Reviews & Photos
March 10 2014
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Goofy's Sky School - Disney California Adventure
This was my 11 year old's favorite ride of all. During World of Color (which we had seen the previous night), the line was incredibly short so he rode Goofy's Sky School about 6 times in a row. He would get off, then run back in line and would wait behind one or two people. He was grinning from ear to ear. Because the queue is a short area, we stood outside, watched World of Color from the side, and let him ride to his heart's content.
This ride can have a wait time of up to 1 hour during the busy parts of the day. It is a fast ride and can jerk you around, and then drop you suddenly. All things that are fun for tweens and teens. Thankfully it isn't too jerky for moms (at least for me) but one ride was enough. I didn't want to feel sick! It's a fun ride, but might not be worth a 1 hour wait. So come during World of Color!
February 06 2014
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Earl of Sandwich - Downtown Disney
1580 S Disneyland Dr,
"Economical, healthy, and delicious"
Earl of Sandwich strikes the perfect balance of offering healthy items that are delicious without being overpriced. Guests lining out the door is a testimony to how valuable the prices are compared to the other locations in Downtown Disney.
On a recent trip to Earl of Sandwich to try out some of their new menu items, my kids and I held a taste test competition. Which of the 4 bags of chips (made especially for EofS) won? We were surprised at how most of us really liked the baked potato chips. They were the healthier version of the regular potato chips but had such a great crisp and salty flavor that we enjoyed. We got around to trying all the other menu items, but since my kids gravitate to chips, it was fun to start there.
I taste tested as many of the hot sandwich items as were offered, and they were all incredibly delicious. The Original 1762 with roasted beef, sharp cheddar, & horseradish sauce was tender and not overly spiced with horseradish. A highlight was the BBQ Chicken Sandwich which blended the perfect spiciness of BBQ with sweet red onions and cheese. A similar but unique sandwich is the Hawaiian BBQ with chicken, ham, swiss, and pineapple.
Hands down my favorite was the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich with roasted peppers & onions, beef, and melted cheese. Just take a look at my picture attached here and see how delicious it is! It is one of the limited time menu options, so I suggest getting it soon.
The Chicken Bacon Avocado Wrap is the most requested wrap on the menu with romaine, tomato, cucumber, & balsamic vinaigrette in a hand rolled wrap, plus the items that give the wrap its name. I found it to taste more like a salad in a tortilla, so I decided that I prefer the hot sandwich items.
A large variety of fresh and creative salads are offered as well as at least 8 soups and sides. The Baja Chicken Salad was delicious with roasted corn, black beans, and crunchy tortilla strips, along with avocado, cilantro, and cheddar on a bed of romaine.
When the bacon macaroni & cheese was brought out, I wasn't inclined to try it. I think I even made a snarky comment to my kids about it being quite unhealthy. But I obliged my curiosity and took a few bites. I was blown away with delight. The noodles were creamy and cheesy and then were contrasted by the crispy and salty bacon. I think it's true that bacon is to die for! This item is on the limited menu so try it soon!
My kids were so relieved when I finally said yes to picking out a dessert. They had been eyeing the Brownie Creme Sandwiches, cookies, and cupcakes that disappeared quickly once they grabbed them. A speciality menu item that we enjoyed was the brownie bark. It was like a thin, crunchy brownie with soft chocolate bits inside. Delicious!
Gluten-free items are offered on the menu and are indicated by a symbol. With the many salad options, as well as sandwiches loaded with vegetables, I enjoyed the healthy aspects of eating dinner here. A kids menu coming out soon will offer a smaller sandwich, grilled cheese, and pizza at a reasonable price.
The outdoor seating area comprises long picnic style tables with benches which is perfect for families squeezing in their kids. Guests wait in line and order at the counter with a refillable drink station. The only downside is that there is no restroom in the building. The nearest one is a short walk past the movie theater and to the side of the LEGO Store.
I remember seeing a long line out the door of the EofS one spring lunch time and was discouraged at the wait. But I was pleasantly surprised to see the line move quickly. Even though we were half-way to Rainforest Cafe, the line took about 10-15 minutes.
I highly recommend visiting the Earl of Sandwich on the next visit to the Disneyland Resort. It is located near the Disneyland Hotel and is a far walk from the entrance to Disneyland itself. The monorail stops very close by, however, and the Downtown Disney parking is very close.
Disclosure: I was invited for a media event highlighting the menu items of Earl of Sandwich. I was not asked to express a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.
January 30 2014
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The Queen Mary
1126 Queen's Highway,
I was honestly surprised at the beauty we found hidden inside this beautiful ship. We took a special tour with Commodore Everette who has his own special love of the Queen Mary after having served on her for many years.
Walking tours with audio headsets are available as well as special tours, which feature WW2 History, the Glory Days, and Ghost Tours. After our introduction to the ship by the Commodore, we took the WW2 Tour, which I will expand on in a moment. Our one disappointment was not getting to see the indoor swimming pool.
Our kids were with us, ages 13, 11, 7, and 5. The older boys listened with interest and found the tour engaging, although they were incredibly tired from walking all over the ship for about 2 ½ hours. The 7 and 5 year olds did not pay much attention but they found interest in looking in the windows at old rooms, looking over the edge of the ship, and lying on the floor during the tour. (yes, those kids were ours) For the most part, the railings are safe for kids, as long as they don’t climb up on them. A self-guided audio tour is probably the best bet for parents with young kids.
Our private tour with the Commodore took us to all the usual locations of the audio tour. We saw the first class dining room with it’s elegant paintings, we observed the sweep of the promenade deck, and heard stories of the boat being tossed by the waves and almost sweeping over the bow. The ship is filled with beautiful wood paneling from exquisite and rare woods from all over the world. It makes the inside rooms rather dark, but they seem full of stories from all the history that took place there. My favorite room to see was the Grand Salon which had an incredible map of the Atlantic Ocean on it’s western wall. There was a silver ship floating on the map so that while on a cruise, guests could visually see where on the Atlantic they were. An historic GPS! On Sundays guests can enjoy a brunch served in the Grand Salon.
We got to see inside one of the hotel suites and were impressed with the modern conveniences (TV, showers, etc.) but with the historic elements still in place (wood paneling, old fans not in use, and hot salt water faucets… although they don’t work anymore).
We joined the WW2 Tour with about 15 other tourists. The guide infused some corny humor that had some of us laughing, and he filled his tour with stories from the Queen Mary’s service during WW2. Most interesting were the stories he related of soldiers who were crowded onto the ship (16,000 of them on a ship that was built for 3,000) and found places to sleep under stairs or even in the drained pool. The ship served a very important function of bringing soldiers to Europe and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war.
Our best souvenirs we took from our visit (there are plenty of retail shops on board!) were 2 books filled with photos and maps from historical times. My kids might argue that they like the floating bathtub toy ships the best.
Bottom line: Visiting the Queen Mary is an impressive way to step back into history to see an incredible ship. It’s honestly hard not to think of the Titanic when you visit although QM was much bigger and built 20 years later. It is definitely worth a visit!
Special thanks to Commodore Everette for sharing his love of the Queen Mary and his stories with us. We were given complimentary tours for the purpose of sharing our experience. We were not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are our own.
January 13 2014
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14952 Sand Canyon Ave,
This place has it all for families. Yummy food, counter service, arcade and pool table, TVs, and unique dining elements.
We end up here a lot of afternoons after church. We enjoy eating here with friends because the kids have a great time and we can enjoy eating in a place where kids are welcome. Our kids usually crowd around the big round table that encircles an old fire pit (no longer used). We pull tables and chairs together for the adults and sit down to our burgers, salads, and fish & chips. The kids run off to "play" the couple of arcade games or put in 4 quarters for a game of pool. Because the building is large, the noise level of our kids fits right in with the rest of the place and they aren't disruptive.
Baby's best burger is my fav. A smaller version of the famous hamburger which is delicious. Adding avocado and onion make it perfect. Next Sunday I may be there!
January 01 2014
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78755 Darby Road,
We did not know what to expect at the Living Nativity but we were pleasantly surprised! The presentation, staffing, tour guides, musical entertainment, and crafts were excellent. Everyone was incredibly friendly and it was all free. We put donations in the tip/donation jars because we knew pulling off something this big takes man power and money, and we were thankful to get to experience it.
The best advice was from my mom, urging us to get there early, even before it started at 5pm. That was good advice! The line was already 15-20 minutes long when we arrived so we waited. While we did, we enjoyed a top notch puppet show/musical performance that had us clapping and smiling.
We were sent "into Bethlehem" in groups of 25 people or so. My parents were offered a "buggy ride" on a golf cart driven by a "shepherd" for anyone not wanting to walk for the 45 minute tour. Our guide read a pleasant script as he led us to the different stations... about 10 or so all together. We stopped at each station and watched people dressed in character read a section from the Bible or act out what was piped in on the sound system. The kids were invited to the front of each station so they could hear and see well. Nothing was scary... except a little when the Roman guards were shouting at us to hurry up and show them our papers.
The best part ever was watching a young couple portray Mary and Joseph in the stable with their real son (or daughter) playing baby Jesus. The kids (and everyone) were invited up to see Jesus and tears sprang into my eyes as we gazed down at the sweet face.
The tour completed the whole story of the life of Jesus (quickly) with a stop at a cross (no people portrayed here... just a cross), and then at the empty tomb where the angel told the women that Jesus was risen.
At the end of the tour, we walked "Bethlehem Market" where tables were set up with crafts offered at each one. Volunteers helped my kids make bracelets, metal crosses, and clay coins. There was so much to do and the kids wanted to do it all. We stopped for hot chocolate on our way out.
On our way to the car, we saw the incredibly long line of people waiting to go in. They must have waited an hour? Someone told us that 2,000 people would go through the tour that night. So come early next year!