Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Candy Palace and Penny Arcade Refurb

 With the refurbishment of the 400 block of Main Street, that included the Candy Palace and the Penny Arcade. If you have ever tried to stop and grab a caramel apple or peanut clusters before you left the park, you know that it is always crowded and difficult to maneuver around the penny presses and gobs of fellow caramel apple lovers.
 In comparison to the candy kitchen in Marcelline's at Downtown Disney, this kitchen was microscopic, but they still managed to turn out lots of hand made scrumptiousness.  Now look at the difference!  In this area they were making something with gooey caramel.
 In this second section they were dipping pineapple wedges into dark chocolate.  What?  If I were a pineapple fan, let me tell you, I would be all over that!  Yum!
 Here is how they have changed the display cases and check out areas This used to be the end of the check out stand, but they have now move the check out to the back corner behind the Coca-cola Corner.  See it back there?
 And this very patriotic looking area used to be where all the penny presses and the Uncle Sam were located.  It has the coffees, boxed cookies, caramel corn, and packages of the fresh candies made on the premises.  See all of them in the display case in the center of the picture?  If the package says FRESH on the yellow sticker, then it was made at Disneyland.  If it has a blue Disneyland sticker on it, it was made who knows when back in WDW.  Yuck.  We have gotten too many rancid nuts that way.  Never buy those.
 Here is Mr. Diva checking out our stuff at the new check out stand in the back.
 Here are all of the yummy products along the back wall.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Steakhouse 55 - Disneyland Hotel

For our anniversary, we usually have dinner at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park, but it was closed for our anniversary in 2011, so we decided to try Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel.  We had heard it was very good and was a nice, adult place to have a meal at the resort.

Steakhouse 55 was originally a restaurant called Granville's Steakhouse.  As you may or may not know, the Disneyland hotel was not originally owned by Disney.  Walt brokered a deal with his friend Jack Wrather to build the hotel.  Jack added the Granville Steakhouse and named it after his wife. She was a child star by the name of Bonita Granville. The hotel wasn't purchased by the Disney Corp until 4 years after Jack's death in 1988.   The name of the restaurant was changed and the restaurant refurbished and re-opened in 2006.
But enough about the history of the place, I know you want to know how the food was right?
First, you are served some amazing bread!  The bit of leftover bread is in the top corner. We ordered the berry Pina Coladas and they were very good!  
For dinner, I ordered the Filet Mignon $32 and Mr. Diva ordered the Porterhouse  $39.  Much like Ruth's Chris, you have to order the sides separately.  We ordered the Chef's Potato Stack Au Gratin $8, Sauteed Green Beans with Applewood-Smoked Bacon $8, Sauteed or Creamed Spinach$9, Sauteed Mushrooms $9.  Way too much food!

Sorry that I don't have better pictures, but Mr. Diva and I were celebrating and it's a nice restaurant, so we didn't want to look like tourists. ;-D 

After this HUGE dinner, we didn't have any room for the delectable desserts on their menu, but they knew we were celebrating our anniversary and brought us this sweet ending to our delicious dinner. 

 On our way out, we stopped by a few of the pictures of Walt and went ahead and played the Disney Geek.  Mr. Diva wanted pictures with Walt before we left.

All in all, Steakhouse 55 is an excellent restaurant!  I don't have a bad thing to say about it other than that it is very expensive.  Because of that, we will only be eating there on very, very special occasions.  But when we do, at least we will be assured of a great meal!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How Many Wishing Wells are in Disneyland?

 Of course, there is the iconic Snow White's Wishing Well in Snow White's Grotto to the right of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  The money from this wishing well is collected periodically and it goes to the Children's Hospital of LA.

 Over in Toon Town, Minnie Mouse has her own wishing well.  Minnie posted a special message on the front of her wishing well that says,
Welcome to my backyard well,
A secret wish you now must tell,
My reply will echo clear,
To all my friends so near and dear!
Love, Minnie

 And the last wishing well (that I know of) is over in Critter Country near the fast pass distribution for Splash Mountain.  You really can't throw any coins into this wishing well, but it is really cute and it has this adorable statue of Brer Rabbit on it.  And I love all of the greenery around it.  Such a lovely little spot.
So there you have it!  Three wishing wells at Disneyland.  Just a silly little tidbit I felt like talking about.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Disneyland's Jolly Holiday Bakery

Disneyland is in the midst of refurbishing many of the things on Main Street, and in so doing, they have the Carnation Cafe and Blue Ribbon Bakery closed.  They needed another restaurant to replace them, so they turned this corner restaurant space from the AP Renewal office, back into a restaurant called the Jolly Holiday Bakery.
One of the interesting tidbits that I recently learned was that this custom Mary Poppins weathervane has two pennies in her carpetbag.  One has the date 1955 for the year the park opened and one is 2012 for the year the bakery opened.  

As you enter the bakery, you can see the lovely light fixture, the menu boards, and the display cases full of yummy looking things!
Here is a painting with many sayings and things from the movie.

Here is a display case in the queue with a figurine of Mary riding her carousel horse, and some birds and penguins.
Silhouettes of Mary, Jane and Michael. And a detailed silhouette of a child flying a kite.
This tile mosaic on the floor is supposed to mimic the chalk pictures Burt drew on the sidewalks.

Here is the menu served after 10:30 am. 
And the espresso and beverage menu that is served all day.  In case you were wondering, Abuelita (Spanish for grandma) is a Nestle brand of powdered chocolate for making Mexican Hot Cocoa.

Yum, right?  so many choices!!

Too many baked goods to choose from! 

Raspberry Cheesecakes and cupcakes.
Cookies, cupcakes, crispy treats, Matterhorn Macaroons, chocolate croissants, and muffins!

Banana nut loaf, danish, scones, cookies, and cinnamon rolls!

This is the grilled cheese sandwich that is part of the Jolly Holiday combo with tomato basil soup.

I'm not really sure how I even made a choice between these two!

Mr. Diva ordered the Roasted Turkey Sandwich and chips, $8.69.  He liked it!

I ordered the Cheese and Broccoli Quiche with house salad $6.29, blended mocha $4.39,  
and a lemon meringue (actually marshmallow fluff) bar $3.99.  
All very good!  Of course I had my salad dry, but it was still good.

And who could pass up a meal in this setting?  You can watch tons of people, enjoy the view of the castle and the Matterhorn, listen to the Main Street music and enjoy a good meal.  I would definitely recommend the Jolly Holiday Bakery for a quick service meal on your next trip.

Here is a little video done by the folks at Disney about the Jolly Holiday Bakery:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree

 The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree is the new performing arts area in Disneyland.  For decades, high school and college choirs, bands and other performing arts groups have been showcased at the Carnation Plaza Gardens  to the left of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  The Plaza Gardens is undergoing a big rennovation this next year and so this will be the new area to showcase the performing arts.
 To get to the Jamboree, you just walk along the Big Thunder Trail either from the Village Haus in Fantasyland or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland.  Pass through the petting zoo area, or the walkway by the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ.  You'll see the signs.
 There is a big stage for the performances. 
 There are also some things for you to see, quilting, wood carving, learn to twirl a lasso, etc.
 And of course, some of our favorites, the characters in their western get-ups! We found Minnie, but never did find Mikey in any of the three times we ventured back.  Must have missed him every time!
 Chip and Dale are always a good time!  I got hugs and kisses from these crazy chipmunks!
 Matt danced to the high school band's music with the guys.  They jumped right in and kicked up their heels!
 And then posed for this adorable picture without missing a beat!
 Donald was his usual camera hog.  Stepping in front of us to make sure he got top billing.
Gaucho Goofy has some seriously loud chaps and plaid on the day we saw him! 

It's a nice break from the crowds and gives you a little chance to sit down, cool off, meet some characters and take in a performance. Along with the regular characters, we heard that Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar also make an appearance.  

Be sure to stop in to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree the next time you are at the Disneyland Resort!  I believe it will be open until next year when the new Plaza Gardens is revealed.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tomorrowland Terrace Breakfast

We recently found out that they serve breakfast at the Tomorrowland Terrace.  We never eat in Tomorrowland because I am a very picky eater, and I don't like Redd Rockett's Pizza Port (worst food in the Disneyland Resort!) and I don't eat hamburgers, which is pretty much all they serve at the Tomorrowland Terrace.

But breakfast at the Terrace?  Why not!  We decided to give it a try!
They have these cool computer boards and as you can see there are 4 options for breakfast.  The breakfast platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes and a biscuit, is standard breakfast fare at Disneyland and it's good.  So are the french toast and the fruit platter.  We have had them all and like them.
What enticed us to the Tomorrowland Terrace was the promise of one of our favorite breakfast foods, the breakfast burrito.  Who doesn't love eggs, bacon, cheese and hash browns all rolled up in a warm flour tortilla? 
We both opted for the breakfast burrito with a side of fruit, and as you can see, a soda.

Notice how empty it is behind me!  There were only a hand full of people eating breakfast around us. It was really so nice and quiet and cool under the covered patio.  And we got to listen to Star Wars cantina music while we were eating.  That was a pleasant change!
 I ordered mine as a special because they said it came with pico de gallo salsa and I despise salsa.

While I was taking pictures, Mr. Diva unceremoniously dove right in and started eating.  From the first bite he warned me that I wasn't going to like it.   He has lived with me long enough to know these things.
Tomorrowland Terrace Breakfast Burrito - ground meat, black beans, scrambled eggs, spicy potatoes, and pico de gallo wrapped in a warm flour tortilla and served with a side of fresh fruit.
Cutting into it, I immediately noticed copious amounts of pic de galloish stuff (red onions, tomatoes, and green cilantro) all mixed into the potatoes.  (you can't fool a picky eater!)  I saw no cheese, no bacon, no eggs, (apparently the eggs were there, but hidden at the bottom) but I did spy black beans and some undetermined type of ground meat. *yucky shiver*

I will stop here and say that Mr. Diva liked his breakfast burrito.  He likes this kind of stuff. He has no problems ordering food at a restaurant.  Even at a Mexican food restaurant.  I, on the other hand, have to go through the list of things NOT to put on my plate, no salsa, no sour cream, no guacamole, no olives, no onions, no cilantro, no pico de gallo, and most importantly,  is the meat ground or shredded? Oh, the poor waiters!

Obviously I did not ask enough questions.  I didn't think you could mess up a breakfast burrito.  Now, I know better.

All that being said, I know that I am one of the few who probably would give this burrito a bad review. I can honestly say that I believe the majority of the people who try it would really like it.  
Despite the yucky breakfast burrito, we would definitely eat breakfast at the Tomorrowland Terrace again.  Especially if it was a morning where we wanted a nice quiet breakfast in the park.  I would just be sure to order the Breakfast Platter or the French Toast next time.  I know I like those!

I borrowed this picture of the breakfast platter from yelp -
And this picture of the french toast from Favorite Stops Along the Way Blog -

See?  Don't those look tasty?  

So despite my personal disappointment in the breakfast burrito, I would recommend the Tomorrowland Terrace for a quiet breakfast to start a busy day in the parks.