Aug 072013

When you get in trouble and you don’t know right from wrong
Give a little whistle! Give a little whistle! – Jiminy Cricket

Q. While I am certainly the Disney World nut, knowing every character meal available there, I don’t know a thing about Disneyland.

I am planning on taking my 2 grandsons in October and someone mentioned that there is no Disney dining plan, so now I am at a loss.  Can you recommend how I can entertain my grandsons at mealtime as I may have done at Chef Mickey’s, etc? (Submitted by Teresa R.)

A.  Hi Teresa!

How exciting to take a trip to Disneyland, after going to Disney World so often!  I know that my first trip out to Disneyland, I felt a little unprepared, because, I like you, know a TON about Walt Disney World, but knew so little about Disneyland, besides some of the very basics.  I did a little research, but really, once I got there, I felt just fine.  It can just be a bit daunting to not over-plan, like so many times we do for Disney World.

Another weird thing is that not everything is the same on both coasts, including something like a Disney Dining Plan…but despite the fact that Disney tries to blend the two coasts as Disney Parks, it doesn’t always work because in the grand scheme of things, both coasts are their own entities and with what many consider to still be a very local centric park, something like the Disney Dining Plan, as we Disney World fanatics know, wouldn’t work in the same fashion for a Disneyland Park.

Now, just to let you know, if you were interested, Disneyland does offer a Dining Plan, however, it is not the same at Disney World’s and many say, is not even close to the same value.  It allows guests to pay allows for meals with vouchers instead of cash, including Character Dining options.  I would speak to your travel agent if it’s something you would consider, to get the exact logistics down behind it.

You asked about character meals…and I’ve once again gone off on one of my typical tangents…the good news is that Disneyland Resort does have quite a few character meals to choose from, both in the parks, as well as at the very nearby resorts.  (I’m talking so nearby, you CAN walk to them…trust me.)

The kind of interesting thing about character meals at Disneyland is that sometimes they will throw in a really random character…so you won’t always have something like the Fab 5.  You may have someone like Rafiki or Winnie the Pooh randomly appear with Minnie Mouse.  There are five different options for character dining at Disneyland.  They are:  Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn found at Disneyland; Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure; Chip ‘n Dale’s Critter Breakfast at Storytellers Café (at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel; Goofy’s Kitchen at The Disneyland Hotel; and the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends at Disney’s PCH Grill located in Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

If you want my suggestion, while I’ve not done a character meal at Disneyland, I’ve heard nothing but great things about Storyteller’s Cafe and Goofy’s Kitchen.

If you are just looking for characters in general, the other really neat thing about Disneyland is that there seem to be more characters in the parks…and they are at less structured meets than you will see at Walt Disney World.  Characters flow a bit more freely and you will often see more unique characters at Disneyland too.  So, if meeting characters is a priority for your family, you will be able to do it easily at Disneyland.

I hope you have a magical time in Disneyland!  Be sure to say hello to Uncle Walt for me as you pass by the lit lamp above the firehouse on Main Street USA.  (That’s the location of Walt’s secret apartment.)  🙂

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  One Response to “Give a Little Whistle – Tackling Your Disney Dilemmas – 8/8/13”

  1. For Dinner we love Goofy’s Kitchen. For breakfast we like Surf’s Up at Paradise Pier, and lunch we do Ariel’s Grotto (great for those wanting one on one time with the princesses). Ariel’s unlike the others has a structured menu and not buffet but you will share the preset appetizers and delicious desserts (we ask for a box for these and snack on them through the day saving a few dollars). They have a fabulous way of introducing princesses as they arrive. Reserve an outside seat and hopefully you will be lucky enough to dine during the Instant concert just add water with Goofy. While it is a non-character meal Big Thunder Ranch BBQ can be quite nice with stage entertainment that even involves audience participation from time to time.

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