Most important lesson learned: You want to maximize your time but don’t sacrifice your meals. It simply isn’t a good idea to run around Disneyland on a half-empty stomach. Eat but resist the urge to subsist on the hotdogs sold in carts all over the park — they taste like cardboard. Eat real food at Disneyland. There are plenty of choices. The problem is how to time your meals so you won’t have to wait for a table.
I prepared a dining schedule for our day in Disneyland — lunch at the Royal Banquet Hall in Fantasyland, high tea at the River View Cafe in Adventureland and dinner at the Plaza Inn on Main Street. We managed to have dinner at Plaza Inn but Royal Banquet Hall and River View Cafe had to be scrapped.
The plan was to have an early breakfast at the hotel and be ready for the first shuttle to Disneyland. We did have breakfast at the hotel and we were at Disneyland a little after 10.00 a.m.
But, instead of going straight for the rides and the shows, we went shopping. It’s a good thing that we didn’t have to carry our shopping loot around. Guests at the Disney Hollywood Hotel have the option of having their purchases delivered to the hotel and picking them at the front desk later. Of course we opted for that. Otherwise, our bodies would be aching from the sheer weight of the stuff we had bought. My friend, Ms. Shopaholic, especially, who has a tendency to buy everything she touches.
It was the perfect day to be in Disneyland. The temperature rose no higher than 26C and the sun was hiding behind layers of clouds (but it never rained!). By 11.30 a.m., we were ready for the Jungle River Cruise. Some scenes were just crying out for the right caption.
After we got off the boat, because River View Cafe was in the vicinity, we thought we should have early lunch there. But it wouldn’t open until 12.00 noon and we wanted to catch the 1.00 p.m. Festival of the Lion King. So, we skipped lunch and went to see Simba, Scar, Pumbaa and Timon.
Food Carts: BAD Eats
We were so hungry by the time the show finished that we were willing to buy food from the nearest cart. I chose a hotdog sandwich and a bottle of watermelon juice. The juice was good; the hotdog tasted like cardboard and the hotdog bun was at least a day old. Bummer.
We went to see Mickey’s PhilharMagic, we rode the train, we shopped some more… By 2.30 p.m., I was hungry. We walked back to Main Street where we were going to watch the Flights of Fantasy Parade at 3.00 p.m. While waiting, I went to the bakery that I had checked out earlier.
Market House Bakery: Good Eats
Market House Bakery on Main Street has a fantastic selection of breads and pastries. I ordered hot coffee, mini barbecue pastries and mini lava cheesecake. Good food, finally! And strong coffee too. I felt my crankiness dissipating and I was raring to see the parade.
It certainly was good to feel like a kid again.
We weren’t planning on having dinner so early especially since we just had coffee and pastries. Ms. Mathwiz tried to make a reservation for 6.00 p.m. at Plaza Inn but was told that we’d have to come in at 5.00 p.m. and be out by 6.00 p.m. So, it was a choice between dinner at 5.00 p.m. or dinner much later with no reservations and risk missing the night parade, “Disney Paint the Night” Nighttime Spectacular. We chose dinner at 5.00 p.m.
Plaza Inn: Good Eats
Because we weren’t so hungry yet, we ordered two set menus and split them among the four of us. As expected, the food at Plaza Inn was good. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, the meat was tender, the mushrooms were fresh, the dim sum delectable and the little surprises made the meal even better. The bun with the Mickey Mouse logo had a soft and sweet egg yolk filling (really good!) and the spring roll quite unlike anything we’ve had before was demolished with the ooohs and ahhhs reserved for exceptional gastronomic experiences.
After our light but delicious dinner, we were ready for more. And more, we did — “It’s A Small World” and “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” were next, then more shopping, the night parade and, finally, the fireworks.
It was a great day. I never knew that four adults with no kids in tow could have such a good time in Disneyland.