Archive for the ‘Disney’s California Adventure’ Category

24 Hours At Disneyland

A couple months ago, my husband told me of a work conference he was planning to go to in Anaheim.  He knew my response before he even told me.  Of course I have to go with!  It’s by Disneyland, my Happiest Place on Earth!

We booked our trip and were all set to go when Disney made an announcement.  To kick off the Monstrous Summer, on May 24, Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Magic Kingdom would be open for 24 hours!

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Review of the Cove Bar at Disney California Adventure

Overlooking Paradise Pier, the Cove Bar at Disney California Adventure offers scrumptious snacks, lip-smacking libations, and arguably one of the best views in the park for the night-time spectacular World of Color.

If you’re planning a visit to the Cove Bar specifically for the World of Color viewing it should be noted that the venue closes to new guests 30-45 minutes prior to the start of the show, and the bar is only accessible during the first performance.

Check-in podium at the Cove Bar entrance

On the night we visited, there were 4 adults in our party and we arrived at the bar around 7:45 pm for the 9:00 show.  There were 3-4 couples in line ahead of us and a host came out to explain to us that while there was no cover charge to watch World of Color, the seating was first-come, first-serve and there was no guarantee we’d get a table before they closed.   I’ll admit, there was a quiet moment of panic among our group in trying to determine if we should stay or go.  A couple of the people in line ahead of us decided to head elsewhere, so we opted to wait it out. Within 10 minutes we were seated, and apparently, we were sprinkled with a bit of pixie dust on our way in because we were given the best seat in the house.  Check out that view!

Spectacular view of Paradise Pier from our table

There are two different seating options, either bar stools surrounding a counter or tables & chairs lining the perimeter.  In keeping with the old-timey boardwalk theme, the bar has a lot of fun decor all over the walls.

Seating inside the Cove Bar
Behind the bar

Once we settled in, we dove into the menu.  Like many of the bars & lounges at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, the Cove Bar has a menu that includes standard cocktails and beers, appetizers, and a few specialty offerings. Tracy and I decided to each try one of the Cove Bar’s exclusive cocktails.

Cove Bar Menu
Specialty Cocktails

I tried the Sideshow Novel-Tea, and while initially a bit on strong side, it was great once you mixed in the strawberry puree.  I’d almost say it was refreshing. I tried a sip of the martini and it was very flavorful and Tracy seemed to really enjoy it, too.

Before we arrived, the four of us decided that we’d all share a few different appetizers from the menu and just make dinner out of it.  The bar is well-known for their lobster nachos, so that was a definite.  From there, well, it took a few minutes to decided because it all sounded so good.

Appetizer menu

We decided on another order of nachos, but asked them to swap the lobster for chicken (blasphemy, I know – I’m just not a big fan of seafood), Tri Tip Sliders, Barbecue Chicken Pizza, and the Bayside Fish Tacos,. Yes, we were hungry!

Lobster Nachos – $12.49

The nachos were spectacular and both plates quickly disappeared!  Although I have to say, the chicken nachos were the clear winner over the lobster.  The lobster wasn’t very fresh and was slightly fishy tasting (more so than it should be), while the chicken had a hearty char-grilled flavor. The toppings throughout both nachos were plentiful, and they were not at all chintzy with the cheese in the underlying layers. The chipotle sauce used in lieu of sour cream was a nice touch, as well.

Chicken Nachos (Special Request)
Tri Tip Sliders – $9.99

The sliders were good, but the flavor balance seemed to be slightly off.  The meat was tender, albeit not very flavorful.  The Mojo Criollo sauce was very heavy with garlic, while I love me some garlic, it was just the only thing I could taste.  They put the sauce on the meat rather than on the bread, leaving the bread a bit dry.  These certainly don’t give the Carthay Circle Theater’s Kobe Beef Sliders a run for their money, but they weren’t bad either.  I would order them again, I may just take a sec to swipe the sauce onto the bread myself.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza – $10.99

Second only to the nachos, the pizza was a big hit with everyone.  Everything about this was good; the crust, cheese, toppings, all of it.  It was fresh and hit all of the right points.  I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again.

Bayside Fish Tacos – $9.99

The only let down of all that we ordered were the Bayside Fish Tacos.  While I readily admit I’m not the biggest fan of seafood, I do enjoy fish tacos.  Unfortunately, these were not at all fresh.  The meat was dry and extremely fishy tasting, the lime couldn’t even calm down the fishiness.  Everything else about them was good, and I really wanted to enjoy these but I just couldn’t.  The consensus of the table was the same.

About 10 minutes before show time, they did a final call for the bar.  Once our bellies and our drinks were full, we chatted and enjoyed the atmosphere until the start of the show.  At this point, we noticed that our panic was for nothing and most of the bar had emptied. I’m guessing because the seats closer to the bar’s main entrance don’t really offer a great vantage point for World of Color, being that the seats are further back and almost parallel with the show’s water screens.  Our table, however, was furthest down the line and closest to Ariel’s Grotto, giving us the best seat in the house.  It seemed that any of the tables along our row had a great view.  I can’t think of any other place where you can sit comfortably (with a drink!) and watch the show.  Heaven.

Credit the lack of wind that night, but we didn’t feel much over spray from the fountains at all.  Although we could really feel the heat from the fire during the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence.

To get an even better idea of the view, you can check out the video below featuring the show’s finale.  Just a note, there was a lot of chatter at the table next to us that the microphone on my phone picked up.  Thankfully, it wasn’t as noticeable to us while we were sitting there.

All of the cast members we encountered here were extremely friendly, as was our server, but I do have to note that he was a bit on the slow side.  Luckily for us, the timing of everything worked out perfectly. If you intend to visit the Bar to view World of Color, I would recommend arriving  at least an hour prior to the show if not earlier.  I also want to mention that we were able to receive 15% off our bill (excluding alcoholic beverages) with our annual pass.  After the show, although the bar was closed, we weren’t rushed out giving us time to finish up our drinks and grab some more shots of the gorgeous fountains.

Overall, the four of us really enjoyed our experience at the Cove Bar and found that it would definitely be a place we’d all go back to for the food, the drinks, and to see the show.  Have you experienced the Cove Bar?  Let us know your thoughts and best tips it in the comments!

All photos © Chrysty Summers.

Answers to Where in the World is ToaD

Yes, we are getting ready for a new adventure and want to take you along with us. Tomorrow we fly to a destination where we have been before with completely new experiences! A lot of familiar places that have undergone many changes since we last saw them.

Where are we going? Here are the answers.  How did you do? Continue reading

Magical Memories

My love for Disney is different than most.  I didn’t grow up with all the movies or frequent trips to Disney World.  A friend of mine went to Disney World when I was a kid and brought me back Mickey ears.  Really didn’t matter much to me.  Maybe it was because my parents didn’t like to travel so going to Disney World or Disneyland was out of the question, not even a consideration.  We made annual trips to Marriott’s Great America (now known as Six Flags Great America) so why did we need Disney?  That was an amazing park!  I loved the boat and log rides plus the Model T car rides.  It couldn’t get any better than this.

Shortly before getting married, my husband had been going to conferences for work.  I tagged along on the trips to see different parts of the country.  We went to Boston, New Orleans and Palm Springs.   After we got married, he had a chance to go to Anaheim California.  This would be the chance to see Disneyland so I definitely wanted to go.  We brought my sister with us and Deb and I spent the days exploring Southern California and joined Bill after his conference to visits Disneyland.

The following year, we returned to Disneyland, again for the conference, but this time just the two of us.  This time it was much different though.  The trip focused on Disneyland for me rather than other locations in Southern California.  I did more research for the trip to set our game plan.  I would have time during the day to go to Disneyland by myself and Bill would join me in the evenings.

I still recall first arriving at Disneyland that second year.  As soon as we walked through the turnstiles, I turned to Bill and exclaimed “This is the Happiest Place on Earth!”.  I felt like a little kid again!  While Bill was in his conference, I even went on Splash Mountain by myself!

Since that trip to Disneyland, we have been back many times, each with their own memories.  We watched Disneyland get a bit larger and the addition of Disney’s California Adventure.  A favorite of mine was in 2005.  My husband was celebrating his 50th birthday and so was Disneyland!  We were taking our first trip through the Panama Canal on the Disney Magic but first a few days at Disneyland.  We invited my mom and sister to come with us for the Disneyland stay.  This was just a couple years before mom passed away.  She was definitely slowing down and at times we needed to get a wheelchair to help her get around.  Two rides stick out in my mind.

We went on Soarin’ Over California.  Now my mom was very fearful of heights.  Somehow though we convinced her to go.  The closer we got to the ride, the more nervous she was becoming.  As soon as she sat down and locked her strap in, she started to panic.  She was almost crying.  Just then a castmember came around the corner and it was like a switch turned her off.  She was quiet as a mouse!  As soon as the castmember went around the corner, she started to panic again.  I just looked at her and said “that was your chance!”  She made it through the ride though reported that her eyes were closed the entire time.

The other ride was Pirates of the Caribbean.  My mom trusted my husband more than the rest of us.  He told her that Pirates was an art gallery.  Why she never questioned the line to get in escapes me!  As we approached the building and went in, she saw the boats returning to the start.  She turned and said “This isn’t an art gallery, is it?”  We told her it was a boat ride and she asked “just tell me it doesn’t have any drops” so we did.  She didn’t ask for the truth after all!  For those who haven’t been to Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean there actually has two drops!  In the end she enjoyed the ride and while she screamed on the drops, we laughed.

Great memories of Disneyland!  We also have great memories at Walt Disney World and on our many Disney Cruises. With my job, I am lucky enough to hear great stories from my clients when they return.  Not only do they make me smile, but they remind me of my memories too.

Now it’s your turn!  Share with us a memory that you have of a Disney visit.

Disney California Adventure: Creating the Magic – Part 2

Picking up where we left off on the last post, let’s continue to make our way around the park.

 Paradise Pier:

6/2008: The now extinct Sun Wheel, Maliboomer and Orange Stinger attractions.
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Disney California Adventure: Creating the Magic

When I started writing this blog, my intention was to title it “Re-creating the Magic”, that was until it dawned on me you can’t re-create something that was never truly there to start with.

That Disney magic we all know and love is something found in abundance at Disneyland.  But let’s face it, she has it pretty easy.  I mean, Walt walked in that park.  With all the nostalgia and history found in every nook & cranny, it would take some serious Imagineering for Disney to be able to draw guests out of that park in order to go visit her baby sister across the way.

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Cars Land to Open June 15, 2012

Visitors to Disney’s California Adventure in the last few years have seen a lot of construction going on.  Well that is nearing an end with the completion date set for June 15, 2012 with the opening of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle Theater.  We are excited to see the changes!

New attractions include the Red Car Trolley, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Radiator Springs Racers and Luigi’s Flying Tires.  Bob Iger and Tom Staggs checked out the expansion on Tuesday.  Staggs said “This new entrance to the park will transport guests to a romantic, idealized version of 1920s Hollywood when Walt and Roy Disney first arrived in California to begin their careers as filmmakers. Buena Vista Street will be the perfect place for guests to shop and eat, watch the parade, or just sit and soak up the atmosphere.”

In preparation for the grand opening, Disney’s California Adventure will be closed on June 14, 2012.  Disneyland park, Downtown Disney District and the Disneyland Resort hotels will all remain open.

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