Episode 32: A Fairytale Vacation

Today, I talk to Mindy Marzec from This Fairytale Life. She is an avid Disney fan and full-time blogger – she even got to fulfill her lifelong dream of having a Disneyland Fairy Tale wedding!

Her Disney knowledge is truly amazing, so this episode will answer all the questions you may have, and so much more!

Highlights from this episode

[02:17] Disney adults.

More adults than children are repeat guests at Disney theme parks.

Mindy’s love for Disney stems from her early travels when her parents would take her to Disneyland every year, and from a constant connection to Disney whether through watching the movies growing up or having Disney merchandise in her room.

[04:51] Mandy’s Disney love story.

Did you know that you can get married at the Disneyland hotel?

Mindy always dreamt of having a Disney wedding. The day finally came when her husband proposed to her at Disneyland, and they got married at the Disneyland hotel.

Her blog (linked below) started out as her search for more information about getting married at the Disneyland hotel didn’t come up with many results. Today, 10 years later, her community of Disney brides and grooms has grown, and she continues to provide valuable information on the Do’s and Don’ts of getting married at Disney.

[07:41] This Fairy Tale Life Blog.

If you head over to Mindy’s blog, you’ll find all sorts of information, from Disneyland weddings to Disney’s latest news to planning your trip to Disneyland in Paris!

[08:35] Turn Disneyland into a vacation.

If you’re planning to go to Disneyland, turn that trip into a vacation. Here are some tips on how you can do that:

Disneyland consists of 2 parks, 3 on-property hotels, and a few nearby off-property hotels. This makes it easier to plan your stay since everything is fairly easy to get to.

The two parks are:

  1. Disneyland Park. This is the original park with the magical rides that you would expect to find in Disneyland.
  2. Disneyland California Adventure. This is more of an adults entertainment area, although there are some attractions geared towards families. There’s an annual food and wine festival, and there are alcoholic drinks available at several restaurants (which you can’t find in Disneyland Park).

If it’s your first time, set aside at least 3 days to explore both parks and shopping and dining activities. Even if you’re not a guest at a certain hotel, you can dine and shop on those properties.

[11:13] Dining at Disneyland.

If you’re concerned about dining packages that you would expect for Walt Disney World, you don’t really need to worry about it for Disneyland – there was a dining plan on offer, but food is so easy to get it’s not necessary to have one. If you want, you can leave the premises to find food and re-enter with your own food.

If you have specific dining preferences, you could check their reservation calendar 60 days in advance.

The restaurants Mindy suggests you reserve up front to avoid disappointment:

  1. The Blue Bayou at Disneyland Park. It’s in the New Orleans Square area attached to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. It’s an indoor restaurant but dining there feels like you’re outdoors. This is also good for couples’ date night.
  2. Carnation Café. You’ll find this on Main Street. This is a small restaurant with great food – Mindy highly recommends making reservation to experience it.
  3. Oga’s Cantina. This is at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This is the ONLY place where the general public can get an alcoholic drink within Disneyland. Reservations fill up quickly, so make sure you keep your eye on it.
  4. Lamplight Lounge. Over at Disney California Adventure, at Pixar Pier, you’ll find this restaurant and the best hamburger (there’s a vegan option as well) and French fries.
  5. Steakhouse 55. Head on over to the Disneyland Hotel to experience the best food overall on Disneyland property.

[18:30] Disneyland lands.

Disneyland is broken up into various themed lands: Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toontown, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Disneyland is broken up into various themed lands: Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toontown, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

[20:27] FastPass.

If you’re one of those people that doesn’t want to spend all your time waiting in lines, FastPass is what you need.

Through the Disneyland App, you can buy MaxPass for $10 a day, and this allows you to make FastPass reservations for any ride in the park.

The number of people holding FastPass tickets is limited per hour. If you’re not savvy, you could find yourself unable to get a FastPass ticket for that day.

[22:58] When to go to Disneyland.

There are “slow seasons”, but due to its popularity, there’s no guarantee that the slow times won’t be busy.

Generally, after the holidays (mid-January to mid-February) are slower, but this is also the time that refurbishments are done, so there may be some unavailable attractions.

After Spring Break (early May) is also a bit slower – but not for long! From mid-May to September is generally very busy before slowing down slightly leading up to Halloween – there are several new Halloween events that you can experience as well!

In mid-November, for the holidays, you can expect it to get busy again.

Make sure you check the Disneyland calendar to see which events are on so that you can plan around the experience that you want to have.

[27:04] Couple’s trip to Disneyland.

For all the couples out there looking to have a couples-only vacation at Disneyland, there is so much to look forward to.

Mindy will always recommend the food – there are romantic restaurants to check out as well. Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure is a popular choice. Another great choice is the Napa Rose Restaurant at the Grand Californian Hotel – they have ‘The Chef’s Counter’, a 4 or 5 course meal prepared especially for you by the Head Chef.

Every hotel has a pool and pool bar for those who like to relax at the pool, or you could go shopping, or even take a themed tour around the park.

You can also simply relax.

[30:19] Shows at Disneyland.

Disney is famous for its parades, so be sure to join in on the fun.

Prior to Covid, there was a show called Mickey and the Magical Map, a Frozen Broadway-style show, and there are always Disney characters roaming around the park.

No matter your age, when you see a Disney character, you can’t not want to go up to them and get a hug and a photo!

One of the perks of having a Disney wedding is that you can have Disney characters show up at the reception as well. 

[34:35] California Adventure.

This park was created as an ode to California.

The main street, Buena Vista Street, is a 1920s-themed version of the Hollywood Buena Vista Street where Disney Studios stands – it’s themed this way to represent the Hollywood that Walt Disney would’ve experienced when he first started out.

The Carthay Circle Restaurant is a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre – this is where Disney’s first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, premiered.

There are themed lands as well: Hollywood Land, Pixar Pier, and Grizzly Peak.

[39:55] Value for money.

Even though Disney keeps increasing their prices, people continue to go.

With Day Ticket prices, it’s still comparatively inexpensive for the amount of stuff you can do throughout the day. As an example, you could buy a Beyonce and Jay-Z 3-hour concert ticket for $200, and that’s still more expensive than a Disney ticket that lasts an entire day.

[44:38] Disneyland Paris.

For Mindy’s 40th birthday, she travelled to Paris with her husband, and of course visited Disneyland Paris.

Her experience is that the park isn’t as organized, and the cast members aren’t as friendly as in the US Disneyland. The food was also not particularly impressive.

Other than that, the park itself has a few familiar rides, and the castle is a sight to behold.

[48:44] Disney cruises.

These aren’t just cruises, they’re Disney experiences.

Mindy went on a 7-day cruise from LA to Cabo, St Lucas, and back – highly recommended if you have the extra money and you’re a Disney fan!

[52:31] Disney Aulani.

In case you thought there wasn’t more Disney to experience in the world, Aulani is a Disney-themed Resort and Spa in Hawaii.

It’s a very popular honeymoon location. The Disney characters are set up in such a way that you’re not entrenched in Disney, but they can be seen around as though they’re also on vacation. 

[57:03] Use a travel agent.

If it’s your first time visiting a Disney property, use a travel agent. Get someone who knows about the payments and procedures so that you don’t end up in a difficult situation because you didn’t know what to do and when.

[58:10] Disney and Covid-19.

If you’re planning to go to any of the Disney properties, check their restrictions, and whether or not they are open – Disneyland has been closed since March 2020 with no announced reopening date. Disney World is open with limited capacity, there are no parades or meet and greets, and there are the required safety precautions.

That’s the end of this podcast. If you want to check out Mindy Marzec’s This Fairytale Life, visit the links below.

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