Saturday, 31 March 2012

Frontierland: River Belle Terrace Breakfast

Ever since I found out that the River Belle Terrace served breakfast as well (until 11 A.M.), I had a craving to go there for and try it. I finally picked a day to go and do just that. It was my day off, and I was still recovering from being sick but I felt well enough to go to the park for breakfast. I slept in till 9 then got up and made my way to the park.

It's spring break time so that means it is kind of busy, and by ‘kind of’ I mean ‘insanely’, but it was later in the morning so I thought it would be empty of all the crowds. This was not so. When I walked into the restaurant, it was still packed full of people. I jumped in line after getting over the shock of having to wait in this long line so late in the morning and looked at the menu. Here it is:

Mickey Shaped Pancake (for the kid in all of us). One giant Mickey shaped pancake.

Steam Boat. Three pancakes, scrambled eggs, your choice of bacon or sausage.

Mark Twain. Homestyle potatoes, scrambled eggs, your choice of bacon or sausage with a biscuit.

Becky Thatcher Fruit Bowl. 'Everything but the huckleberry.'

I don't know if they have the gluten free pancake mix here, and honestly I didn't want the pancakes that morning so I got the Mark Twain with sausage and no biscuit.
The only complaint about all of this is that it was bland. They have little salt and pepper packets to add to your food and I shall remember next time to pick some up because I believe those potatoes could be amazing if they had seasoning on them. Honestly, I would like some other seasoning on them than salt and pepper but at the state they were in, any seasoning would have done to elevate them. The eggs are scrambled eggs but needed seasoning as well and the sausage is your typical maple glazed morning sausage. The sausages were tasty, but just the average breakfast sausage, nothing too spectacular. I would recommend it for breakfast as long as you pick up some salt and pepper.

It was at least more interesting food-wise than a buffet, character dining breakfast.

I went outside to eat my breakfast to people watch (best thing to do in Disneyland), and I had a rather nice view:

To my left was the queue entrance for Pirates of the Caribbean and it was a madhouse down there. So many people. When I left, I headed around Frontierland, taking the back way to Fantasyland, just to avoid the crowds. I had just passed Woody taking pictures and the petting zoo when I turned the corner and to my surprise there was Pocahontas! Pocahontas is a rare character to see and only is out during the busy times, she is out right now and still in the same area and she'll probably only be out until the 15th of April because that's when Spring break ends.

I now have a picture with all the princesses except Belle and Mulan!

Anyway I had a very good breakfast and I had a pleasant rest of the day as well, despite recovering from a cold.

-Charlotte

River Bell Terrance lunchtime review found here!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

For Sale: Alice in Wonderland Tea Collection

Working around little kids all day it isn’t a surprise that I managed to get sick. I've been sick with a cold since Tuesday and I was being stubborn and not calling out sick from work, but I finally woke up today feeling worse so I had to call out. I had to leave a message and I'm sure the guy at scheduling thought I was dying by the way I sounded.

One way I've been trying to recover is with lots and lots of tea. So much, in fact, that I'm almost all out.- blasphemy, I know. But the tea that I've been drinking is the Alice in Wonderland Tea collection available online at the disneystore.com and at the Disney parks.















This is all of the products that I own, and, sadly, that wheel of tea is almost completely gone. I truly love all of it. The tea press pot came filled with the Mad Hatter Tea Party blend (which I highly recommend) but I finished that so I got that container filled with more loose leaf Mad Hatter Tea Party tea. The honey spoons have a lot of honey and tastes a bit like caramelized sugar. It is a creative alternative to sweeten your tea and stir it too. And the plus, they are all reasonably priced, or at least I think so.

This is a very good tea collection with great varieties of flavour, solid products, and decently priced. I approve and I think the Hatter does too.




















-Charlotte

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Frontierland: River Belle Terrace

Before I get into the River Belle Terrace review, I would like to share a little story about an experience in the park. Yes this blog is about the food of Disneyland, but it is also about the different experiences you can have there.

I was walking around the Hub, looking in at Tomorrowland then glancing up at the Matternhorn and it's construction work, when I saw a flash of green and teal. Low and behold there was Ariel walking with Peter Pan- yes a weird combination, but that's the magic of Disneyland- and they were walking off towards Tomorrowland. Ariel was going to go check on Sebastian to make sure Louis the French Chef wasn't after him again and Peter had to go back to Neverland for a bit. Seeing that marvelous sight, I now knew that Peter Pan was here. You see he isn't always there, constantly having to fly back to Neverland and what not and I made it my mission that while I was working there, I would take a picture with Peter.

Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan are my top two favourite Disney movies that I loved growing up. Having already met Alice, I was thrilled at the prospect of finally getting to meet Peter.

My goal that day was to meet Peter, but quickly it got later and later and I was getting hungrier and hungrier. Close to giving up and going for lunch, it was around 1:30 PM and I was walking around the castle for the ten millionth time when I saw another flash of green. I look and there is Peter running by, well more like skipping but he was moving fairly fast, and all day I had been trying to check off that one thing of getting picture with him off my list so I did the only logical thing I could think of at that point: I followed him. He did not make following him an easy task either. He was hard to keep up with and by now others noticed his presence and began to follow him as well. He finally stopped on the left side of the castle, past Ariel and Cinderella taking pictures, and I got in his quickly growing picture line.

When I made my way to the front, we actually talked for a long time, longer than the other groups who went before me and longer than I was expecting, but I wasn't complaining. I happily got my picture and could finally go off to lunch in Frontierland.

Fighting the ever present crowds in Adventureland, I made it to the River Belle Terrace through the Adventureland door and it was empty inside. I was both shocked and pleased about this, and it all makes sense considering it was well past lunchtime. Having very few guests inside, I was able to not cause a traffic jam when I ordered my gluten free Mississippi Turkey Breast Sandwich. The gluten free list from Disneyland says the only thing you can get at the River Belle Terrace is the turkey sandwich. I like turkey the most so I would have gotten that even if I had more options but for those that do want something else, I do know they marinate their meat so if you want something ask what they put in their marinade since the list isn't always correct.

It took about five minutes or so for my sandwich to come out- probably would take a bit longer if it was busy- and every sandwich comes with a pickle, baked beans, and your choice of a small salad. I got a fruit salad but they had a pasta salad (not gluten free), lentil salad, and cole slaw. There is a little station where you can add lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and various other fixings, which was nice.


As you can tell from the picture, because the gluten free buns (same as the hamburger buns available at burger places in the parks) are small you essentially get two sandwiches, making them bigger than the regular sandwiches, but at the same price of $13 (without a drink). I got a sprite but they have many other Coke products as well as iced tea (sweet or not sweet).

The sandwich was your regular turkey sandwich. There were pieces of turkey and not deli slices that I had thought it would be, and it was slightly dry but that is where you make use of condiments and even your baked beans to give moisture and more flavour. Not the best sandwich in the world, but still a decent sandwich. It was also much more filling than I thought it would be and I must say I was happy I was going home after lunch because I was tired and didn't feel like doing anything else.

It was a good day with Peter Pan and good food—just not great food.

-Charlotte

Disneyland Parks: Cotton Candy

Before I begin there is something you must know, there is a difference in the cotton candy at Disneyland than at Disney California Adventure. Really, in Disneyland you can only get the pink cotton candy, and in California Adventure, you can get either pink or blue.



I was in New Orleans Square when I got my big bag of pink puffiness. Being that it was Disneyland and not Disney California Adventure, I only had one choice and that was fine by me. Now let me tell you how awkward it was sitting on a bench people watching by the Haunted Mansion and eating this big thing of cotton candy by myself. There was a group of three girls, probably a few years younger than me, sitting on the bench next to mine and they were sharing a cinnamon bun between them and here I was pigging out on a giant piece of cotton candy. So I only ate a little bit before putting it in my bag where it throughout the day got flattened. It was still good though when I pulled it out at home and ate it while watching a movie.

It's cotton candy, spun sugar, as classic as it gets. Price is $4 and can be found at outdoor vending carts throughout the parks.

Now for some history.
Cotton candy had to be a staple in Walt Disney's park because before actually building Disneyland, Walt traveled to all sorts of different amusement parks and theme parks trying to find what works and what doesn't work so his park would be the ultimate theme park and better than all the rest. While at one of these parks, he and two other men with him got huge helpings of cotton candy and that sold him on it. He had to have cotton candy at his parks.

One could view it as just another thing to help keep your kids as hyper as possible, if the prospect that they're at Disneyland isn't enough, but this is a treat for all ages- so don't be afraid to steal some off of your kids. It is good, classic and a must have.

-Charlotte

Adventureland: Tiki Juice Bar

In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room
In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room
All the birds sing words and the flowers croon
In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room!

The Tiki Juice Bar (powered by Dole) is located outside of the Tiki room, with one line leading in from the pre-show to the Tiki Room, and the other line located just outside the Tiki room area. You can get a variety of pineapple treats from soft serve, to juice, to spears.

For a good combination of two of those things, my friend and I both got the floats.


It is pineapple juice topped with the soft serve, which is called whip. I've gotten just the whip before and I liked that a lot, it was light and smooth but still had that tangy pineapple flavour with just a hint of creaminess. I like pineapple juice, just on its own, I've decided after experiencing this treat. I didn't like the float that much, which is the most expensive things at roughly $5. The combination of whip and juice was just strange to me and I'd rather have a sip of full blown pineapple juice or enjoy the subtly incorporated flavour of the fruit in the soft serve rather than the out of balance combination of the two.

For me I'll just keep getting the whip at a little under $4, and that is good enough for me. True, you don't get cherries or a tiny umbrella if you get just the whip, but I'll survive.




There is also a plus in the Tiki Room, you can eat and drink in there! Just please, for the cast members, pick up your trash. There are plenty of trash bins just outside that you can immediately deposit your garbage into as you leave.

-Charlotte

Main Street, U.S.A: Jolly Holiday Bakery [2]

I LOVE the Jolly Holiday Bakery!

It is amazing from the penguin waiter stain-glass windows to the freshly baked goods; I would be bold enough to say that I would go to Disneyland just to go to this bakery.

My friend- that came to visit for Wondercon- and I had dinner reservations for the Blue Bayou so we knew we didn’t need to eat much between breakfast and dinner. We decided to just snack on little things here and there and at one point we made our way to the Jolly Holiday Bakery. Brittany really wanted to go there since I first told her about it and I was more than willing to go.

I know they have the flourless chocolate cake that I have gotten the past two times, but this time I decided to get something different and I think I found a new favourite.


The cheesecake with black berries on top.

The cheesecake was perfect. It wasn't too sweet and I know this may not make it sound appealing depending on who you are, but there was a hint of cheese flavour in it. Usually cheesecakes are too sweet to be able to get this flavour or have too much going on that it just masks it, but this was a plain, simple cheesecake that allowed the creamy cheese flavour come through and elevating it above all other cheesecakes. The only part I had to avoid was the crust because that it NOT gluten free. But I am quite skilled at eating the top and avoiding crust, I've practiced it many times.

The price is the same as the flourless cake, about $5 but it is so worth it and so good and amazing and just...go get one and see for yourself.

-Charlotte


Other Jolly Holiday Bakery review here.

Main Street, U.S.A: Plaza, Inn.

My friend came down for Wondercon 2012 and before all the festivities began we spent an entire day in the parks. For breakfast I tried to make reservation at Ariel's Grotto but they were completely booked so we decided to go to the Plaza, Inn. They also typically ask for reservations, but luckily we got in with no problem.

The dining is buffet style so you pay a flat price of roughly $25 a person and the food is ready for you to enjoy as soon as you are shown to your table. Plaza, Inn. is character dining so before we even got our food, right as we sat down, characters came up to us immediately. The princesses are not in attendance, but there are plenty of other beloved Disney characters for you to get to enjoy.

























































The food itself could be described as very much similar to hotel complementary breakfast. They had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. You could get a freshly made omelet to your style but that would have been too filling for me. They also had a little area to get pastries and fruit.
This was my breakfast: fruit, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. I ate yogurt before I left for the park because I was starving when I woke up.

My friend got similar to me but she also got these gluten filled delicacies:


I believe they do have gluten free batter for the waffles and pancakes, but it would take additional time to prepare. I didn't bother because I really didn't want sweet things. I will probably look into that in the future, once spring break is finished with and there aren't so many people in the park.

The food was average but the characters coming over constantly makes the experience better- and here, really you are just paying for the characters. We got to hug Winnie the Pooh and that might have made my day because he was amazingly soft and adorable and made me fall in love with Winnie the Pooh all over again. It's a fun place to get breakfast as long as you would prefer character interaction over amazing food.

-Charlotte

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

New Orleans Square: Blue Bayou



The Blue Bayou!

Or you might know it as that restaurant at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean.










Before when I would visit Disneyland with my family, we would always eat lunch at Blue Bayou. Like during these times:




My 18th Birthday!





















Halloween 2010. That's my mum, my cousin, and me.











My parents last year in August.








Of course, we went again this time but to change things up a bit, we went for dinner. During dinner, they have an extra dish available and this time they also had special Mardi Gras options available and that was what my parents got.

I, however, got my usual order of jambalaya.



It comes with a salad or gumbo. I love gumbo, but because of the roux, I can't eat it so I always get the salad, which has gotten smaller over the years. This is a good thing because before it use to be way too much food.


Also the best mint julep in Disneyland! The one from Blue Bayou has more mint in it and therefore is superior to all other mint juleps at the park. I had two of them during the evening so it brought my total up to three for the day since I had one after breakfast from the Mint Julep Bar.


The perfect dining experience is being able to sit by the railings that separate you from the bayou on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but sadly we were sat right by the doors leading into the dining room. Also at the table next to us was a rather obnoxious lady who was not eating gluten and being a pill about it. I didn't say anything but it was distracting. I know the Disneyland food and, in general, I know what I can eat and what I can't so I don't outright say and be obnoxious about my allergies as this woman was. Blue Bayou can be allergy friendly and if you don't know ask, but please be nice to the cast members when you do so, they don't know you have allergies and will accommodate you as soon as they do know.

The prices are $30+ so it is on the more expensive side but more importantly, it is really good and there is always a lot of food so you get your money's worth. In fact there was so much food that I ended up taking most of my jambalaya home for dinner the next day, not quite the same after being chilled and re-heated but that flavour was still there. We had no clue Blue Bayou did doggy bags but they do, which is nice because often in the past I've wanted to finish my meal there but couldn't. The only problem I had with the food this time though was that the 'sustainable fish' was a little dry. But the seasoning is always the best part.

It was delicious and always a good choice is you can get a reservation and have the money. The experience is one of the kind and the food is a true celebration of New Orleans.


-Charlotte

P.S. Before dinner my mum and I met Tiana and Naveen.

Condor Flats: Taste Pilot's Grill

My parents came down to visit me and we spent the day in the parks. This meant that I gave them the special Charlotte Tour of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Around lunchtime we were in California Adventure and my dad wanted a burger so I told him that the only place in California Adventure with burgers is Taste Pilot's Grill. So Taste Pilot’s Grill it was.

Which in the end was a good choice because it was very hot that day, a burger with a small side of fries can fill you up but not weigh you down. This place does have gluten free buns (the same as at the Village Haus) and you should ask for the fries to be cooked in the 'fries only' fryer. It takes about 10 minutes or so for your order to come out if you order gluten free, though, so be prepared for the wait.

One nice thing is that it has a station set up to add lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, relish, and various other hamburger fixings. It helps you add more flavours to your burger and elevates it more than just a patty on a bun.


My gluten free burger with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion, and ketchup.











Taste Pilot's Grill is also the only place in the Disneyland parks where you can get a milkshake, or so I've been informed of by other cast members. Milkshakes are a weakness of mine, I love them, mainly vanilla.






Taste Pilot's Grill only has chocolate or vanilla milkshakes.

On a hot day it is so worth it.










Here is my receipt:















Total price of meal is around $15 I believe (milkshake+burger). Bit expensive when compared to other places like In & Out, but they were a decent enough burger and milkshake. The burger is kind of dry and just like the one from the Village Haus, but this was better with all the fixings. So if you can get into both parks and you really want a burger, like my dad, then I'd say go to Taste Pilot's Grill instead of Village Haus.


-Charlotte

Friday, 2 March 2012

Fantasyland: Village Haus [2]

After work on the One More Disney Day, my friend and I changed out of our costumes and headed back into the madness- I mean, park. We were both really hungry so I let her lead the way since she was hungrier than I. She really wanted beignets and hot cocoa, I of course would never object going to the Mint Julep bar because...well...they have mint juleps, but the lines all over New Orleans Square were crazy. The area was packed like a sardine can and mobility was very limited.


It's hard to see but I am standing on the bridge over the Pirates of the Caribbean opening and people are everywhere.

I told her that the Village Haus was kind of in the back and not too popular at night. She decided she'd rather go there than Pizza Port so off we went and it wasn't too crowded considering the rest of the park. I wasn't in a burger mood so I decided to get the apple and cheddar salad.


It has red and green apple slices with golden raisins, craisins, cheddar cheese cubes, greens, and a honey-yogurt dressing. The dressing has mustard in it and I don't like mustard that much, but this one went well with the salad and I was able to overlook my distaste for the condiment. It was something different that you wouldn't quite expect from a theme park; a nice twist and it tasted great. The crunch of the apple and sweetness being balanced out by the creaminess of the cheese and the tang of the mustard on the dressing added a new experience to my salad.

I know some people might find apple and cheese a weird combination but fruits and cheese is a classic dessert combination which I am use to so I enjoyed it. Cost is a little pricey though, at $8.

After that, I spent the evening with my friend and we met up with two other people. One of which I got to be a complete nerd with as we talked about A Very Potter Musical, Dr. Who, and various other geeky things while waiting in line for rides.

We also went on Haunted Mansion at midnight, per my request, and a cast member on there freaked out my friend and she pretty much screamed bloody murder and latched onto me. I laughed for the rest of the ride and she no longer likes Haunted Mansion.

After that we met up with one more person before going on a few more rides and heading back to our apartments after we found ourselves on It's A Small World at 2:30 in the morning, a ride that none of us like.

So my total of hours at the park was from 6 AM to 2:30 AM, I was there for 20.5 hours. I was close to doing the whole 24 and I know that I could have (I've stayed up longer when I worked at a bakery from 4:30 AM to noon and then went to the Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows part 2 midnight premiere then had to go to work after) but I was ready to go sleep and rest. Plus it was crazy crowded. The park reached maximum capacity at 11 PM, which means they had to start turning people away and only re-admittance could come in. This also means that it is beyond crowded.

So for One More Disney Day I had a pretty good time. I got to meet Alice and the Hatter, went on Haunted Mansion at midnight, and had some good food. I even worked during it so I earned some money being there.

-Charlotte

First Village Haus review can be found here.

Disneyland Parks: Popcorn

I took the leap and did not sleep for 24 hours.

As those who work at the parks very well know, yesterday was February 29th which is also known as Leap day. Because of this extra day, Disneyland was open from 6 AM on the 29th till 6 AM on the 1st.

I got up at 4 AM and made it to the park at 6 AM. I went on Haunted Mansion and Pirates before 7 in the morning.

For lunch I ended up getting popcorn because I wasn't that hungry and I had to go to work soon. The popcorn is $3.75 for the regular box:


And it was very good. My friend loves the Disneyland popcorn and one time asked me to bring her some when we met up in Downtown Disney.

It is buttery and slightly salty, and it is always overflowing. It is also gluten and soy free.






While I was eating it I was circling the Mad Hatter teacups, and the Hub, and I even made my way up to by the firehouse. I was on a hunt to find Alice and the Hatter. I did see the Dapper Dan's perform by the Fire House, but I wanted Alice and the Hatter. I saw Alice walk by while I was backstage after class so I knew she was there today.

You see, it was leap day, which signifies that this year we have 365 unbirthdays. A very merry unbirthday to you! I was also wearing a flaring skirt, white tights, and black Mary Jane flats so I wanted a picture with her- a pseudo Alice Disney Bound outfit. It would just make my day.

I had finished my wonderful popcorn, which did its job and filled me up for the time being until my lunch break at work, and right as I was about to leave to go change into my costume I saw Alice and the Hatter right by Sleeping Beauty's castle on the Tomorrowland side.

I quickly went over there and while waiting in line, and other guests were taking pictures with Alice I had a lovely conversation with the Hatter and then I got my picture:














In other words, the popcorn available at outdoor vending carts is very good and great snack to hold you over till your next meal. And if you can, try to sneak a peek at all the carts in the different areas because they have a little figure turning a popcorn wheel on the cart and each figure is different in each land. I quite enjoy the one on the popcorn cart by Haunted Mansion.

-Charlotte

Garden Walk: Cheesecake Factory

Last December, I went to the Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco so I already knew some cheap, gluten free options for myself. The hard part is finding something cheap. Most dishes are average $15 or so but the menu is HUGE so there are options.








To drink I got the hot caramel apple cider, which I first had that cold December night last year. This time is was a cold February night and my roommates and I had just been on Space Mountain twice so we were cold. Plus it is basically apple pie in a cup.








For dinner I was feeling a burger so I got the original, which is also the cheapest at $10. To make it gluten free, I got it ‘protein style’, which means wrapped in lettuce.



A full head of lettuce it would seem. The burger was good but the lettuce to patty ratio was ridiculous- way too much lettuce. The fries were good too; nothing special, but just like the fries at the Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco, there was too much salt on them.







The service was fast, however it was also around 10 PM so they weren't that busy. The food was just 'eh', but the drink was amazing.

-Charlotte

Thursday, 1 March 2012

For Sale: Mickey Shaped Sprinkles

When I was 18 years old, in fact on my 18th birthday, my parents and I went to Disneyland to celebrate. We went to Blue Bayou for lunch and since it was my birthday, and I was wearing the button, I got chocolate mousse with a candle and topped off with Mickey shaped sprinkles.




Coincidentally, that was the only candle I blew out on my birthday that year, but that isn't the point here. The point was that this was the first time my mum and I saw these Mickey shaped sprinkles and they were so cool that we spent the rest of the trip trying to find them in the stores. Sadly they did not have them.

But we found them the next year when my mum, my cousin, and I went to Disneyland for Halloween:



We were in Frontierland when we found them in the store there. My mum bought some (they were Christmas red and green colours) and I used them many a time at home.

When I first moved to Anaheim, I happily bought some more and they are now part of the Minnie's Bake Shop collection. But the sprinkles are very much Mickey head shaped, not Minnie. Although they could make some cute ones that are Mickey head shaped and some that are bow shaped.


Anyway, those are the sprinkles. As you can tell they are well used by how you can't see any at the top of the container. Thus far I've only used them on my hot chocolate:

Because I need a touch of Disney on everything....

Okay not really, but sprinkles just make things more fun.

They are about $3 or so for a bottle but it is worth it and they are gluten free!

-Charlotte