Monday, April 30, 2012

Potty Training the Disney Way

I've only been a parent for the last 3.5 years and I have to say that the most challenging thing has been potty training for #2.  Getting my daughter to go #1 was easy peasy and I didn't have to resort to much bribery. But when it came to #2, was hard!  I tried giving her chocolate, jelly beans, lollipops, and toys and nothing worked!

Over dinner one evening, I expressed my frustration to my cousin.  She mentioned that stickers was what worked for her daughter so I decided to give it a shot.  I went online and found printable reward sheets from Huggies featuring the Disney princesses.  I also bought a $1 book of Disney reward stickers so my daughter could track each time she went #2.

To get started, I showed my daughter the chart and sticker book.  She was very excited to see the chart on the wall.  I told her that every time she went #2, she'd get a sticker and if she filled up the whole chart, I'd buy her a Belle princess dress.  

In 3 weeks, she filled up the chart and has been on track every since!  Who knew that stickers trumped chocolate and jelly beans?!

Her chart was pinned to the bathroom wall.

Choosing her sticker

Putting her last sticker on the chart to get her final reward

So proud of herself!!!

Her grand prize for completing her chart: a Belle princess dress!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Disney snacks at Target

Look what I found at Target! A tray of sliced apples, pretzels and cheese! Needless to say, my daughter loves this!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Adventures on Tom Sawyer Island

One of Disneyland's gems for kids lies on Tom Sawyer Island aka Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (when I was a kid there were no pirates).  Within Frontierland, you'll need to take a raft to get to and from the island.  I think for this reason, the island isn't very crowded which is nice for those of us that want to have an adventure there.  The rafts take off just in front of the Haunted Mansion in front of the Rivers of America.

On the raft on our way to Tom Sawyer Island

Once you get to the island, kids are free to roam around.  I give caution to tall adults since there are some low beams and a lot of nooks and cranies where it's tough to go through.  Perfect size for kids though. I also give caution to parents of little ones.  There's a bunch of places a kid could climb and fall off of.  When visiting Tom Sawyer Island safely, it's a blast.  

There's a bunch of caves with some cool pirate treasure chests and stuff to explore.
About to check out a cave...
...nope!  Too scared to go by herself!

And then there's the awesome bridge!  It's lot longer than the one in Tarzan's Treehouse.

There's also a lot of good photo opportunities to be had.  Be sure to have your camera ready!
Nice photo opp with Splash Mountain in the back
Perfect setting for a pirate lover
In addition to just running around caves and going up to a tree house or look out point, there's some pirate activities.  In this one, you need to spin the wheel to reveal a pirate holding treasure.

If you roam around enough, you'll find a cemetery!  

The cemetery is found behind Fort Wilderness which is no longer open to the public.  It's now used as a Cast Member costume area for Fantasmic!

Fort Wilderness used to be an open fort that you could explore.  Here's me going down a well back in 1989.

While we're on the subject of 1989 photos, here's me on Tom Sawyer Island.  And check out those kids with the rifle!  And this photo is a perfect example to keep your young ones within reach.  Kids could climb these freely, so it's a good idea to watch them at all times.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: Taste Pilots' Grill

Taste Pilots' Grill is a quick service restaurant inside Disney California Adventure.  It features ribs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, onion rings, and a salad option.  That's right.  One salad.  See the sign below? Salad is listed in singular format.  Kind of a funny sign, really.

I had a few different meals here and they've all been excellent.

Let's start with the burger.  There's three to choose from: Steak chili and cheese, steak sauce and bleu cheese, and then your classic cheese burger.  Since I don't like chili or bleu cheese on my burgers, I went for the classic cheese burger.  

They're cooked only one way, well done, which is not my preference but that's ok for a burger.  Once you get your burger, there's a separate counter for all the fixings and everything is quite fresh.  Lettuce, onions, tomatoes, etc is available and you can get as much as you want.

The ribs are also great.  The meat comes right off the bone and the BBQ sauce is tasty.  You can order 3 or 5 ribs.  I recommend 3 so you can have room for more food throughout the day.

Your rib or burger order will come with french fries, but you also have the option to order other sides (for additional charge).  There are Full Throttle Fries that come topped with cheese, onions, chili, tomatoes and sour cream.   Flyby Fries are rather interesting.  They come with BBQ and hot sauce, salsa and jalapenos.  Or you can get an order of onion rings.  I haven't tried the Full Throttle or Flyby Fries, but the onion rings are great!!  Nice crispy shell and the onions are thoroughly cooked.

One thing I LOVE about Taste Pilots' Grill is the french fries.  They are sooooo tasty and cooked to perfection.  There's not many places inside California Adventure to get fries, so if you're on the lookout, make sure you stop by here.

Burger and rib meals range from $9.99-12.49.  Chicken nuggets are also available for just under $9.  The side orders of specialty fries and onion rings range from $2.99-5.49.  All decently priced for good food.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: Steakhouse 55

Steakhouse 55 is a beautiful restaurant inside the Disneyland Hotel and is right next door to Goofy's Kitchen.  Based on's description and photos, it appeared to be very elegant and had a great menu offering for meat lovers like me.  To celebrate my father's 60th birthday, I chose Steakhouse 55 because I wanted it to be a special dinner.

Steakhouse 55 got its number from 1955 -- the year Disneyland first opened.  When you enter the restaurant, you'll find large photos of famous silver screen celebrities.  There's a few photos of Walt Disney in the front of the restaurant, but the main dining room pays tribute to Hollywood Legends.

To start our meal, we were served bread and butter.  

For an appetizer, my parents and I love calamari so we couldn't pass it up.  It came with a spicy aoili sauce that was delish!  I love me some aoili.  It was on the higher end of what I like to pay for appetizers ($12) but it was very good so I didn't mind.

The entree list has a good selection covering New York strip steak, filet mignon, prime rib, lamb, chicken, salmon and lobster and range from $25-39.  The entrees are priced for the dish only and are quite expensive considering that's the only thing you get.  No sides.  So be prepared to pay $8-9 for each side.  Sides include various potato dishes, mac n cheese, mushrooms, and greens (green beans or asparagus).

For my meal, I opted for the filet mignon cooked medium rare.  My father ordered the prime rib cooked well done.  When our meals came out, they had switched the cooking order so my filet mignon came out well done (yuck) and my dad's prime rib came out medium rare.  Needless to say, I was VERY disappointed by having to chew on meat that had no juice.  It was very dry.  Maybe if they had cooked it like I asked, I would be sharing a more positive review.

As a side, I chose the Au Gratin potatoes ($8).  While it looked good, it didn't have a whole lot of flavor so I had to add a bunch of salt and pepper to it.

For children, they had a few good selections to choose from.  Grilled cheese sandwich, salmon and pasta, prime rib, and grilled chicken & pasta which is what my daughter ordered.  Unfortunately, I don't have a good photo of her dish, but her chicken was very dry.  She didn't eat much of it and I don't blame her.

For my dad's birthday, our Cast Member brought out a nice little chocolate mousse.  

Overall, it had a beautiful atmosphere, but the food quality just didn't match the pricing.  I'm more than happy to pay good money for food, but it better be good.  This really wasn't worth it in my opinion.  To be fair, they did mess up my cooking order for my meat, so maybe it would've been better.  But the au gratin potatoes and my daughter's chicken were not impressive.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Flashback Friday ~ Friday the 13th

It's Friday the 13th, so it's time for a special Photo Flashback theme!  One of my favorite rides at California Adventure is the Tower of Terror.  I've ridden this many times and it's still thrilling!  

Please visit the rest of the Flashback Friday photos for more great Friday the 13th fun!

Focused on the Magic

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 2012: Monthly Disneyland Photo Scavenger Hunt List

The April Scavenger Hunt list is here! 

This month's hunt has a snap shot of the item you're tasked to find in each land. Once you find it, snap a photo with it as proof that you found it.  Don't forget to click the image to enlarge and print.   


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. If you’re stuck on something, let me know and I’ll be happy to provide a clue.

Good luck and have fun!

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