Resort Updates – May 2015

BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS

I thought I’d start this monthly update with a bit of a personal note: I graduated from college!

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I’ve had an incredible four years at the University of San Diego, and am so grateful for the academic and social opportunities I’ve had. Though I don’t know what the future holds for me right now, I’m excited to see where life takes me in the coming months.

May20152

DIAMOND JUBILEE

Any Disneyland fan knows this year marks the park’s 60th anniversary, and May 22nd was the official combined 24 Hour Summer Kickoff and the start of the Diamond Jubilee. The park is sparkling in diamond and royal blue embellishments, and the summer crowds have officially arrived at the resort. Since there’s tons to say about the Jubilee and commemorative shows and merchandise, I’ll get into more detail in a separate post next week. But for now, here’s a peek at the Diamond decor:

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HATBOX HYSTERIA

With all of the commotion surrounding the Diamond Jubilee Celebration, lots of smaller park updates have been lost in the shuffle…with one major exception: the Hatbox Ghost. As a short-lived original ghost in the Haunted Mansion, the Hatbox Ghost has become legend among devoted Disney fans. Though the illusion of the ghost’s head switching from his body to a box failed in 1969, Imagineers brought him back in style just before the Diamond Jubilee celebration. The day the Hatbox Ghost materialized in the Haunted Mansion, lines wrapped all the way through New Orleans Square.

May20154.jpg Source

KELLY & MICHAEL OCCUPY MAIN STREET

Resort guests visiting Disneyland or the Disneyland Hotel the weekend of May 15th-17th noticed several stage structures on Main Street and along the Hotel property. Live with Kelly & Michael filmed episodes at the resort to mark the 60th anniversary, with guests winning tickets to the park and exclusive Diamond Jubilee merchandise. The periodic rain throughout the weekend limited Kelly & Michael’s time in the park, but they were able to film inside the Hotel and interact with some guests during their time on the property.

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OTHER UPDATES

The Matterhorn Bobsleds have finally reopened after an almost six-month hiatus, with new upgrades and enhancements to everyone’s favorite yeti. The Abominable Snowman is now much more heavily shadowed, making his appearances along the track that much more spooky.

The pin trading shops in the parks and in Downtown Disney are now selling commemorative pins marking the 60th anniversary festivities. Check them out while they’re here!

This month, the resort also started selling limited edition popcorn buckets in the shape of Cinderella’s carriage. While there is no official word as to how long the souvenir buckets will be in the park, there are rumors they will remain throughout the summer.

And finally, Grizzly Peak Airfield is open, and Soarin’ Over California is back operating on a full flight schedule. There have been no major changes to the attraction, but the façade and signage in the Airfield looks dramatically different from Condor Flats.

May20156

Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company

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LOCATION

Paradise Pier – When you arrive in Paradise Pier, cross the bridge next to Pacific Wharf and head toward the back part of the bay. You’ll find Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company on your left, around the corner from the gift shop.

EXPERIENCE

Service Type – quick service

Seating – none

Entertainment – none

Menu

CONCEPT

Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company is a quick-service snack shack located right on the waterfront. Guests exploring Paradise Bay need look no further for a selection of soft-serve, floats, or sweet beverages. After dark, Paradise Pier Ice Cream also has great views of Paradise Pier’s nighttime light displays, especially Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

MY RATING – ★★★★☆

Paradise Pier Ice Cream has a great selection of soft serve and ice cream floats, perfect for a quick pick-me-up as you navigate Paradise Pier. But Paradise Pier Ice Cream is nowhere near as tasty as Ghirardelli, which is fairly close by in Pacific Wharf. If given the choice, I’d always choose Ghirardelli over Paradise Pier Ice Cream, but it’s a good place to grab a snack nevertheless.

MY FAVORITES

  • Chocolate Soft Serve

TRIVIA

Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company sits next to  the only remaining murals that were original to California Adventure. The boardwalk featured tons of old-fashion paintings and murals when it first opened in 2001, but after California Adventure’s major expansion and refurbishment project, only those alongside Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company remained untouched.

Schmoozies

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LOCATION

Hollywood Land – If you enter Hollywood Land from Buena Vista Street, keep to the left of the main road until you reach the fork in the road. At the fork, you’ll see Schmoozies, across from Award Wieners. If you enter Hollywood Land from A Bug’s Land, turn left at the Hyperion Theater, and you’ll see Schmoozies on your right, just after the Fairfax Market.

EXPERIENCE

Service Type – quick service

Seating – none

Entertainment – none

Menu

CONCEPT

Schmoozies is Hollywood Land’s smoothie, coffee, and cocoa hot spot. Whether guests are looking for a shot of espresso or want to try a fruit smoothie, Schmoozies always has something tasty to try. Guests looking for seating can cross the street and take advantage of Award Wiener’s patio, which overlooks the entrance to Monsters, Inc.

MY RATING – ★★★★☆

The drinks at Schmoozies are consistent, tasty, and some even come in souvenir mugs. If you want a hot chocolate, coffee, or a smoothie, Schmoozies won’t disappoint.

MY FAVORITES

  • Malibu Mocha Frappe
  • Ultimate Hot Cocoa

TRIVIA

The Schmoozies building is based off of “Crossroads of the World” in Los Angeles.

Royal Street Veranda

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LOCATION

New Orleans Square – Whether you arrive over the bridge from Adventureland or from the Frontierland path, head to the right of the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance. You’ll find the Royal Street Veranda tucked next to the Pirates building, across from the Café Orleans patio.

EXPERIENCE

Service Type – quick service

Seating – adjacent patio

Entertainment – none

Menu

CONCEPT

The Royal Street Veranda is a bustling quick-service spot located right in the center of New Orleans Square. Hungry visitors can find comfort food, hot beverages, and fritters at the Veranda, and the restaurant’s location means diners have great views of the Rivers of America, New Orleans Square, and part of Frontierland.

MY RATING – ★★★☆☆

As a native New Englander, I’m extremely picky about clam chowder, and the Royal Street Veranda’s rendition isn’t great. I thought my chowder was way too floury, which made it really goopy. That being said, I thought the bread bowl was awesome, and though I’m not a huge fan of gumbo in general, I thought the Veranda’s gumbo was a good choice for lunch. I’d rate the clam chowder two stars and the gumbo four stars, for an average of three stars.

MY FAVORITES

  • Steak gumbo

TRIVIA

Though the Veranda technically doesn’t have its own entertainment, New Orleans Square’s pirate band often stops to play right next door, making the Veranda a great place to relax and take it some jazz music.

Troubadour Tavern

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LOCATION

Fantasyland – Head toward the rear of Fantasyland, near It’s A Small World. Turn left at the Mickey And the Magical Map theater, and head up toward the stage. You’ll see Troubadour Tavern on your left, before the actual theater. Note: You do not have to see the show, wait in line for a show, or enter the theater to access the Tavern.

EXPERIENCE

Service Type – quick service

Seating – small adjacent patio

Entertainment – none, but next to a live show

Menu

CONCEPT

The Troubadour Tavern is a Bavarian-inspired quick service spot tucked in the rear corner of Fantasyland. With a small selection of pretzels, bratwurst, and hot cocoa, the Tavern is a quaint pit stop for guests exploring Fantasyland and Mickey’s Toontown.

MY RATING – ★★☆☆☆

The Troubadour Tavern has a very limited menu, and is a snack place, not a restaurant for a full meal. It does have a small seating area, and you can bring your food in if you want to watch Mickey and the Magical Map, but the Tavern feels more like a theater concession stand than its own eatery. If you are hungry while you’re waiting for a show to start, the Tavern is a great resource, but otherwise, it’s not worth visiting.

MY FAVORITES

  • Popcorn in a souvenir bucket

TRIVIA

Before Mickey and the Magical Map opened, the Tavern had a selection of baked potato options. Since becoming more of a quick snack spot, the Tavern passed its potato selections over to the Harbour Galley.