Walking Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps!

When one thinks about Disney Parks, one usually thinks about the timeless classic attractions such as: Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion or even Flying Dumbo.  One can also think priceless moments such as meeting your favorite character for the first time, eating your first (or in our case thousandth) Mickey Ear’s Ice Cream Bar or watching your favorite firework show.  However when we think of the Disney Parks, we think of our favorite theme park; the classic Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California!  

The time.  The thought.  The imagination, and everything else that was put into this now infamous theme park is almost inconceivable to this day.  But Disneyland is also a wonderful example of a real persons dream come true.  And this person is the infamous Walter Elias Disney.  And his theme park was and is Disneyland.  It’s also the only theme park that he ever stepped foot in, unfortunately.  And while a piece of Walt Disney lives in every park through inspiration, Walt’s absolute vision is truly captured in Disneyland.  Therefore we wanted to explore Disneyland through Walt Disney eyes. 

Therefore on our last trip to Disneyland, we did exactly that!  Specifically we took the “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” guided tour.  And it was simply brilliant!  Now we don’t want to give away this tour through spoilers, however we will highlight 5 brilliant aspects of this great tour – since we seem to love the number 5!

First, if you have never been on a guided tour of Disneyland – GO!  It allows you to take in the park in a way you never would.  Even if at the very least, it allows you the opportunity to take in an aspect of the park that you normally wouldn’t by simply slowing down.  In the case of our tour we were shown little details of the park such as where Walt Disney stood in the park during his opening day speech, the amount of detail put into little aspects of Disneyland that make it the Happiest Place on Earth and why certain areas of the park are designed in the ways in which they are.

Second, you learn about the history of Disneyland.  Now while we see ourselves as amateur Disney buffs – we even learned some new things beyond what we thought we knew - which is great!  For example we learned the true meaning behind what makes a weenie in a Disney theme park, and that there are more weenies then you think… 

Third, you get to see Disneyland as from Walt Disney’s viewpoint.  Contrary to popular belief and obvious belief – Disneyland wasn’t as big today as it was on July 17, 1955; which again is obvious.  However – what we believed Disneyland to be on day one, really wasn’t even that.  And as prepared for crowds as Disneyland is today, they defiantly weren’t as prepared as we would like to have thought they were on day one – which is great to hear.  Yes great, because its nice to see that even the best of the best can be underprepared, as it shows that Walt Disney was human – and that real humans dreams can come true!  (maybe elaborate on how small the park was and is here…)

Fourth, the tour really does give you an idea of Walt Disney’s presence in the park.  Understanding the ideas, creativity and vision behind a theme park that set the precedence of the entertainment industry is remarkable.  And arguably yet to be duplicated.  As much of Walt Disney’s magic is in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and even Disney California Adventure – its, arguably, missing that bit of Walt Disney’s personal touch that can only be seen in Disneyland – such as the detail in New Orleans Square.  Just look up one day when you’re in New Orleans Square and wonder what is up there and could be up there beyond the Disney Dream Suite and Club 33  (or even below the buildings…)!

Fifth, arguably for any one person the best part of this tour is that you get to step into Walt Disney’s private apartment above Main Street U.S.A.  This was where Walt Disney lived during the construction, opening and operation of Disneyland.  He wanted to be as close as possible to his park during its opening days and during its day-to-day operation, and while he had a home in Burbank, California – even back in the 1950’s Los Angeles traffic was crazy and he felt it would be better to be in a home away from home.  There is nothing that we want to say that will give this amazing experience away to anyone who goes into this guaranteed amazing adventure, other then these two random facts…  First, your tour guide for the tour and the docents for Walt Disney’s private apartment will be two different people, which is a nice switch up!  The docents are truly brilliant people that know so very much about Walt Disney’s home away from home and are more then willing to share that information in such a professional brilliant manner!  Take advantage of their time and take in the apartment as much as possible!  Second bring your best camera possible with you into the apartment.  Why?  Because you and your group only get one picture in Walt Disney’s private apartment.  One.  Not one per camera.  One total photo.

Overall this was a great tour and we cannot recommend it enough, if only for the fact that you get to step foot into Walt Disney’s private apartment.  However on top of this you get a name tag button, a SUH-WEET pin, and a meal from the Jolly Holiday Bakery!  Who can deny this amazingness?!


5 For 5: Sit Down Restaurants

Another 5th of the month means another 5 for 5! This month we are ranking our favorite sit down restaurants! In full disclosure there are lots of amazing places we have yet to try so our list cannot be taken as the ultimate authority of where to dine at Disney. With that said we try to consider not just the food but the overall experience, service, value and ambiance of the restaurants. Without further ado the February 5 for 5!




1.      Carthay Circle: because it’s elegant, delicious and beautiful - all in one lunch! This restaurant is located in Disney California Adventure Park.


2.      Kona Cafe: it has a great breakfast and GRRREAT Kona coffee at a great value! You can get pure Kona coffee in a French press while you eat or you can buy a bag of the whole beans ($40 last time we checked) which is less of a value but sure helps curb your Disney withdrawls when you are home brewing a pot! Located in the Polynesian Resort at WDW.


3.      1900 Park Fare: the food is great for a buffet (which says a lot) and the dinner characters are hilarious! Remember this? Located at the Grand California Hotel at the Disneyland Resort.


4.      Cafe Orleans: it has classic Disneyland Park food down to a tee and it is sure yummy! Located in Disneyland Park.


5.      Le Cellier: based on the samplings at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (we have not eaten there yet) this place HAS to be in my top 5!  Yummy beer cheese soup and steak! Located in Epcot at WDW.





1.      Kona: I am a sucker for great breakfast food, a theme you will see repeated in this list and Kona is my go-to! There are so many great options whether you want a sweet or a savory breakfast or both – hello Big Kahuna, yum! Kona is located in the Polynesian Resort at WDW.

2.      Sanaa: This restaurant has it all, except breakfast! The menu is exotic without being intimidating to a pickier eater such as myself. The food is surprisingly light and fresh for being heavy on sauces and slow-cooked meats. Sanaa is located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village and situation right on a savannah where you can watch zebras, giraffes and other animals as you eat. Amazing!

3.      Carthay Circle: I consider this one of the best dining options at all of Disneyland Resort. While I normally favor all things Land over World there are just too few outstanding options to really make this cut. Carthay, however, will be a perennial favorite. The flavors of their food are so bright and I can always find multiple things on the menu to make my mouth water. Carthay Circle is in Disney California Adventure Park.

4.      Boma: breakfast wins again! I love a good buffet because I can sample as many things as I want without being tied to one entrĂ©e. Boma is the only buffet to make my list because I know I will always get a great variety of familiar and new foods and sometimes a new take on a familiar favorite (goat cheese and chive scrambled eggs!) in a given meal.  The trek over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House is worth it for Boma!

5.      Liberty Tree Tavern (lunch): Since Danny decided to make his 5th a place he has yet to try but can’t stop thinking about I have opted to do the same. By the time I got to number 5 I was pretty torn. We have been to lots of other places and eaten some great food but nothing that I would say I would need to do again like I have with 1-4. I am really excited to try the Liberty Tree Tavern next time I go to the Magic Kingdom; there is a pot roast with my name on it!


Tinkerbell Half Marathon Part 1

They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As it turns out the journey of 13.1 miles also begins with a single step! Less than two weeks ago Danny and I found ourselves in Anaheim, California preparing for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. In all fairness “preparing” may be an overstatement because I can tell you exactly what we did to prepare for the entire half marathon. We:
·         Signed up for the race
·         Downloaded the Jeff Galloway Tinkerbell Half Marathon training plan
·         Completed a 10k to be placed in not the last corral
·         Completed a 5k for fun
·         Bought our running outfits
·         Bought Clif blocks and Clif gels

Yep, that was pretty much it and as you can see we didn’t exactly get many training runs in. I was a little worried to say the least. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I got chaffing in weird places? How many blisters should I expect on my notoriously blister-prone feet? Would I be completely exhausted after? What if I was too sore to walk the next day?

I decided to set my worries aside for a little while and enjoy the parks before my self-imposed torture – did I say that? I meant before the half marathon. We arrive on Thursday afternoon and spent the next two days hopping between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Let’s be honest, the best part about running at Disney is vacationing at Disney.

Carpet leading to the packet pick-up
We arrived at the Expo/packet pickup a few minutes before opening on Friday morning to long lines outside of the Disneyland Hotel and decided to check out the expo first. The expo was a little smaller than expected but it was still nice to see different running products and the race merchandise. As the expo portion began filling with people we realized that most of the crowd that went to packet pick-up was probably finished and making their way into the expo. We headed out of the ballroom area that housed the expo and into the parking garage of the Disneyland Hotel where the pick-up was located. Despite being in a parking garage Disney managed to make it look a little classier with decals and carpeting.

Jeff Galloway
Packet pick-up was super quick taking us each about 5 minutes. We then went back upstairs to the expo to collect our shirts and hear Jeff Galloway speak before heading back to the parks. Of all the things that we did or didn’t do to prepare I think hearing Jeff speak was the most helpful and reassuring. He reminded us to pace ourselves at the beginning and save our energy for later in the race when we will need it more. He also addressed one of my major concerns about what to eat before the race. I followed his advice and had some water before the run but held off on eating anything until I felt like I actually needed something. This advice is certainly not followed by all before a race which I understand but since I had not done any long runs or runs this early I was not sure what would work best. This method seemed to really work for me. Overall, I highly recommend taking in some of the guest speakers that runDisney arranges at the expo. Not only did I receive helpful advice but it also helped replace my nervousness with excitement.

Danny trying to get a picture "with" Jeff
Galloway during the expo
The next day, Saturday, Danny had arranged for us to go on the “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” Tour through Disneyland which was a 3 hour walking tour around the park. The tour was listed as 3 hours but there was quite a bit of sitting involved including about 30 minutes for lunch and a few rides so the time on our feet was not very intense. I don't want to go too in-depth about the tour as Danny is going to write a recap for the blog and I don't want to give anything away! After the tour we retired to our hotel and took it easy for the rest of the day in preparation for the next morning. As our last official act before becoming half marathoners we got dinner with Danny’s cousins Debbie and Sandy who live in the LA area. It was really great to see them and catch up and have them wish us luck.

Up next: the big race!