Blue Bayou Review – Disneyland

Blue Bayou Review – Disneyland

Blue Bayou Review – Disneyland

 Blue Bayou Disneyland

Blue Bayou is quite possibly the most famous restaurant in Disneyland.  If you’ve ever ridden the Pirates of the Caribbean, you’ve seen it as you glide through the first part of the ride.  I’ve heard many people remark that they’d love to eat there someday, and I’m here to tell you, do it!  Plan for it on your next Disneyland trip, because it really is a great experience.

Blue Bayou – Disneyland vs. Disneyworld

One big difference between Disney World and Disneyland is the comparable lack of sit down restaurants in Disneyland.  For those who really enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant, there just aren’t as many choices.  And as such, I think a lot of people just go with the flow and eat the quick service options.  But if you are someone who really enjoys good food, Disney theming in your surroundings and nice place to cool off while you eat, you will like Blue Bayou.

Blue Bayou Reservations

Scheduling a reservation is a must.  If you’ve booked your vacation with me, this is one of the things I’ll take care of for you, of course.  But just showing up hoping for a table?  Unless it’s a super low season, I wouldn’t chance that.  When we arrived for our reservation, there was a line of people trying to get in for lunch and all of them were told there were no openings.

Inside, the restaurant is set to a nighttime Louisiana theme, along the bayou, complete with hanging paper lanterns and fireflies over the water.  If you are lucky enough to get a table along the railing at the water, you’ll see the boats drift by as well.

The menu is definitely higher priced that your quick service options, but the food is also substantially more interesting and higher quality.  The menu was just recently updated, including new (delicious) sweet potato biscuits in the bread bowl.  We had to request a refill of them to keep everyone at our table happy!

Blue Bayou Menu

The most famous menu item is the Monte Cristo Sandwich.  Ok, now I realize that doesn’t sound very fancy.  But this is unlike any I have seen.  And it was AMAZING.  Seriously, my husband and I both ordered it and we were talking about it all day, that’s how good it was.  It was almost like eating a beignet sandwich, it was so fluffy and crispy all around!  It came with two dipping sauces, raspberry and vanilla bean, which were a perfect compliment to the flavors of the sandwich.  It came with a spear of fruit, too.  It wasn’t just like grapes and strawberries, either, it was interesting fruit!  And, it was preceeded by a really delicious (and nicely presented) salad.

Blue Bayou Salad

Monte Cristo at Blue Bayou

You may think this looks big enough to share, and you’d be right.  The only downside of this restaurant is that there is a split plate fee of $15, so sharing may not be worth it to you.

And, of course, I’ve always got kids in mind when eating at restaurants.  The kids menu here was a nice departure from the constant mac and cheese or chicken nuggets found at the quick service locations in Disneyland.  My daughter had the baked chicken and pasta, and my son had a steak.  Yes, the kids menu has steak!  He loved it.  You can see that the kids meals also came with a nice portion of grapes.  Not shown here is the appetizer for the kids which is included in the price, which was a nice plate of carrot and celery sticks with ranch dressing.

Blue Bayou - Kids meal

Blue Bayou Kids Meal

The only slightly negative note I had regarding Blue Bayou was that service seemed very slow.  So to that end, do plan on using this restaurant as a nice, cool break in your busy Disneyland day, and don’t book it at a time when you hope to rush off to do something else.  Give yourself time to enjoy the ambiance and the delicious food!

 

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Disneyland Hotel Review

Disneyland Hotel Review

The Disneyland Hotel Review

Disneyland Hotel

Last week, I took the family to Disneyland, and I chose to stay at the Disneyland Hotel for the first time.  We loved it!  The Disneyland Hotel is the perfect accompaniment to a Disneyland Resort experience.  It’s quintessential Disney in so many ways, and it keeps you in the magic your entire stay.

This hotel just finished a major remodel just over a year ago, including a major change to the pool area.  The pool, in fact, was the main reason I chose this hotel.  My kids LOVE pools, and because we plan our park days around an afternoon break, pool time is always a part of our day.  This pool gets a major thumbs up from me for being perfect for families.

Great Pools & Lifeguards

First of all, there are two large, pleasant pools with a bridge over them for families to swim in.  There are a ton of lifeguards on duty at all times, and there are free life vests for your use.  This allowed me to feel very safe with my kids swimming around me or even with me sitting on the edge while they swam.

Disneyland Hotel Pool

Disneyland Hotel Pool

Monorail Themed Water Play Area

Second, there is an additional monorail themed water play area with THREE water slides.   There is a very small slide perfect for tots and young children as well as a medium slide that both let out into a very shallow splash area.  The splash area also has a waterfall from the top of the structure and a bubbling fountain area for kids to splash around in.  The third water slide is a full sized, fast and winding slide that lets out into a small pool.  At first, my kids were afraid to try it, but by the second day both of my kids were rushing to get to it.  What’s great is that because of the life vest, my 4 year old daughter was able to go down the slide, splash into the pool, and the current would float her over to the stairs to get out herself.  There is a lifeguard always on duty right there, and he or she also will throw a tow line to any tots who may be a little slow to float to the edge.  I felt perfectly safe allowing her to go up and down herself because of this.

Disneyland Hotel Monorail Slides

Now, this slide area is surrounded by lounge chairs and umbrellas, which means when mom or dad is not sliding with the kids, they can easily keep an eye on them while relaxing in a lounge chair.  Would you prefer to lounge with a drink in hand?  No problem  – a server comes around to take your food and beverage (alcohol or not) order frequently.  We loved being able to have a little down time while the kids splashed!

Meeting Disney Characters

Next up, nothing says Disney like having characters show up in the lobby!  Right while we were checking in, Goofy appeared in the lobby and played with all of the children waiting.  He posed for pictures, messed around and stayed a good long time.  This was far more interaction than you might get posing for a picture in the parks!  We saw him one more time on another day on our way into the hotel in the afternoon, and he once again played around with my kids.  Other characters do stop in, though we didn’t happen to see them.  There’s no set schedule, so you can’t be sure who you’ll see, but plenty of people have reported other characters stopping by.

Disneyland Hotel Characters in Lobby

The Rooms at The Disney Hotel

So what about the rooms?  Perfect!  The rooms are plenty big, with big windows letting in natural light, a desk area, a comfy chair and a daybed couch.  You can fit 5 in these rooms if you’d like to.  The room has many Mickey themed touches throughout: the faucets are Mickey heads, the lamps on the wall area held by Mickey’s hands, the carpet has Mickey like swirls.  But the most magical touch is the very special headboard, which lights up a castle and fireworks complete with  “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” playing when you push the button.  The kids thought this was super magical and turned it on each night.

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There are quite a few categories of rooms you can book.  We were in the Fantasy tower and were upgraded to a fireworks view on the 9th floor.  I had no idea how amazing that would be – it looked like the fireworks were literally exploding right in front of our window!  I didn’t capture any photos of that, but I wish I had just so I could show you how great that was.  I also toured two other room categories so that I’d be better able to help my clients.  The first was a Deluxe Pool view, which you can see here.

Disneyland Hotel Pool View

And the second was a Downtown Disney view, which was so fun because you can see a lot of the rides from here, and of course, you’d have a perfect view of the fireworks as well.

Disneyland Hotel Dowtown Disney View

I also got to take a peek at the Concierge Lounge.  You can book a Concierge level room, or you can add it to a suite booking.  They serve food in here all day long, with 4 changes of food ranging from breakfast foods to dessert.  There are also free drinks (like sodas and bottled water) all day, and alcohol for free at night.  This lounge also has a perfect view of the fireworks, and they pipe the music in while you are watching so that you can get the full experience!

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Disneyland Hotel Concierge Lounge

Convenience

I should add that, although I have seen various reports that if you don’t stay in the “right” tower, it’s a lot of extra walking,  I don’t agree.  All 3 towers are very convenient, with an extra minute at most between any of them.  So don’t worry too much about which tower is “closest” to Downtown Disney!  The entire hotel property lets you out right in Downtown Disney, which is a convenient walk to each of the park gates, or if you are going to Disneyland park, extremely close to the monorail that takes you directly into Tomorrowland.

Last, the early entrance that resort guests get every morning is extremely helpful.  You may already know that I don’t advise going to the parks with extra magic hours in Disney World, but in Disneyland it’s a bit different, and there is a definite advantage to having early entrance.  This is especially true for California Adventure when you are trying to get to Cars Land.  If you use the early entrance, you are only competing with the resort guests (which is still plenty) to get on the rides before the lines get crazy.  This is MUCH easier than when you are competing with everyone in all of the many off property hotels!

So there you have it – a tour of the Disneyland Hotel!  I highly recommend this hotel for your next Disneyland stay.  There truly is a difference to staying “onsite” at Disneyland, despite how many options there are offsite.  The service, the magical touches, the views, the pool….it’s very much worth it!

 

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2013 Disney World Free Dining Offer

2013 Disney World Free Dining Offer

2013 Disney World Free Dining Offer

coral reef dessert disney free dining

YES!  It’s back, everyone’s favorite Disney World discount.   Free dining is being offered for Sept. 2 – 25, 2013 when you book a 5 night, 6 day Magic Your Way room and ticket package.  Why is this such a popular deal?  Well, let’s not kid ourselves – Disney restaurants are fairly pricey.  The dining plan at full cost already can be a good value, but when it’s free??  That’s a lot of savings.

Consider this:  You spend $12 on a quick service lunch, then sit down to dinner at a character buffet for $45.  Along the way, you get a tasty pastry at one of the bakeries for $4.  That’s $61 on food, per person, per day.  And with this offer, you’d get that for FREE.

September is a low crowd month, as well, so you reap the benefit of less people in the parks during your vacation if you travel during this discount window.  The peak summer crowds have passed as kids go back to school, which means if you can travel now, you get to enjoy all the parks have to offer with less time standing in line.

When you book with The Enchanted Traveler, you’ll not only get this deal but all of the other free services I offer.  This is my favorite deal of the year, so don’t miss it!

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Keeping Up with the Travel Industry

Keeping Up with the Travel Industry

Keeping Up with the Travel Industry

Travel agent conference

 

See this?  Travel consultants, as far as the eye can see!  All of these people are planning amazing trips for their clients – if you aren’t using one, you are missing out!  This photo is from a Home Based Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas this past week.

I headed out to learn from the best in the travel industry and meet important contacts at hotels, cruise lines and tour companies.  Travel consultants make it a priority to stay educated on all areas of the business and conferences like these are an integral part of that.  Never underestimate what a travel agent knows and who they know!

 Las Vegas OSSN 2013 061

I loved meeting up with Fernando of Starwood Hawaii.  The Westin Maui is one of my absolute favorites, and it was great to get a chance to talk to him.

 

I met some fabulous agents out there as well.  It was especially great to find other young professionals, with creative businesses and interesting niches.   Anyone who thinks travel agents are outdated just hasn’t met the new generation.   We are a passionate group of travelers with distinct specialties who are determined to keep up to date on the travel industry and continue to explore the destinations we serve to give our clients the best possible travel experiences.

 Young travel agents

Plus, you know, I got to pet this adorable Wallaby.

 Las Vegas OSSN 2013 063

Wallaby petting + education + meeting awesome agents = excellent experience!

 

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