Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where in Disneyland: A Little Glass Toad

SURPRISE!  I've got a bonus Disney trivia post for you guys today. :D  We've done Where in WDW...this one is going to be Where in Disneyland!


How cute is this little glass amphibian?  Maybe it's a frog waiting to be turned into a Prince Charming...or maybe he's a toad? ;)

Where in Disneyland do you think you'll find him?


An Unusual Mirror: Where in WDW

I always look forward to Wednesday's trivia post.  I can dip into my folders of Disney photos to search for the prettiest or the wackiest or the most interesting or the most obscure WDW detail I can find.  Here's what I got today:


It's a mirror.  A rather unusual mirror.  Definitely elegant by also odd.  A large duck-billed flamingo-type bird seems to be staring down a crocodile.  I feel like there could be something philosophically significant to it.

Have you ever spied this funny pair somewhere at Walt Disney World?  Post your guess in the comments!

Last week's trivia was guessed on instagram - you can find Game Central Station at Hollywood Studios in the Animation building...and you can also meet Ralph and Vanellope there. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Decorate Your MagicBand: DIY Ideas

Today we're going to talk about the MagicBand.  No, not strategies or Fastpass+ or anything...this is a purely aesthetic post.


Much as I love the bright, standard colors the MagicBands come in, sometimes they need a little sprucing up and customization.  And I don't really want to spend a fortune on all the gizmos and gadgets Disney sells to decorate your band with...I'd rather create something myself!

   

So get out your crafting gear - this post is going to be full of DIY ideas for decorating your MagicBand!

1. PAINT


You don't need to be an artist - simple swirls and polka dots in paint can make your MagicBand extra pretty!  I used some water color paints I had lying around, and the design lasted for a few days in the parks before it started to rub/smudge/wash off.  Acrylic paints or even nail polish might be a better bet.

2. WASHI TAPE


Washi tape comes in pretty, colorful rolls that you'll find at most crafting stores.  I always think it looks so pretty on the shelf, so I buy it and bring it home...and don't know what to do with it!  But blinging out my MagicBand seemed like a good use...


You could add some stripes...


With a wider piece of washi tape you could cover the enitre band.  Just lay it on smoothly, then run a pair of scissors (carefully!) down the little edge between the darker grey outer border and the more colorful inner band to trim the tape to exactly the right size.


It's fun to experiment with the washi tape - you could cut it to different widths and sizes to make different geomentrical designs, or even spell out a name!

3. STICKERS


Pick up some stickers at the dollar store to add some quick pixie dust to your band...or get some of those gemstone stickers at the craft store to really make it sparkle.  Not all stickers adhere to the MagicBand very well, so you might want to add some glue or a coat of clear nail polish or clear paint over top.

4. RIBBON


I feel like Minnie Mouse would approve of this MagicBand decorating method!  Add one small bow above the mouse head for a simple but sophisticated look.  Or you could go a little bigger...


And wrap the entire MagicBand in ribbon!


You might need to use some tape or glue while wrapping to get the ribbon to stay.  And don't forget to leave a few holes open for the clasp!


You could add curling ribbon to make it a party (this MagicBand feels like the Move It Shake It Celebrate It parade on your wrist!).


You could also weave a thinner ribbon through the holes to make a pretty pattern.

Curling ribbon, admittedly, might not stand up to the elements too well.  That is one thing to consider when decorating your MagicBand - will it be able to stand up to a day in the parks on your wrist?  You also want to make sure you don't cover up the Mickey sensor which you'll be scanning everywhere.

I think it could be fun to plus up your MagicBand each morning in a unique way to match your outfit...and then if the stickers don't stay on or the ribbon comes off, it doesn't matter too much.  Every day you could add some new pixie dust. :)




Monday, April 28, 2014

Cupcakes of Disneyland

There were lots and lots of delicious eats to be discovered at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure - sandwiches, ice cream bars, churros, macaroons, pie-o-ramas to name just a few!  But one particular corner of the dessert scene which I was especially excited to explore was the DISNEYLAND CUPCAKE situation.


With all the blog fun I've had with Disney World cupcakes, you had to know this post was coming. ;)  Let's begin at the park that started it all...

DISNEYLAND


This is the Jolly Holiday Bakery and Cafe, located at the end of Main Street, just across from Sleeping Beauty Castle.  It's my new favorite place.  The Mary Poppins theming is adorable, and the bakery case looks divine...

 

There are TWO lovely-looking cupcakes here.  The cast member we asked seemed to think they were both lemon with lemon filling - although one had a springtime/Easter scene in icing while the other had a vanilla icing with strawberry topping in the middle.

Many Disney World bakeries have a few signature cupcakes which are available year-round as well as a few seasonal cupcakes, but it looks like all the cupcakes at the Jolly Holiday rotate with the seasons.  Earlier in the year they had some Mardi Gras cupcakes and also this chocolate raspberry mountain of a cupcake.  The Oh My Disney blog featured it as one of the tallest desserts at Disneyland (but didn't tell you where to find it!).  I might have been tempted by chocolate raspberry, but I wasn't super excited about the lemon.  I decided to go with a Matterhorn Macaroon instead...


Because if something is called a Matterhorn Macaroon, you just have to buy it.  I'm not normally a fan of coconut, but I enjoyed it!  And the sandwich and soup you can see behind were incredible.


One cupcake that does seem to be consistently available at Disneyland can be found at the Hungry Bear Restaurant tucked back in Critter Country.


Headin' for the Hungry Bear!

 

I had seen photos of this little guy on instagram and couldn't wait to try it - look at them all waiting in the fridge!


This is the lemon bumblebee cupcake!  I loved the adorable chocolate bee on top, and the way the icing was flecked with shiny golden-honey-colored sparkles.


The cake is lemon as is the filling.  The little bee is made of some very nice fudgy chocolate (I would've loved more of that chocolate in this cupcake actually).  The icing is vanilla and so light and frothy and delicious.  The lemon is certainly refreshing, especially on a warm day; but Mama Snob thought a honey cupcake might have made more sense to go with the bee and the bear restaurant - and have been more exciting!


Also can I just quickly mention the fried green tomato sandwich with sweet potato fries at the Hungry Bear?  SO TASTY.  It's so unique!

Other Disneyland Cupcakes:

We did not get to stop in the Plaza Inn, but they have a red velvet cupcake and some funky treasure chest cakes.

The Candy Palace on Main Street which has your quintessential Disney candy counter with fudge and candy apples - like the Confectionery - apparently sometimes carries cupcakes but not exciting ones (I'll explain in a minute).

The Market House (Disneyland's Starbucks location) did not have cupcakes, unlike its Disney World counterpart the Main Street Bakery.

DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

 

Signs like the sign on the left always stop me in my tracks.  Our next cupcake stop is the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe at Disney's California Adventure.  This is DCA's Starbucks location, and it is such a beautiful space.  There is this huge and gorgeous seating area - exactly the sort of thing the Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom needs.  Sigh...ANYway...


Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical had, amongst its Starbucks "boulange" treats, a very cute Easter cupcake - almost identical to the one at the Jolly Holiday, only it has a bunny on top!  And you may notice the cinnamon roll photobombing...

 

I wish I had gotten to try it, although it doesn't look as delicious when it isn't under a heat lamp sitting in a pool of icing.

 

We have one more stop at DCA: Trolley Treats!  Isn't that just the cutest name?  It's right around the corner from the Fiddler, Fife, and Practical, and it has a darling trolley train layout in the window.


This is the sort-of candy counter I was talking about with Candy Palace.  You'll find them all over Disney World and Disneyland, and they have similar cheerful, fun selections: chocolate-covered marshmellows, rice krispie treats, pretzels, and fruit...cake pops, outrageously decorated candy apples like our friend Olaf above.


And if you look just down the case there, you'll see some cupcakes!


LOVE the Easter designs - a carrot patch, a bunny, and a flower!  Disney cupcakes are always good for design inspiration. ;)

 

Adorable as these cupcakes are, I decided to wait for a better sweet treat.  Candy counter cupcakes at Disney, in my experience, just aren't in the same category as the more deluxe cupcakes.  They taste like they might have been frozen, the flavors are just regular old chocolate and vanilla, and you'll find the exact same ones all over property.

DOWNTOWN DISNEY


At Marceline's Confectionery in Downtown Disney, for instance, I saw the exact same three cupcakes as the ones at Trolley Treats.  I don't know why the fact that they're omnipresent makes them seem less delicious, but somehow it does. ;)

One last cupcake spot to mention that I didn't get to try: an outside chain called The Cupcake Store has a kiosk in Downtown Disney.  We only walked by it early in the morning and late at night, when it didn't seem to be open.


If I've left out anything, hopefully Disneyland aficianados out there will let me know!  These are the treats I saw during our trip and have heard of online.  It was only a two-day visit, which wasn't much time for research. ;)  To be honest, cupcakes seem to be a much bigger thing at Walt Disney World.  Disneyland certainly has its dessert stars as well, they just seem to come in different forms!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Polynesian Gossip: Construction Spring 2014

I'm squeezing in a Saturday post this week!  I like to stay up on the construction going on at the Polynesian Resort - I posted in January about the big long dock, and now the DVC bungalows themselves are going up on the Seven Seas Lagoon!  I took some photos back in March that I never got around to sharing...


They were starting to get the little tiki rooftops ready to go!


We made sure to pay a visit to the Great Ceremonial House - a goodbye visit to the space as we know it - what with all the construction that's planned for the lobby.  The Wyland gallery was already closed - apparently that's where there will be temporary check-in desks while they reconstruct the main check-in area.  The desks are supposedly going to the pod-style like at Pop Century.  I'm honestly not a huge fan of the pod design, but whadda you gonna do?  It'll be fun to see all the new stuff in December.  I'm still surprised at the lack of any official concept art of the new spaces.

**UPDATE MAY 2 - The Disney Parks Blog just shared this post about the Polynesian's name change with some sketches!  They've got a tiny waterfall and a tiki god in the center of the lobby instead of a lush, tropical oasis, and apparently there's something called "Trader Sam's Grog Grotto" on the way.**


I really don't know what I'm going to do without this waterfall.  I just don't.


All I can say is that if there are new carpets they better be JUST as cool as the old ones.

 

A lot of the photos I've seen online have been of the bungalows out on the lagoon, but I haven't seen many of the inside of GCH.  I'd be interested to know what's going on - is Boutiki still open?  What's the deal with the check-in desks?  If the waterfall is walled off, are the seating areas too?  I'd love to hear y'all's thoughts and gossip in the comments!!  Captain Cook's is closed - the temporary replacement is the Cast Member cafeteria, dressed up for the occasion.  YES - there are still cupcakes. NO - there are no dole whips. Sniff.


But let's get outside - LOOK AT ALL THIS FANCY STUFF GOIN ON.


There's a brand new beautiful firepit area from the s'mores making!


You'll find this exact same firepit at some of the other resorts - Beach Club, for instance.  It's definitely an improvement on the Poylnesian's previous firepit, which was literally a fire in a pit on the beach.  This seems safer.


Seeing the tropical ferns and landscaping going on around the firepit promontory made me wonder yet again what kind of promontory/area they'll have for weddings with Sunset Point gone.  The Poly was such a popular venue...


Looking further down the beach we spotted walls and rooftops going up on the water.  These pics were taken in early March - now the bungalows are starting to look finished!


Wall supports...


Zoomed out view from the boat dock!


If you're interested in the hammock situation, there is one lone hammock left on the main beach at the Poylnesian - you can just see it beyond the swing by the green construction walls.  There used to be hammocks right next to the boat dock as well, but they weren't there in March.


There is no construction or anything especially noteworthy in this photo.  I just thought the pink tree and the evening light on the longhouses was super pretty. ;)


We were catching a launch to the Magic Kingdom, so we got a view from the water!


It was amazing to see the progress they made just during our trip.  A few days later there were even more rooftops waiting to go up...


And now they ARE up!  WDWMagic has some more recent photos, and of course the Tikiman has lots of great details and news from April here.


Sigh....construction cranes just aren't very Disney look, but I suppose there's no helping it.  And while I'm excited to see what all the new things will look like, I'm not super happy that Disney is cramming the Seven Seas Lagoon with another DVC property.  Won't this make the monorail and the resort that much more crowded?  I would  love a brand new resort in some brand new location - they've got all that land, after all!
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