Disneyland: Before Bed | Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, we had an emotional character lunch (well, at least I did) with some princesses before enjoying Disneyland for the bulk of the afternoon. The weather was finally cooperating and our golden afternoon melted into evening as we headed off to dinner to meet back up with Megan and Don.


Don and Megan, splashing out for their mini-honeymoon, not only made reservations for lunch but for dinner as well, at the swanky Napa Rose restaurant at the Grand Californian. Napa Rose is known for their farm-to-table menu brought by Chef Andrew Sutton. If you want the opposite of nomming on a giant turkey leg in the parks (and you’re not a Club 33 member), this is the fine dining spot for you. We were all feeling pretty full from our big, late lunch, so the four of us ordered a bunch of starters to nibble on. It was nice to have a little taste of the high life before throwing ourselves back into the parks. (And although it was a little sad, it was nice to set down my Minnie Mouse ears for a little bit.)

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Grilled diver scallops
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… can’t remember what this is, maybe a seasonal special…
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Truffled mac & cheese
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Green beans
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Wild boar meatloaf
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Roasted duck meatballs

Tip: If I had a second day at Disney, I think I would have skipped meal reservations because there is a lot of great food available in the parks and I was constantly worried about ruining my appetite. (Like we did at Disney World last year.) Napa Rose is a fine dining experience, so it’s not easy on kids or wallets but the food is very yummy.

After thoroughly stuffing ourselves, we split up: MegaDon to see the fireworks at Disneyland and Ben and I rushing to access the viewing area that we grabbed FastPasses for to see World of Color.DSC00888.JPG

World of Color was pretty magical. It’s a light show projected onto fountains at Paradise Pier. Since it’s the Diamond Celebration, it was a look at the magic of Disney animation hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. (Who doesn’t love him?) You know what Disney does so well is it knows exactly how to drive to your emotions that are connected with their animated features. A lot of dabbing at tears and feeling this very pure, childlike happiness while watching lights and water around you. Swelling music, NPH smiling down at you, waving at Mickey… it’s magical.

We didn’t quite realize it, but the parks were already closed at this point, so we got to see DCA at night and walk around a little bit before ambling out of the park to finally set our bags in our room for a few hours.

Tip: We didn’t know it and had a conflict with our dinner reservation, but Cars Land is particularly beautiful lit up at night, and you can watch them turn on all the lights. I can only imagine how cool and magical that is, especially if you really love Cars Land.

Because the park had just closed, and there was a huuuuuuuge crowd of people at the elevators, we decided to just… carry our suitcases up the stairs.

To the 6th floor.

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Enjoying some quality time with Goofy before destroying my arms

Man, just thinking about it makes my arms sore. And you can believe they ached for days after we got back. (My arms are not my best feature, let’s say.) But we were finally able to sit in the room! I soaked up some quality horizontal time with the bed before peeling myself off so we could meet up with Don and Megan one last time for the trip.

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Look at the cute beach ball pillows!
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Don’t steal them, you will be charged severely…

If you are able, I highly recommend visiting Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. I can’t speak about the food at all, but their specialty drinks are so much fun! Each one has a little show. Keep your eye on the volcano in the “window” when you order the Krakatoa Punch, and make magic throwing cinnamon into flames while the bar staff chants “Uh-Oa! Uh-oa! Uh-oa-oa-oa!” We were basically trying to order drinks that came with souvenir drinkware for us to bring home, with the exception of the Ka-blue-ie, which we asked to have served out of the Uh-Oa cup for extra fun. The drinks are strong, so drink responsibly and have a lot of fun. This was one of the drinkiest nights I’ve had, and I definitely have never had so much fun just ordering drinks.

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The inside of Trader Sam’s, with a view of the volcano just “outside”
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The… cup? bowl? for our Uh-Oa filled with the Ka-blue-ie
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With our Krakatoa Punch

This totally unplanned part of our evening was so much fun, just kicking back and really relaxing with Don and Megan, who had been married for over 24 hours at this point! What a fun way to end a really amazing day at the happiest place on earth.

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Good night DCA.

What are some sit-down spots (restaurants, bars) that you think are worth visiting at Disneyland/DCA? I was thinking about making a Paint the Night reservation at Blue Bayou, but we weren’t able to get a consensus on dinner plans and deferred to the newlyweds who nailed it with Napa Rose.

What are your favorite fireworks/light shows? I feel like Disney parks really nail fireworks shows, to the point where I feel pretty let down by a lot of other folks’ Fourth of July displays… We did miss the Disneyland fireworks to see World of Color, because at some point, once you’ve seen one fireworks display… you’ve seen ’em all? World of Color was beautiful but maybe not as spectacular as the fireworks display we caught a little bit of seemed.

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