This past weekend we headed out to The Disneyland Resort for a day of fun at the 2018 Disney Food and Wine Festival.
We hadn't actually attended this event since it came back after the DCA re-do so we were quite excited to check it out. Needless to say we had an amazing time.
Written by Gregg Condon
I want to start off with saying what an absolutely fabulous time we had on Saturday. The rain must have kept some people away because the parks never really got busy.
We got the MaxPass as we did on our last visit, and it was amazing and worth every penny.
But more than that, it was just a totally stress free day in the parks. It really made us remember why we love Disney so much.
We arrived early enough for rope drop, but couldn't head to the parks without a quick look at Star Wars Land. Wow!!
The new parking structure is being built, so there is a new temporary tram loading area. It was kind of fun going the opposite direction on the tram.
It's the little things
Do we look excited? =)
Hi there California Adventure, we'll be back to you in a bit.
Can't even remember the last time we "rope dropped" Disneyland. It's just as amazing as we remembered it.
It was a beautiful morning
We hadn't done "non holiday" Haunted Mansion since probably 2011. So this was our first chance to see the Hatbox Ghost in his natural habitat. And it was amazing.
Thanks to the MaxPass we rode this a few times throughout the day.
After doing a few more rides we decided to head over to DCA, but not before checking out some of the amazing music on Main Street.
It's food and wine time!!!
Well, turns out we were a bit early, so we decided to use our MaxPass for Radiator Springs Racers we had secured while we were still at Disneyland. Love how that works. =)
Love the decorations for Food and Wine
We also hadn't done Soarin' Over The World, we absolutely LOVED it. Don't understand at all why some people don't like this.
Our first stop
Both were delicious, think we both preferred the slider though
Not even sure where to start with the Brie Toast with Fig, Mint and Almond Crumble.
On the surface, it wasn't anything we were particularly gung-ho about. But we are always ready to try new things. And just like all of the Toast Surprises on this season of Top Chef, we loved it. It was one of our favorite things.
(Our top 5's are posted below)
Next up was the White Cheddar Lager Soup, Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese with Bacon, Watermelon Lemonade (so good) and the Light and Refreshing flight.
How about some "Frushi", Strawbery Pie, Strawberry Fros'e, Avocado and Pepper Guacamole Burger and Spiced Oumph!!
Note: We had no idea what Oumph! was and had even less of an idea it was vegan ... we actually enjoyed it. So yay for our Vegetarian/Vegan friends. Good food for you too! =)
But back to the burger, can we get this full sized and on a permanent menu? It was that good.
Meyer Lemon Macaron was heavenly as was the Crispy Orange Chicken and Rice with a Garlic Cracker.
Both paired very nicely with the Meyer Lemon Ginger Mule. Very refreshing even on a not warm and sometimes rainy day.
And then there was the Popcorn Lemonade Cocktail with Tequila.
It was "interesting" to say the least. It wasn't awful, we are glad we tried it. But it essentially is just as advertised, it tasted like popcorn.
Here are our top Five favorites, and more importantly, what booth you can find them at!!
After all that food and wine you'd think we were done with our day, but it was just getting started!!
Oh yeah, they are doing work on Pixar Pier!! We are very excited for it and hope we can make it back after it opens.
Still one of my absolute favorite spots in any Disney park. It's just perfect.
We also got to do Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout for the first time. LOVED IT!!
After another spin on Racers, Soarin' and a few more snacks it was time to head back over to Disneyland for the evening.
First stop, a trip on the Railroad. A must do every trip!! Oh, and to get some Star Wars pics!!
Star Wars Land pics aside, we absolutely LOVE the changes to the railroad.
While we were hanging out in Critter Country getting some pics we met a friend
We spent the late afternoon riding Mansion again, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room (another must see every visit), as well as Buzz, a yummy dinner and then of course, Space Mountain!!
We joined the dark side
Selfies in front of the castle (we kept forgetting that we have Photopass with the MaxPass)
And of course, the awesome nighttime balloons!!
Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed our little report.
Be sure to check out the Food and Wine Festival this year, it's amazing. You can find out more information about this years event here.
If you've visited be sure to share your favorite foods in the comments below. We'd love to hear about the things we missed, because lets be honest, you need at least 3 days to try everything.
Oh hey, there are 3 days on the Southern California Resident Ticket Offer. =)
As you may have seen, over the weekend Disneyland raised ticket and AP prices, which caused the typical outcry from fans as we've seen every other time they've raised prices.
The typical arguments flew around, Disney is greedy being chief among them. As we always try to do, we're going to try and give these things a bit of reasoning.
In addition to the AP prices, there were also a few things announced at the D23 Expo in Japan last night. So we figured we'd include them here and not make you click through 500 different articles. =)
Written by Gregg Condon
Here we are, a year or more from Star Wars Land opening at Disneyland, there are over a million Annual Passholders, Disneyland is crowded every single day yet for some reason Disney keeps trying to trim the amount of Annual Passholders.
They know that Star Wars Land is going to be huge, it's going to bring in people who aren't AP's, but what's going to happen when those people pay $150-$200 a day to get in the park only to find the park is filled with 50,000+ Annual Passholders and they can't do anything?
This is pretty much what all tourists these days find.
So in an effort to fix this, Disney has once again raised ticket and Annual Pass prices. Yet they've still not eliminated the one thing that would actually cause the number of Annual Passholders to go down, the payment plan.
This has been a source of contention with many for the past decade. The payment plan makes it easy to justify the price of an Annual Pass, because you can spread it around. What it has done however is turned Disneyland into a "hangout".
You now have a full generation of Disneyland fans who view it was something that's just "there", They can go whenever they want. The "specialness" of it is going away. It's no longer a "treat", it's just what they do on weekends and weeknights.
What's the answer? We don't know. All we know is that as infrequent visitors, we'd be way more willing to shell out $600-$800 for a day at Disneyland if we could enjoy a park that wasn't bursting at the seams with APs. As it is now, we go to the park once every 2-3 years. We'd definitely make multiple trips per year if the parks weren't as busy. I don't think we're alone in this.
At the end of the day, we don't see the current AP model as sustainable over the long term, and I don't think Disney does either.
So expect even more changes coming to the AP program sooner rather than later.
With all of that said, let's let's look at the new AP prices:
Disney Signature Plus = $1149
Disney Signature = $999
Disney Deluxe = $729
Disney Southern California Select = $369
As we've done in the past, we're going to look at the Annual Pass prices for Disneyland and compare them to the other theme parks in Southern California.
(click any of the links to be taken to the AP pages for each park)
Knott's Berry Farm
Regular Season Pass = $94
Knott's Gold Pass = $113
Cedar Fair Platinum Pass = $216
So let's break this down a bit.
You can get a Universal Studios Hollywood Gold Pass, Magic Mountain Gold Pass Membership, Cedar Fair Platinum Pass, Legoland Standard Pass and SeaWorld San Diego Pass for a grand total of $918.99.
If you won't be visiting any other Cedar Fair Parks other than Knott's, that drops your price $103. If you don't have small kids and don't need Legoland that drops your price $199. If you don't like roller coasters and don't want Magic Mountain, that drops it $97.
Note: If you have a Costco Pass you can get the Universal Studios Hollywood Gold Pass for $199, which saves you another $100. (Thanks to Mike for pointing this out)
There are also a ton of other non Theme Park Options, a few of them are below:
The point is, there are other options out there. There are things to do other than Disneyland.
If you enjoy going to Disneyland, if the price makes sense to you, by all means, keep your AP. Do what makes you happy.
If you find yourself increasingly bitter about the rise in APs, then maybe it's time to look elsewhere to spend your entertainment dollars.
The AP prices weren't the only big news this weekend, DisneyParks showed off some new artwork of a few things at the D23 Expo in Japan.
Details of all new Attractions at Walt Disney World
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Walt Disney Studios Park to Receive Marvel Transformation
Alright, those are our thoughts on the price increases. Be sure to let us know your thoughts below.
Do you think we've laid out some good alternatives for people who may be fed up with Disney prices? Are we totally off our rocker? Be sure to let us know that too. =)
Earlier in the week it was announced that Disney was cancelling all RunDisney races on the west coast for the foreseeable future. This was kind of known since none of the races for 2018 had gone on sale yet, and the first one of the year was in January.
So as of today, the Super Hero Half Marathon in November may be the last race on the west coast for some time.
Written by Gregg Condon
The reasons for this are as extensive as the excuses flying around. Everything from Star Wars Land construction to Disney trying to "stick it" to the Anaheim City Council for them dragging their feet approving the Eastern Gateway and Harbor Bridge.
Never mind that Disney dragged their feet for more than a decade while they had a very favorable city council in Anaheim.
So what does this mean for you, the consumer? Because the ramifications of this go FAR beyond race weekends.
First off, if you think the Eastern Gateway and Harbor Bridge is going to be completed by the time Star Wars Land opens, I've got some bad news for you.
And it's going to make traffic around the resort during the 24 hour Disney parties look pale in comparison. There simply aren't enough roads, parking spaces, access points, freeway exits and ways to get people to the park. The Eastern Gateway wasn't going to fully address this problem, but it's better than them adding 400 parking spots in the Toy Story Lot.
And who is going to feel the brunt of all this? The Disneyland front-line Cast Members and park visitors. Disney is still going to get their money, the city of Anaheim is still going to get their tax revenue.
People are still going to descend on the parks to be "first" to visit Star Wars Land. They are still going to complain on Twitter on how big of a nightmare it is, how Star Wars doesn't fit at Disneyland and how everything is now ruined ... all while waiting 10 hours to get into the new land.
So with all of this, WHY did Disney cancel RunDisney races?
Is it because of Star Wars Land construction? Possibly. But as you can see, we got pretty close to it last year during the Super Hero Half.
It also can't be because it wouldn't allow enough distance running through the park, because during the Super Hero race in 2014 there was just over 2 miles of running through the parks and backstage ... during a 13.1 mile race.
It can't be because Anaheim doesn't like the revenue they get for the police, traffic officers, permits and other things.
This is about 2 sides wanting different things, one side (Disney) dragging their feet and one side (Anaheim) not wanting to bow down to the mighty mouse.
Sure, them cancelling these races may not impact you right now, in fact, many of you will probably enjoy not having runners descend on "your" park 3-4 times per year.
What makes you think the relationship between Disney and Anaheim will somehow improve by them doing this? If anything, it's going to make it worse. And the next time Disney wants to expand their parks or resort or build a hotel ... good luck.