My 17 Hour Day At #Disneyland60

Happy 60th birthday #Disneyland. Can't wait to spend my day with you! // #disneyland60 #mlngftla #VSCOcam

A photo posted by Morgan L. Nelson (@morganlnelson) on

I’ve returned from California in one piece, although as you’ll see if you make it to the end of this post, it was touch and go there for a while. And now that Disneyland is officially 60 years and seven days old, I figured there would be no better way to celebrate than to recap what I was doing for 17 hours seven days ago. My girlfriend (who had never been to Disneyland) and I stayed at the cheapest hotel we could find near the Parks (which I won’t even mention because I don’t recommend it unless you’re desperate).  The night before we hit the Park we hit the bars: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and The Heartstone Lounge make for a great Disneyland Bar Crawl if you’re in the mood.

The morning of July 17th I woke my girlfriend up at 6:30 AM, and we were in the park by 7 AM. Officially, the park didn’t open until 8, but we were greated with souviner copies of The Orange County Register, and official “I Was There” buttons. We were expecting to have to wait in long lines, but the early entry was a god send because we managed to ride both The Matterhorn and Indiana Jones with little to no wait.

After we got in the two rides that are Disneyland specific (the only to-do items we had set for ourselves), we parked on Main Street USA for the official 10 AM ‘special presentation’. Unclear exactly what that meant, we sat from 8:30-10 (and dispersed one-by-one to shop/stop for coffee/go to the bathroom). At 10 AM the ceremony started, and featured the President of Disney Parks introducing Ashley Brown (the first Marry Poppins on Broadway) and Richard Sherman. Needless to say, my inner Disney nerd flipped at that point, and as Richard said a personal thank you to Walt Disney and began playing Feed The Birds, I cried and cried and cried some more. To get over that emotional toll, we then headed to Tomorrowland for free Diamond cupcakes. They were delicious, and although they said supplies were limited, I saw Cast Members handing them out at both parks through out the day.

After already accomplishing most of our Disneyland To Do List, we headed to California Adventure for the afternoon. Stops here included lunch at The Boudin Bakery, drinks at The Cove Bar (my new favorite spot in DCA), a quick pop back over to Disneyland for more Indiana Jones fast passes, and a ton of rides/activities: Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly River Rapids, the Beasts Library, the Pixar Play Parade and the Mad T Party.

💞💞💞 // #VSCOcam #mlngftla #disneyland60

A photo posted by Morgan L. Nelson (@morganlnelson) on

Full of California Adventure, we sprinted back to Disneyland for our 8:45 PM Indiana Jones fast passes. We entered the line at 8:43, and afterwards headed straight to dinner at The Blue Bayou. I’ve dined at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride once before (in 2009), but this time was just as good (if not better). If you go, and are a fan of fish, I highly recommend the salmon – although my girlfriends gumbo was also a great choice.

After dinner we were 15 hours into our 17 hour day, and my body was feeling the strain. We’d already missed the fireworks and trying to decide between watching the late show of Fantasmic or riding some rides caused a little bit of inner turmoil. Eventually though, we ended up walking around Disneyland and finding a spot for the midnight showing of Paint The Night. I would be lying if I said I didn’t use this downtime to take a quick nap, but I was ready and raring to go by the time it was time for Paint The Night.

I know that I’ve been very obvious about the fact that The Main Street Electrical Parade is my favorite parade of all time, but I will say this: if that Parade goes by the way side for Paint The Night, I will not be upset about it. The songs were catchy, the floats were gorgeous, and the interactivity between the show and the glow with the show ears/cups/paint brushes was stellar. While I’m still bummed I missed the fire works, I would recommend skipping them and seeing the parade – if the option ever presents itself to you.

Merch wise I purchased some 60th anniversary exclusives: I picked up a t-shirt and draw string bag with the specific anniversary date Thursday night at World of Disney, and the cast member checking me out told me that it must have appeared in the store in the last hour, since she hadn’t seen it on the floor at the start of her shift. In the park I also picked up the 60th anniversary exclusive ears (adding them along with my 50th anniversary ears to my ever growing collection), I also got some diamond shaped magnets featuring Minnie, Mickey, the castle and Cathary Circle.

PS: Here’s a bonus disney themed picture from my LA trip:

I wish I could quit you #Disney, but also I don't. // #mlngftla #bestboss #hollywood

A photo posted by Morgan L. Nelson (@morganlnelson) on

If you missed my live tweets from the day, you can catch them here. But in the meantime – did anyone else make it to #Disneyland60? How was your day compared to mine?

60 Days To 60 Years At Disneyland | 2009

I’ll admit it, I’ve been falling a bit on making this the year of Disneyland on the blog, but I’m about to start again in full swing. Both A. Because I’ll be there on Friday! and B. Because I’m happy to announce it’s my turn to participate in the amazing 60 Days to 60 Years Of Disneyland project, focusing on 2009 or as it’s known to my family – the year Morgan went to Disneyland. Twice.

First off – the major events of 2009. In California Adventure Mickey’s Fun Wheel opened to the public (and quickly gained the name ‘Mickey’s Wheel of Death in my book) and Blue Sky Cellar also gave guests a chance to imagineer the future of the park along with the best of them.

Across the way in Disneyland proper Fantasmic (my all time favorite Disney show) introduced a fire breathing Dragon, Celebrate! A Street Party made it’s big dancing debut, and just wrapping down from the Year(s) of A Million Dreams, Disneyland launched the ‘What Will You Celebrate’ campaign, which offered guests free admission on their birthday.

That promotion was part of what brought me on my first Disneyland trip of 2009. One of my younger sister’s birthdays fell over spring break that year, and my family thought it would be a great idea to use that free park ticket on a Southern California Vacation.I’ve shared my favorite photo from this trip before, but there are some others that bare sharing, because our spring break adventure stands out as one of my top five favorite Disney memories of all time:

This trip was amazing because it allowed me to see the world of Disneyland through a child’s eyes again. Being able to visit the park with my six and eight year old sisters reminded me what it was like to visit Disneyland as a kid, and being able to tap into that child like excitement with no fear of judgement was a turning point in my love affair with Disney. I had never fallen out of love with the parks, but this was the time that my passion for them was renewed, and I knew as I danced down Paradise Pier in a rainstorm that my love of the parks would live on for the rest of my life.

It was with this attitude that I approached my second, more adult, Disney vacation – which I took with two of my high school friends after graduation. This was my first real trip anywhere that I planned, payed for, and fully executed with out my family, and I couldn’t think of a better place to end up on such an adult endeavor. We had such a fun time that five years later one of my friends (plus a few more) and I returned to Disneyland for our five year high school reunion. 

Proof that we did, in fact, adult on this vacation. Because nothing says 'classy adult Disney' like dinner at the Blue Bayou.

Proof that we did, in fact, adult on this vacation. Because nothing says ‘classy adult Disney’ like dinner at the Blue Bayou.

For me, 2009 was a year of figuring out who I was becoming. Where I was going to college, what values were important to me, and what I wanted to do with my life were all major topics on the table while I was 17/18 years old. I will forever be grateful to Disneyland for helping me ease the transition between those first steps into adulthood and the childlike joy, sense of fun, and stress-free life style I never want to loose. So thanks, Disneyland – for proving that no matter what crazy changes life throws my way, you’ll always be there for me.

Where you lucky enough to visit Disneyland in 2009? What stands out to you most about the parks as they wrapped up the first decade of the 2000s?

#60DayTo60YearsAtDisneyland

The Best Ways To Spend Your Snack Credits At Food and Wine

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are discussing the best ways to use your Disney Dining Plan snack credits.


Image via Lauren Spinelli

Image via Lauren Spinelli

If you’ve been reading Bibbidi Bobbidi Booze for any length of time, you know there are two Disney things I love more than anything: Disneyland, and EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival.

You will notice, however, that the Disney Dining Plan does not make that list. In fact, I’m not even sure it would make the top five favorite things of mine. That is, unless, you manage to get it on a Cast Member Discount. While the finical viability of the Dining plan has been discussed by many others (like here, here, and here)  should you find yourself in Walt Disney World, with a dining plan, in late September or most of October, I’m here to share a serious life hack with you. Food from food and wine counts as snack credits. That’s right. (Most) food from the Food and Wine Festival Counts as snack credits. 

Not sure why this is a life changing piece of information? Well, here are just a few of the reasons I recommend using your snack credits at Food and Wine, should the opportunity present itself:

1. The Food Is Great. Nothing says ‘you’re getting your moneys worth’ like buying a lamb kebab from New Zealand, or a greek yogurt parfait for breakfast, and not having to pay any (more) money for it up front. The quality of the food is far better than any other snack you could buy in the parks, and often tends to be more filling as well.

2. It Adds To Your Disney Experience. The Food and Wine Festival only comes once a year, and getting to spend your snack credits on sampling cuisines from around the world is a great way to step out of your culinary comfort zone, and make great Disney memories in the process.

3. It’s The Best Type Of Tipsy Eating. Find yourself indulging in one to many margaritas at the Mexican pavilion? The ability to use your (pre-paid) snack credit for some classy drunken eating keeps your costs (relatively) low, and makes you feel more like a person and less like a booze filled robot.

Have you used this dining plan life hack before? If I ever end up with snack credits and no Food and Wine, what should I spend them on?


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Best Ways to Use Disney Snack Credits Loop:

The Feels Of Planning A Disney Trip (In GIFS!)

Hello readers of BBB (if you still exist). First off, apologizes for my long absence. I spent my spring studying for the LSAT, but rest assured that is behind me (hopefully for ever) and I’m taking all the pent up energy I have about waiting for my score and pouring it into this blog!

An even more important life update: I’ll be heading to Disneyland this summer and celebrating the official 60th anniversary in the parks!

Booking that specific date had a lot of moving parts, and if you’re anything like me, you know there are some extreme emotions involved in planning a Disney vacation (or in any Disney experience really). For this trip, and most trips, my Disney vacation planning emotions go a little something like this…


1. Thinking about a Disney Vacation. You start working overtime, and saving money, and thinking about if it’s time to finally use those airline miles on a flight.

2. Convincing your friends to join you on a Disney Vacation. Luckily, thanks to my college program folks – this usually isn’t that hard. When it came to this summer day in Disneyland, I had already planned a trip to LA with my girlfriend for the same week, so it made sense.

3. Stressing about how much it costs. Sure, I always know it’ll be a great vacation once I get there – but there’s something about having to buy your tickets and put a down payment on a hotel at the same time that stresses me out more than it should.

4. You’re booking your trip. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than seeing that confirmation screen on disney.go.com.

5. You’re counting down the days until you leave. There is no time in the world that lasts longer for me than the time between booking a Disney trip and getting on the plane for one.

6. You’re in shock that you’re going. Disney vacations never feel real for me until I’ve pulled up to the park gates. Wither it be via magical express, car, or even foot in the case of Disneyland, just seeing the park entry always leads me too the final Disney based emotion…

7. Full of joy. Because hey, it may have cost some money – and you may have had to wait for what felt like forever, but you’re in the most magical (or happiest) place on earth – and nothing is going to stop you from having a good time.

[GIFS via, in order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

5 Emotions I Had About ‘Inside Out’ That ‘Inside Out’ Didn’t Have

Pixar, Disney, Inside Out

This week I got to go to a press screening of Pixar’s newest film Inside Out. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the latest work from the animation gods that are Pixar, this movie focuses on 11 year old Riley, and all the emotions in her head: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. The movie has a stellar cast of comedians (I for one am so glad Phyllis from The Office has found more work), and it made me feel a lot of feelings. And while not a lot of anger, disgust or fear were involved, here are five emotions I had that the movie didn’t:

5. Hope – Before I saw this movie, I wanted it to be good. Heck, I needed it to be good. Pixar and I have been sort of on the outs lately (Cars 3 anyone?). So the minute the short ‘Lava’ came on the screen, my hopes where high. (And spoiler alert: I was not disappointed).

4. Surprise – While I knew that their where emotions in the film, I wasn’t aware how many other parts of personality where going to be involved in Inside Out. From personality to long-term memory, the film did a very good (and very cute) job of explaining just what makes a person a person.

3. Pride – Okay, so this one is cheesy, but I’m really proud of this film. I know I’m not a Pixar employee, nor am I even a Walt Disney Company employee anymore, I felt really good about this film. Pixar should be proud of it, and again – I’m proud of them for taking the risks that totally paid off, instead of just green lighting Cars Four. (Can you tell I’m a little bit bitter?)

2. Nostalgia – With out spoiling too much of the film, there was a distinct moment when my friend Lauren and I turned around and saw everyone in the theater wiping away tears at the same time (myself included). Part of what this movie does so well is explain the way your feelings and thoughts change as you get older, and in doing so it really manages to tug at the heart strings of people of all ages.

1. Love – This should be obvious at this point, but I LOVED this movie. I think it does what Pixar does best: takes a unique concept and manages to make it fun for both adults and kids.

[For the record, Wikipedia told me all of the above have been considered emotions, so take it up with them if you think hope isn’t a feeling.]

Have you seen Inside Out yet? If not, trust me when I say you should change your weekend plans and make it happen ASAP.

5 Disney Recipes I Need To Recreate This Summer

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Teal loop. Today we are sharing some of our favorite summer recipes.


Here are some things from the 2012 Food and Wine Festival I would love to make, but lack the skill for. Image via Lauren Spinelli

Here are some things from the 2012 Food and Wine Festival I would love to make, but lack the skill for. Image via Lauren Spinelli

I’m not usually well known for my culinary skills, in fact – I thought participating in this loop would be enough to at least try and get me to cook something, but the motivation just wasn’t as strong as I hoped it would be. (Also, my life got very very busy). That being said, I do want to try and build my skills in the kitchen, and I am feeling very home sick for the Disney Parks… so I figured, why not combine those two feelings and spend the summer cooking Disney treats I love? Here are the park things that scream ‘Disney Vacation’ to me, along with the recipes I plan on trying to use to make them at home:

5. ‘Ohana’s Bread Pudding Recipe– By the time this dessert comes around at the actual restaurant I’m always way too full to really enjoy it, so I’m hoping making it at home will mean I can savor it that much more. [via Disney Food Blog]

4. Flame Tree BBQ – If you’ve never been to this Animal Kingdom quick service staple, you are missing out my friend. It has some of the best barbecue I’ve ever tasted, and is by far my favorite quick service restaurant in the Parks. Being able to nail down their sauce might be a challenge, but for me at least, it’s one worth taking on. [via All Ears.Net]

3. PB&J Milkshakes Recipe – While I haven’t actually dined at 50s Prime Time Cafe in quite some time, I always have to make a pit stop to pick up one of these bad boys to go whenever I’m in Hollywood Studios. Being able to make them at home would be a great mix of delicious and dangerous (for my diet at least). [via All Ears.Net]

2. Dragon Berry Colada Recipe – Probably not surprisingly, this drink from the ‘Food and Wine Festival’ is actually the only one of these recipes I’ve made before. This is because it’s easy and a delicious summer cocktail and also because who doesn’t love recreating Food and Wine in their own homes? [via Disney Food Blog]

1. Dole Whip – It would not be an exaggeration to say I dream about Dole Whip after returning from my Disney vacations. There are so many recipes out there for this soft serve delight, so if this one doesn’t work out, I’m excited to spend all summer trying to get it perfect. [via Domestic Rebel]

Here I am enjoying a Dole Whip in Magic Kingdom with a friend. If I could bring this amount of joy to my face here in NYC… well this would be a whole different ball game.

Have you had any success making Disney foods at home? Any tips/advice/recipes you want to share would be more than welcome, and stay tuned as I report back on my successes (or failures) with the five above!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Teal | Summer Recipes Loop:

The Grand Floridian Is The Best Resort For Couples. End Of Discussion.

Welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail Orange loop. Today we are discussing the best Disney resorts for couples.


I’ve written about taking my girlfriend to Walt Disney World before, but let me just put it out there again in the universe: going to Disney with her is one of my favorite activities in the world.

When I was a  College Programmer, we did the long distance thing, which culminated in a long weekend Disney Vacation. Since had all my cast member perks we splurged on a hotel room at The Grand Floridian which, even with my 60% discount, was still expensive for two 20 somethings making minimum wage. That being said, not only was it was an experience I’ll never forget, it is also one I highly recommend any Disney couples try and recreate at least once in their lives. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few of the reasons why there’s no better hotel to take your significant other to:

I mean, look at this view. Who wouldn’t want to stay at this hotel, even if it wasn’t also 100 feet from The Magic Kingdom?

1. It’s Not Overly Disney. Growing up in Orlando didn’t make my girlfriend the world’s biggest Disney fan (shocking, I know) – so I knew that a room at The Art Of Animation or The Princess rooms at Port Orleans weren’t going to cut it. And even though we’ve stayed at both of those places and those hypothesis turned out to be mostly false, there is something really calming, adult, and romantic about walking into a hotel at the end of a long day and getting greeted by a piano player instead of a TV set playing the Disney Channel.

2. You Can Have Solid Date Nights With Out Having To Pay For Park Admission. My girlfriend and I got to the hotel  midway through the day, and we didn’t want to use a park ticket for only half a day, so instead we did a monorail bar crawl and a nice dinner. We started with a drink at the hotel bar, then went on to The Contemporary and The Polynesian. Finally, we ended the night with dinner at Narcoossee’s, where we ate on the water while watching ‘Wishes’. While the quick service food court was down while I was there, and I’ve never been to 1900 Park Faire or Victoria & Alberts, I think that the various dining options, from the super fancy to the character meal to the super casual, offer a great range of date night experiences. Not to mention the addition of Trader Sam’s has to make that bar crawl even more fun.

Here’s an image of us after aforementioned date night. It’s just too cute not to share if you ask me.

4. It’s Romantic. In the three days we stayed there, I probably saw upwards of ten brides, grooms, and bridal parties in the hotel. This is obviously because of it’s proximity to the Disney Wedding Pavilion, but I found it to be a fun added layer to my date weekend to see brides (and their dresses) finding their happily ever afters.

As much as I love The Grand Floridian, it’s my goal to stay in every Disney Hotel at some point – and I think next up on the romantic list are The Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge. But, The Grand Floridian will always hold a special place in my heart, and as soon as I can afford it, I’ll be back ASAP.

 


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange  | Best Disney Resorts for Couples Loop: