Mad T Party

MadTParty1LOCATION

Hollywood Land – On most weekend nights and holidays, you can find the Mad T Party in the rear of Hollywood Land. When entering from Buena Vista Street, you’ll see signs for on your left. If you come from A Bug’s Land, you’ll see the Mad T Party straight ahead, just beyond the Hyperion Theater and the Monsters University dorm.

CONCEPT

The Mad T Party is a dance party and a light show experience inspired by Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland. Live performers or DJs blast electronic music as party guests watch various performing acts, enjoy specialty food and drinks, or explore the Rabbit Hole, a foggy tunnel with tons of special effects. Whether guests just pass through as they explore Hollywood Land or stay for the full experience, the Mad T Party offers a fun and unique experience in California Adventure.

EXPERIENCE

The Mad T Party is set up with a couple of different areas for guests to explore. The main stage, which showcases performers or bands, always draws a big crowd. There’s also a side stage, which has various street performers that always amaze the audience (my favorite is the aerialist group!). You can also find a wave of guests by the snack bar, enjoying the drinks and food items available exclusively at the T Party, or playing the Alice-themed arcade games. And for those seeking their own adventure, the Rabbit Hole offers a sensory experience mixing light, sound, and color. The Rabbit Hole also has an added challenge of finding the password to get inside; look for the Mad Hatter somewhere in the T Party and he’ll give you the password for the evening.

MadTParty2MY RATING: ★★★★☆

Depending on how crowded the park is during your visit, the Mad T Party can be overwhelming or a lot of fun. If the crowds are really massive, it’s hard to navigate the back area in Hollywood Land, and the lines for food or for the Rabbit Hole get pretty long. But if you’re visiting the park on a day that isn’t too crowded, the Mad T Party is a lot of fun. Personally I’m not a huge fan of the music they play at the Mad T Party, so I never stay for very long, but it’s cool to check it out when you’re nearby.

VISITING TIPS

The Mad T Party is basically a small concert mixed with food and an arcade, so there is no good or bad time to visit. If you want a spot right in front of the stage, you might want to get there as soon as it starts up for the evening, but otherwise, you shouldn’t have a problem visiting. The hours for the party fluctuate based on the season and the performers, so ask a cast member or check the boards on Buena Vista street for more specific times during your visit.

TRIVIA

You can purchase glowing Mickey ears in various places in the park that glow alongside shows. These ears also light up to match the Mad T Party performances.

The Mad T Party replaced ElecTRONica, an similar attraction based off the 2010 film Tron: Legacy.

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Village Haus Restaurant

VillageHaus1LOCATION

Fantasyland – When you enter through the castle, you’ll find the Village Haus on your left, around the corner past Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. If you arrive in Fantasyland from Frontierland, you’ll see the restaurant first thing on your right. And if you enter Fantasyland from Tomorrowland or Mickey’s Toontown, you’ll find the Village Haus at the end of the main path, after the King Arthur Carrousel and the Casey Jr. Circus Train.

EXPERIENCE

The Village Haus Restaurant offers diners a selection of burgers, sandwiches, and desserts. Diners can choose to eat in the interior Pinocchio dining room, or on the rear patio. At night, diners sit in the glow of lanterns, and at any time of day, guests can relax and take in the Fantasyland scenery from the quiet comfort of the Village Haus.

CONCEPT

Service Type – quick service

Seating – indoor dining room and outdoor patio

Reservations – no

Entertainment – none

Menu

MY RATING – ★★★★☆

The Village Haus Restaurant doesn’t have much variety in its menu, but the food it does have is decent, and the desserts change seasonally. What I like most about the Village Haus is its atmosphere; the outdoor patio is surrounded on three sides by tall Bavarian towers, and opens up to the forest in the back of Fantasyland. At night, the patio glows under festive lights, and the scenery is that much more magical. Stop by the Village Haus when you want a sandwich or a dessert, and enjoy the beauty of Fantasyland.

MY FAVORITES

  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Seasonal Cupcake

TRIVIA

Though the exterior is reminiscent of a Bavarian village, the interior features murals from Pinocchio, which takes place in Italy.

The Village Haus opened in 1983, shortly after the debut of New Fantasyland.

Toontown Police Scanner

Most park guests visiting Mickey’s Toontown head straight for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin or Mickey’s House. But those who take time to explore the shops and Toontown’s city center will find a lot of fun gags, optical illusions, and a hidden gem: the Toontown Police Scanner!

When you cross under the bridge and arrive in Toontown, head over to the city buildings on the right-hand side. Follow the path to the right of the 5 and Dime, behind the Clock Repair shop.

MickeysToontown3 In this back area, you’ll notice a blue and orange pole with a policeman’s cap on top of a telephone. Pick up the phone, and you can eavesdrop on the Toontown Police as they discuss their daily activities. Some of the reports include suspicious characters, the weasels causing trouble around Toontown, and banana peel accidents.

ToontownPoliceScanner1Next time you’re in Mickey’s Toontown, stop and listen to the Police Scanner. You’d be surprised how much trouble the toons cause throughout the day!

Halloween Features And Decor

Every year, from mid-September through October, Disneyland transforms into a Halloween celebration filled with pumpkins, specialty treats, and lots of detailed decorations. Not only do the lands take on orange and black accents, but some of the rides undergo special Halloween transformations as well. The following is a breakdown of all the fall/Halloween features, décor, and special events you can find in the park during the Halloweens season.

LAND CHANGES

Each of the lands in Disneyland and California Adventure have added touches of fall and Halloween décor, but the most significant changes occur on Main Street USA, Buena Vista Street, New Orleans Square, and Frontierland. Main Street USA showcases a massive Mickey pumpkin at the front end of the street, and every flagpole, lamppost, and window is covered in fall colors, jack-o-lanterns, and eerie details. Similarly, Buena Vista Street lines its windows with Halloween display, and both streets feature subtle orange and black color schemes for the duration of the Halloween season.

NOTE: I am visiting Disneyland soon, and will post a photo of Main Street here.

New Orleans Square is perhaps the most spirited place in Disneyland during Halloween. All of the antique shops grow elaborate cobwebs, and you can find skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, and other spooky décor. Though Disneyland is not at all scary during Halloween, New Orleans Square is the closest the park gets to a creepy spot in the park.

NOTE: I am visiting Disneyland soon, and will post a photo of New Orleans Square here.

Frontierland’s Big Thunder Ranch undergoes a Halloween transformation every year as well, inviting guests to join in the festivities. Some years, the ranch becomes a “Dia de los Muertos” festival, and other years, it hosts a Halloween carnival. During the Halloween season, Big Thunder Ranch always has tons of entertainment, activities, and delicious specialty snacks and beverages for guests to enjoy. You can find more information about this year’s festivities here.

NOTE: I am visiting Disneyland soon, and will post a photo of Frontierland here.

RIDE CHANGES

Haunted Mansion – From Halloween through New Years, the Haunted Mansion transforms into a “Nightmare Before Christmas” wonderland. Instead of eerie chills and mysterious ghosts, guests encounter Jack Skellington and his Halloweentown friends as they embark on a journey through Christmastown. The music in this version of the ride is very upbeat, the characters are friendly and enthusiastic, and there isn’t much haunting happening in the Haunted Mansion. Visiting the Haunted Mansion from September through December is a completely different experience than the rest of the year, as the ride bears little resemblance to its normal spooky personality.

Space Mountain – During the Halloween season, Space Mountain becomes “Ghost Galaxy”. The ride is virtually the same, with one major difference: ghosts! As riders fly through the cosmos, they encounter a number of ghosts rushing past their ships, growling and shrieking as they disappear into the dark.

Note: The only downside to “Ghost Galaxy” is that because the ghosts are projected into the sky, the interior of Space Mountain is a little brighter, and at times you can see the track. It somewhat takes away from the sensation of floating through space, but it’s still a fun seasonal treat.

SPECIAL SHOWS, EVENTS, AND PARADES

The parades and shows remain the same during the Halloween season, with the exception of one major event: Mickey’s Halloween Party. (more detailed post coming soon!) Mickey’s Halloween party includes special villain meet and greets, a spooky parade, trick-or-treating, and a Monsters University-themed dance party.

You can find more information about Halloween activities in Disneyland here.

NOTE: I am visiting Disneyland soon, and will post a photo of the Halloween décor here.

Disneyland Explorer

BASIC INFO

App Name: Disneyland Explorer

Company Name: Disney

App Price: FREE

Free version: N/A

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HOW IT WORKS

Disneyland Explorer is an interactive guide to both the parks and the Downtown Disney district of the Disneyland Resort. Users can scroll through each land, and can see photos of different rides, attractions, and restaurants. Some of the lands include beloved Disney characters, and each captures the spirit of a different spot in the park. As an added bonus, once you’ve scrolled through all of the different lands, you can use your finger to direct a fireworks show over the castle!

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MY RATING – ★★★☆☆

If you’re preparing for your first visit to the park, or taking little ones on a trip, this app is a great way to familiarize yourself with the different lands and get excited for your time at the resort. Each land is simplified into a mini guide that fits on your screen, so you basically get a summary of each area in the park. However, the Disneyland Explorer is not a map, so it does not show rides or attractions in their proper locations, nor does it place lands in the correct order. Instead, this app is a general overview and introduction to the magic of Disneyland and California Adventure, and is more useful before a trip than during.

APP USE & TIPS

Make sure you scroll through the maps slowly; it’s really easy to breeze past entire lands as you explore.

Rainforest Cafe

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LOCATION

Downtown Disney – Take the Monorail from Tomorrowland and you’ll arrive right beside the entrance to the Rainforest Café. If you walk from the park gates to Downtown Disney, you’ll find the Rainforest Café on your right, at the end of the Downtown Disney district.

EXPERIENCE

If you find yourself seeking adventure during your trip to the Disneyland Resort, consider spending a meal deep in the jungle. The Rainforest Café offers diners an immersive rainforest experience, complete with a massive waterfall, tons of plants, and a variety of jungle animals. Diners also experience periodic thunderstorms, which bring the rainforest to life!

CONCEPT

Service Type – table service

Seating – several dining rooms, plus limited outdoor patio

Reservations – yes

Entertainment – periodic thunderstorms and chatter from animatronic animals

Menu

MY RATING – ★★★★☆

The Rainforest Café is definitely a fun place to eat in Downtown Disney. Each time I’ve had a meal here, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how good the food is, and the jungle experience is very cool (albeit somewhat loud!). Another major plus: the Rainforest Café is located right next to the Downtown Disney Monorail stop, making it really easy to travel from Disneyland to your meal, and back again. If you’re considering venturing outside of the park for a meal, the Rainforest Café is a great spot.

One last tip: whether you’re visiting during peak holidays or on an off day, make a reservation! No matter how crowded the park is, the Rainforest Café seems to be consistently in demand.

MY FAVORITES

  • Chicken Tenders
  • Big Islander Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Rainforest Burger
  • Tropical Tortellini
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Sparkling Volcano

TRIVIA

The Sparkling Volcano, a massive chocolate dessert, is by far the most popular item on the Rainforest Café menu.

You can often find live entertainment on the stage adjacent to the Rainforest Café, especially on the weekends or during the holidays.

Disneyland Waits

BASIC INFO

App Name: Disneyland Waits

Company Name: VersaEdge Software

App Price: $0.99

Free version: yes

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HOW IT WORKS

Disneyland Waits is the simplified version of Disneyland Maps. This app provides a list of wait times for all of the rides in both California Adventure and Disneyland, broken down by land. You can click on each ride for a brief description, a photo, or to submit your own wait times for each ride.

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MY RATING – ★☆☆☆☆

While I appreciate how this app breaks down the rides by land, and the “submit wait time” feature is really convenient, this app is just not useful. The listed wait times are consistently wrong, usually by at least 10-15 minutes. In fact, I have seen listed wait times that have been off by 45 minutes or more. Given that the times are so far off the mark, I would not recommend using this app during your visit to Disneyland.

APP USE & TIPS

The only difference between the paid and free versions of this app is the presence or absence of ads.

Disneyland Maps

BASIC INFO

App Name: Disneyland Maps

Company Name: VersaEdge Software

App Price: $1.99

Free version: yes

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HOW IT WORKS

Disneyland Maps provides users with a quick and easy guide to navigating the park. Whether users choose the Disneyland or the California Adventure map, they have a view of the various lands, with icons marking rides, attractions, and dining options in each area. The maps also have convenient markers for bathrooms, stores, and some guest service spots in each of the parks. Whether you’re looking for a place to rest or planning your next few rides, Disneyland Maps has all of the info you need in one convenient spot.

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MY RATING – ★★★★☆

If you’re new to Disneyland, this app is a great alternative to carrying around a physical map. You can zoom in and enlarge certain areas for readability, and the app includes dining options along with rides and attractions. However, the wait times listed next to each ride are always wrong, sometimes by 20 minutes or more. This can definitely be frustrating when you’re trying to figure out which rides are crowded and which aren’t. But even without that feature, Disneyland Maps is a great tool for navigating the park, and a quick and easy way to find places to eat.

APP USE & TIPS

Like most Disneyland apps, the paid for version of Disneyland Maps shows fewer ads than the free version of the app. Aside from the ads, there are few differences between the two.

Disneyland Maps shows food carts in addition to restaurants. If you’re looking for a churro or some cotton candy, you’ll be able to find icons marking the food carts in each land.

Mousewait Disneyland

BASIC INFO

App Name: Mousewait Disneyland

Company Name: app316.com

App Price: $4.99

Free version: yes

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HOW IT WORKS

If you’re looking for a current list of wait times for rides in Disneyland, look no further than Mousewait. This app provides users with the wait times for rides, attractions, and even restaurants within the park. Mousewait Disneyland has two different lists, one for Disneyland and one for California Adventure. Each notes closed rides, broken down rides, and live waits. Users can also submit their own wait times for different rides, keeping the list as up-to-date as possible. In addition, the home screen offers current weather, an estimated crowd index (how busy the park is), and a list of which passes are blocked for the day. Use Mousewait as a mobile guide during your trip, and you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and take advantage of the shorter lines.

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MY RATING – ★★★★★

Mousewait Disneyland is not perfect in its reported wait times, but it’s the most reliable app I have found. Mousewait frequently updates the posted times, and has an easy to use list format. If you want to create a customized itinerary through the app, you’ll need to create a Mousewait account, but this feature allows you to have a list of only the rides you are interested in, which makes checking times even easier. Whether you’re a new visitor to the park or a veteran passholder, Mousewait is a great app that will help you save time and navigate the crowds in the park.

APP USE & TIPS

The free version of the app has more ads and does not have all of the features included in the paid-for app, but has the same accuracy in wait times and the same basic format.

If you notice that a listed time is outdated, you can submit the current wait time by tapping the name of the ride.

Tomorrowland Phantom Boats

TomorrowlandPhantomBoats1 Source

LOCATION

Tomorrowland – Guests could find the Phantom Boats in roughly the same place as today’s submarine lagoon, in the rear left corner of the land, beside Autopia.

RIDE BACKGROUND 

The “Tomorrowland Boats” debuted on Opening Day, as one of the land’s main attractions. However, the boats failed to impress park guests, and only about 450 riders boarded the boats on the park’s first day. After a month of troubled operations and constant breakdowns, the ride closed for a brief refurbishment. In August, the lagoon reopened with the “Tomorrowland Phantom Boats”. While the ride premise was identical, the new boats were futuristic and featured bold colors and exaggerated wings. 

RIDE EXPERIENCE

The Phantom Boats gave guests an up-close and personal tour of Tomorrowland’s lagoon and rock formations. Guests boarded 3-4 person boats and embarked on self-guided trips around the lagoon. After a few minutes of exploring, guests brought the boats back to dock, and unloaded back into northern Tomorrowland.

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CLOSURE – August 16th, 1956

Unfortunately, the mini-refurbishment did not solve the numerous problems with the Phantom Boats. The enclosed motors constantly overheated, forcing cast members to tow riders back to the dock. When the boats were refurbished, Imagineers also added a seat for a driver, to prevent engine failure from guests cranking the gas. However, the engines continued to overheat, and the need for drivers made the ride more expensive than it was worth. So after a brief and troublesome year, the Phantom Boats closed for good.

TRIVIA

This was the first permanent ride/attraction in the park to close. 

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