Tag: Disneyland

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.

mouseearsmom.com 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.

mouseearsmom.com 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!

A Magical Gift For A Walt Disney Fan

Small Worlds Pin

If you’re looking for a cool gift for a Walt Disney fan, this is it!

Walt Disney loved to create attractions which included miniatures.  One such attraction opened at Disneyland in 1956. It’s called Storybook Land Canal Boats.

Storybook Land

The attraction takes guests on a slow-moving boat ride through the mouth of Monstro and into Storybook Land where they are treated to a tour of miniature lands from Disney’s most popular films. Over the years the attraction has been updated several times, with the most current update adding the village of Arendelle.

 Storybook Land

The original buildings were exposed to the elements for 25 years before Disneyland had most of them rebuilt as exact replicas in 1981.  The original buildings were in such a sad state that only one grouping was saved, the “French Village.” This particular set was from what I would call, “Cinderella’s land.”  In the photo above you can see some of the replicated buildings in the “French Village.”

What happened to the original “French Village?”

Small Worlds of Wal

The original “French Village” was donated last year to the Carolwood Foundation (a nonprofit foundation with the mission of preserving Walt Disney’s railroad legacy.) The Carolwood Foundation volunteers have taken on the task of painstakingly restoring and preserving this piece of Walt Disney’s history. Once completed, there will be a new exhibit called, “The Small Worlds of Walt”, that guests visiting Walt’s Barn will be able to see up close. In the above featured photo is one small piece of the buildings. It is currently on display within Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park.

The Small Worlds of Walt Exhibit Concept

 Purchase this beautiful pin for your favorite Walt Disney fan (I purchased one for myself!) and help the Carolwood Foundation save the original “French Village.” With your help this priceless piece of Disney history will be enjoyed for generations to come!

For more information on this project please visit


My visit to Walt Disney’s barn

DSC_0174This is a hard post for me to write. It may sound silly to most people, but visiting Walt Disney’s barn was emotional for me. Why you might ask? Well, I believe Walt was a special man who stood for so many things that I find important in life, such as creativity, family, persistence, bravery, and dedication. This barn, Walt’s barn, was not only a place for him to enjoy his train hobby but it was also the birthplace of Disney Imagineering.  It is a building where his great mind and those great minds around him met to create amazing things. Walking through Walt Disney’s barn and seeing so many of his personal items that tell a story about a special part of his life was overwhelming for me. I’ve wanted to share this experience with those of you that admire Walt and his accomplishments, but I have struggled to find the words to write something that I would feel could do the barn justice. Today I have decided to share my visit primarily through photos. I’m not educated on trains and miniatures, nor did I know Walt Disney personally for he passed away before my birth, so the information that accompanies the photos is directly from spending time in the barn listening to volunteers. I recommend visiting the barn on your own.  I’m certain you will learn more than I can ever tell you in this post today.  Below are photos of items that stood out to me and I’m excited to share them with you today, the anniversary of the sad day Walt Disney passed.

DSC_0175Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn currently resides at Griffith Park in Los Angeles California.  It was moved to this location from its original home on Carolwood Drive in 1999 by Diane Disney Miller, Walt’s daughter, when the barn was at risk of being torn down.  She donated it to the non-profit Carolwood Foundation with connections to the Los Angeles Live Steamers Club where Walt Disney was a charter member.

Walt Disneys Barn

I’m happy to report that if you’re visiting Disneyland in Anaheim and would like to visit this Disney attraction around the corner in LA, it’s FREE!  Walt’s Barn is open to the public on the third Sunday of each month from 11am until 3pm. The barn is staffed by devoted experts on Walt’s history with trains and lucky for visitors they donate their time to tell his story.

Walts Barn suggested donation

There is a suggested donation amount, however I can tell you that the staff collecting donations at the gate acted shocked when we paid it. After visiting a Disney theme park, their suggested donation was a steal for an amazing experience rich with history.

Walt Disneys Barn

As you enter into the barn, to the left you’ll find historical information about the barn, including a photograph of a barn that was located on the farm Walt Disney lived on during the early years of his childhood. Walt’s Carolwood Barn was modeled after this barn. The information is attached to the door of what use to be a space for the toilet.

Around the corner of the space is the tidy up area.  Since Walt often started work early in the day, he would come to the barn to get ready. He would use this sink, a shaving kit and small mirror to clean up before going into the office.

Walt Disney's wash area in his barn.

On the right side of the barn’s door is this antique phone.  Walt used it to communicate with anyone at the main house.

Walt's phone in his barn

Next to this phone I found Walt’s Central Track Control area. A small plaque attached to the switchboard display reads: “The switchboard was used by Walt Disney to operate the 11 turnouts (switches) on the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Lights on the panel indicated the location of the train on the 2,615 feet of track. A tracking system similar to this is still used on a slightly larger scale, along the route of the Disneyland Railroad. Built by Lee Adams at the Walt Disney Studio.”

Switchboard in Walt's barn

Next to his switchboard is one of Walt’s work benches.  He built all of the work benches found in the barn.

Walt's work bench

On top of this work bench are drawings of Walt’s train called the Lilly Belle, along with other memorabilia.

Walt Disney's work bench

Of course the barn is home to train displays, including this train that was purchased in London by Walt Disney in 1951. Sadly it never ran on Walt’s track, since it was damaged by water on its trip to Walt’s home. At that time Walt was busy planning Disneyland, so he never had time to repair it.

In Walt's Barn are some great trains including this one purchased in London.

This car was part of Walt’s famous Carolwood Pacific. The locomotive is on display in San Francesco at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Carolwood Pacific carThese few photo are merely a small amount of the images that I took while visiting Walt’s barn. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

Walt's Barn

If a trip to Disneyland is in your future, consider adding a stop at Walt’s barn to your “Must Do” list.  I assure you, visiting Walt’s barn is truly a wonderful glimpse into Walt’s “happy place” before he created the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Do you love to read about Disney History?  Visit one of my favorite blogs, Frontierland Station, and check out the Fastpass To History section or if you’re a Disney History blogger, add your link to her blog hop for us to read too!

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!


Let’s Celebrate with Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Attraction and Brownie Pops!

Happy 21st Birthday “Nightmare Before Christmas!”

Haunted Mansion Holiday

On October 13th, 1993 “The Pumpkin King” was introduced to Americans.  “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas” was such a phenomenal success that The Walt Disney Company decided to thrill obsessed Jack Skellington fans by creating a special attraction overlay.  This overlay shows Disneyland guests how Jack would celebrate Christmas in The Haunted Mansion. On October 3rd 2001, Disneyland opened an amazingly transformed Haunted Mansion, with the help of Jack Skellington of course, and called it “Haunted Mansion Holiday.”

Haunted Mansion HolidayHaunted Mansion Holiday is a seasonal attraction offered exclusively to Disneyland guests from the end of September through early January each year.

On my recent trip to Disneyland I was able to experience this enchanted attraction. Walt Disney Imagineering did a mind-blowing job bringing Jack’s special touch to every corner of the Haunted Mansion.  Would you like to take a look?  I promise brownie pops at the end!

Haunted Mansion Holiday Overview

 Jack welcomes guests to explore the grounds outside the mansion where decorations adorn everything!  Walking through the queue is almost as entertaining as the attraction!

Haunted Mansion Holiday

This is a side view of The Haunted Mansion.  As you can see, pumpkins, garland, and candelabras add Jack’s festive touch to the otherwise gray mansion and gloomy grounds.Haunted Mansion Holiday

At the entrance to the mansion a giant clock counts down to Christmas…looks like Christmas has arrived!

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Upon entering, guests will immediately notice the difference between the original version of the attraction and this special festive overlay. There’s a reason the attraction closes for a few weeks to transform. This is not a minor refurbishment. It takes the attraction to a level worthy of FassPass!  If you’ve never had the opportunity to see Haunted Mansion Holiday, I won’t spoil it for you by telling you every single difference, but I will say that the stretching room is so cool!

My camera didn’t take the best photos inside of Haunted Mansion Holiday, but I thought you still might want to see a few peeks at the attraction.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

The photo featured above is of the Doom Buggie loading area.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Guests travel through all of the same rooms as in the original attraction.  However, each room has been decorated for the holiday celebration.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

When comparing attractions available at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Park attractions, there are quite a few attractions offered at Disneyland Park that are not at Magic Kingdom. Haunted Mansion Holiday is by far my favorite! OUTSTANDINGLY detailed with animatronics and special effects from not only Disney Imagineering but also Garner Holt Productions.  If I could pick it up and take it to Walt Disney World I would in an instant!

In celebration of the 21st anniversary of “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas”, let’s enjoy a tasty treat!  So simple to make, using a box of brownie mix, a bit of white and chocolate icing, you could whip them up for this evening’s dessert.

Jack Skellington Brownie Pops by Mouse Ears Mom.com

If you’d like to see the step-by-step directions on how I made these “Brownie Kings”, here’s the direct link!