Goodbye RunDisney California

Yesterday it was announced that, for the foreseeable future, RunDisney will no longer be holding races in Disneyland, California, and the Avengers Half Marathon weekend next month will be the last races that grace the streets of Anaheim.

I’m slightly devastated, but not overall surprised, having noticed that no dates for next year’s races were being announced, and the only race that had been announced, the Star Wars weekend in January, had had its registration delayed.

There is, of course, a big difference in the scale of Disneyland races compared to Walt Disney World, which can only be expected given the park sizes and facilities available, but having participated in races both this year and last, it was very apparent this year that numbers of participants were dwindling. In fact, while I was there in May for the Tinkerbell weekend, they were still trying to sell bibs at the expo for the races in the following days!

Disney’s announcement stated that the reason for the cancellations was due to the construction work that is ongoing for the expansion, but personally I don’t think this is flimsy front for the fact that the races have been bleeding money. While the 5K and 10K courses are mainly within the confines of the park, the half marathon only does about 5 miles in the parks before the course leads out onto the streets of Anaheim, which means a lot of roads have to be closed, and unlike other Disney parks, the immediate area surrounding Disneyland is residential, so these road closures do affect a lot of people – there are rumours of quite a lot of complaints – and the permits cost Disney a lot of money, which with the dropping numbers of runners just can’t be afforded.

So yes, I thought this announcement was coming, but that doesn’t make it any better. Despite a lot of RunDisney veterans often slating the Disneyland races, personally they have been some of my favourites – the Disneyland 10K course is the best course out of all the RunDisney courses I’ve ever done. Disneyland is such a special place to me anyway, but racing through the parks is like nothing else. I completed my first weekend challenge (Rebel Challenge 2016) here, and ran my half marathon PB here.

The announcement also means there will be no more Coast to Coast challenge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and leaves only Castle to Chateau as an option for those runners who will complete a half marathon in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the coming years.

All I can say is that I really hope that Disney will restart the races when the construction ends, and I can run through my happy place again soon.

Things I Love About Frozen: Live at the Hyperion

I’m having major Disneyland blues at the moment. Despite having three more Disney trips in the next three months, not knowing when I’m going back to my special place really sucks, so I’m living vicariously through my own memories from my trip back in May.

And while I love everything Disneyland has to offer, I was a little apprehensive about seeing the new Frozen show at the Hyperion Theater in Disney’s California Adventure park, not because I’m anti-Frozen, but due to the fact that I have such amazing memories of watching Aladdin there, and I was pretty upset when the replacement was announced. Of course I knew I had to see the show before I could make any judgements, and I kept an open mind from the offset.

I did enjoy the show; I personally don’t feel like Frozen has as much of a wow-factor as Aladdin did, but that’s primarily down to the story more than anything else! There were, however, a lot of things that I did LOVE about the show, and here are just a handful:

The casting

I’ve seen a few comments slating the casting of the show but I think they’re totally unnecessary. Basically, as this is a stage show adaption of the story, as opposed to featuring face characters, there is actually diversity in the cast – the show we saw featured a Kristoff of colour and honestly it was so refreshing. Mad props to Disney.

The trolls

Forget about Olaf, the trolls are my favourite non-human characters from the Frozen movie, and I got so excited when they actually appeared on stage!

The staging

Its so easy for stage show to go overboard when it comes to backdrops and props, but I thought this was done perfectly. The main feature was the large screen that set the scene, with other features wheeling on and off as needed, from doors to the stairs to Elsa’s ice castle.

The special effects

From costume transformations to flying snow carts, this show is full of theatrical magic!

Its still no Aladdin in my eyes, but its still a fantastic show and one that I’d fully recommend – especially if you need a good ol’ sit down!

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Best Quick Service in Disneyland (That Don’t Serve Pizza or Burgers)

I love Disney park food. In fact, one of my favourite parts of planning a Disney trip is deciding where I’m going to want to eat in each park, whether its going back to my favourite restaurants or trying somewhere I’ve never been to before, and my trip to Disneyland back in May was definitely about trying out new places.

As there’s no such thing as dining plans in Disneyland, and being trying to do the trip as cheap as possible, this trip was going to be all about the quick service restaurants, and while I’m never one to complain about any kind of Disney food, when it comes to quick service its very easy to fall into the rotation of burger to pizza to chicken nuggets and back again. Sure, I’ll probably end up doing each of these at least once on a trip, but if you fancy something a little different, Disneyland has a bunch of gems serving incredible options when you’re in need of an energy boost.

Disneyland

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

The cutest little yellow cafe at the bottom of Main Street USA, options here range from sandwiches and salads, to tomato soup with grilled cheese, and also has a great selection of cute dessert options!

Bengal Barbecue

The ultimate place for jungle-cruisers to refuel, Bengal Barbecue is pretty famous among Disneyland fans for its incredible meat skewers.

Royal Street Veranda

I always forget that this restaurant exists (mainly because I’m rushing to get to Pirates of the Caribbean or staring wistfully up at the Dream Suite), but say hello to the place where you can get New Orleans classic dish, gumbo, served in a sourdough bread bowl!

French Market Restaurant

Just a little way along from Royal Street Veranda, and serving more New Orleans classics is French Market Restaurant; jambalaya, corn chowder, beans and rice and more!

Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port

Yes, I know I said places that don’t serve pizza, but Redd Rockett’s also has a great selection of pasta dishes on the menu if you’re looking to carb up for a long park day!

California Adventure

Flo’s V8 Cafe

Whether you want to skip the traditional Mickey waffle breakfast or cheeseburger lunch, Flo’s is the place to go! Breakfast ranges from brioche french toast to breakfast burritos, and lunch and dinner features ribs, rotisserie chicken and turkey dip sandwiches.

Cozy Cone Motel

For an on-the-go meal, why not grab a convenient bread cone filled with either bacon mac and cheese, beef chilli or chicken verde? Sally really knows how to feed her guests, and you’ll probably meet a famous car on the way in!

Pacific Wharf Cafe

Did you know there’s an actual sourdough bread factory in DCA? Pacific Wharf Cafe is attached to the bakery and serves a bunch of amazing options including sandwiches, and soup or salads served in their famous sourdough bread bowls.

Lucky Fortune Cookery

Just across the way from the bakery, you can grab an asian inspired rice bowl packed with veggies and a choice of either beef, chicken or tofu and your choice sauce. It even comes in a cute takeaway style box so you can carry your leftovers home!

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

Completing the trio of amazing food options in one place, Cocina shares the same seating area as PWC and LFC and serves flavoursome favourites from tacos and tamales to burritos.

What are your favourite places to eat in Disneyland?

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10 Things You Need to Know about Cove Bar

If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland and looking for the most Instagrammable places to eat or drink, then Cove Bar should probably be at the top of your list. Located on Paradise Pier in Disney’s California Adventure park, it boasts a menu of stunning cocktails as well as some pretty delicious looking food, and the most amazing views over Paradise Bay.

If I’ve just sold you, or it was already on your to-do list, here are a few things to know before you go!

There can be a really long wait, and someone has to stay in line

Depending on when you go, there can be a longer wait time than for some rides! When you get to the queue, a cast member will take a name and give you an idea on wait time, but at least one person from your party needs to stay in the queue the whole time, because if your group is called and you’re not there, then you’ve missed your chance!

You can choose where to sit

When you join the queue and give your name, the CM will ask you if you have a table preference, so if you want those Instagram worthy photos over the pier, be sure to ask for a waterside table. Other options include the bar and tables closer to the pierside.

The prettiest drinks aren’t on the menu

While you’ll be handed a menu by your server, be sure to check out the secret menu.Β This is where you’ll find Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Neverland Tea and more!

And the cutest drink isn’t even alcoholic

Don’t be put of visiting if you’re not that into cocktails, the cotton candy lemonade is so delicious and refreshing, plus who doesn’t want a lump of cotton candy in their drink?!

You can take drinks to go

If you want to sample the cocktails but don’t fancy the wait, you can order drinks to go. They come in plastic cups so aren’t quite so cute but I’ll bet they don’t taste any different!

Water is free-flowing

For obvious reasons, the servers are keen to keep all guest hydrated, so you’ll find your water glass topped up constantly.

There’s more than just cocktails on the menu

Although its famous for its cocktails and speciality drinks, there are some great lounge food options, including buffalo wings, sliders, nachos and more! I didn’t actually eat here, but I saw some of the food and it looked amazing and smelled SO GOOD.

Be sure to bring your passport

In the event of being ID’d, a UK driving licence isn’t acceptable in Disney. Your server may let you off, but I’ve had experiences where they have refused to accept anything but a passport, so I wouldn’t chance it.

Don’t be shy about taking photos

Literally everyone in the bar is trying to take those oh-so-Instagrammable photos, so don’t feel shy about holding your drink over the railing to get that perfect shot with the fun wheel in the background. Also if you’re not sat at a waterside table but want those photos, just get up and go over there – no one minds!

Please drink responsibly!

Servers have the right to refuse you at any time, and during my visit I saw a few guests that were probably about to get cut off.. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially in the summer months when its super warm!

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How to do Disneyland on a Budget

Pretty much the only thing that bothers me about Disneyland is that generally its a more expensive to visit than Walt Disney World, especially as it doesn’t have regular package offers like the annual free dining deal, and being on the west coast, flights tend to be pricier. Despite this, I would still 110% recommend any Disney fans visit Walt’s original park; while I don’t do favourites, this park holds a special place in my heart and I’ll never stop loving it.

Over the years, I’ve discovered a few different things you can do to cut down the cost of a trip to this magical place, and I thought I’d share them for anyone who’s thinking about a trip!

Consider non-direct flights

Depending on when you book, sometimes you can get direct flights to LAX for around Β£350-450, but other times they can be well over the Β£500 mark, but you can save a lot of money flying indirect. Also, a stopover can break up the 10-11 hour flight!

Buy your tickets at home

Yes, you can get your park tickets when you arrive, but Disneyland tickets from UK sellers like Attraction Tickets Direct generally work out a bit cheaper (plus you can use cashback websites to get something back!) and it means you’ve got your tickets ready to go and don’t have to waste valuable park time queuing at ticket booths!

Stay offsite

Unlike WDW, Disneyland has a tonne of offsite hotels that are all within walking distance of the park – some of them are literally just across the road! The price difference can be pretty amazing; I paid the same amount for a week offsite as a room for a night in the Disneyland Hotel. There’s also so many to choose from, from budget motels to well known chains, so you’re bound to find something you’re happy with.

Bring your own food

If you’re really looking to save the pennies, take a trip to a supermarket and stock up on snacks to take into the parks with you. That being said, on my last trip I spent less than Β£20 a day on food in the parks!

Consider transport options

If you’re going to be a larger group, and the drivers are over 25, it may be cheaper for you to rent a car to get from the airport to the parks, rather than using the Disneyland Express.

If you do have a car, don’t drive to the parks

Parking is $20 a day, but plenty of hotels have free/cheap shuttle buses that drop you off right by the park entrance.

If you’re ever looking to book a Disneyland trip and need any advice, feel free to ask, or check out all of my Disneyland posts here!

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Characters on the Course – RunDisney Tinkerbell Weekend


I might be back from Disneyland, but you’ll all know by now that that never means the Disney posts are over! And of course, yet again, the primary purpose of my trip was another RunDisney race weekend, this time, the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend.

Again, I ran the 10K and the half marathon – the Pixie Dust Challenge – so there were 19.3 miles of running magic for me to share with you! Some of you may be aware of the somewhat dramatic twist that during the 5K there were no characters available on the course, and this is something that I have a very different opinion to most, but I won’t get into that now, instead I’m going to share the characters that were out for us at the 10K and half marathon!


The 10K:

  • Lost Boys – the Lost Boys were hanging out in Toontown as we entered the park just after mile 1
  • Pirates – there were a bunch of face character pirates scattered throughout the course, and they were lots of fun!
  • Captain Hook and Mr Smee – this pair met by the Storybook Canal Boats at about mile 3
  • Pirate Donald – I couldn’t resist stopping for my favourite duck on Main Street
  • Pirate Chip and Dale – the chipmunks were up to trouble in California Adventure
  • Peter and Wendy – this was really just a photo op as they stood a few steps above the pavement, but it was nice to see them out!
  • And pirate Minnie was at the finish line!




The Half Marathon:

  • Iridessa, Silvermist and Rosetta – I can never resist the fairies, and having never met Silvermist before this was one for the character list
  • Pirate chipmunks – Chip and Dale made another mischievous appearance, this time on Main Street
  • Peter and Wendy – during the half, Peter and Wendy were on the railway bridge, so not even a photo op
  • Lost Boys – the most boys were having a ball on King Triton’s Carousel on Paradise Pier
  • Pirates – the pirates were out in force again!
  • Pirate Pluto – this lovable pup was also kitted out for pillaging and plundering on Paradise Pier
  • Tinkerbell and Fawn – well it would be rude if Tink missed her own race, right?
  • Captain Hook and Mr Smee – this dynamic duo made a second appearance, this time in California Adventure

If you caught the Princess Weekend edition of Characters on the Course, you may be noticing there’s considerably less this weekend. This is primarily due to the fact that in WDW, Disney own all the land between the parks, so even when you’re not in the park, they can still put the characters out on the roadsides along the course. However in Disneyland, the majority of the half marathon course is on the streets of Anaheim, so there can’t be any characters along those 8 miles of the course. There were, however, some bands, DJs, and also a whole tonne of super supportive locals making that length of the course magical for us!

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Disneyland Day 5 and Tinkerbell Half Marathon

And another challenge weekend is over! The Tinkerbell half this morning was probably one of the most comfortable ones I’ve run, which is incredible considering how much my feet ached yesterday!I stopped for a few photos with various fairies, and also pirate Pluto, but aside from those few stops I kept a really consistent pace and completed the race in just over 3 hours, with about 25 mins being waiting for characters. I also walked away with not one but FOUR medals: one for the half, the Pixie Dust Challenge medal for doing the 10K yesterday as well, a regular blue 10th anniversary Coast to Coast medal, and also a pink Coast to Coast for having run the Princess and Tinkerbell races in the same calendar year!

After dragging myself back to the hotel, I soaked my legs in the pool then showered and had a nap, while Sarah headed into the parks, and I met up with her at about 1:45 at Fantasyland Theater for another Mickey and the Magical Map performance, before I got my long awaited burger from Galactic Grill. We then swung by the castle for me to take some medal photos, then went across to Frontierland and met Dr Facilier on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

On the hunt for more characters, we headed back to Town Square to no avail, so instead went to take some photos by the Small World wall (Disney basic) and went into Toontown for a bit. Being passed 4pm, Tinkerbell’s meeting spot in Pixie Hollow was now empty, meaning I could go in and take some more medal photos, then we hid out at my favourite sneaky parade watching spot for Soundsational.

After the parade, we went into one of the stores on Main Street so I could buy a jumper, having forgotten to bring my jacket in with me, and knowing it would cool down before the fireworks tonight, then took a few final photos by the castle before going into Fantasyland and doing the Storybook Canal Boats, only to realise while we were in the line that the last Mickey and the Magical Map show was due to start soon, so we ended up cutting out early to go see that one more time instead!

After drying our eyes and practically being forcibly removed from the theatre, the strangest thing happened: Sarah actually wanted to go to the Enchanted Tiki Room! I took her for her first time in WDW back in February and now she clearly loves it.. From there, we wandered around New Orleans Square for a little while, then decided to go to Troubadour Tavern for dinner, only to find it had already closed, so instead ended up at Refreshment Corner, although I ended up getting my food from Jolly Holiday, and we sat on the tables outside while Main Street Electrical went by. 

Once the parade was over, we headed into the centre of Main Street USA to watch the fireworks for my first and last time of the trip. They actually started with the same music as Wishes from WDW, but the majority of the show was a cute little dedication to each of the iconic Disneyland attractions – Enchanted Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain etc – which I thought was different and actually really cool! Once they were done, it was then time to say goodbye to Disneyland and drag ourselves back to the hotel. Once again this has been the most magical and I’m so sad to be leaving my happy place, but I guess it’s not goodbye, it’s see ya real soon..