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5 Reasons Disneyland Should Serve Poutine

Happy Canada Day From Mouse Monthly

Happy Canada Day From Mouse Monthly

This July 1st, I would like to bring up the most important topic on everyone’s mind as we celebrate Canada Day… when will they start serving poutine at Disneyland?

I have lived in Southern California for almost five years now, but there are still a few things that lure me back up to my native country of Canada. One of which is that magical, mythical meal of melty goodness…poutine!

What is Poutine You Ask?

Amazing New York Fries Poutine with extra cheese and extra gravy. Yum!
Amazing New York Fries Poutine with extra cheese and extra gravy. Yum!

Poutine is a dish that originated in the 1950’s in rural Quebec, consisting of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Sadly, it does do not appeal to most Americans. But, oh my! It gives me the honey glow in my cheeks something fierce!

Now, the best poutine in my humble opinion, is served by New York Fries, a Canadian chain that services the mall food courts.

They use fresh-cut fries, (not too thin, not too thick) from skin-on Russet potatoes that remind me of the french fries we would get from roadside chip trucks on the outskirts of Ottawa, Ontario. Then they nestle a heaping scoop of cheese curds into the middle that have just the right amount of squeak, not too salty and not too soft. Finally they cover the dish with their savory, mouth-watering (and surprisingly vegan) brown gravy.

It has just the right thickness to coat the fries without weighing them down, and they serve it steaming hot so it melts the cheese curds just so! Le sigh*!

Thus describes my love affair with poutine. It is not an affair that my husband shares with me, but he does indulge me in when we get back up to British Columbia. Which incidentally is also where the closest New York Fries is located, over 1,000 kilometers away 🙁

Closest New York Fries To The Disneyland Resort
Closest New York Fries To The Disneyland Resort

Now aside from the mouth-watering reasons above, here is why I think poutine would be a great fit at Disneyland:

#1: Poutine Already Works With Some Land’s Existing Themes

Poutine would be great on the Mint Julep Bar menu
Poutine would be great on the Mint Julep Bar menu.

New Orleans Square, for example, has a Creole/Cajun influence on the menus at Cafe Orleans and at the Blue Bayou Restaurant.

Did you know that the Cajun people are descendants of French colonists who originated from the region of Canada previously known as Acadia? The colonists referred to themselves as “Acadian”, which in French sounds like “Cadiens” or “Cadjins” and that is how the term “Cajun” came about.

So Cajun’s are way-back French Canadians, and poutine originated in Quebec… I don’t think this is a far reach so why not throw some poutine on the menu to celebrate!?

Or let’s go with the even more wonderful thought of bringing a New York Fries to Disneyland! How about a stop in Main Street, USA?

Carnation Cafe on Main Street USA would be a perfect spot for poutine
Carnation Cafe on Main Street USA would be a perfect spot for poutine.

The black and white checkered theme that New York Fries uses would fit right in with the classic old town vibe. Also, it would be wonderful to have another quick serve outlet that provided more filling fare as you’re coming in or leaving the park, or even waiting for one of the parades to start.

#2: There Are A Lot Of Canadians In America

Walt and Mickey
Walt and Mickey statues at Disneyland (No, they are not Canadian)

America has a Canadian population of over 800,000 people, and over 44,000 of whom live in LA and Orange County.

That’s a whole bunch of Canucks in the neighborhood, and I can guarantee you that I am not the only one ‘jonesing’ for some good, traditional poutine.

#3: There Are Always Canadian Tourists In The Park

Where’s the proof of that you say? Ever bump into someone and they are the ones who say “Sorry!”? That’s a Canadian. Have you seen the Captain Canada poster? I have and I think it’s hilarious!

Captain Canada is Sorry
Captain Canada is Sorry

Back to the point at hand. People of all cultures tend to seek familiar food when we travel, even if we’re just travelling locally. Think about how busy the Starbucks always is on Main Street USA. New York Fries could be just as popular a spot to ‘cop a squat’ and grab some poutine.

#4: Poutine will bring even more Canadians to Disneyland

Hey, who doesn’t want to be surrounded by super friendly people wearing toque’s and saying, “Eh?”!

Seriously though, Canadians are lovely people who are just as thrilled to be vacationing at Disneyland as the next family, and it’s always nice to be surrounded by friends.  Besides, Canada needs a bit more representation in Disneyland besides the lone Mountie on It’s a Small World!

Canadian Mountie from It's a Small World Disneyland
Canadian Mountie from It’s a Small World Disneyland

#5: This could open the door for a Tim Horton’s!

It would be amazing to see a Tim Hortons at Disneyland!
It would be amazing to see a Tim Hortons at Disneyland! © Tim Hortons

A double double and a maple dip anyone? Oh boy, eh!? I know America has Dunkin’ Donuts, but people do not realize what they are missing by not being able to stroll in to a Tim Hortons and be surrounded by that warm, familiar coffee and donut smell that is somehow so typically Canadian that it makes a tear come to my eye. Seriously folks, “you’ve always got time for Tim Hortons”.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I am so deliriously happy when I get to eat poutine, and Disneyland is supposed to be the happiest place on earth. What could be a better combination? Now I’m going to sit back, relax, and imagine myself eating a large New York Fries poutine, (with extra cheese and extra gravy of course) on my favorite bench in the park while I listen to the joy, laughter and the magic that is Disneyland.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our article 8 Things You Might Not Know About Canada And Disney. Happy Canada Day to all and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Are Kim & Kanye Taking Over Disneyland?

Sleeping Beauty Castle with Walt Disney

Sleeping Beauty Castle with Walt Disney

Disneyland fans may be alarmed to hear that on Monday, June 15th, the entire park will be closed. The rumor is that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have rented out the entire park for the day to celebrate their daughter North West’s second birthday.

Let me put your fears at rest. I can report, as confirmed by Disney, that these rumors are false. Disneyland will be open during regular park hours to all ticket guests and Annual Passholders.

The couple may indeed by spending the day at the Disneyland Resort, but as with most celebrity visits they will most likely try to fly below the radar. They may be allowed to rent out a certain restaurant for a time, like what happened during Holly Madison’s wedding in 2013.

After hours events are also possible, so the rumor could be referring to this. However, a 2-year-old wouldn’t be fun on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at 2 in the morning.

Renting Out The Park Isn’t Feasible

There are too many problems involved with renting out the entire park for a limited number of guests. Just a few of these are (in no particular order):

Shutting out vacationers during the busy summer season

Schools are letting out and folks are travelling from all over the world to visit Disneyland, only to be turned away with little-to-no notice for someone’s birthday? I don’t think so.

Closing the park to Annual Passholders on non-blockout days

AP’s pay for the privilege of accessing the park a pre-determined number of days per year. Remove one of those days and they need to be compensated, possibly with another day available day during the year. That alone would be a nightmare of paperwork and pissed off customers for Disney.

Also, what would you do for Premium or Disney Premier AP’s, refund them a day on their pass? Not likely.

Immense cost involved

Even if Disney would put up with all the above, the costs involved would be huge, especially considering it would all be for a single day. Which leads us to our next question…

How Much Would It Cost To Rent Out Disneyland?

Curious to see the price of my own “Disneyland day,” I crunched some basic numbers. There are almost endless scenarios you can run, but I took a simple look at the number of 1-day, single-park ticket guests you’d have to cover the expenses of, as well as a food and merchandise allotment for each guest.

Based on my numbers, I estimate it would cost between 7 million on a slow business day to over 15 million dollars at maximum capacity for the park, which is a consideration for this time of year.

Conclusion

Maybe Kim and Kanye have that kind of cash to drop. Given their extravagant tendencies, maybe they would pay millions for a private day at Disneyland. At any rate, I don’t see Disney making this option available for them or anyone else.

Hopefully I put your mind at ease on this issue. Enjoy your next visit to the park. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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At Least 7 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Real Sailing Ship Columbia

The Sailing Ship Columbia, Disneyland, CA
The Sailing Ship Columbia, Disneyland, CA
The Sailing Ship Columbia, Disneyland, CA

The Sailing Ship Columbia had been a Disneyland staple since it first opened in 1958. For this Memorial Day, I’ll look a little deeper into the history of the real ship this classic attraction is based on and give you some food for thought on your next voyage around the Rivers of America.

1. First American Ship Around The Globe, But Not First Ever

Magellan Expedition's 1522 Route Around The Globe
Magellan Expedition’s 1522 Route Around The Globe

The Columbia was not the first ship to sail around the world. The honor for the first circumnavigation of the world goes to the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan in 1522. In fact, there were around 30 earlier voyages (that we know of).

However, as it says on the ride, the Columbia was the first American vessel to sail around the planet. But why did it go? The reason is simple and ultimately American- money.

Circumnavigation Route Of The Columbia Rediviva 1778-90
Circumnavigation Route Of The Columbia Rediviva 1778-90

To be fair, probably every voyage around the world, or just about anywhere else, is and has been for profit. Listening to the spiel at Disneyland makes it seem like the motives for the trip were more egalitarian.

The voyage began several years after the Revolutionary War, at a time when the new America was still recovering economically. The Columbia sailed to what we now call the Pacific Northwest, to open a fur trade with the far off country of China on behalf of New England investors.

2. Not First Around The World, But First Up A River

Columbia River
Columbia River

After completing its voyage around the Earth in 1790, the Columbia turned right around and went out to sea again. It just so happens that upon returning to the Pacific Northwest in 1792, the Columbia ‘discovered’ and named the Columbia River, which runs along the border of modern-day Oregon and Washington.

This would become a major fur-trading river on many charts, including English ones. Years later in 1818, when the border between the US and Canada was established at the 49th parallel, Queen Victoria chose the name ‘British Columbia’ for her territory along the West coast, previously labeled ‘North Columbia’ on maps.

3. Named After A Saint

Saint Columba
Saint Columba

The Sailing Ship Columbia is actually supposed to be a replica of the Columbia Rediviva. “Columbia” most likely refers to Saint Columba, an Irish priest widely credited for spreading Christianity in Scotland. “Rediviva” is latin for renewed, which was likely added to the name after an extensive refurbishment just before its globe-trotting voyage.

Note that there no ‘USS’ before the ship’s name because it was a private vessel and not property of the United States Navy.

4. Famous Namesake In It’s Own Right

Space Shuttle Columbia launching
Space Shuttle Columbia. Courtesy NASA

The Space Shuttle Columbia was named after the Columbia Rediviva, as well as the Apollo 11 Command/Service module. It’s interesting how nautical terms and vessels translate directly to the exploration of space.

Columbia - Apollo 11 Command Module
Columbia – Apollo 11 Command Module

5. Anti-Pirate Paint Scheme

Columbia Rounding Tom Sawyer Island On The Rivers Of America, Disneyland
Columbia Rounding Tom Sawyer Island On The Rivers Of America, Disneyland

Ever wonder why the Columbia sports a bright yellow paint scheme?

Back in the 1700’s, ships could either be oiled down to finish them, which would eventually turn black, or be painted yellow. Yellow gave the impression of a newer, faster ship and therefore deterred pursuit from pirates on the open seas. Who knew?

6. “Connected” to the Boston Tea Party

Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party

The keel for original Columbia was laid in the North River shipyards in Massachusetts and it just so happens that another ship, the Brig Beaver, was built nearby at nearly the same time.

This ship would go on to be one of the 3 ships involved in the Boston Tea Party in Boston Harbor on December 16th, 1773. This would lead to the “Intolerable Acts“, among them the Tea Act, which pushed America even further toward what we know as the Revolutionary War.

7. 1787 Saw The Birth Of America As We Know It Today

Original American flag from 1777
Original American flag from 1777

Above, we see what the American Flag looked like that the Columbia sailed around the world in 1787. Elsewhere in 87′:

  • The Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia to revise the first working charter of the United States, Articles of Confederation. After months of deliberation, they eventually ratified the Constitution we know and enjoy today.
  • Later that year, Delaware would ratify the Constitution and become the first state in the new Union.
  • American settlers were fighting against local Indian tribes for the territories surrounding the Great Lakes in what would become known as the “Northwest Indian War.”
  • John Fitch’s steam-powered ship completes testing, years before Robert Fulton’s Clermont.
  • The French Revolution began, though the ultra-violent period wouldn’t begin for several more years.
  • The ‘First Fleet’ left England with shiploads of convicts to found the first penal colony on Australia.

Conclusion

Columbia in a Squall
Columbia in a Squall

Coincidentally, the publishing date of this article happens to be on the birthday of astronaut Sally Ride! Like the sailors of the original Columbia, she too was a pioneer as the first American woman in space.

Happy birthday, Sally.

Sally Ride - First American woman in space
Sally Ride – First American woman in space. Courtesy Florida History Network

After researching this post, I know the next time I ride the Sailing Ship Columbia at Disneyland will mean even more to me. On one hand, I now have an idea of the many hardships her crew had to face.

On the other, I feel so lucky that Walt had her replica built for us all to enjoy today. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about America’s past. See ya’ real soon!

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How Much Did Disneyland Cost When It Opened Compared With Today?

Disneyland 'A' Ticket
Disneyland 'A' Ticket
Disneyland ‘A’ Ticket

Ever wonder what it would be like to visit Disneyland back in 1955? To stroll the barely solidified pavement and see the park in its infancy?

Maybe you’d bump into Uncle Walt having lunch at the Chicken Plantation Restaurant before checking out the Indian Village? How about forking over a C-ticket to ride the Jungle Cruise?

Today, we’re used to the modern all-day, all-attraction type of Disneyland. As a die-hard Disney fan, I know all about the famous A-E ticket system that used to rule the park, but it was phased-out before I was even born.

While working on The Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Annual Passports, the thought occurred to me:

If I could go back in time and visit Disneyland the year it opened, how much would it cost for me to ride everything at the park like I expect to do now?

On this page, I’ll walk you through the steps I took to make an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison for tickets to Disneyland in 1955 and Disneyland today, including some interesting things I learned along the way.

As an aside, I’ve recently updated the calculations on this page in response to a request on our Mouse Monthly Facebook page. I’d like to give a special shout out to Autumn and thanks for reading!

1. How Many Attractions Did Disneyland Have in 1955?

It’s hard to compare the price of admission to the park today with what it cost in 1955 for several reasons.

  1. The park had about half the number of attractions it now has.
  2. Park admission and ride tickets were sold separately, with the famous A-C tickets.
  3. There was only one theme park, Disneyland, and no place to ‘hop to’ like we have today.

When it opened, Disneyland had a number of temporary rides and shows that passed rather quickly. Other attractions followed shortly afterwards that same year, the last being the Mike Fink Keel Boats near Christmas of 1955.

The first step for our comparison is to count the number of attractions that we could visit/ride the first year. Simplified, here’s what was open in 1955:

Ticket-LevelNumber Of Attractions
Free With Admission9
A-Ticket7
B-Ticket9
C-Ticket12
$.50 Special Ticket1

As you can see, there we 38 attractions open by the end of 1955. If you’d like more detailed information, I’ve included several tables at the bottom of the page showing which attractions were open and at what ticket-level. You can jump down and take a look if you want.

2. How Much Did Disneyland Tickets Cost In 1955?

Now that we know how many attractions we could have visited, the next step is to figure out the price of tickets.

When Disneyland first opened, and for many years after, guests were charged separately for admission to the park and attraction tickets, similar to a travelling carnival. Adults could get in for $1 and rides cost between 10-30 cents each.

Ticket-LevelCost in 1955What It Would Cost in 2018**
A-Ticket$.10$.92
B-Ticket$.20$1.85
C-Ticket$.30$2.77
8-Ticket Book*$2.50$23.12
* The 8 ticket book included one adult admission.
** All inflation calculations on this page courtesy US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Then in October 1955, the famous A-E ticket system was created, though at the time D and E-ticket rides had yet to be invented. Tickets could be bought individually throughout the park or in an 8-ticket book that included an admission discount of $.10.

1955 Disneyland 8-Ticket Book
Ticket LevelNumber In Book
A-Ticket3
B-Ticket2
C-Ticket3

You didn’t have to pay extra for everything though. Some venues, like the Golden Horseshoe Revue and Dutch Boy Paints Color Gallery were free with admission. Another show, The Mickey Mouse Club Circus, required a separate $.50 ticket.

3. How Many Tickets Would It Take To Visit Every Attraction In 1955?

We have established that there were 38 rides at Disneyland the year it opened. We also know the prices for both the 8-ticket book and the individual A-C tickets themselves.

Now we’ll look at how much it would cost to buy that all-attraction, all-inclusive vacation we enjoy today, but back in 1955.

Using Individual A-C Tickets

First, we’ll take a look at what it would cost if we paid the full price for admission and only bought individual attraction tickets.

Ticket-Level# Of AttractionsCost in 1955Total Cost
Free9
A-Ticket7$.10$.70
B-Ticket9$.20$1.80
C-Ticket12$.30$3.60
$.50 Special Ticket1$.50$.50
Sub-Total$6.60

As you can see in the table below, to buy separate tickets for everything and pay for admission, the cost would come to $7.60.

ItemCost in 1955
Attraction Tickets$6.60
Admission$1.00
Cost For All-Attraction, All-Day 1955 Disneyland Vacation$7.60

Combining The 8-Ticket Book With Attraction Tickets

Thanks to our friends at the Disney History Institute, we know that the original 8-ticket book from October 1955 sold for $2.50, saving you $.10 on admission when compared with paying for everything separately like we did above.

If we bought the 8-ticket book, here’s what our costs would be for an all-attraction day at Disneyland:

Ticket-Level# Of AttractionsTickets From BookCost For Extra Tickets
Free9
A-Ticket73$.40
B-Ticket92$1.40
C-Ticket123$2.70
$.50 Special Ticket1$.50
Sub-Total$5.00

As the table below shows:

Towards the latter half of 1955 it would cost $7.50 to experience an all-attraction Disneyland vacation like we have today.

This would save us $.10 over paying for everything separately and this is the number we’ll use to compare against the current price.

ItemCost in 1955
Attraction Tickets$5.00
8-Ticket Book (Including Admission)$2.50
Cost For All-Attraction, All-Day 1955 Disneyland Vacation$7.50

4. How Does A 1955 All-Attraction Disneyland Vacation Compare To Today?

Cost in 1955Cost in 2018Cost Of 2018 DL Single-Park Value Ticket
Cost For An All-Attraction, All-Day Disneyland Vacation$7.50$69.37$97

When adjusted to 2018 dollars, the cost to do everything at Disneyland in 1955 was $69.37, or about $27 cheaper than it is today. We now have a baseline ticket cost with which to compare all future price changes.

So why does it cost more today? Here are a few quick answers I can think of:

A. There Are More People On The Planet

YearWorld Population
19552.7 Billion
20187.6 Billion

There are about 180% more people on the planet than in 1955. And the area of Disneyland has not increased substantially in many years.

More people in essentially the same space = Overcrowding

B. People Have More Disposable Income

Based on the most recent US Census Bureau statistics:

YearMedian Household IncomeIn 2018 Dollars
1955$4,400$40,695
2016$57,250$58,776

Between Disneyland’s opening and today, the average American family has experienced an earning increase of about $18,000 per year. While other household expenses have certainly increased as well, a chunk of this excess certainly qualifies as disposable income. Income that makes is easier for more people to visit Disneyland more often.

C. Disneyland Has More To Do Now

We concluded that the park had 38 attractions in 1955. Today it has over 60, not to mention a sister park (Disney California Adventure) sitting next door. Also, let’s not forget about the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, set to premier in 2019.

And not only have the number of rides and shows increased, many are superior to anything that existed in Disneyland’s first year (I can hear the outrage that last sentence will cause). There was no Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Matterhorn, Star Tours, or Audio-Animatronics of any kind in 1955.

Better rides = Higher value = Increased price.

I talk about these issues a lot more in my article 5 Reasons Disneyland Doesn’t Want More Annual Passholders, so check it out and let me know what you think. Also, take a look at the tables at the bottom of this page for the specifics on 1955 attractions and ticket-levels.

Conclusion

It certainly does cost more to visit Disneyland today, but not as much as you’d think. And these numbers are not entirely complete. For example, they don’t include the increased cost of parking or food. They also cover a very finite period in the history of the park.

Nor do they take into account multiple visits to the same attraction on the same day, like today’s all-inclusive tickets allow. If you were to do everything we discussed above and ride the Jungle Cruise 3 more times the same day, it would cost an extra $.90, or $8.32 in 2018 dollars, bringing the modern total to $77.69!

Can you imagine some Skipper with his hand out every time you wanted to go for a trip?

What do you think about the difference in 1955 Disneyland prices compared with today? Which “park” would you rather visit? Let me know in a comment below. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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1955 Disneyland Attractions And Ticket Levels

Back to the top

Below is a list of all the attractions Disneyland had in 1955, though not all existed on opening day (July 17, 1955), as well as the ticket required to ride each:

Disneyland Attraction Grouped By ‘Land’

1955 ‘Lands’1955 Disneyland AttractionsTicket-Level
Main Street, USA
Fire WagonA
Main Street ArcadeFree
Main Street CinemaA
Main Street Shooting GalleryB
Santa Fe & Disneyland RailroadC
Street CarsA
SurreysA
Adventureland
Jungle CruiseC
Frontierland
Conestoga WagonB
Davy Crockett Frontier MuseumFree
Freight TrainB
Golden Horseshoe RevueFree
Indian VillageFree
Mark Twain RiverboatC
Mike Fink Keel BoatsC
Mule PackC
Stagecoach RideC
Fantasyland
Canal Boats Of The WorldB
Casey Jr. Circus TrainB
Dumbo Flying ElephantsB
King Arthur CarrouselA
Mad Tea PartyB
Mickey Mouse Club Circus$.50 Extra
Mickey Mouse Club TheaterB
Mr. Toad’s Wild RideC
Peter Pan FlightC
Snow White’s AdventuresC
Tomorrowland
AutopiaC
Circarama, USAC
Dutch Boy Paints Color GalleryFree
Kaiser’s Hall of Aluminum FameFree
Monsanto Hall Of ChemistryFree
Rocket To The MoonC
Space Station X-1A
Thimble Drome Flight CircleFree
Tomorrowland BoatsB
20,000 Leagues Under The SeaA
The World Beneath UsFree

Disneyland Attractions Grouped By Ticket-Level

Ticket-LevelAttraction
Free
Davy Crockett Frontier Museum
Dutch Boy Paints Color Gallery
Golden Horseshoe Revue
Indian Village
Kaiser’s Hall of Aluminum Fame
Main Street Arcade
Monsanto Hall Of Chemistry
 A
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Fire Wagon
King Arthur Carrousel
Main Street Cinema
Space Station X-1
Street Cars
Surreys
B
Canal Boats Of The World
Casey Jr. Circus Train
Conestoga Wagons
Dumbo Flying Elephants
Freight Train
Mad Tea Party
Main Street Shooting Gallery
Mickey Mouse Club Theater
Tomorrowland Boats
C
Autopia
Circarama, USA
Jungle Cruise
Mark Twain Riverboat
Mike Fink Keel Boats
Mule Pack
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Peter Pan Flight
Rocket To The Moon
Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad
Snow White’s Adventures
Stagecoach Ride
$.50 Extra
Mickey Mouse Club Circus
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Kālua-style Pork Sandwich from Tangaroa Terrace | Food Friday

Slow-roasted Kalua-style Pork Sandwich from Tangaroa Terrace.
Slow-roasted Kalua-style Pork Sandwich from Tangaroa Terrace.
Slow-roasted Kalua-style Pork Sandwich from Tangaroa Terrace.

Nestled in the heart of the Disneyland Hotel’s towers is a little piece of the tropics. Enjoy Hawaiian music and tiki torches at the Tangaroa Terrace while you dine on the delicious Kālua-style Pork Sandwich.

Food Facts

  • Dish: Slow-roasted Kālua-style Pork Sandwich
  • Location: Tangaroa Terrace, Disneyland Hotel, Disneyland Resort, California
  • Price: $10.99 USD
  • Cuisine: American
  • Seasonality: Year-round
  • Ease of Eating: Sit-down, Knife-and-Fork
  • Allergy Considerations: Milk, Eggs, Wheat
  • Jamie’s Opinion: Savory, fall-apart-in-your-mouth BBQ pork
  • Mom-in-Chief Scale: 2.7 out of 5
  • Envaluator Scale: 4.3 out of 5

What’s It Taste Like?

The savory slow roasted pork is topped with a zesty tropical slaw.
The savory slow-roasted pork is topped barbecue sauce and a zesty tropical slaw.

The Kālua-style Pork Sandwich is served on a Hawaiian roll. The roll itself is not buttered with any spread, but the pork is topped with barbecue sauce with coleslaw on top. The meat is also marinated in sauce, so the sandwich is not dry.

The barbecue sauce is sweet and zesty without being too strong. The tropical slaw is fresh and crunchy, and adds to the texture of the sandwich. I also like how it cuts through the sweetness of the barbecue sauce, which becomes overpowering after a few bites.

The tropical slaw served on the Kālua-style Pork Sandwich is made up of jicama, celery, yellow bell peppers, and red bell peppers. The flavors seem to be in the same vein as the Zesty Slaw at Hungry Bear, but without the mango. There is a light vinaigrette dressing that doesn’t interfere with the tanginess of the barbecue sauce on the pork.

The side of tropical fruit has pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, and red grapes. The fruit is a good side for the sandwich, since I think that french fries or something heavier would have just been too big a plate.

Is It Easy To Eat?

The pork and slaw overflow from the warm roll. Hold on tight, with both hands if you please.
The pork and slaw overflow from the warm roll. Hold on tight, with both hands if you please.

The sandwich is very hot and soft on the bottom, like it was microwaved or steamed. Because of this I had to flip the sandwich over to keep it from falling apart. I ended up having to hold it together with my fingers and not set it down so that it didn’t fall into pieces.

I would not walk around with this sandwich for that reason. It was nice to have the safety of the plate to catch the falling pieces. You don’t have to knife and fork it, although you could. The pork is very tender, so much so that you could chew the sandwich with your tongue.

Mom-in-Chief Jamie’s Opinion

A seasonal fruit cup comes with the Kalua-style Pork Sandwich.
A seasonal fruit cup comes with the Kalua-style Pork Sandwich.

My son Jack wasn’t thrilled with any part of this sandwich, but that was more to do with the mood that he was in. There were things on the plate that he could munch on, like the sweet Hawaiian bun or the tender pork, as well as the pieces of coleslaw and pieces of fruit. These are all things that could be broken down into bite size pieces for your little one, either to feed them directly or for them to feed themselves.

Be aware of the red grapes however, ours had seeds in them. That is usually not the case with what we’ve gotten at Disney before though, so maybe this was just a one-off.

Chief Envaluator Alex’s Opinion

The tropical slaw makes the sandwich very moist.
The tropical slaw makes the sandwich very moist.

The pork sandwich is a decent size meal and can feed one person or two people to share who are not very hungry. The price is decent as well. Though priced at vacation levels, it’s slightly cheaper than the more American hamburgers they also offer at the Tangaroa Terrace, with a much deeper taste.

This sandwich hits the island theme of the terrace perfectly. Slow-roasted pork is certainly a staple in traditional Hawaiian cooking, where entire pigs are cooked in a covered pit for hours in preparation for a luau. Along with the tropical mix of fruit, I felt at home with this sandwich, nestled along some secluded beach looking out at crystal clear blue ocean.

Conclusion

The Kālua-style Pork Sandwich is a filling and deliciously savory sandwich that will satisfy your taste buds. Slip away to this oasis at the Disneyland Hotel for a quick-service meal while the ambiance and music drift you away to Hawaii.

Have you tried the Kālua-style Pork Sandwich at the Tangaroa Terrace? Let me know what you think in the comments below and sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future Food Friday posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!

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Adventure Isle at Shanghai Disneyland 4-14 |Monday MapDay

Adventure Isle in Shanghai Disneyland.
Adventure Isle in Shanghai Disneyland.
Adventure Isle in Shanghai Disneyland.

The last new land unique to Shanghai Disneyland (SDL) is Adventure Isle. Combined with the pirate-themed area of Treasure Cove, it’s like a ‘plussed up’ version of the Adventureland we’re all used to with a few, somewhat different ride offerings.

A New Land With ‘Kind Of New’ Attractions

Adventure Isle outlined (green) with all building overlays in Shanghai Disneyland.
Adventure Isle outlined (green) with all building overlays in Shanghai Disneyland.

Adventure Isle is located in the far West corner of SDL, immediately to the right of Mickey Avenue, the space usually occupied by Tomorrowland in every other Disneyland-style theme park. It will be a jungle themed area, contrasting with the seaside coves and villages of Treasure Cove next door and you can see from the image above that these two areas will take up a sizable part of the park.

Adventure Isle in Shanghai Disneyland without overlays.
Adventure Isle in Shanghai Disneyland without overlays.
 Adventure Isle in Shanghai Disneyland.
Adventure Isle in SDL.

Two major attractions will anchor Adventure Isle: Roaring Rapids and Soarin’ Over The Horizon.

Roaring River Rapids

Roaring Rapids in Adventure Isle at Shanghai Disneyland.
Roaring Rapids in Adventure Isle at Shanghai Disneyland.

Originally called ‘Lost World Roaring Rapids,’ this massive water ride will take guests on a rafting trip through a gigantic show-building, reportedly populated by animatronic dinosaurs. The ‘Lost World’ portion of the original title might refer to the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, where an expedition finds a section a plateau in the Amazon populated by Dinosaurs and other extinct creatures.

I hope Imagineers will craft a story heavily influenced by this great book. Imagine that you’re a part of the expedition itself and you just happen to float through this prehistoric land when something goes terribly wrong and you have to escape back to civilization, barely escaping a deadly fate.

Book jacket for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Lost World.'
Book jacket for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World.’

If the Roaring Rapids ride concept sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been used and recycled through many Disney rides and movies we all know and love. The ‘Lost World’ concept directly relates to the Disney/Pixar movie ‘UP’ where two unwitting characters happen upon an ancient South American mesa, populated by dangerous and never before seen creatures.

Though Roaring Rapids is constructed on a grander scale, Imagineers have already built several rafting rides at Disney resorts with a moderate amount of detail. At Disney California Adventure we have Grizzly River Run, the longest, tallest, and fastest river rapids ride in the world, but with little extra Disney theming (though there are rumors this will change soon).

The Animal Kingdom is home to Kali River Rapids, which is also a great ride but weak in the theme department. Will Roaring Rapids do a better job of fascinating and immersing guests in a story line as well as getting them soaking wet?

Carnotaurus from Disney's Dinosaur attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Carnotaurus from Disney’s Dinosaur attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

If dinosaurs are to play a part in this new ride, I’d expect the animatronics to be similar if not identical to those in the Dinosaur attraction, also at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In fact, some of the first rumors about Roaring Rapids had a Carnotaurus chasing guests through the jungle, which is exactly story of the ride in Florida. Also, let’s not forget about the original Disney dinosaur attraction, the Primeval World diorama from Disneyland.

Disneyland Primeval World attraction poster ©Disney
Disneyland Primeval World attraction poster ©Disney

Speaking of being identical, you might be asking yourself, “isn’t there already a dinosaur-themed river rapids ride somewhere already?” Yes there is, but it’s at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Called Jurassic Park©- The Ride, this water attraction is essentially everything I described above, but with the more technology run amok theme of the Jurassic Park books than a hopeful, promise of the future, Vernian theme of ‘The Lost World.’

Roaring Rapids will also be the only (or first) Disney ‘mountain’ in Shanghai Disneyland. As you may recall, when the original Disneyland was built, there weren’t any mountain themed attractions.

The birth of the Disney mountain range began in 1959 with the construction of the Matterhorn and continued with Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain, as well as other ‘mountains’ in other resorts across the globe. Can we expect similar attraction ‘tectonic activity’ at the Shanghai Disney Resort?

Soarin’ Over The Horizon

Soarin' Over The Horizon in Adventure Isle at SDL.
Soarin’ Over The Horizon in Adventure Isle at SDL.

As I said above, the second major ride in Adventure Isle will be Soarin’ Over The Horizon. Guests will ride in suspended rack of seats, flying a hang glider over the Earth.

A direct reboot of the original attraction Soarin’ Over California in Disney California Adventure, the Shanghai version will use the same ride system with different movie scenes from across the planet. It’s exciting and relieving that Disney is finally upgrading the Soarin’ ride. I love the original, but it’s been running the same footage at DCA since 2001 and in its EPCOT clone since 2005.

I don’t think the Soarin’ ride in California will change to the world footage, because it’s showcasing the theme of the entire park, but rumor has it that EPCOT get an upgrade. A flight specifically over the Golden State has always been out-of-place there and a more all-encompassing and all-embracing journey around the globe is a better fit for the nearby lands of the EPCOT World Showcase.

Roaring Rapids Versus Enchanted Storybook Castle

3D view of Adventure Isle with Enchanted Storybook Castle.
3D view of Adventure Isle with Enchanted Storybook Castle.

Like everything else in SDL, it looks like Adventure Isle will be dwarfed by the Enchanted Storybook Castle. Roaring Rapids in particular, though, looks like it might be large enough to stand on its own.

If the entire area is immersed in a jungle atmosphere, with thick trees and other foliage, that combined with the Rapids structure might be enough to cover up the castle and leave the rugged adventure theming intact.

3D view across Adventure Isle looking towards Enchanted Storybook Castle.
3D view across Adventure Isle looking towards Enchanted Storybook Castle.

Conclusion

While not an entirely new creation, Adventure Isle is different enough to remain mysterious but familiar enough to be comfortable for the seasoned guest. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s finished!

What do you think about this ‘new’ land in Shanghai? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Ham & Cheese Quiche from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe | Food Friday

The savory and moist Ham and Cheese Quiche from Jolly Holiday Cafe in Disneyland.
The savory and moist Ham and Cheese Quiche from Jolly Holiday Cafe in Disneyland.
The savory and moist Ham and Cheese Quiche from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland.

The Ham & Cheese Quiche is a savory favorite that makes for a great lunch or a light dinner. Enjoy the quaint atmosphere of Main Street, USA while you dig in to this Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe treat!

Food Facts

  • Dish: Ham & Cheese Quiche
  • Location: Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, Main Street USA, Disneyland, California
  • Price: $7.79 USD
  • Cuisine: American, Comfort Food
  • Seasonality: Year-round
  • Ease of Eating: Sit-down, Knife-and-Fork
  • Allergy Considerations: Quiche: Milk, Eggs House Salad: Nuts, Milk, Cranberries
  • Jamie’s Opinion: Tasty quiche with an outstanding crust
  • Mom-in-Chief Scale: 3.3 out of 5
  • Envaluator Scale: 5 out of 5

What’s It Taste Like?

The Ham and Cheese Quiche tastes exactly as its described. You bite in and your mouth fills with the salty, savory taste of ham. The eggs are moist and fluffy, and the cheese has that nice cheddar tang to it.

The pastry is absolutely delicious. Living up to their name, the Jolly Holiday Bakery does not disappoint. I’m not usually big on the pastry part of a quiche or pot pie, but in this case I think it’s the best part of the dish. It is light, flaky, and delightfully buttery.

Is It Easy To Eat?

In my opinion this is a fork and knife dish, but, if you have the skills, you might be able to walk while taking bites. I’d save yourself the effort and enjoy a nice sit down. We had the same wax paper problem here as with the Harbour Galley baked potatoes and Breakfast Burritos from Tomorrowland Terrace, so I recommend removing the paper and eating off the plate to save yourself from the chunks of paper that may end up in your forkfuls.

The Ham & Cheese Quiche does break down into nicely bite-able chunks, so it’s a quick easy meal. Along with the side salad, you can get by forking away, or picking up little pieces with your fingers, but keep some napkins handy.

Mom-in-Chief Jamie’s Opinion

The house salad, a side dish option of the quiche, comes with pecans, cranberries, tomatoes, and goat cheese.
The house salad, a side dish option of the quiche, comes with pecans, cranberries, tomatoes, and goat cheese.

If you have your little one seated securely, the Ham & Cheese Quiche can be a very good option for mealtime. The ingredients are a hit, with the always popular egg and pastry crust. The cheese and ham are also usually well received so all-in-all we’ve got a winner.

Breaking the quiche down into bite-able chunks is easy to do with a fork and then you can spoon-feed or offer bits to your toddler, or let them feed themselves without too much mess. There will be more crumbling so keep that in mind, but in general this messiness quotient is controllable.

The appeal of the salad will depend on your little one’s tastes. If they like cranberries, there are some on the top, and the cherry tomatoes are actually quite sweet, if your kid goes for veggies.

Chief Envaluator Alex’s Opinion

Like the Caprese on Focaccia Bread, the quiche perfectly fits the theme of both Main Street USA and the world of Mary Poppins around the Jolly Holiday. You can see the Banks family politely consuming this savory dish and making indifferent, disinterested conversation.

The value of this dish is great too. Compared to the Jolly Holiday Combo, another simple meal served at the same restaurant, the quiche is almost two dollars cheaper for almost the same amount of food! If you’re looking to fill up on warm, savory comfort food, this is the perfect entree.

Conclusion

The Ham & Cheese Quiche is a light, enjoyable meal, served in an ideal location to enjoy a pleasant moment of rest while you can still feel connected to the hum and buzz of the park.

Have you tried the Ham & Cheese Quiche at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe? Let me know what you think in the comments below and sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future Food Friday posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!

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Treasure Cove at Shanghai Disneyland 4/14 | Monday MapDay

3D view from Treasure Cove looking towards Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disneyland.
Treasure Cove in Shanghai Disneyland with building overlays. April 2014
Treasure Cove in Shanghai Disneyland with building overlays. April 2014

Shanghai Disneyland is adding a few new lands to the Disney map, including Mickey Avenue and Adventure Isle. Today we’ll look at another new area, the first truly pirate-themed land on planet Disney, Treasure Cove.

The Adventurous Side Of The Park

Shanghai Disneyland land outlines with Treasure Cove highlighted.
Shanghai Disneyland land outlines with Treasure Cove highlighted.

While the middle section of Shanghai Disneyland (SDL), from the entrance through the Garden of the Twelve Friends to Fantasyland, will have a whimsical feel, the entire West side of Shanghai Disneyland seems to be built with a more extreme theme in mind.

Treasure Cove outline in Shanghai Disneyland.
Treasure Cove outline in Shanghai Disneyland.

Treasure Cove and Adventure Isle will be more like big-boy lands, encompassing the rugged promises of Adventureland other Disney parks don’t really deliver (for better or worse). It’s as if Imagineers are capitalizing on this opportunity to remake their theme park reputation in a land that doesn’t have the ‘polite-thrill’ image of Disney rides ingrained in its culture yet.

Treasure Cove with Enchanted Storybook Castle at SDL.
Treasure Cove with Enchanted Storybook Castle at SDL.
3D view from Treasure Cove looking towards Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disneyland.
3D view from Treasure Cove looking towards Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disneyland.

Like the everything else in the park, the Enchanted Storybook Castle will dwarf everything in Treasure Cove. I wonder how they’ll work this fairy tale monument into the grittier pirate atmosphere.

3D View of Shanghai Disneyland with Treasure Cove
3D View of Shanghai Disneyland with Treasure Cove

A Different Pirates Of The Caribbean Ride And Stunt Show

Pirates of the Caribbean at Treasure Cove in Shanghai Disneyland.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure at Treasure Cove in Shanghai Disneyland.

Treasure Cove will be home to several new pirate attractions. The first, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure, is a new spin on the POTC we all know and love from other Disneyland-style parks. Expect a lot more Captain Jack Sparrow and a lot less 60’s magic on this one.

Pirate's Stunt Show Theater & Retention Pond in Shanghai Disneyland.
Pirate’s Stunt Show Theater & Retention Pond in Shanghai Disneyland.

Another confirmed addition is a Pirate-themed Stunt Show Spectacular. Other than the fact that it will exist, almost nothing else is known about this show right now.

3D View of Pirates of the Caribbean and Pirate Stunt Show Theater at SDL.
3D View of Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure and Pirate Stunt Show Theater at SDL.

The last rumored Treasure Cove attraction is tentatively called ‘Explorer Canoes,’ which might be a Caribbean copy of Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes already found at several Disney parks. If this ride is eventually constructed, it might be in the large, now empty area near the Garden of the Twelve Friends.

Water Retention Pond in Treasure Cove at Shanghai Disneyland.
Water Retention Pond in Treasure Cove at Shanghai Disneyland.

At the back of Treasure Cove there’s a large water pond. It’s not yet clear what this could be for, but I suspect its a storage basin for the park dark water system. Like it’s counterpart at the original Disneyland, I think the pond will be the recycling point for water between all the lakes and water attractions in SDL. I’ve included a picture of the Anaheim Disneyland dark water system for reference.

The original Disneyland's dark water system for moving water throughout the park. It starts at the Rivers of America, runs through Fantasyland, through the castle moat, into the Jungle Cruise, and back into the Rivers of America.
The original Disneyland’s dark water system (orange) for moving water throughout the park. It starts at the Rivers of America, runs through Fantasyland, through the castle moat, into the Jungle Cruise, and back into the Rivers of America.

Conclusion

Treasure Cove looks like it’ll be a great place to soak in some Imagineering pirate-theming and a few great new attractions. Along with the Tron lightcycle roller coaster in Tomorrowland, this area will definitely be on my shortlist when I visit Shanghai Disneyland someday.

What do you think about Disney’s new land? What’s the new Pirates of the Caribbean going to look like? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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Caprese on Focaccia Bread from Jolly Holiday Cafe | Food Friday

Caprese on Focaccia Bread from Jolly Holiday Cafe at Disneyland.
Caprese on Focaccia Bread from Jolly Holiday Cafe at Disneyland.
Caprese on Focaccia Bread from Jolly Holiday Cafe at Disneyland.

Enjoy the humming activity of Main Street USA while you savor the fresh flavors and tasty pastries of the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. On this Food Friday, we’ll take a closer look at their Caprese on Focaccia Bread, made up of sliced yellow tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and lettuce. The sandwich is seasoned with a creamy citrus aioli dressing, basil vinaigrette and balsamic glaze, and served with homemade potato chips.

Food Facts

  • Dish: Caprese on Focaccia Bread
  • Location: Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, Main Street USA, Disneyland, California
  • Price: $9.29 USD
  • Cuisine: Italian/American
  • Seasonality: Year-round
  • Ease of Eating: Sit-down
  • Allergy Considerations: Milk, Eggs, Wheat
  • Jamie’s Opinion: Great, fresh flavors, but really difficult to eat
  • Mom-in-Chief Scale: 2.2 out of 5
  • Envaluator Scale: 2.3 out of 5

What’s It Taste Like?

Hold on tight to the Caprese on Focaccia Bread sandwich or you'll lose the insides.
Hold on tight to the Caprese on Focaccia Bread sandwich or you’ll lose the insides.

The inside of this sandwich is very tasty. There are generous portions of fresh mozzarella, all springy and savory. The slices of yellow tomato are juicy and the fresh basil is woodsy and complimentary. Having pesto in the aioli is a nice addition, as it really brings out the flavors of the cheese and tomatoes.

Delicious balsamic dressing and vinaigrette round out the palate, completing a great caprese salad inside two pieces of overly large, dry, crumbly focaccia. The bread is the only disappointing part and aside from trying to fit the whole sandwich into my mouth a couple of times, I had to give up on the bread completely and just enjoy the contents.

The chips don’t have a huge amount of flavor, but are crunchy and very potato-y, which is just how a chip should be. They aren’t too greasy or soft and they don’t have the ‘fryer-smell’ so typical of homemade chips.

Is It Easy To Eat?

The yellow tomato in the Caprese in Focaccia Bread sandwich is very slippery
The yellow tomato in the Caprese in Focaccia Bread sandwich is very slippery.

The Caprese on Focaccia Bread sandwich is huge! It’s too tall and not very mouth-size appropriate. At first I tried to cut it into pieces, but the bread just crumbled apart. I then tried squashing the bread so that it would fit into my mouth better, but it was too springy.

I’m not sure if this is how anyone else feels, but this is a recurring problem I have with focaccia. It’s not personal, it’s just too much bread for me. Focaccia looks really fancy, but it makes for a very messy sandwich.

Leftover slabs of thick focaccia on the Jolly Holiday Caprese sandwich
Leftover slabs of thick focaccia on the Jolly Holiday Caprese sandwich.

During my first bite, the mozzarella squeezed out and the creamy dressing dripped all over my hands. It was way easier just to deconstruct the sandwich and eat the middle bits.

Be careful with the wax paper when you ‘fork and knife’ the contents though, because is shreds just like with the baked potato at the Harbor Galley. It’s better just to take the paper off your plate before you get started.

Unlike the ‘wicker’ plastic bowls that you get with the baked potato, the Jolly Holiday has nice solid plates like the ones you get at the Plaza Inn. You can even ask for a plastic lid if you wanted to take your plate to-go.

Mom-in-Chief Jamie’s Opinion

A juicy slice of ripe yellow tomato in the Caprese on Focaccia Bread sandwich.
A juicy slice of ripe yellow tomato in the Caprese on Focaccia Bread sandwich.

The sandwich as a whole is not appealing for a kid, mainly due to the size. However, I have given it a higher rating due to the contents. Once you tear it into bite size pieces, you’ve got bread that you can give your toddler to munch on, though you might need to cut off the parts that have dressing on them.

The inside of the sandwich has cheese, always a kid favorite, and for your more veggie friendly tots, the yellow tomato slices are mild and tasty. My son Jack really liked the chips. The simple salty potato flavor had him hooked and he happily chomped away with his new little teeth.

You can eat the chips on the go, but given the messiness quotient of this sandwich, and the effort that it requires to deconstruct it, I would recommend that you grab a table and secure your little one in a high chair before you get started. They could probably manage the pieces that you cut up for them on their own without too much of a disaster, but I wouldn’t recommend letting them go at it on their own.

Chief Envaluator Alex’s Opinion

A moist, savory slab of mozzarella cheese in the Caprese in Focaccia Bread sandwich.
A moist, savory slab of mozzarella cheese in the Caprese in Focaccia Bread sandwich.

Let’s be honest: the Caprese on Focaccia Bread is overpriced. Some cheese and lettuce on bread with a slice of tomato isn’t worth $9.29. A simple assembly of pre-made ingredients is the only effort required to produce this item. Also, considering that the focaccia bread makes the sandwich as a whole inedible, the value of this dish lowers even further.

I kind of felt taken for a ride after eating this sandwich. If it were served as a generous caprese salad with a side piece of bread, things might be different. That would also be a cooler and more refreshing way to serve the dish on hot summer afternoons.

The sandwich ranks a little better on theme though, because it kind of reminds me of a Mary Poppins type of dish. Though she didn’t cook in the film, it feels like something the cook would have cut up and served as finger food on little trays to Jane and Michael in the nursery (which is another idea for Disney to ‘plus’ this offering).

Conclusion

Once you take away the focaccia, the rest of the sandwich is refreshing and delightful. A cool, savory meal on a warm day, or a light, health-conscious choice to ease your conscious on an indulgent holiday. However…is a sandwich still a sandwich if there is no bread? You tell me! 🙂

Have you tried the Caprese on Focaccia Bread at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe? Let me know what you think in the comments below and sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future Food Friday posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!

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Review of Admiral Joe Fowler: The Lost Interview

Admiral Joe Fowler and Walt Disney aboard the Columbia at Disneyland.
Admiral Joe Fowler and Walt Disney aboard the Columbia at Disneyland.
Admiral Joe Fowler and Walt Disney aboard the Columbia at Disneyland.

More than any other person, except for Walt and Roy Disney, we have Admiral Joseph William Fowler to thank for creating Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He was an amazing man with a singular view on how both resorts came to be, as well as tons of insight about Walt Disney Company operations from the 50’s on.

Luckily, due to the generosity of some die-hard Disney fans, we’re all able to get a taste of what it was like to actually build The Happiest Place On Earth©, not to mention work with some of the most creative minds this country has seen, in an audio file called Admiral Joe Fowler: The Lost Interview.

 Joe Fowler: An Everyday American Hero

I bought the Fowler interview from ImagineeringDisney several months ago. It took me a while to listen to it, but boy am I glad I finally did. Right off the bat, the audio track puts you in the mood with a few seconds of 60’s, classic Disney-sounding audio straight out of the Carousel of Progress. It whets your appetite for the vintage insider info you’re about to receive.

My heart started beating faster in excitement, like walking toward the tunnel under Main Street Train Station and catching those first notes of the soundtrack. You find your pace quicken and you have to fight breaking into a run. That’s what the beginning of this interview is like.

The first thing beyond the short musical intro that struck me about this interview is how humble and self-effacing Admiral Joe is straight off the bat (from here on, by Disney tradition, I’ll refer to him only as Joe). A Naval Academy graduate, Joe not only had a distinguished Navy career, but he personally had a huge hand in the construction of the American icons that are the Disney theme parks. From listening to him speak about it, you’d think he’d just done okay in life.

In the interview, you’ll learn about Joe’s early naval career and his service in World War I. Later Joe went to Imperial China, where he was stationed outside Shanghai with orders to build six gunboats during the civil war involving Chiang Kai-shek. I looked up where the shipyards were and they’re only about 10 miles from the new Shanghai Disney Resort! It’s a small world after all.

Kiangnan Shipyard, where Admiral Joe Fowler assisted the Chinese in building six river gunboats, in relation to Shanghai Disney Resort.
Kiangnan Shipyard, where Admiral Joe Fowler assisted the Chinese in building six river gunboats, in relation to Shanghai Disney Resort.

The Man Who Built Disneyland

Joe was eventually transferred back to the US, where he helped with the effort of overhauling naval vessels for the Pacific during World War II. He eventually rose to command the San Francisco Naval shipyards entirely, with over 40,000 people working under him. Based on his past occupations, you can tell why Walt would want to have such a man in charge of building his new entertainment enterprise in Anaheim!

Without giving too much away, Joe talks about:

  • Where the name ‘Disneydendron,’ the species of tree for Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, came from.
  • How Fowler’s Harbour got its name and what Walt really called it.
  • How the operational structure of Disneyland and future Disney theme parks came about.
  • How Joe found the Alweg monorail and brought it to Disneyland.
  • How classic Disneyland attractions like the Matterhorn and Submarine Voyage through Liquid Space came about.
  • Behind the scenes events on the opening day of the Mickey Mouse Club Circus at Disneyland.
  • The methods used and just how secret the Florida land purchase for Walt Disney World really was.

One thing that I really love about this interview is the sense of who Walt Disney really was, told first person by a man who knew him for years. I love all the stories about how Walt wanted a specific thing, like the Monorail, Joe found one, and Walt just said, ‘buy it.’ No vacillation, no checking with the bean counters, just move forward. This is always something I’ve loved and found personally kindred with Walt.

Another interesting thing I learned was that sometime shortly after the opening of Disneyland, Disney Productions bought a controlling interest in ride manufacturer Arrow. In fact, this was a helpful part in the deception surrounding the Florida land-grab for WDW. Arrow had built an elevated train for Busch Gardens in Tampa, so Disney execs could fly there, ostensibly look over the Arrow construction, but actually checking out the Florida real estate market.

As far as the recording itself goes, sometimes its hard to hear the interviewer, so turn up the volume a bit. I had to scroll back in a few spots to hear the actual question being asked.

Conclusion

This interview can be summed up thus: a great, detailed, insider interview on the birth of the Disney theme park, told by a supremely humble and knowledgeable man who made a lot of it happen. I’ve already listened to it several times and it’s definitely a must-have audio track for any Disney fan. Make sure to listen all the way to the very end for more Carousel of Progress audio goodness.

Thanks to the folks at ImagineeringDisney.com for sharing it with everyone. It’s definitely worth the meager price of $3.00 USD. That’s all for today, we’ll see ya’ real soon!

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