Sunday, October 30, 2011

Good Eats in Downtown Disney District: Uva Bar

If you read my last post on eating at Tortilla Joe's in Downtown Disney District, here's another great restaurant.

Uva Bar
The Uva Bar is an outside extension of the Catal Restaurant.  It's a circular little bar with outside dining only.

To be honest, when my husband suggested we eat here I was super skeptical.  I didn't think they'd have a kid's menu or have anything I'd like (not that I'm picky, but I was really craving something with cheese that day).

Well, serves me right for being skeptical because this place rocked!  They indeed had a kid's meal and were very flexible in adjusting it based on my daughter's preferences.

For an appetizer, we ordered a bacon-wrapped shrimp dish.  Sounds weird, right?  Well it was super good!  I would've never thought to wrap shrimp in bacon.  Mind you, the bacon was light but it added just a little something to make this dish special.



As another appetizer, I ordered their garlic fries.  Again, it was another good choice.  The fries were lightly fried so they didn't feel heavy or fattening. 


My husband ordered a bacon burger, I went for a chicken salad, and my daughter had a risotto dish (sorry, no picture of that).




After my Annual Passhold discount, the bill here was around $100 for the three of us.  That included 2 alcoholic drinks, 1 kid's smoothie, 2 appetizers, 2 adult entrees, and 1 kid's meal.  Uva Bar is good place to check out if you're looking for something outside the Disney Parks feel and pricing was not unreasonable if I compare it to a night out at Benihana's.  I would definitely come back here for the bacon-wrapped shrimp though.  That alone was worth it! :-)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Good Eats in Downtown Disney District: Tortilla Joes

If you're in the mood to try great food outside Disneyland and California Adventure, there are some fantastic restaurants in the Downtown Disney District.  The best part is that it's just a short walk from the two parks so there's not much lost in time if you're worried about losing park time.  And once you're done eating, you can take the Monorail back to Disneyland.

Tortilla Joe's
This place serves fantastic Mexican food!  I was so impressed by this place on my first visit that it's became a new tradition to eat here on every trip.

It's a large restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining, including a taqueria right outside the entrance if you're looking for a quick bite.

They serve all the Mexican food that you'd look for but everything tastes so much fresher.  Guacamole is made fresh and during dinner, they make it table side. 



Here are some dishes from a recent visit. Just check out the steam on the fajitas!

Piping hot steak fajitas

Sides for the fajitas (hand made tortillas not shown)

Enchilada, taco, rice and beans

And of course they serve margaritas and other alcoholic drinks.  During my girls-only trip, I had a sangria which was pretty good. 



A fun experience is that they have balloon makers that stop by each table.  And it's not just any balloon.  They can make princesses!  My daughter asked for an Ariel balloon and here's what she got:



Price range for Tortilla Joe's is on the higher side, however I have no problem paying for it when the food is of good quality and the service is top notch.  If you're an Annual Passholder, your discounts can apply.

TIP: If you plan on eating here, COME HUNGRY!  I cannot stress that enough.  You will be full after going through chips, guacamole, entrees and the optional dessert.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hidden Eeyore inside Indiana Jones Adventure

Did you know there's a Hidden Eeyore inside the queue for the Indiana Jones Adventure? 

This attraction has one of the longest queues so while you're in the room that displays the safety film, turn around and look up!  You'll find Eeyore!

This Eeyore is in tribute to the Eeyore parking lot that the Indiana Jones Adventure took over.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finding Characters during Mickey's Halloween Party

If you're attending Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland and are on the hunt for characters, look no further!  There are plenty of characters out during the party and most are set up with great Halloween backdrops making for great photos!  I know mine aren't that great this year...for some reason I wasn't on  my A-game for photo-taking. 


1. In front of "it's a small world", you can find the villains and they will rotate every so often so it's always a different villain.  On our trip, we found Captain Hook and Dr. Facilier.  Right as we were leaving Lady Tremaine and Cinderella's step sisters were arriving.







2. In New Orleans Square, Jack Skellington is set up in front of the French Market restaurant with a cool black carpet and backdrop.  Jack is pretty popular so be warned of long lines.






3. Head over to Big Thunder Ranch and you'll find Woody and Jessie.  Just outside BTR is Mickey and Minnie in their wizard outfits.







4. Critter Country was home to Winnie the Pooh and friends.  No pictures on this trip since the line was ridiculous.


5. Duffy the Bear is on Main Street U.S.A. with an fun pumpkin backdrop.  Be sure to find the Hidden Mickey in the backdrop!  Photo not shown so as not to spoil. :-)






6. The princesses are in their usual spot at Fantasy Faire.  Again, long lines!


7. New this year were the Storm Troopers from Star Wars.  They're over in Tomorrowland outside the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster exit.  We we stopped by they were on break so we'll have to wait for next year.







Monday, October 10, 2011

An almost meeting with a fellow Disney blogger

So during my trip to Disneyland last week, I noticed on Friday that Cast Members were setting up several orange tables in front of the Haunted Mansion an inside the gated area of the attraction.  I wondered what was going on and took a few pictures to hopefully figure it out later.  


Well, as it turns out it was Lisa from Babes in Disneyland shooting a bit for Halloween!  Had I known I would have stuck around to meet her in person! 


Check out the video that she shot at her blog, Babes in Disneyland.

Here's the photo that I took of the Cast Members setting up for her video.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to get an Annual Pass for life

Years ago when my husband and I got engaged, we went ring shopping.  After I picked my engagement and wedding rings, I asked him if I could get a 3rd ring to wrap around my engagement ring on our 5th wedding anniversary.  He said that he would get a matching wedding band to match so there would be two matching bands around my engagement ring. 

Over the years, I reminded him of the 3rd ring and he kept agreeing that was fine.  Well, fast forward 5 years and here we are with no ring!  He has "forgotten" that he ever agreed to this! 



So I cooked up a deal to make up for his sudden memory loss. 

If he purchased a Disneyland Annual Pass for me for 5 years, it'll make up for the ring.  I told him the purchase of 5 years worth of passes would be cheaper than buying a ring (probably not, but what does he know!) and that he should consider.  After some going back and forth, he agreed!  And to ensure he didn't forget, I made him sign a contract (on Disney paper no less!).



Ok, so that got me 5 years worth of passes.  I know you're wondering how I managed to get a lifetime's worth? 

During my first year of being an Annual Passholder, I got one for my husband and we made 4 trips together.  That was way too much for him and needless to say he was Grumpy.  I blame the fact that it was too many "it's a small world" rides and not a lot of Space Mountain since it was mainly just us going to the parks.  Anyways, we made another deal that I would only request his Disneyland attendance for no more than 2 times a year.  Done deal!!

So if you're spouse or significant other tries to bail out of a commitment, try getting them to make up for their screw up by getting you a lifetime pass!  Keep trying until you succeed!  :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Magical Blogorail Peach Introduction


Welcome to those of you joining me from The Real Disney Mom and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Howdy!  My name is P.T. I'm from Northern California and live exactly 400 miles from Disneyland (hence the name of my blog).  I'm a married mommy to my 3-year old daughter.  I work full time so I can afford to go to Disneyland every couple months (I'm half-joking). 

 

Disney has always been part of my life but I only went to Disneyland 3 times as a kid (2 times that I can remember).  In my adult life, it ended up being an important part of my life.  My husband went down on one knee in front of the castle and asked me to marry him.  And then we ended up honeymooning at Walt Disney World.

When I became pregnant with my daughter, I really wanted to go so I could get some of that Disney magic in my belly.  I was convinced that by being there with her in belly, she would feel how happy I was and it would transfer into her personality.  Turns out I was right!  She was the happiest baby and LOVES everything Disney.  She knows where everything is at Disneyland and talks about it all the time.  Her favorite rides are Pirates of the Carribean, Haunted Mansion, and the Jungle Cruise.

During my research for our first trip to Disneyland when my daughter was 14 months old, I turned to the Disney bloggers for advice on packing, what's available for toddlers, food reviews on kid meals, tips and potential scavenger hunts.  Since my daughter was a big napper at 14 months, my husband and I needed something to do during that time.  I figured we could do a scavenger hunt but there really weren't any ready-to-print scavenger hunts available online.  So I made my own based on looking at photos online.  We had so much with the hunt that I wanted to share it on a blog of my own.  I started a small blog on Wordpress and used it as a test to get a feel for blogging and learn about best practices.  After feeling comfortable enough to "go live", I hopped over to Blogger and launched 400 Miles to Disneyland.  I'm passionate about the scavenger hunts and all food that is Disney!  So you'll find a lot of food photos here. :-)


Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Peach this month. We will be back Tuesday, November 1st with an all new theme. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Disney in Our Blood
2nd Stop ~ Joanna and her Amazing Technicolor Interwebs
3rd Stop ~ Can Do It Mom AKA Mouse Fan Diane
4th Stop ~ The Real Disney Mom


Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 2011: Monthly Disneyland Photo Scavenger Hunt List

The October Scavenger Hunt list is here!
Need to find the rules to the Photo Scavenger Hunt? Visit the tab at the top of this blog for a printable Rules page.

Print out your list and go hunting for the items on your next Disneyland/California Adventure visit. Clues to items will be posted on my new Facebook page.  If you’re stuck on something, let me know and I’ll be happy to provide a clue.

Good luck and have fun!

Click to enlarge and print

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Finding Jack Skellington and Sally

Over the years, I've seen Jack and Sally at Disneyland in several places so I never knew where I could find them.  One time they were at the fountain outside the Haunted Mansion.  The next time they were down by the Rivers of America. 

Each time, the line was super long and while I waited, the Cast Member with them announced that everyone in the back part of the line wouldn't be guaranteed to see Jack and Sally.  When asked where they'd be next and at what time, he never said.  What the heck?!  All I wanted was a picture with Jack!

Well, I seem to have found a secret hiding spot.  If you make your way to the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square (that little nook with the staircase where Cast Members come out to perform street shows), you'll find Jack and Sally!  There was no sign and obviously no line because no one even knew they were there!



I got to meet Jack and Sally who were so much fun!  Jack asked me what I was going to be for Halloween.  I told him "Lilo.  From Lilo and Stitch".  Sally then said, "Oh...I like stitches!  I have lots of them!"  We then chatted about Halloween, what time of day was more fun (night time of course!), my Jack Mickey ears, why I was at Disneyland, etc. 

Jack then asked what kind of pose we could do.  He pondered it for a while and I told him that we could do his favorite ones.  So we did the graveyard one and then a spooky one!  It was the most fun character encounter I'd had!  Watching the guests after me, Jack and Sally did different poses with everyone. 

It's great to see magical interactions like this.  I was sad my daughter wasn't there to meet him since I was on my girl's trip (she LOVES Jack!), but we'll be looking out for him next week and hopefully with more fun poses! 




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