My Disneyland: Fantasmic! Dining Package Review

The past month or two I have been trying to plan out the details for our family vacation to Disneyland. One of the shows we really were really looking forward to seeing is Fantasmic! Little Diva has never seen it before and we wanted to make her first time at the show extra special and fun.  So I have been looking at the new Fantasmic Dining Packages Disneyland now offers.
There is some info on online on different types such as to-go meals, dessert only (not offered currently due the construction in Critter Country) and full 3 course dinner.  However, I couldn’t find and info on exactly what your meal options and prices would be for the full dinners offered at River Belle Terrace and especially at The Blue Bayou.  Also the full dinners you enjoy before or after the actual showing of Fantasmic.
You do not eat and watch the show simultaneously…as some people would assume.  Most of us Disney lovers probably understand that we won’t be able to eat dinner at The Blue Bayou while listening to someone riding Pirates of the Caribbean shouting “throw me a roll!” and watch Fantsmic on the Rivers of America all at the same time…but not all of us are die hard Disneyland fans and some have never been to DL before.
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The hubby said lets just try the Blue Bayou Restaurant Fantasmic dinner option and make our trip even more special for us and Little Diva!

I am happy to report we had a great time!  It did seem a little expensive when we first booked our Fantasmic dinning reservation.  However, we all enjoyed our meal so much and our seats for Fanstamic were just plain awesome it felt worth the price!
Also with this particular package each family member dining receives a Fantasmic seat cushion to keep and use when you watch the show. Here is a picture of what the seat (foam) cushion looked like:
IMG_1816Our seating was a special reserved area just for those who purchased the Blue Bayou Fantasmic Dinning package. We sat, yes in this area you sit, right in the front row in the very middle so the whole show took place right in front of us…it was awesome. 🙂
Here are a few of my tips on a Fantasmic Dining Package…

#1 Make reservations.
Make reservations…don’t forget.

#2 Check the weather report.
Although some think of Southern California having nothing but sunshine it actually can does rain a little and can have some big windy days.  They can cancel the showing of Fantasmic at any time and no they do not give out refunds for dining packages.

#3 There is a 24 hour cancellation policy.
Yes you can cancel your reservation with no penalty as long as it’s 24 hours before your reservation time. Otherwise, they will charge you a $10 fee for not showing up to your reserved time.

#4 Arrive to your dining reservation hungry.
I know that should be a given but I overheard a few people/children saying “I shouldn’t have just eaten that Dole Whip”or”I’m really not that hungry now” etc.  Try and plan out your day accordingly. Also try and book a late lunch/early dinner or late dinner for your reservation time…you get a lot of yummy food.

#5 Enjoy!
Here is the menu:
IMG_1797Here is the full kids menu:
IMG_1796Ok now for the good stuff…food pics!
First is the Blue Bayou Salad, then Island Chicken Breast, Filet Mignon and the children’s Salmon:
IMG_1798IMG_1799IMG_1805IMG_1803….and then there was dessert!!
Creme Brûlée, 8 layer chocolate hazelnut cake and the children’s chocolate cake:
IMG_1813IMG_1809IMG_1806I really hope this post has assisted you in some Fantasmic Dinning questions!
Please feel free to comment to let me know if you have more questions or if this post helped you, I would love to know 🙂

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LEGO Cake Pops (at least that’s what they are supposed to be…)

Lego…yup, my kid is in love with most things that has that word in it.  It’s ok though, she probably inherited the love for them from myself and her father.  I remember back in the day building all types of structures so my Lego figures could capture some My Little Ponies…those were the days.

My daughter’s school had a function back in the fall where they asked the kids (meaning the  parents) to make a cake and submit it for a cake walk at a school fundraiser.  Little Diva said she would “help me” make a Lego cake. But that didn’t seem like it would take up too much time so she thought of cake pops…because those still count as “cake” right?  Then her 6 year old mind went into overdrive and figured out that a cake pop looks a lot like a Lego figure’s head and that should be easy for mom…

I caution you…I have never attempted to make cake pops in my life. I also am not a night owl, and making these cake pops took a few hours longer into the night than I anticipated. You have been warned!
ry=480So as a result, because I had no idea what I was doing, my Lego cake pops turned out…well…let’s call them “rustic” (a polite way of saying “crappy” right?)  In my defense it was a little last minute, and I was up way too late trying to make them, and had no idea what I was doing.
Anyway, here are a few pictures of the different steps I took to attempt these “Lego Pops”.

I hope you enjoy, learn from my cake pop mistakes or at least read through this post with a smile…

I on the other hand, am pouring another cup of coffee…

 

Ok so here are the supplies you basically need to attempt these cake pops:

(not shown are: a box of vanilla cake mix, chocolate chips I melted and then used a piping bag to make the “faces”)
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-Make the cake as directed for a 9 x 13” pan. Bake and cool.

-Then (after you did all that) destroy it by dumping the whole cake into a huge bowl and crumble it up with your hands. Yes…Im serious.

-After your cake is in crumbs, add about half of the can of frosting, mix it all together well. If the mix seems too crumbly or dry add a little more frosting. If the mixture is super sticky you can chill in fridge for a bit.

-Next form small balls to the desired size for your cake pop. Put some pressure on the side of the cake ball to give it that Lego head shape. Place on pan lined with parchment paper.

-Now melt the candy melts. I didn’t have on of those special candy melt mini crockpots I’ve seen so I just put a bowl over a small pot of boiling water.

-While melting the candy melts, cut a handful of mini marshmallows in half with scissors, put aside.
-Once candy melts are melted, dip just the tip of the cake pop stick in the candy melt and insert the stick it into your cake pop. This helps the stick stay in place a bit better.

-After all the sticks are in place, put the tray of cake pops in the fridge to fully set.

-Once fully set, place your cake pops up right. I used a piece of styrofoam from my local craft store but an upside down box with holes would work too.

-Grab your cut marshmallows. Place a dot of melted candy melt onto one side and stick it to the top of each cake pop. Now it’s starting to look like a Lego head?
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Now for the dipping:

I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, this is the part where I had the most trouble. And about halfway through I was about to give up and throw a hot cake pop at my husband…no I’m not kidding, I was so ready…

-So take a cake pop and “swirl” it into the melted candy melts, making sure the whole cake pop is covered. Then lightly tap the stick to try and get off any extra melting candy. Then set upright in a holder or styrofoam to cool.  Repeat for all pops.

(If you have a better method please do it, this was my first time working with candy melts ever, I didn’t know what I was doing!) This was my first one….total fail:
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-Now my food marker I had planned on using to make the “faces” soooooo did not work.

So I grabbed some chocolate chips, melted them, and placed into a piping bags and went to town trying to give these freak’n Lego Cake Pops “faces”…
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This was my end result…not what I had pictured in my mind at all, but they were just going to have to work.

I covered each pop with a little bag and put them in a little holder my husband put together with my childhood Legos.  He just built a Lego wall around two small pieces of styrofoam so the pops would stay upright.
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So in the end it all came together I guess, I wasn’t too impressed on how they came out honestly. But the next morning Little Diva got up and ran straight to the kitchen to see the pops, and she just smiled and smiled.  She loved them so much!

Later that day I let her eat one and she said,”Mommy these are really good, and they are Lego which makes them even better! This is what I would really like to have at my birthday party!”

Oh no………….

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Ways to help plan your trip to Disneyland – Part 2-Food!

So in this post I’m just going to show you some of the great goodies you can enjoy during your visit to Disneyland.
I love going to DL and I don’t get to go very often…unfortunately. But that makes it all the more special for me and my family and so much planning goes into our trip.  If you are planning a trip to DL soon, please read my full blog post HERE on all the ways to save money on your trip.  This post will be all about food with many pictures.

In the beginning of our trip we just had to check out the new Princess Fantasy Fare area. It is very cute and loved the overall theme. They even had a new concession stand that had a part in the “theme” of it all.
Below is a pic of the menu, Apple Freeze and Cheddar Garlic Bagel Twist…all so very good too!
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Another thing we always do is pick out a special treat once a day. It makes it fun and my daughter just loves it! Plus I love how Disney puts the cutest spin on desserts to make them even more special for the kids…even for us adults too☺
IMG_5374You just have to have a Mickey Mouse ice cream while enjoying an afternoon show♥
IMG_5425 IMG_5561 IMG_5562 IMG_5564Yes this cookie was as big as my daughters face…
(We ended up taking it home with us and it took 4 days for us to eat)
DSC03415One big highlight for us was to have breakfast at Ariel’s Grotto which is in the California Adventure park.  We have always wanted to do this but in previous visits they didn’t offer breakfast and it was more expensive.  So I was so glad we were able to go this trip!
When you first enter, you are greeted by Ariel herself and have a few pics with her. Then you are seated at your table with a basket of breakfast breads and a fruit patter ready for you. After you place your breakfast order, the princesses are formally announced and they all stop by each table to greet the kiddos, take pics and sign autographs♥  The food was decent and was arranged in a very cute way for the kids.
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This was the children’s waffle was on top of blue colored whipped cream, with a huge slice of bacon as “the flag”.
IMG_5351Tri-tip and eggs
IMG_5352Breakfast Sandwich.

So ever since I was a kid, the one thing I always enjoyed and became tradition is the famous Monte Cristo sandwich!
I never knew that more than one restaurant serves it, yes it’s true. So for the first time we ate at Cafe Orleans…and it was so good.
IMG_5507 IMG_5509DSC03316This was actually the children’s salmon meal…it was a lot of food, of course Little Diva ate it all!)

I do hope that this has helped you some how with your upcoming trip to Disneyland.  Hey, if you just wanted to check out the pics of the food that’s great too!
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Ways to Save and Plan your trip to Disneyland…

85f424b3f5ef75c678911a57c7dc90fd Who doesn’t love Disneyland, am I right?
What are the first two things you think about when some one talks about a DL trip…awesome/fun/magic & the money to make it happen.
But it can be so hard for many of us to pay for a trip to go (especially when you travel with kids). I am no expert, by far, and have only been to Disneyland (never to Disney World).
But I wanted to share with you all just a few tips and tricks to make it easier to plan your DL (Disneyland) vacation that I’ve come to know over the years…

  1. Plan, Plan and Plan some more.

You need to figure out which month/season to go. If you go in the summer awesome, but good luck to you. Summer is one of the peaks times for crowds, long lines, much higher costs to flights and hotel stays. Some may argue “but it’s nice weather in the summer” and my reply would be “it’s California (I used to live there) it’s been in the 80’s and it’s January).

OK, so my advice is to plan accordingly and if you are trying to save all you can in order to just be able to go to DL (like me) go in the off season, especially if you have younger kids.
February is my personal favorite time to go. We went last year in February for our daughters very first trip to DL and it worked out great!

I recommend checking out:

Alaska Airlines – They run great hotel, theme park or plane ticket discounts. Sometimes they run their Kids Fly Free to the Disneyland Resort deal.

Costco – Costco offers discounts and packages to members, sometimes including a free Character Meal, photo book or Disney Gift Card.

Mousesavers – Shows different deals and packages.

 

  1. Start Getting Excited!

Hey you’ve saved, you deal hunted for the best prices to get you to DL…now pump up the Disney!
If the kids know about your upcoming trip get them involved too, it will just make it more fun for all of you!

-Make a Disney Trip Count Down (all kinds of Ideas on Pinterest)

-Watch a different Disney movie that there is a ride for every week til your trip.

-Get or print out and color some Disney coloring pages

-Request the free Disneyland Planning DVD. It will help you plan and get your kids excited.

-Go to the Disneyland website. Look around at the attractions, entertainment and dining options.

-Let your kids make a “Must Do/See/Ride” list. It might make them feel special if they have chosen a particular ride that is important to them.

 

  1. Get some books…

Wait…what? That’s right, go down to the library and pick up a few of these great books. You will be surprised to read little tips and some unknown facts about the park. Our daughter loved looking through the books at all the pictures and reading about it all. We especially had fun learning more about the hidden Mickey’s throughout the park that it made it that much more fun looking for them when we were there!

Here are a few book suggestions:

-Birnbaum’s Disneyland 2014

-The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2014

-Hidden Mickey’s

 

  1. Make Dinning Reservations Now! (and Look-up Menu’s)

If you plan on eating at any sit down places you can make reservations as early as 60 days before your trip. They make it pretty easy to do to.
Go to the Disneyland website under Dinning to make reservations and view menu’s or you can call at (714) 781-DINE 7 days a week: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
*Please be advised that Disney now requests a credit card when making reservations. If you don’t show up or cancel 24hrs before your reservation time they charge you a $10 fee.

Browse the web, the DL site, Pinterest and ask around to find the restaurants serving the food you will enjoy. It’s important, when trying to have a great vacation, to know some information in advance. Heading to restaurants you are looking forward to is always a great part of vacationing.

 

No need to spend your whole trip eating dry chicken strips and soggy french fries. Just do your homework and know where to go (and where not to go).

 

  1. Ways to make it easier…

A few suggestions to help you save or just make it easier to get you on your way to Disneyland.

-Turn in Credit Card Rewards for Disney gift cards or Target/Store gift cards to use to go get Disney gift cards

-Check Disney Movie Rewards to see if you can turn in all the points you have (and completely forgot about) for a Disney gift card.

-Buy a Disney gift card or stash money away once a month until your trip and try to forget about it til it’s time to go.

-Hit up the Dollar store for rain ponchos (hey you never know and they are $12 at DL) and small Disney toys/activities for the kids on the long plane ride.

-Take tons of pictures! Have fun! And watch your child’s face just light up with amazement when they see their favorite character!

I will be updating this post in the next month or two with any new helpful information.

 

Be on the lookout for a post with lots of food and special pics from Disneyland next month, because we are going!!!!!
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Two new Starbucks locations at Disneyland and Downtown Disney!

Hi there fellow coffee lovers!

Just a little heads up if you are headed to Disneyland sometime this winter or later there will be a few Starbucks locations for your coffee fix!

Yes it’s true not one, but two locations – the first, in front of the west entrance to the World of Disney and the second, a kiosk location.

This is in addition to the Starbucks that has been in the California Adventure park and the one opening next month in the Market House inside Disneyland.

Me and my husband took our daughter for her first Disneyland trip this past February and we had a blast! And it made it just a little bit sweeter knowing that I was able to get my Starbucks coffee fix (it was only available in CA Adventure park at that time and we are more Disneyland people LOL)  We can’t wait to go again next year…with my Starbucks card in hand! ☺
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Info at: Disney blog

Rainbow Cupcakes (very fun to do with the kiddos)

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Last summer my daughter and I were trying to do a new project or activity that we could do at home everyday using stuff we already had in the house. (summer fun on a tight budget)
We came across this recipe in the Family Fun magazine. Many times this particular magazine has some good ideas but they are too often to difficult for my little one. Anyway, we found this great idea for cupcakes and it was easy enough for Little Diva to help me the whole time.

I have to say that the cupcakes came out looking pretty cool!

What you’ll need

  • White cake mix (we used an 18-1/4-ounce box)
  • Food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
  • Baking cups

How to make it

  1. Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow color.
    RAINBOW COLOR DROPS OF FOOD COLORING
    Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
    Blue 12 drops
    Green 12 drops
    Yellow 12 drops
    Orange 12 yellow and 4 red drops
    Red 18 drops
  2. Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown. As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the color underneath.
  3. Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions. Before serving, remove the paper wrapping.

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How to: A DIY “Rapunzel (Tangled)” Birthday party

I’m one of those parents who does not have a birthday party every single year for their child. I don’t have a problem with the idea, except I guess that I hardly had birthday parties growing up so when I was able to have a party it made it even that much more special to me.
My daughter has gone a handful of years without ever having an “official” birthday party. So my husband and I decided to have a party for our “Little Diva” this year.
Now, I originally wanted to have it at our home with tons of decorations all homemade and everything that I could do myself I planned to do…even the freak’n cake.
But deciding to have a party within one week of the actual party date (yes talk about last minute) my Martha Stewart homemade party plans fizzed out to the bottom of my brain….lol

To clarify: When we decided to throw a party together for our daughter we were all coming down from a three day Disney high.
We were on a plane ride home from our very first family vacation (first trip to Disneyland) together and had planned not to give our daughter a party due to this trip. I mean, come on, we just took her to Disneyland for the first time ever…  Anyway, my husband felt bad that our daughter has endured years of going to all kinds of other kids birthday parties and still not of had one of her own.  So my one week deadline to her party date was now in effect and I came up with a plan…

Right before our trip I had inquired about the new party room at our local cupcake shop. And luckily it was available and fairly affordable for what it all included. We decided to rent the room and (supplied by the shop) a cake decorating for all the kids.  The cupcake shop provided the room, all decor, plates, napkins, cups, one cupcake (of choice) per child , one 5″ round mini cake per child to decorate and all the clean-up…yes all the clean-up.  For 7 children total it turned out to be affordable and easy.

However, I still wanted to save as much money as possible while keeping a “Tangled” theme and providing some useful stuff in the party’s “Goody Bags” (I was told by other moms that I had to have those LoL). So this is what I came up with:

First thing first, was to get the actual “goody bag”. I didn’t want to get the plastic character ones you find at the store for like $5.99 for 5 of them. So I found a pack of 10 purple paper bags for $1 at the party supply store. Then I busted out my daughter’s yellow poster paint and painted the “sun” from Tangled. When the paint dried I wrote each guest’s name in the middle of the sun.

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I wanted one of the “goodies” to be a little thank you to our guests. So I remembered Rapunzel in the Tangled movie loves to paint. Wa-la! I got the cheap watercolor paint sets from the store and took off the package label and made one the said, “Rapunzel Paints, Thank you for coming to my party!”  And I put a sticker on the end of it (I made sure to have a Flynn Rider sticker on the ones for our male guests).

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Next, I found a free printable from a Disney site of a bookmark of Rapunzel’s tower. So I printed out those, cut them out and laminated each one at home. You can find the link I used here.
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Then for the rest of the goodies I found some inexpensive Rapunzel stickers (the boys got Avenger stickers…Thor is my daughter’s other love but that’s a whole other blog post). Also I found some pencils, suckers, and mini rubix cubes. So this is what they ended up looking like:

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Boy’s Goodie Bag

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Girl’s Goodie Bag

Then as a last thought, I printed out some free coloring pages from the Disney site and set them up on the table at the party for the kids to color while we waited for all the guests to arrive. Yes….I did it!

Over all, the party turned out great! My daughter was extremely happy and just thought it was so special for her. All of our little guests who attended had so much fun playing “Pin Pascal on Rapunzel”, decorating their very own cakes to take home and picking whatever cupcake they wanted from the shop. It was such a fun day for all the the kids and even the parents enjoyed themselves watching the activities.

I’m so glad that we had this party for our little girl…who is growing up so very fast.

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Above: Little Diva decorating her mini cake

Above Left: One party guest playing “Pin Pascal on Rapunzel”