Our friends at Midsummer Scream just announced their 2017 Hall of Shadows participants. We are huge fans of this convention and the Hall of Shadows is one of the biggest highlights of the event. Check out the press release below and also right now they are offering a 50% Pre-Sale discount! So get in at this amazing rate before it ends! Head over to MidsummerScream.org
Disneyland Resort’s Festival of Holidays takes place between November 10, 2016 through January 8, 2017. So, there’s still time to take part in this merry celebration. If you enjoy delicious food and fun, this is definitely something you must do if you plan on taking a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.
When it comes to the Holiday Season, nothing brings back memories faster than the sight, smell and taste of food. Think to when you were a child. Remember that magical fragrance of fresh baked cookies? Think deeply now, imagine back to when you took a bite. If you’re like me, it was the best sensation ever! Disneyland Resort has worked hard to bring a sense of this magic to the Disney California Adventure park through their Festival of Holidays event.
Back in April 2016, my wife and I missed out on the 2016 Food & Wine Festival at DCA due to family illnesses. It was a major bummer for us because it had been six years since that celebration last took place. So, we were bound and determined to take part in the Festival of Holidays regardless of health, weather or any other factor (just kidding, kind of). Our resolve did not go unrewarded. As foodies, we knew this was going to be an exciting adventure.
The following is a list of food and drinks my wife and I sampled while on our “staycation” in early December. While we endeavored to try everything, it was not feasible during the two days we were there. Nevertheless, we did try a variety of dishes and beverages that should give you an idea of what to expect. For a complete menu of EVERYTHING available, please visit the official Disney Parks Blog post written by Rachel Bshero: Complete Guide to Festive Eats at New Festival of Holidays in Disney California Adventure Park.
I put together a list of food my wife and I tried along with their “location” at DCA and my personal assessment of their flavor. If you do not like reading negative reviews, skip the RED colored food items and read only the GREEN reviews. The red reviews are dishes my wife and I would not recommend trying, while the green ones are “must try” items. Anything left in black lettering is up to you. Also, keep in mind that taste is subjective. What may be delicious to me may not appeal to your particular palate. Anyhow, here is the list:
Weisswurst Sausage & Sauerkraut (Heritage Cottage)
This dish was made with what tasted like chicken apple sausage bought from Trader Joe’s. It had a mellow flavor, but the casing of the sausage was really tough. The cabbage in the sauerkraut was okay, but not great. My wife and I enjoyed the textural contrast of the pretzel bits. However, they did not really add any flavor to the dish. It came with stone ground mustard as well. Honestly though, it was kind of a disappointment overall. We would not get this dish again.
Brisket Potato Croquette (Nosh & Nibbles)
I love me some potato. When I saw this offering at the Festival of Holidays, I was excited. Unfortunately the dish did not live up to my expectation. It had a funky texture to it. Although it looked like a tater tot, it was really compressed and extruded potato that was bland. The horseradish créme lacked flavor and was a bit off-putting in all honesty. I would not recommend it.
Sweet Spiced Noodle Kugel (Nosh & Nibbles)
This dish was just flat out confusing. In general, I enjoy the interplay between sweet and savory in many dishes. But in this case, it was not executed very well. The best thing about this concoction was the Frosted Flakes® cereal sprinkled on top. Both my wife and I would suggest saving your money by skipping this one.
Reuben Potato Smash (Nosh & Nibbles)
As mentioned previously, I am a fan of potatoes. This was the best dish of the day for me. It had an awesome flavor. Imagine a reuben sandwich crossed with a tater tot. Crispy on the outside with meaty flecks of pastrami on the inside. These pastrami sprinkles were like bacon bits on steroids. I highly urge you to sample this delectable delight.
Adobo Pork Bao (Good Fortune’s Feast)
This is another winner. The flavor of the pork had a beautiful Asian flair. A combination of tender meat, tangy onion slices, crispy rinds and soft bao (bun) makes for an outstanding dish. It was a clear favorite for my wife and I. In fact, we bought this dish two days in a row!
Smoked Duck & Vegetable Spring Roll (Good Fortune’s Feast)
Sadly, this was a dud. Although it looks good in the picture, the actual flavor was disappointing. I like smoked duck, especially in Asian cuisine. However, there was hardly any inside the roll. And, even with the sparse amount of meat, I could tell that there was not much smoke flavor and the texture was dry. The cabbage was mushy along with any of the other vegetables that might have been included. On the exterior, the shell was really tough and chewy. I personally like my spring rolls to have a light, crispy skin. This dish had great potential, but ultimately fell flat in the end.
Chilled Papaya Shrimp Salad (Good Fortune’s Feast)
If it were summer, this dish would hit it out of the park. But, come on Disney, this is the holiday season! With that said, my wife and I still really enjoyed this salad. It was bright and refreshing. To me, it can be best classified as Thai fusion cuisine. My only criticism is that the shrimp needed to be marinated. The crispy rice noodles on top a offered beautiful textural contrast. While I maintain that this is more appropriate for hotter weather, I do recommend you try it.
Local, Seasonal & International Beers (Brews & Bites)
Besides potato, one of my other favorite foods is beer (I say food because beer is liquid bread ;-). Think not? Read this article: On the origins and relationships between bread and beer). I won’t go into the complexities of the beer samples they offered at the Festival of Holidays. However, what I will say is that there is a nice diversity of winter-style brews that will please any beer lover’s palate.
Holiday Swedish Meatballs (Mistletoe Morsels)
This dish was both good and bad. On one hand, the meat was very salty and overpowered the other elements. On the other hand, the texture was really nice and the sweet/tart Lingonberry sauce provided a bit of balance to the salt. The gravy on top was smooth, creamy and flavorful. Overall, I would recommend this if they make some adjustments to the salt level.
Classic Crab Cake (Mistletoe Morsels)
If you enjoy seafood like I do, then this dish is for you. Although not the best of the bunch, it was enough to satisfy my cravings. There was a nice meaty crab flavor with a crispy exterior. On top was supposed to be a lemon tartar sauce, but tasted more like a spicy aioli. Nevertheless, this dish is nothing special and can be had at most seafood restaurants. As such, I would only recommend it if you had a strong hankering for seafood.
Shrimp Cocktail Martini (Mistletoe Morsels)
Don’t let the name fool you. There is no booze in this offering. It is a standard seafood cocktail containing two pieces of shrimp with a spicy sauce and an olive served in a plastic “martini” cup. Everything about this dish was blasé, except the high price. Save your money folks.
Holiday Eggnog Cocktail (Mistletoe Morsels)
Want to get in the holiday spirit quickly? Try this humdinger. One drink will warm your spirits and have you whistling the song from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. It is very boozy, but does have a nice creamy mouth feel. If you enjoy strong drinks, then this is definitely for you.
Merry Berry Sherbet Punch (Mistletoe Morsels)
Basically a mix of 7up and berry sherbet. Like a minor traffic accident, just move along. There’s nothing to see (or taste) here.
Roasted Turkey Slider (Winter Sliderland)
If you’ve ever been to Downtown Disneyland, you know about Earl of Sandwich. One of their most famous sandwiches is the Holiday Turkey. This Roasted Turkey Slider is similar in nature, but on a smaller scale and not quite as messy. For the money, I would say you should probably skip this one. Head over to Earl of Sandwich instead and get the full-sized version.
Praline & Bourbon Whoopie Pie (Winter Sliderland)
This dish was recommended to us by a cast member working at the Winter Sliderland booth. Unfortunately, her taste buds did not align with ours. First off, it was way too sweet. It needed more praline and bourbon flavoring. Secondly, the texture of the cake was extremely soft and not spongy. Lastly, the pralines failed to offer any textural contrast or flavor component. You are better off going to the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café inside Disneyland.
Guava Agua Fresca (Fiesta en Familia)
This was a drink my wife enjoyed a lot. She does not drink alcoholic beverages, so this perfect for her. It was not too sweet and had a delightful tropical flavor that screamed guava.
My wife and I had a really great time with the variety of international foods and drinks. It was like a miniature version of Walt Disney World’s Epcot park. We look forward to more of these events in the future and recommend everyone try it at least once.
Official Disney Press Release:
Halloween Thrills Also Include New ‘Frightfully Fun Parade’ at Mickey’s Halloween Party, Plus Haunted Mansion Holiday and
Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
ANAHEIM, Calif. (Aug. 30, 2016) –Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort offers two new reasons for guests to visit this year––a special celebration at The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror with a chance to “drop in” like never before, and the debut of the “Frightfully Fun Parade” at Mickey’s Halloween Party, a separate-ticket event. The parade features some popular Disney villains and a procession of grim, grinning ghosts, while The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow appears for the first time at Mickey’s Halloween Party.
Those treats add to the family-friendly thrills, popular seasonal attractions and spooky decor that make Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort so magical. The season runs from Friday, Sept. 9, through Monday, Oct. 31, offering the popular Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy attractions, themed foods and merchandise, plus spirited decor that features a giant Mickey Mouse jack-‘o-lantern on Main Street, U.S.A.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Final Check-out Celebration at Disney California Adventure Park
The invitation to check into the Hollywood Tower Hotel is even more urgent now as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror approaches its final check-out date, Jan. 2, 2017. A special tribute begins Sept. 9 to salute the haunted hotel’s eerie story and exciting adventure at Disney California Adventure Park. During the celebration, guests who arrive after twilight will enjoy “Late Check-Out”–-a chance to venture beyond the fifth dimension into complete darkness. It’s something guests have never experienced before: free-falling in the attraction’s haunted elevator shaft with all the lights out.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror celebration also includes special musical performances, commemorative merchandise and specialty food and beverage items. Performing at the Hollywood Tower Hotel are the Silver Lake Sisters, characters from the story of this famous hotel who once performed at its rooftop lounge. The sisters make their return to the Hollywood Hotel during Halloween season.
Spooky Halloween Traditions at Disneyland Park
Throughout the Halloween season, guests will find special treats and thrilling traditions. Haunted Mansion Holiday returns to celebrate the collision between Halloween and Christmas, and a familiar guest moves into the Mansion: Jack Skellington from the Walt Disney Pictures classic “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
- Jack Skellington brings a unique spark to the season and, for the first time, his friend Sally joins him in the Mansion graveyard.
- The annualHaunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house is back with a new theme. This year’s version appears to have been stitched together from pieces of other gingerbread houses and treats. In fact, the ghoulish architect has stitched himself inside the house, and one green arm still may be spotted, sewing the walls together around him.
- Another Halloween favorite isSpace Mountain Ghost Galaxy, a Halloween-themed reimagining of the popular thrill ride in Tomorrowland, at Disneyland. Guests on board the speeding Space Mountain vehicles are thrust into a ghostly galaxy where they are bombarded with eerie screams, sound effects and music. Spine-chilling spirits pop out of the darkness, appearing to reach out to menace the space travelers.
- The traditional Mexican celebration,“Dia de los Muertos,” is observed with a skeleton display in Frontierland, near Rancho del Zocalo restaurant.
- As a special, after-dark treat during the Halloween season, guests visiting Disneyland on select nights will enjoy the“Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks spectacular.
- During the day, the dynamic“Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” marches down Main Street, U.S.A., throughout Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.
Mickey’s Halloween Party
New this year at Mickey’s Halloween Party is the premiere of the “Frightfully Fun Parade,” seen exclusively on the 17 nights of this separately ticketed event at Disneyland.
- The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow (from the Disney animated classic “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad”) brings a warning to guests, riding through the park on his ghostly black steed with a flickering jack-‘o-lantern.
- Shortly afterward, the parade begins with greetings from Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
- Grim, grinning (and hitchhiking) ghosts follow along in the procession, joined by other spirits from the iconic Haunted Mansion attraction.
- Inspired by Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog,” the creepy Dr. Facilier calls on mystical powers, summoning his Shadow Men from the bayou to loom large over his strange and twisted Voodoo parlor.
- Mischievous Disney villains appear out of the darkness, ready to stir up some trouble, and their wicked gathering includes the Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella.
Mickey’s Halloween Party guests are invited to visit in costume and trick-or-treat throughout Disneyland for candy and healthy snacks. An extra special treat is the “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, presented exclusively for guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party and hosted by “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington.
Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party* may be purchased online and on mobile devices at Disneyland.com/party, as well as at the Disneyland Resort main gate and by phone at 714-781-4400. Guests may check for availability for the 17 nights: Friday, Sept. 23; Monday, Sept. 26, Wednesday, Sept. 28; Friday, Sept. 30; Monday, Oct. 3; Wednesday, Oct. 5; Friday, Oct. 7; Monday, Oct. 10;Wednesday, Oct. 12; Friday, Oct. 14; Monday, Oct. 17; Wednesday, Oct. 19; Friday, Oct. 21; Monday, Oct. 24; Wednesday, Oct. 26; Saturday, Oct. 29; and Monday, Oct. 31, Halloween night. Online and mobile purchases are not available the day of the event. Parking is not included in the ticket price, and parking fees will apply.
Tickets purchased in advance are available at a discount for select nights. Tickets purchased on the day of the event are $89 each. All tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party on Saturday, Oct. 29, and Monday, Oct. 31, are $99 each. Mickey’s Halloween Party is a non-smoking event. Smoking is permitted only in the Esplanade outside the Disneyland main entrance.
For more information about Halloween events at the Disneyland Resort, please visit http://ift.tt/15z9gMy. Entertainment and attractions are subject to change without notice.
*Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets are subject to availability and are valid only for specific event dates and hours. Space is limited and event dates may sell out. Limit eight (8) tickets per person, per event date. Tickets are nonrefundable and may not be resold. May not be combined with other discounts. Costumes subject to Disney guidelines and should not be obstructive or offensive; please check guidelines for all restrictions. Ages 2 and under: no ticket required. Entertainment may be cancelled due to inclement weather or otherwise. Subject to restrictions and change without notice.
With parking currently a mess and very limited at Disneyland, it’s nice to see that Disney is finally taking some action. The plan is to build a new transportation hub, a new parking structure similar to Mickey and Friends, and a pedestrian bridge that will go over Harbor Blvd. Not only does this increase parking for the Disneyland Resort, it will also help the traffic flow on Harbor Blvd. With Star Wars Land coming, this will help bring more people in with less hassle.
This is welcome news and the Orange County Register has more info and a video explaining Disney’s plans.
As the Disney Parks blog announced the end of the Main Street Electrical Parade for Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, they also announced that the popular nighttime parade will return to Disneyland for a limited time.
On the same post the Disney Parks Blog also confirmed that, “Paint the Night” will return during the holidays on select nights. Paint the Night is scheduled to go down on September 5th.
Here is the full blog post.