May 4, 2016

Let's Talk Star Wars...

I want to start this May The Fourth Be With You post by saying that I have loved Star Wars my entire life. I was born in the summer of 1977 just as Star Wars was coming out so I can honestly say that I don't remember a world without it. I was the youngest of three children and my older brother and sister taught me at a young age that Star Wars was something very special. Star Wars would not be a fad; the world would not tire of it. I grew up in a world with spirited lightsaber fights and weekend trilogy marathons. My first Halloween costume was Chewbacca, my first crush was Han Solo and when I was little my family affectionately called me their Little Jawa. Star Wars has always been something that spoke to all three of us, just as it seems to do to most whom have watched it.

My first Halloween as Chewbacca with my brother and sister, 1978.
Uncle Bill showed up at our door to surprise us as Chewbacca, 1978.
All that being said, the only thing that I love more than Star Wars is the Disneyland Resort. So, I get why many Disneylanders are worried about upcoming changes at Disneyland and the future of Star Wars in Disney Parks. Disneyland is a very special place to so many of us and after what most would consider a sizable Frozen-frenzy, I understand why some parkgoers are nervous that something as popular as Star Wars will take over Disneyland. Star Wars and the Season of the Force is definitely bringing a new audience to Disneyland, people whom are visiting mostly to experience Star Wars, not to see Mickey Mouse or to visit with a princess. Those crowds will grow greatly once Star Wars Land is completed.

I'm choosing to have faith in the Star Wars legacy being created at Disneyland. Based on current crowd levels, the powers that be there are successfully reaching many people in a very favorable way. More people than ever are visiting the Disneyland Resort and they are all paying more to do so every year. I am not saying that I don't have my concerns because I do. I'm just saying that Disneyland is a special place that has been created by countless professionals who value both Disneyland's legacy as well as their own artistry and skill levels. Nothing is going to make everyone happy and change is not always welcomed but, based on their impressive track record, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Disneyland has always been meant to evolve and the Star Wars saga is an amazing story to tell. Walt Disney was a master storyteller and I think that he would have loved Star Wars. It has everything a timeless epic needs - brave heroes, formidable villains and all the drama you'd expect from a Shakespearean classic. It is easy to question how and why decisions are being made at Disneyland but today my son and I will go there to celebrate our love for Star Wars. We love seeing Star Wars in Disneyland and can hardly wait to experience Star Wars Land. 

May the Fourth Be With You.

January 20, 2016

Enter To Win A Christmastime In January Giveaway!

Yes, Christmastime is already over at the Disneyland Resort but it is always a good time for a giveaway! In honor of the 60th Diamond Anniversary Celebration, My Adventures in Disneyland is doing monthly reader appreciation giveaways throughout 2016. This month we are giving away four 2015 Hallmark Disney ornaments. The winner will receive the following four ornaments - mermaid Ariel, a glittery Ariel on land, Rapunzel with Pascal and Olaf, the hug-loving snowman.

The lucky winner will be announced on the My Adventures in Disneyland Facebook page on January 28th. You can enter by visiting the My Adventures in Disneyland Facebook page and by leaving comments below on this blog post. All ornaments are new and in their original packaging. Good luck, Adventurers!

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December 17, 2015

Enter To Win Your Own Going To Disneyland Guide Book!

I'm excited to announce that I am giving away a very cool and unique gift package celebrating Disneyland. This gift package includes a copy of Going to Disneyland - A Guide for Kids & Kids at Heart, written & illustrated by Shannon W. Laskey, and the other Disneyland-inspired gifts pictured below! According to the Going to Guides website: "So much more than just a guidebook, you'll also enjoy activities, games, quizzes, little-known hot tips & tricks, built-in trip journal & scrapbook, things to spy with your little eye, fascinating fun facts & trivia, stories behind the attractions, fill-in-the-blank fun & so much more!" My son and I have been reading it for the last couple of weeks and we are both confident that any Disneyland fan will love it and any Disneyland "newbie" will be inspired to visit our Happy Place.

So, good luck and happy holidays! Our lucky winner will be announced on the My Adventures in Disneyland Facebook page on Christmas Day. If you would like more information about Going to Guides, please visit

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November 30, 2015

Win A Trip For Two To Make Your Disneyland Dreams Come True!

While I am one of those loyal Disneylanders whom always thinks it's a good time to go "Home" again, my favorite time to visit the Disneyland Resort is during the holiday season. In fact, over the years it has become a treasured family tradition to visit Disneyland to celebrate my son's birthday and to kick off the holidays in style. Visiting Disneyland during this time is a very unique experience that I am positive every Disney fan should experience for themselves. And, with the 60th Diamond Anniversary Celebration underway, there is no time like the present!

A few years ago my family and I spent our first Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Disneyland while staying onsite at the Disneyland Hotel for three nights. Our Christmas trip was a surprise for our son and he still talks about it. First it was presents at home with Mom and Dad. Then it was a surprise trip to Disneyland!

Between riding the usual attractions and checking out all the festive holiday decorations, we took the Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour and enjoyed hot chocolate and VIP seating for the A Christmas Fantasy Parade. We played in the snow on Main Street USA and Mark was finally tall enough to ride Indiana Jones Adventure for the first time. We shopped for last minute presents at the Lego Store and visited Haunted Mansion Holiday and it's a small world holiday. We stopped by Big Thunder Ranch to visit Santa and his crew before they had to get back to work and Mark told Santa that all he wanted for Christmas was to sing Jingle Bells with him; Santa happily complied. We even had our Christmas Eve dinner at the beautifully decorated Club 33. The highlight of the trip for me came when, at closing on Christmas Eve, we saw 40+ characters dressed in their pajamas at the Main Street Train Station who had come out just to say good night as we all left. It was a truly magical Christmas trip that none of us will ever forget.

I am excited to announce that our friends over at Get Away Today are giving one of you a chance to win a 2 night hotel stay and 2 adult Disneyland 1 Day/1 Park tickets so you can enjoy Disneyland and make some magical memories of your own.

Win a trip to Disneyland from Get Away Today

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 and older and will run through December 4, 2015.

You can enter to win using the giveaway widget below. If you aren't wanting to miss out on a good deal though, be sure to check out Get Away Today's Cyber Monday deal.

Their Cyber Monday sale will kick off on Monday, November 30, and will be good for $50 off the same package requirements: 4-night Southern California vacations w/a minimum of 2 tickets for travel January 1 – March 1, 2016. This will need to be booked by Saturday, December 5, 2015. The promo code is: CyberMonday15 You can book your vacation by CLICKING HERE.

Good luck!


June 1, 2015

Disneyland in 1969: Welcome Foolish Mortals

In honor of the big 60th Diamond Anniversary of Disneyland Park, a group of sixty Disney-loving bloggers is participating in a blog series celebrating Disneyland's rich history. Each day for sixty days leading up to the anniversary on July 17th, a new blogger will be writing about a single year of Disneyland history. So, you can imagine how honored I was to be included in this tribute to my happy place and to also get 1969, the year my very favorite Disneyland attraction was born. For people who love the Haunted Mansion like I do, it was a really big year. In fact, I am certain that 1969 will forever be known in Disney history as the year Disneyland guests fell in love with those playfully tragic 999 Happy Haunts.

While the mansion itself had been built in 1962 and 1963, it was not until 1969 that Disneyland guests were finally able to join those 999 Happy Haunts for a swinging wake as promised. In his Forward for Jason Surrell’s The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies, Disney Legend Marty Sklar said, “It turns out that on a visit to the United Kingdom, Walt had mentioned to several reporters that one of the reasons for his trip was to search the old castles and country manor homes for ghosts… but only ghosts that had a passion to continue to practice their trade in a new environment, ‘built especially for them’ at Disneyland. Walt’s story became the inspiration for my sign copy, posted outside the completed exterior of the Haunted Mansion in 1963." For years the suspense had been growing as guests were left wondering about what was to come. It took a while but Walt and his creative team finally had a plan that was sure to impress.

Walt always wanted New Orleans Square to be picturesque and lovely so the exterior of the Haunted Mansion and its grounds has always been beautifully maintained. It isn't until unsuspecting guests actually enter the mansion that they are greeted with its gloomy darkness, endless cobwebs and the look of a mansion deserted and left in disrepair. Narrated by Paul Frees, our haunting journey is told from the point of view of the invisible but charmingly funny and maniacal Ghost Host. In the impressive Stretching Room, he confesses to committing suicide and our dark adventure begins. Once out of the Stretching Room, guests enter different areas and rooms, including a conservatory, seemingly deserted hallways, a seance room, a very social ballroom, an attic, and even a haunted graveyard. Throughout the journey, guests are serenaded by the Haunted Mansion theme, Grim Grinning Ghosts, and introduced to the cast of 999 characters, which includes such fan favorites as Madame Leota, the Bride, two dueling ghosts and even a trio of Hitchhiking Ghosts, all as we ride along in our black doom buggies.

I like to say that the Haunted Mansion is actually my favorite and second favorite Disney attraction thanks to a seasonal overlay known as Haunted Mansion Holiday. Inspired by Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas, Haunted Mansion Holiday combines the two elements Walt Disney himself insisted be a part of this classic Disneyland attraction - thrills and chills with a dash of dark humor. Seeing how the playfully scary Jack Skellington interprets Christmas and Halloween adds a new layer to the Haunted Mansion that I am sure Walt would have appreciated.

Haunted Mansion Holiday, New Orleans Square - Disneyland
Since 1969 the timeless legacy of the Haunted Mansion has outstretched far beyond the perimeters of Disneyland. In fact, a version based on Disneyland's Haunted Mansion can be found in each and every Disney Parks resort worldwide. Both Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland have their own unique versions of the Haunted Mansion. Disneyland Paris is home to the very spooky Phantom Manor and visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland can visit Mystic Manor. However, due to the Chinese culture and its views on death, guests won't find any ghosts during their visit to Mystic Manor. Instead you will find many classic Haunted Mansion references, such as moving busts and a very lively portrait of Medusa. Other than at Disneyland Park, Tokyo Disneyland is the only other Disney Park to offer its guests a chance to experience their own version of Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Haunted Mansion, Liberty Square - Magic Kingdom (WDW)
Haunted Mansion, Fantasyland - Tokyo Disneyland
Phantom Manor, Frontierland - Disneyland Paris
Mystic Manor, Mystic Point - Hong Kong Disneyland

Recently Disneyland's Haunted Mansion celebrated its own 45th anniversary and, to celebrate the occasion, Disney Parks released a very impressive collection of Haunted Mansion merchandise. This extensive collection of merchandise showcases the iconic purple "Demon Eye Wallpaper" which was created for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion long ago by Disney Legend Rolly Crump. This very unique wallpaper pattern had been designed to give guests the feeling that they were somehow being watched during their journey throughout the house and perfectly compliments the tension created by pounding hall doors, the eerie sounds of moans and far off screams, bazaar portraits and doors that somehow appear to be breathing as if the Haunted Mansion itself were alive. This collection has proven to be very popular among Disney Parks fans and items like the pricey Haunted Mansion Dooney and Bourke bags have sold out online in mere minutes.

The most recent big development in Disneyland's long Haunted Mansion history actually happened just last month. Of course I am talking about the legendary return of the beloved Hatbox Ghost. Hattie's return during the 60th Diamond Anniversary of Disneyland has been pretty epic. For decades, Disneylanders have been left debating over his back story and even his very existence. During my last trip to Disneyland I was able to ride the Haunted Mansion and see him up close and in person for the very first time and I was not disappointed at all. I won't ruin it and explain the effects involved to you... You need to visit him and see it for yourself.

The beauty of the Haunted Mansion for me is in its duality. It is classically spooky and I love all the "old school" haunted house touches. However, it also has a lighthearted comedic feel that is both playful and fun. Through the magic of storytelling and with the creative genius of such Disney Legends as Marc Davis, Claude Coats and, of course, Walt Disney himself before his death, the Haunted Mansion has been able to make guests both laugh and cringe for over 45 years. It is the first attraction we visit when visiting Disneyland and has become a time-honored family tradition as my own son has recently decided that it is one of his favorites Disney attractions as well. After all, it can truly be fun to be scared.

"If you would like to join our jamboree / There's a simple rule that's compulsory;
Mortals pay a token fee / Rest in peace, the haunting's free;
So hurry back, we would like your company..."