Monday, June 30, 2014

Disneyland's Jolly Holiday Bakery

This is not only a Sweet Treat Monday.  This is a Matterhorn Monday...

...or rather, a Matterhorn Macaroon Monday!

This adorable Disney dessert can be found at the adorable Jolly Holiday Cafe and Bakery at Disneyland in California!

Mary Poppins + a Bakery + Cute Penguins + Tasty Treats = PERFECTION.

Just look at that weather's Mary!

And out front there's a charming courtyard with lights and trees and tables.


Some detail shots - I loved the cheerful yellow building, the hedges separating the seating from the street, and the elegant umbrellas!

The tables and the chairs look spit spot and very proper...I feel sure Mary would approve!

But before we sit down and get comfy, let's go in and place our order!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Empty Magic Kingdom Morning: Disney Snob Secrets

The Magic Kingdom is my favorite park - and while I love it at all times and all seasons, there is one particular time to experience it that is unlike any other:  before opening.  When it's empty.

It's like stepping into Wonderland - you feel like the only person in the park!

Instead of the hustle and bustle of crowds and strollers and photopass photographers and balloon hawkers, it's just you and an empty Main Street and that castle!


You will probably feel the need to stop and dance in front of the castle.  You will most certainly feel like the park belongs entirely to you. ;)

So how does one enjoy an empty Magic Kingdom before opening?  This is no private tour or fancy access.  All you fellow Disney Snobs have probably already guessed the answer: make an early ADR at one of the restaurants!

Two words: Crystal. Palace.  Or you could go with three words: Cinderella's Royal Table.  But those words are a little more expensive, so we usually go with Crystal Palace. ;)  These two Magic Kingdom restaurants open at 8am, an hour before the park does.  You simply find a cast member at the turnstiles, let them know your reservation details, and you're allowed inside to get to your meal before the rest of the crowds!


There's lots to love about the Crystal Palace just by itself - puffed french toast, amazing scones, friends from the Hundred Acre Wood.  But I think the best part of an early Crystal Palace breakfast is the walk there through the deserted park...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel Review

There are three official Disney hotels at Disneyland Resort in California - the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian Hotel, and the Paradise Pier.  We've had a quick tour of the Grand Californian lobby, but today we're going to have an in-depth look at one of the others...


This hotel is located right across the street from Disney's California Adventure and has a vibe to match the Paradise Pier area of the park.  The theming is not quite on the same level as other Disney resorts, but there is a Goofy in the lobby!

Here's the Front Desk area...notice the sun in the woodwork.  He's everywhere at the Paradise Pier!

There's a Guest Services desk off to one side of the lobby as well.


The hotel lobbies at Walt Disney World are one of my favorite spots to just hang out and relax with a book - unfortunately the Paradise Pier has a very basic layout and isn't really one of those sort-of spaces.  There are some booths and benches stretching off down the hallway between the gift shop and the cafe though...


Mickey in Paradise is the gift shop, and there's a quick service type eatery called the Surfside Lounge.  At the far end of the lobby hallway is the PCH Grill which has a character breakfast.

There are only four elevators for fifteen floors, and there can be a back-up sometimes.  If you're staying club level, there are stairs going up to the second floor, where the lounge is, so you can skip the elevators.

This isn't as immersive as other Disney properties, but there are still plenty of details to take in - all the festive artwork reminded me of the Boardwalk Resort!

Instead of just a kid's area there's a kid's tv room with a Sleeping Beauty sand castle!

"Mickey's Beach" Fitness Center has a Mickey-shaped window in the door!

One of the most convenient things about staying here is your proximity to the parks.  If you're walking to the main turnstiles, you'll exit behind the Paradise Pier on the parking garage side and walk between the palm trees and the Disneyland hotel to get to the Downtown Disney area.


You cut through Downtown Disney, and soon you'll be seeing those iconic gates!  If you want to take a shortcut to Disney's California Adventure, though, you'll want to go out the front entrance and cross the street to the Grand Californian.

Guests from all three Disneyland hotels are welcome to use the Grand Californian's entrance to DCA - you do need to show a room key for your party.  Sometimes - especially at opening - the turnstiles can back up a bit, but the line does move quickly.

Definitely get up early and take advantage of the extra magic hours resort guests get!  The parks were dead for that first hour...way more quiet than a Walt Disney World park would be for a resort EMH.  Probably because there are only three hotels-worth of guests instead of twenty-three!


When you're inside Disney's California Adventure Park, you can see the bulk of the Paradise Pier rising up just across the way - very fun!  And there are theme park could watch World of Color from your room!  You can catch glimpses of the nighttime shows elsewhere in the hotel too, as we'll get to in a minute.

The first thing I had to do when we arrived was catch a glimpse of the park.  I walked down to the far end of the third floor terrace (where the pool is) to find this:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Disney Cruise Dining: Royal Palace Dinner

Welcome to another Sweet Treat Monday, my friends!  Ready for some new Disney deliciousness?

This week we're setting sail on the Disney Dream cruise ship to have a look at the regal decor and dainty delicacies at the Royal Palace Restaurant!

The Royal Palace is one of the table service restaurants that you'll visit during your cruise dinner rotation, along with Animator's Palate and the Enchanted Garden.

This is the one where they serve the bread in a pumpkin carriage...

...and there are princes and princesses EVERYWHERE.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five Pretty Links

It's Friday again, and you guys know what that means!  I don't have too many Disney links this week...I thought we'd just go with some pretty pixie dust of assorted kinds.  Do you have any favorite web finds from this week?  Share them in the comments! :)

1. I absolutely love the Pocket Princess comics by Amy Mebberson - did you know she's on instagram now?  This recent one made me smile because: cupcakes.  I'm totally with Aurora - bring on the chocolate!

2. From Disney princesses to real royalty...Suri's Burn Book always seems to have the scoop (and probably something snarky to say!) on the fashionable little princesses of Europe.  And how funny was the gif from the Swedish royal baptism?

3. So much pretty in this recent wedding feature on Style Me Pretty.  That hair jewelry is so unique - and the shoes.  And a dress that actually has sleeves??  YES PLEASE!

4. Speaking of style, I'm kind of in love with the striped blazer and clock shoes from Wendy's Look Book.  I don't think I'd ever be able to afford that pair of flats, but with a gold paint pen and a pair of cheap black shoes from Payless...hmmm...

5. This one is for all the Lizzie Bennet Diaries fans - did you know there are some NEW bonus videos of Lizzie and Darcy up on the channel?  At first I was wondering if maybe they were going to bring those characters into the Emma Approved series that is still going on (I keep up with it in a dilatory sort-of fashion, but I'm still not a fan)...but I think it's to promote the new LBD book they have coming out.  I'm not sure I like the idea of a book - interpreting Jane Austen in a new medium like web videos is one thing, but she already wrote the book on Elizabeth and Darcy.  I don't get why so many people feel the need to rewrite her stories when they're so perfect already.  But then I'm a bit of an Austen snob as well as a Disney snob... ;)

-----Book Review: Adorable BabyLit Classics-----
-----Where in WDW: Palm Tree Entrance-----
-----Emma in Europe: Tea and Shopping in Chester-----

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tea and Shopping in Chester

Snow and ice wouldn't stop us from exploring the beautiful old city of Chester in England during our Europe trip...

When last we left off, we were strolling along the city walls near the cathedral...


It was fascinating to read about the history of the walls as we walked along (and listen to it on the app we had downloaded!).  Construction was begun by the Romans, although the walls were later improved by the Anglo-Saxons and others...I love the layer upon layer of history that you find in England!  The past doesn't seem so far away.

Another portion of Chester's history we learned belonged to the medieval cathedral.  I loved this quote (from the year 1200!) on one of the plaques: "...we admire the monks of Chester because they are not wearied by the toil of their joyful yoke.  To the local people they are cheery: to those who come from afar they are jovial, ready to open their hearts to them."

I really loved exploring the walls - apparently you can make a full circuit around the city (it's about 2 miles), but we didn't have time, and anyway it was very icy and windy and cold up there!  I wasn't too sorry to duck back into the main shopping streets...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Where in WDW: Main Entrance

Happy Windsday, everbody!  Props to all of you who identified last week's trivia photo - that pelican is Nigel from Finding Nemo, and you'll find him outside Cabanas on the Disney Dream cruise ship, near the elevators.  Ready for a new challenge?

This sign is pointing you towards the Main Entrance...but where are you going when you see it?  This one shouldn't be too hard, but the photo just made me smile - we could all do with a few more palm trees in our day, couldn't we? ;)

Share your answer in the comments!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Let's Watch the Main Street Electrical Parade!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the Magic Kingdom proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and thousands of sparkling lights and electrosynthomagnetic musical sounds...

It's the Main Street Electrical Parade!  Anybody feel like watching it tonight??

We could watch it from Frontierland, with the towers of the castle rising majestically off in the distance behind all the floats...

We could watch it from Town Square (that's always a good spot for a quick getaway if you're leaving right after the parade!)...

We could watch it from Main Street itself...

We could watch it from Liberty Square, sitting in front of the Hall of Presidents with the floats crossing the bridge towards us from the Hub...

We could watch it from a distance - even when I haven't invested the time to save a curbside seat and am just walking by (ride wait times can sometimes be shorter during a nighttime parade or show like Wishes), I still love catching glimpses of the sparkly floats gliding through the darkened streets.

I love how Tinkerbell and her fairy friends lead the way...

It's so dark it's difficult to get a proper look (or photograph!) of them, but I love those leaf tunics and lanterns!

Tinkerbell cut off Mickey and Minnie and their glowing train so that she gets to go first.


I'm listening to the Main Street Electrical Parade soundtrack as I put together this post.  You should go put it on too. :)

Next up are the crazy twirly creatures with Alice and friends in tow...

Watch that cheshire cat carefully...he might disappear, leaving nothing but a ghostly smile!  Also keep an eye out for the frog swallowing a fly!


I can never decide which is my favorite: the turtle in the hipster glasses or the turtle in the sombrero?  They're both pretty great.

It's time for the PRINCESSES, y'all.  Don't Suzy and Perla's dresses remind you of that one dress from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding that had all the lights??

Cinderella's arrival is heralded by her dancing mice friends...

There's Cindy!

Always so gracious and graceful. :)

More lords and ladies!  This is one of my favorite parts of the parade - the performers have the best expressions.  When there's a pause in the dancing, the ladies will come together to's so fun to watch!

I suspect these dresses were inspired by the dresses at the ball in the movie - don't you think they're similar?


Very elegant and very...surprised?  Once I was suprised by one of the dancing couples on Main Street who suddenly turned out of the line-up and cut through the crowds by Casey's to get back to a Cast Member only area...

All the guests eating their hot dogs did a double take, but the dancers were as cool as cucumbers, bowing and nodding to everybody as if it were the most natural thing in the world.  I wonder why they had to duck out - wardrobe malfunction?  Were they late for another ball?

Speaking of  royalty, we mustn't forget about Prince Charming and the evil stepsisters!  They are so outrageous, competing for the prince and shouting to the crowd.  When watching the parade with my little brother Dart, I suggested that he blow Anastasia a kiss.  Dart is a good sport, so he did, and Anastasia was transfixed and utterly delighted:


Mama Snob got these pics - it was SO funny!  Prince Charming was entirely forgotten and Anastasia was fawning over Dart from the float, yelling "BLOW ANOTHER ONE."  Then Drizella came over and wanted some attention too.   HILARIOUS.

You can see it in the video...although I'm afraid I was laughing so hard that bit was rather shaky!


Peter and Captain Hook sailed by next, battling it out on the Jolly Roger...

Smee's like, "Seen any crocodiles?"

Snow White and her dwarfs come sparkling and dancing along - they must be taking a break from all the Mine Train construction. ;)

Another fun character face captured by Mama Snob!


Then it's Pete the friendly dragon!  After him is the rather frightening giant head / lost boys float.  Tucked away at the back is one of my favorite parade details...


ANOTHER DISNEY CUPCAKE!  Now if one of the WDW bakeries could make me a light-up cupcake, that would definitely make my top 5 list. ;)

We finish off with a salute to all nations...but mostly America.  Oh wait, that's the Muppet show, isn't it?  But the end of the Electrical parade feels similar!

I have to admit that, in spite of the bizarre clowns, I do miss SpectroMagic sometimes.  The music was just perfection: "Shimmering, glimmering, carouseling...pure enchantment lights our way!"

But the Main Street Electrical Parade is a pretty darn pixie-dusted parade too!  What's your favorite spot to watch?  Share in the comments!