day 5

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 5: Your Favorite Snack

Oh, Disneyland. What a dream you are for foodies. Almost anywhere in the park, you can follow your nose to something. From the lovely scents pouring out of the Candy Palace on Main Street, to the buttery aroma of fresh popped popcorn, followed by the cinnamon & sugar mixture that is a churro, there are no shortage of quick bites and snack foods in Disneyland. The Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is a favorite, with the specialty sundaes that our family of three often shares. No trip is complete without a souvenir bucket of popcorn for the ride home. At some point, you can be guaranteed we’ll be stopping at a cart for a Mickey shaped ice cream bar or frozen banana. The bigger question as far as snacks are concerned is:

What snack don’t I like at Disneyland???

Nope. Can’t think of one. So we’ll just go with my favorite of them all:

 

Pineapple Goodness!

Whether you choose to have it as a float (with pineapple juce), or just by itself, Dole Whip – that heavenly frozen concoction sold at the stand that has longer lines than many rides – just cannot be beat. The tangy/sweet flavor of a mix of pineapple and soft serve has served as a delicious cool down on many a warm day for many people. I realize it’s not popular for everyone, and to those people, I want to say one thing:

Thank you for making the line a few people shorter.

Dole whips have taken on almost a cult following, with people looking for copycat recipes and locations away from the parks that serve it. I have yet to find a location where I live, and have not tried to make my own, but I pay tribute in a different way:

 

Now I take Dole Whip with me (in spirit) wherever I go, thanks to the awesome designs of Richard Terpstra!

Yes, it’s the only time I’ve paid homage to food with a t-shirt, but being a DisNerd, it only seems natural…. and I haven’t saved up to buy the churro t-shirt yet.

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 4

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!.

Day 4: Your Favorite Character to Meet (Non-Face)

Well, I can tell you for sure, dear readers, that my answer will not be Chip & Dale. Somewhere, perhaps lost in the same wormhole as many of my socks, is a picture of me as a two year old, screaming my head off as Chip pushes me in a stroller. Darn pesky chipmunks… antagonistic little rodents. Perhaps that’s why I choose instead, their number one target.

 

“Who gets stuck with all of that luck? No one but Donald Duck!”

 

Maybe I feel sorry for Donald, what with his being the foil to his often bratty nephews and aforementioned chipmunks. Maybe it’s his well intentioned motives but ill executed actions that I can sympathize with. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s a walking contradiction – he never wears pants unless he’s swimming, at which point he loses the shirt…

Maybe it’s a mix of all of the above; for whatever reason, Donald Duck has always held a place in my heart. As rarely as I see him at the park, whenever I do, pictures are a must!

One last little story from my family’s last trip to Disneyland, we visited Donald and his beloved Daisy in Frontierland; Goofy was standing next to them in the meet and greet area. My little girl was talking to Donald and Daisy and turned to Goofy, looked at him and said, “Goofy, you’re distracting us. You need to not be in this picture.” Daisy couldn’t control her laughter, but Donald was happy, applauding and giving the thumbs up sign. She later told Goofy she wanted to make sure he got his own special time, but still…. she did Donald proud that day. And Daddy couldn’t help but be a little proud – score one for the duck!

 

Quack Quack, Y’all!

 

Now it’s your turn, readers! Who is your favorite non-face character to meet in the park? Don’t worry, face characters will be a question later on!

Quick note: I will continue with Day 5 of the challenge on Monday. We’ll see you after the weekend!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 3

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 3: Your Favorite Land.

I love Disneyland as a whole. There are details in every land that appeal to me. From the Jungles of Adventureland to the Rivers of America that encompass Frontierland, Critter Country and New Orleans Square; fromĀ  the whimsy of Fantasyland to the thrills of Tomorrowland, there’s just so much to take in and appreciate. However, this time around, there’s one that stands out more than any other for me.

That land is Main Street, USA.

 

Am I the only one who can’t help but be inexplicably drawn to the Emporium? It sends out a subliminal message – “You need to buy….You NEED to buy…”

 

Upon entering under the tunnel from the entrance gate, there’s nothingĀ  more welcoming to me then the strains of “Fortuosity” as old-time vehicles and horse trolleys make there way up and down a piece of turn-of-the-century Americana. To me, nothing says “home” more than Main Street. It’s one of those places that, if I had endless time, I could sit for hours, people watch, and take it all in.

How many of us can’t go to Disneyland without saying “hi” to Walt when his light is on in the apartment above the fire station? Or take a picture of the view toward the castle? Stop for Ice Cream in the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor or a Raspberry (or other flavor) Coke at Coke Corner? Grab a morning coffee from the Market House? Make a mental wish list of collectables and art in the Disneyana shop?

And is there any spot more beautiful at Christmas time?

 

Even more amazing at night!

 

It’s a great spot for watching parades during the day and fireworks at night. It’s a place where you can visit a president, watch a silent movie, or take a ride up the street and back again (my daughter could ride those vehicle for hours on end!). My wife and I, on rare occurrences of nights out in the park, will often find a bench near the train station, smell the popcorn popping, watch the people pass by and listen to the music and train announcements seemingly flow together. Even as I type about it, I’m feeling a peace… wishing I was there now.

It’s definitely Disney, but it’s so much more. It’s small town America the way we WISH it could be. If not for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at the end, as well as entrances to other lands, it tends to represent just that. Just for giggles a couple years back, I attempted to take the castle out of the background of an old picture of Main Street, just to see how much it would look like Main Street of Anywhere, USA:

 

Yep, works for me!

 

As I walk past Walt’s apartment when I leave past the park, I always say thank you. While I’m thankful for the park and all he did, I’m truly grateful that he started it with such a wonderful feeling as Main Street, USA.

So now it’s your turn, dear readers: Surely you have a favorite land as well! Please feel free to share your comments below, and tell your friends! I truly do love hearing all you have to say!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 2

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 2: Your Favorite Show.

Once again, I have to say: ONLY ONE?

Oh, so many choices I could go with just based on emotional impact and beauty alone. “Believe: There’s Magic In the Stars” was the firework show that was playing the year my wife and I were married – we watched it every night we were there, because it was just that good. Even now, hearing the soundtrack evokes some great misty-eyed memories. “Remember – Dreams Come True” – the firework show created for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary – is just beyond phenomenal, bringing back memories of rides from today and yesterday. “Aladdin” over at Disney California Adventure is a great Broadway style musical that never gets old, with a genie that mixes things up on a regular basis. “Believe… In Holiday Magic” – the Holiday firework offering – holds a near and dear spot to my heart. It was my daughter’s first firework show; the sight of her watching in wonder, then in awe once more as the “snow” began to fall is permanently engrained in my mind as a wonderful memory I’ll never forget.

Of course, those are just a few of so many great shows, but if I had to choose just one…

 

“IMAGINATION!!!!!”

 

I remember when Fantasmic first opened – my junior year of high school. Traveling in by bus, seeing the signs along the freeway, I had no idea what exactly Fantasmic was… but my interest was definitely piqued. However, once at Disneyland, seeing crowds staking out their spaces on blankets as early as noon, the impatient teenager in me took over. I would rather ride rides than watch “some show,” and chose not to watch. Now I’m not saying I would have waited THAT long to see it, but I wish I could go back and kick the teenage me in the pants for not waiting. All I heard about on the bus on the way back home was how amazing it was.

My first real exposure to Fantasmic was not the show at all, but the music. A friend of mine had the CD, and being over at his house I experienced the awesome orchestrations long before the show. However, that was enough. I had the show memorized before I had ever seen any of it.

My first experience of seeing the show in person came about five years later, on my next trip to Disneyland. To say I was in awe would be correct. The theatrics, the pyrotechnics, the water screens, special effects, music, story…everything flowed perfectly.

And it still does. Good still triumphs over Evil, and imagination reigns supreme. As it should be in the world of Disney!

I’ve included a multi-shot edit video from my friend Matt. Although nothing beats seeing it live, the essence is still there. For those of you who don’t live near enough to see it often, or have perhaps never seen it -enjoy!

 

 

So now, I ask – what’s your favorite theme park show? Make sure and leave your answers below. I love reading others’ input!

Make sure to come back tomorrow for Day 3 of the challenge and tell your friends!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 1

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day One: The Attraction You Have To Go On Multiple Times.

ONLY ONE?????

When thinking about this one, the first ride that came to mind was “It’s a Small World,” mainly because of the multiple times we have ridden it. It was my daughter’s first ride, and the one fail safe with the shortest line and an opportunity to sit in air conditioning for nearly 15 minutes. But while the ride is classic and the song charming, ultimately, it’s not the one that leaves me longing for more.

I then thought of my favorite ride: Space Mountain. Thrilling at every turn, great effects in the “launch tunnel,” and an amazing in ride score, it’s a must ride for me. However, riding multiple times, I’d rather see more than stars and asteroids, or whatever silly pose I choose to come up with for the picture in the end.

So which ride is it that leaves me wanting more? That makes me want to ride over and over if only the line would permit? That makes me wish the ride would just stop for a minute in any given scene?

Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning!

I actually don’t remember riding this one as a child. That’s not to say I didn’t; I just don’t remember. I do, however, remember the first time I rode it in high school. I don’t know if I could even talk about it afterward – I was just a 15 year old with his jaw very near to hitting the ground. Flying over the city of London, then onto Neverland… I was in awe. To this day I dream of building a room with a loft bed and thousands of fiber optic lights that turn on once the room is dark – just because I want to live in my own Neverland.

Now that I’m older with my own family, I still see the look of wonder in my little girl’s face whenever we ride; it is definitely a family favorite. Of course, we’ve put our own traditions into riding the ride. While waiting in the queue, we yell at the Evil Queen from Snow White peeking out through the window across the way to be nice. When we are first able to spot the Darling children’s nursery we say hi to Nana in our own special way: either barking or making other various animal sounds. However, once the ride starts, we’re still all transfixed by London and Neverland, although we do try to spot Mickey hiding in the windows of Big Ben.

Of course, the view of the real night sky isn’t so bad either!

So many rides could have been used for this one, but I think this one takes the cake for sheer beauty and wonder. Perfectly fitting for a boy who refuses to grow up!

Now it’s your turn, dear readers: What’s your repeated ride of choice?

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge

I’m sure many of you have seen those posts on Facebook: “30 Day Movie Challenge,” “30 Day Song Challenge.”

Today, a friend of mine sent me a new one: The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. While my initial thought was to do this on Facebook, I thought to myself, “Why not post on the blog instead? It would give readers an opportunity to know me better, and they could respond with their choices as well!”

Since a big part of the changes I have in store for Confessions of a DisNerd involve community and interaction, I felt this would be a great way to kick things off. I’m posting the picture of the challenge here; I lay no claim to being the inventor of the challenge, just an eager participant. Feel free to use it on your own Facebook walls, but I truly hope you will post and share here as well! Obviously here you won’t be able to post photos in the comment section, but as fellow DisNerds, I’m sure we’ll all know what each other is talking about.

If you’re more familiar with Walt Disney World, feel free to talk about that here as well – or even combine the two!

Tomorrow starts day one of the challenge: The attraction you have to go on multiple times. See you then!