California Adventure

Disneyland Diamond Celebration Photo Ops

One of my favorite parts (so far) of the Disneyland Diamond Celebration has been collecting pictures at these super fun photo ops throughout both parks.  My Disney bestie Brianna and I started our collection at the Diamond Celebration Kickoff and recently snapped our last pic (though I have heard they will be debuting at least two new ones on the actual 60th birthday, July 17th–I’ll keep you posted).  Here’s a look at the current photo ops and info on where you can find them.

This one is the first one we did and it is one of my faves.  Located right across from the Matterhorn entrance (the actual ride entrance, not where you would get in the beginning of the line), you get to make all kinds of crazy climbing faces, and may even be encouraged to fake a fall or two.

The California Screamin photo op is right near the ride at California Adventure.  This is another fun one to make some silly faces on (or maybe pretend hurl if you’re into that).

Big Thunder is one of my favorite rides, so I was excited for this photo op.  This one is along the Big Thunder Trail, right across from the entrance to Big Thunder Ranch BBQ.

And this awesome Grizzly Peak photo op is located in the San Francisco section of DCA (in between Little Mermaid and Grizzly River Run).  This one is another opportunity for some awesome faces.

We have had a lot of fun collecting these photos and coming up with some cool faces and poses.  Each photo op has a Cast Member stationed there and they are happy to take pics with your camera or phone, in addition to adding theirs onto your Photo Pass card.  With the exception of our Matterhorn pic, which we took on opening day, we have never had more than two people in front of us in line so it has been a pretty fast and easy process to collect all the shots we wanted.  Overall, a great way to collect some memories at the parks!

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Restaurant Review: Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta is one of my favorite places to eat in California Adventure (it even made my list of top quick service locations!).  If you need a non sit down dinner at DCA, this would be one of my top recommendations.  The food is tasty, the portions are good-sized, and there is ample seating on the outdoor patio (and there is even a bandstand that features live music throughout the day).  Located at the far end of the park near the end of the pier, the restaurant features exactly what it promises: pizza and pasta, plus kids options, beer and sangria.

This is the Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and it is one of my go to dishes at Boardwalk.  The sauce is creamy but not too heavy and the chicken is tender and flavorful.

This is my other favorite dish, the Five Cheese Ravioli.  This one also has a pesto sauce, but it is not as creamy as the sun-dried tomato.  I’m a fan of the toasted pine nuts as they add the perfect amount of texture and crunch.

Boardwalk also has cheese and pepperoni pizza slices, along with a featured slice of the day and vegetarian option.  They also have a classic spaghetti and meatball pasta dish available.  If you are an Italian fan like I am, you can’t go wrong with Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta for a quick lunch or dinner option.  It’s a delicious meal and reasonably priced (for Disneyland).  Try it the next time you are in the parks!


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A Look at the Disneyland 60th Decor

Disneyland and California Adventure are both totally decked out for the 60th Diamond Celebration (which began May 22nd and does not have a definite end date at this point).  A lot of the decor was put up in stages so you may have seen glimpses of it along the way, but I figured I would share some of the final details with you so you can see how it all came together!

The flags in the esplanade…

The entrance to California Adventure…

One of my faves, Carthay Circle…

The Disneyland entrance at night…

And during the day…

The bridges leading into the park…

And of course, the castle…

Finally, the castle at night…

More castle pics can be seen here.  Most of the castle decor was completed before the actual 60th debut, the final touch was the 60th circle plaque.

There are, of course, tons of details around the park especially for the 60th, these are just some highlights and some of my favorites!  Make sure you check them all out in person if you get the chance!


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Inside the Park Tour: The New Grizzly Peak

Hello Wilderness Explorers!  Today we are going to be taking a look at the new Grizzly Peak, inside Disney’s California Adventure.  I was really kind of indifferent about the changes to be made to the former Condor Flats.  I knew Soarin’ was staying so other than that, I wasn’t too concerned.  I will say, I am pretty happy with how everything turned out.  I think there is a much better flow through the park now that this area ties into the Grizzly River Run area and the whole look is pretty stunning up against the backdrop of the Grand Californian.  And of course, as it is a Disney project, the details are pretty incredible.  So let’s begin our tour!

This is the entrance if you are coming from the front of the park…

It doesn’t seem like there has been a huge menu change at the new Smokejumpers Grill (formerly Taste Pilots Grill), but I haven’t had the chance to eat here yet.

There is lots of cute signage all around…

And one of my favorite parts is this awesome vintage station wagon, all packed up and ready for camping…

I’m also a big fan of the retro Coke machine…

I am glad that they decided to keep these gas pumps from the original Condor Flats.  They are so cute and are great for pictures!

Soarin’ got a bit of a face lift inside and out…

And this is the new overlay of the souvenir shop…

This plane has been a part of the area since it was Condor Flats, but it got a cute little makeover…

Overall, I have really been enjoying the new Grizzly Peak.  It has a great feel to it, it’s nice and open and very California.  I will miss Minnie in her super cute 60’s flight attendant outfit, but other than that, I think this was a great change for the look and feel of the park.


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Show Review: World of Color Celebrate!

Alright, so if you read my recap of the 24 hour Diamond Celebration kickoff event, you know that despite my goal of seeing all three new shows in one day, the only one I actually got to see was World of Color.  And if you are a frequent reader of A Disney Mom, you may remember that I am not a huge fan of World of Color (the past editions).  While the technology and effects are absolutely breathtaking, WOC was always lacking something that keeps a show relevant and magical: a story.  I have watched Fantasmic! a million times.  I could act out and recite the whole thing for you, and yet, when I am in the parks at night, I choose to watch it over WOC.  Why?  Because it has a story, and that story resonates with me.

I was hoping this 60th WOC overlay would bring that element of story to the spectacular visuals and effects, and it did.  I think this is exactly what needed to happen to WOC in order to make it a show that will last twenty years like Fantasmic! has.  As I’m sure you have heard, Neil Patrick Harris hosts the show, alongside none other than Mickey himself.  (Also, sorry for the blurry pics, it was a bit breezy while we were watching which made a difficult photo op even harder.)

The duo share a little bit about Walt and his dream of creating Disneyland.

We take a journey through some interviews with Walt and then explore the creation of Mickey and how he has evolved over time.

We then see some clips from some of the most famous animated Disney movies, starting with Snow White, leading to…

Okay, okay, we get.  Frozen is the most popular Disney movie ev-har.  The only moment that left me a little bleh in the show was this section dedicated to “Let it Go”.  I wouldn’t have minded it so much if they showed other movie clips during the song, but they didn’t.  It was the only song played in its entirety and they showed the whole scene from the movie.

Then we move on to focus on Disneyland itself.  This was definitely my favorite part of the show as it highlighted some of the best parts of Disneyland.

The end of the show is a serious tear jerker.  They incorporate home videos from real guests throughout the sixty years of Disneyland’s history.  If that doesn’t get you right in the feels, I don’t know what will.

And this is one of my absolute favorite quotes from Walt and it is one I repeat to myself often.  Every time I’m feeling like this little blog is going to remain little, nothing more than a hobby, I remind myself of this quote.   I need to keep the courage and keep plugging away and someday this big dream for my little blog will become a reality.

But I digress.  I’m sure if you are planning on attending Disneyland during the 60th that World of Color is already on your must see list.  And it should stay there!  I’m so glad that I love this new version of the show because I feel like it completes the immense love I have for California Adventure.  Do not miss out on your chance to see Celebrate!


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2015 Never Land 5k Recap

The hubs and I ran our third annual Never Land 5k this past weekend, and despite some very unwanted but much needed rain, we had a pretty good run!  This was my first time running the race not pregnant, so it was obviously much easier on me this time around.  Here is our race recap!

We arrived at the park bright (well, actually dark) and early at around 4:15 am.  It was sprinkling a little as we waited outside the front gates to be let into the park.  The nice thing about our Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum costumes is that the bill of the hat protected my glasses from the rain!  As you can see, the hubs was super excited to be up so early and hanging out in the cold.

We were greeted on Main Street by these awesome pirates.  These guys deserve a raise for being in character literally before the crack of dawn.  This is also probably the best shot of our full costumes (which we got a ton of compliments on).

We were herded down in front of the castle to wait for the starting call.  The nice thing about the 5k is that there are no assigned corrals, placement is first come first served.  We’ve always been in the first group to start the race, which in the past meant we didn’t get paced out with my slow pregnant waddle.  This time it meant we could actually stop for pictures and still finish in plenty of time.

We were treated to a short fireworks show and a fairy who shall not be named flew down to christen her running weekend.

And then we were off!  The first leg of the race was through Disneyland.  We started by the Matterhorn and went through to Fantasyland.  They had some cool projection effects on “it’s a small world” (a preview of the new fireworks show, perhaps?).

Throughout the run, we were instructed to help Peter Pan find his lost shadow so we saw several of these projections throughout the course.  They told us to crow every time we saw one.  I refrained from that, given that I was out of breath most of the time.

Mile One was near Big Thunder…

After that, we made our way toward California Adventure.  In between the parks was where we hit Mile Two…

And Mile Three was right in front of Toy Story…

By the time we got to the finish line, the rain was coming down pretty good, so we got our medals and snack packs and hit the road.  Looking back, I’m bummed we didn’t get a picture at the finish line, but we did get this gem on the shuttle back to the hotel…

All in all, it was definitely my best race.  I did actually do some running, so that is one more of my goals I can check off the list.  I  have quite a bit of training to complete before I tackle the Disneyland 10k in September, but this was some good motivation for me to keep up my running schedule.  I think the hubs and I both felt good about our finish, and as a bonus, when we got back to our hotel, Squirt was still asleep and he stayed in bed until 9:30!  A successful run in the books, plus a nap, equals a good morning for this mama.


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2015 Neverland 5K Outfit Planning

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Tomorrow, the hubs and I will be running our third Neverland 5K at the Disneyland Resort.  Not going to lie, I hate running.  There are very few things on this planet that could make me run and most of them involve being chased.  But I will run for Disney.  ‘Cause I’m weak like that.  This will actually be the first time I have been able to run during the 5K as I was pregnant during the last two and advised by my doctor to walk the course (and trust me, I had no problem with those instructions).  I will be attempting to do some actual running this time around (it was one of my yearly goals, after all), but I’m not excited about it.  I am excited about our outfits.  Part of the fun of a Disney race is coming up with cool running attire.  The hubs and I always try to match our outfits (and by that I mean he wears what I tell him to), but so far they have been pretty standard.  A lot of people go with the Neverland theme for this particular race, which is cool and all, but you all know how I feel about a certain Neverland fairy who gets a lot of the costume attention.  So this year we are going with a pair that I think is super fun.  Hopefully our outfits are a hit!  I’m going to break it down piece by piece, see if you can figure out who we are going to be!

We are both wearing yellow T-shirts…

Hubs will be wearing red running shorts…

While I rock my first ever Sparkle Athletic sequin running skirt (ridiculously excited about this)…

We will both be wearing these light blue bowties…

…and these awesome propeller hats.

I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, we will be going as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum!  (I think it’s pretty obvious who is the Dee and who would be the Dum…)  

I’m stoked about our outfits and looking forward to rocking them during the race!  Are any of you running this weekend?


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