Category: Disney-Inspired Travel

Visiting the Merry-Go-Round Where Walt Disney Dreamed

Did you know that Walt Disney had a very important job each Saturday?

In the Disney household, Saturday was known as Daddy’s Day.  When Walt’s daughters, Diane and Sharon, were young their father would often take them to a nearby park known as Griffith Park.  The girls would ride on the park’s exquisite Merry-Go-Round, as Walt would sit upon a park bench watching them.  It’s at that time that Walt said he began dreaming of a park where parents and their children could “have fun together.”

During a recent trip to California, I was thrilled to discover that this iconic Merry-Go-Round is still in operation today!

The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, built in 1926, found its home in the park in 1937 and has been there ever since.  Being a huge Disney fan, having my children ride on the carousel during our family vacation was something I planned into our itinerary long before we boarded the plane in Pennsylvania.  However, all the planning I had done didn’t prepare me for the experience we had while visiting the park and ultimately taking a ride on this breathtaking attraction. Merry-Go-Round Griffith Park

Beautifully settled within Park Center, walking the path leading up to the carousel felt as if our family was stepping back into another time. The fantastic trees engulfing the walkway, played a role as curtains concealing and then unveiling the park’s hidden gem of nostalgia.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

Following the path to the right, a friendly clown greets visitors at its vintage ticket booth.

To ride one of the 68 hand-carved jumpers the fare is $2.00 per rider.

Honestly, it was a bit of a shocker to only pay that much, after getting accustomed to paying Disneyland prices. The cost alone made me feel like I stepped back into a different era!

The carousel boasts dramatically detailed horses with flowing free tails, two chariots and a Stinson 1650 Military Band Organ, rumored to be the largest carousel organ on the West Coast.

Attached to the carousel hung this simple plaque, reminding visitor of times that have passed and that Griffith Park’s carousel has positively stood the test of time.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

 Sincerely, it was the most magical ride I’ve ever ridden. Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

During your family’s next trip to Disneyland, I’d highly recommend a side trip to Griffith Park- complete with a trip to its Merry-Go-Round. You’ll never forget it!

The carousel is open every weekend throughout the year, with extended hours during the summer and some major holidays. For additional information regarding the carousel, please call:  (323) 665-3051.

If you enjoyed reading about this piece of Disney History, why not check out the blog Frontierland Station’s weekly blog hop, called Fastpass to History! The details are listed below.

Have a Magical day!

Breakfast with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland Resort

PCH Grill at Paradise Pier

Are we having breakfast with Mickey?

For my family, every Walt Disney World vacation includes a breakfast with Mickey Mouse at Chef Mickey’s.  The kids enjoy visiting, getting autographs and taking pictures with Mickey and his closest friends.  So when planning our trip to Disneyland Resort in California, Gavin and Victoria asked if they would have their traditional breakfast with Mickey.  After a bit of research I found that the only location at Disneyland Resort to offer breakfast with Mickey is at Disney’s PCH Grill located at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. If you’re planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort and you’d like to know more about this breakfast experience here’s more information!

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel

Disneyland Resort has three hotels, and each has its own character dining opportunity. Disneyland Hotel is home to Goofy’s Kitchen, where Goofy hosts a fun-filled dining experience where a few of his friends (characters vary, but history shows usually Chip, Dale and Minnie ) join him for a goofy good time. At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa guests can dine with a host of furry Disney characters at Chip ‘n Dale’s Critter Breakfast located within Storytellers Café.  Last but certainly not least, guests can enjoy a tasty buffet with, non other than the king of the kingdom, Mickey Mouse and his closest friends (minus Goofy of course) at PCH Grill located within Paradise Pier Hotel.

Disney's Paradise Peir Hotel

To get to PCH Grill you’ll enter the hotel under the beautiful porte cochere and walk to the right.  You’ll find Mickey in Paradise gift shop and just beyond the shop is the restaurant.

Surf's Up Breakfast at Disneyland

We had breakfast reservations for the first spot of the morning. Our party consisted of ten, so I made sure to have our reservations booked in advance. (Reservations can be made 60 days in advance.) I had never entered into a character dining experience just as it opened.  It was pretty cool to see the calm before the crazy storm of children and characters.

Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey @DisneylandThe décor of the restaurant was beach themed. Thatched roofs and surf board accents were found throughout PCH Grill.

Surfs Up Breakfast

Let’s go fly a kite on the beach! I especially loved the Mickey Mouse hand holding onto all of the kites that hung from the ceiling – so cute!

Character Experience Review

Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends

The characters were dressed for the beach! Minnie and Mickey Mouse looked adorable in their Lifeguard attire. In addition to seeing Minnie and Mickey we spent a few minutes with Stich, Pluto, AND Daisy Duck. Each time we eat at Chef Mickey’s located in Walt Disney World, the kids are disappointed that Daisy Duck is not there. They were so excited to meet her this time!

Meeting the characters was a blast, but I do have to warn you that it took a long time to meet them all.  I quickly noticed a difference between the experiences at Chef Mickey’s and the Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey.  In California, character dining is much more laid back.  When we arrived our party of ten was all over the place. Gavin had to use the rest room and my nephew had fallen and had cut his lip so my sister-in-law was tending to him. They seated us anyways and told us to visit with Mickey Mouse whenever we were ready – which was really nice to not be rushed. In Florida, unless your entire party is ready with bells on, you’re not getting in!

Mickey Mouse is stationed in front of a themed backdrop, waiting for you to visit and his friends wander about the restaurant visiting guests at their table.  Because it’s so laid back we noticed each character danced, played with the children, and wandered about without a clear visiting route to the table.  Stitch and Pluto danced with the kids at the very beginning, but then Stitch disappeared and we didn’t see him back in our section of the restaurant for our entire lengthy stay. My brother and his family, my parents, and even my husband left the restaurant before Minnie Mouse came to our table. I stayed with Victoria and Gavin while Cast Members cleaned our table off and eventually she found us!


Surf's Up Breakfast with Mickey

The Cast Member assigned to our table was wonderful!  He attended to our large party and all of our craziness with a smile and professionalism.  He even gave each one of us this super cool pin!


OK- so I’m not a huge food critic but I have three words for you.  Banana-Carmel French Toast! It was yummy times ten. The other food paled in comparison.  All jokes aside, the food options get two thumbs up from me! The kids had a great big helping of fresh fruit. Gavin ate a ton of a variety of food~ so no complaints there!

Surfs Up Breakfast with Mickey and Friends

     Surf’s Up Dude!

The kids and I agree, if you’re not in a rush, and you’re looking for a laid back breakfast with character fun, Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey and friends is a great choice!


Decorating the New York City Disney Store for Christmas

Disney Store NYC

Thanksgiving Day is over. Time to pull out those sparkly decorations!

I LOVE decorating for the holiday season! My two little Mouseketeers are so excited to open storage containers and unwrap treasures Mommy has collected over decades. Christmas lights accent the memories hanging on our Christmas trees (all four of them.) And Daddy braves the weather, climbs the ladder and gathers as much patience has he can while our little ones “help.”

While we just started decorating at our home, Disney Store in New York City’s Times Square was beautifully decorated for the Christmas season last week when I visited the city.  Some of you may not be able to travel to NYC this holiday season so I just have to share the Christmas transformation with you!  It’s beautiful and of course a bit “Frozen!”

NYC Disney Store

On the first level of the store, a magical Mickey Mouse wreath added some festive charm to the traditional Mickey and Minnie balloons that are a staple in Disney’s NYC store.

NYC Disney Store Christmas

Nope. This castle is not located in a Disney park.  It’s found on the second level of the Disney Store in Times Square!

It’s possible that Elsa had a hand in the icy transformation of the castle, because I found “Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post And Sauna” nearby.

Frozen NYC

Sven was hanging out there! Can you imagine trying to take him home?

Sven in NYC

Inside of Oaken’s children participated in a free coloring project of Mickey and Minnie Mouse masks. The kids were having a blast. I checked out the décor instead!

Oakens NYC

“Yoo-Hoo!” Big Christmas Decorating Time! (sorry couldn’t help it)

Seriously, look at the size of the ornaments hanging from the ceiling!

NYC Disney Store

All joking aside, the Times Square Disney Store location is bubbling over with festive holiday décor that is truly a treat for the eyes.  If you have the opportunity to visit New York City this Christmas season, add Disney Store on your “Must Do” list.  If you’ll be too busy preparing for the holiday, I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the store!

Happy Decorating Everyone! Will you be adding a Disney touch to your castle’s holiday décor?

A Look Inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Lamp on the check in table at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

A warmly lit quail lamp greeted me at the check-in desk of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. To my back the Great Hall welcomed my family with its massive fireplace, over-sized couches, rocking chairs and stained glass light fixtures all saturated in rich hues of yellow, green, orange and brown. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is an architectural beauty, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1900s.

Grand Californian Hotel Lobby "Great Hall"The Craftsman theme and Disney’s celebration of California’s grand natural beauty can be found in every corner of the hotel.

The Villas at Disney’s Grand California Hotel mirror the same Arts & Crafts motif as the original hotel rooms, but depending on the size of the villa, Villa rooms also provide guests with additional in-room amenities. There are four types of Villa rooms, Deluxe Studio, 1 Bedroom, 2 Bedroom and Grand Villa. Here’s a look inside, and outside, of my family’s “home away from home” during our stay at the hotel. The room is categorized as a Deluxe Studio room.

Headboard at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

This is the headboard of the queen-size bed.  Notice the Craftsman theme continues in the Deluxe Studio furnishings .

Sleeper Sofa in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Studio Room

The couch is a queen-size sleeper sofa and the window to the left is actually a door leading out to the balcony.  I LOVED the light fixtures in this room!

kitchenette within the studio room at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

 The kitchenette provides a sink, microwave, toaster, instant coffee maker, ice bucket, four drinking glasses, four coffee mugs, an under-the-counter refrigerator, a variety of disposable utensils, travel-size dish washing liquid, paper towels, garbage can and pantry storage.  Use this convenient space and be prepared to save some money!

Bathroom of a Studio Room at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

The bathroom at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is themed after one of Disney’s most beloved films.  Can you see what character is hiding out in the forest print shower curtain?

The vanity at Disney's Grand Californian.There’s no detail that’s too small for Disney.  Even the complimentary bath products carry the nature theme with sea marine scented Disney Resorts SPA H2O brand shampoo & conditioner and sea salt body wash, body lotion and facial soap.

Pool View from DVC Studio at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

 Each Deluxe Studio room has a balcony that provides exquisite views.  Our room had a view of one of the hotel’s three pools.  The pool pictured above is the Mariposa Pool.

Villa at Disneys Grand Californian Hotel Pool View

My parents also stayed in a Deluxe Studio at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.  I like to describe the view from their balcony as an obstructed view, but I think it gave them a nice view of two pretty amazing sights!  When standing on the balcony and looking to the left guests can see obstructed views of the Fountain Pool and the Redwood Pool, as pictured above.

View of California Adventure park from a Deluxe Studio room.

Standing on the same balcony, when looking to the right, guests can watch the “Screamin’ Over California” roller coaster. Cool, right?

Entrance to the Fountain Pool at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

 Want a closer look at the pools?

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is conveniently positioned a few steps away from the Downtown Disney District and has an exclusive entrance into the California Adventure Park. Due to potential non-hotel guest visitors walking by the pools, guests of the Grand Californian that are eager to jump into the glistening pools can do so by using their room keys to open this beautiful gate.

Redwood Pool Looking for the slide?  Redwood Pool is ready to deliver!

Food options at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

After some hard-core playing hours at the pool, hunger is bound to set in.  There are four themed dining options that deliver guest experiences which continue to pay tribute to the beauty of California and Craftsman art motif.

Although, I’m not going to review the restaurants in this post, I will say that White Water Snacks is the perfect place to stop by for a quick snack after a dip in the pool.  Or if you’re looking for a special place to eat with your spouse, try Napa Rose.

childcare at Disneyland

All Disney restaurants are “kid friendly.” However, if you and your spouse would like to plan a “date night” at Napa Rose, Pinocchio’s Workshop is ready to help make your wish come true.  Located at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Pinocchio’s Workshop is a child care facility that offers a variety of fun activities to keep kids active while Mom and Dad play.

As each night concluded during our five night stay, the soft glow provided by the Craftsman designed lobby area welcomed us home as we waited for the elevator to take us to our room.  It truly was a beautiful sight.Elevator Lobby at Grand CalifornianDisney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa offers its guests more than just its beautifully themed hotel and pools.  Experiences at the hotel is what truly makes a stay at the West Coast’s “Grand” magically GRAND.

Visit to find out more about the outstanding spa services, award-winning restaurants and magical experiences just ready for your family to experience at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

I hoped you enjoyed this look inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and thank you for stopping by the blog today!

Mickey Mouse on Broadway

This image was taken from Wikipedia.

Did you know that Mickey Mouse got his start on Broadway?

Today, Disney Theatrical Group is known for its fantastic Broadway productions.  From Beauty and the Beast, to The Lion King, to Mary Poppins, and The Little Mermaid, Disney on Broadway is hugely successful by retelling popular Disney story-lines developed for this special form of live art.  Opening this past March, the latest Disney production to take Broadway by storm is Aladdin.   The new Disney musical can be found at The New Amsterdam Theatre, a theatre leased by The Walt Disney Company and considered to be the flagship location for Disney Theatrical Productions.  I guess it’s logical to say that Disney is at home on Broadway.

Disney's Aladdin on broadwayDid you know that our favorite little mouse, Mickey, found his way to stardom by starting his career in a Broadway theatre?

Those first nervous little squeaks were made at the Colony Theater in New York City.  The Colony Theater, located on 1681 Broadway between West 52nd and 53rd Streets, opened as a movie palace on Christmas Day in 1924.  Just a few short years later, Steamboat Willie premiered at the Colony Theater on November 18, 1928 and Mickey Mouse was born.

iphone 2014 192

The Colony Theater’s name was changed in 1930 to the Broadway Theatre, as the theater moved away from showing films and began staging plays.  In 1940 Walt Disney returned to this rather large Broadway Theatre (seating 1,761 people) to premiere his labor of love, “Fantasia”.  In addition, Disney’s “Dumbo” premiered at the Broadway Theatre in 1941.

Broadway Theatre

Today the Broadway Theatre is still operating on Broadway!  The current production to call the Broadway Theatre home is Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.  Although this isn’t produced by the Disney Theatrical Group I think it’s quite fitting for this important historical building.

Walt Disney’s dreams did come true.  One might say it all started with a Mouse on Broadway…

I’m so excited to be a part of the Fastpass To History Blog Hop hosted by Frontier Station ! Each week this blog hop provides access to a variety of Disney history facts, photographs, and more – giving us all a Fastpass to history!  If you love Disney history, you’ll love Frontier Station!  It’s filled with many wonderful Disney history posts!  Here’s the link to take you straight to their home page.