Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Disneyland - Fall 2019

The last weekend in September, we decided to take a short trip to Disneyland. None of the Disneyland Resort Hotels had availability, so we booked a room at the SpringHill Suites across the street from Disney California Adventure. We did not make advance dining reservations for this trip, choosing instead to eat at quick service restaurants.

We bought 3-day park hopper tickets from Undercover Tourist, because I knew we would want to go in the theme parks when we arrived Friday night. On Saturday, the only full day we spent at the theme parks, we added MaxPass in the Disneyland app when we arrived at the park. It is an extra charge, but it is so worth it. Every time we have used MaxPass, including our last Christmas Break trip, we were able to get 8 to 10 fastpasses per day, and avoid waiting in long lines.

The night we arrived, my daughters, who can eat gluten, wanted chicken tenders and waffle fries for dinner, so we headed to Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure, after we dropped our bags off at our hotel.

Smokejumpers is my favorite restaurant for a hamburger at Disneyland, and we all love their waffle fries.

Before heading home on Sunday, I ordered an OMG...It's Gluten Fudge Brownie from Smokejumpers to take with us. This used to be the brand carried at Disney World, but most restaurants there now serve Sweet Street gluten free brownies. We ate the brownie a few days after returning home, and it was just as amazing as I remembered. If you like super fudgy brownies, you will love this brand.

Both times I stopped at Smokejumpers, I mobile ordered my food in the Disneyland app. A plain hamburger was not offered, but I was able to customize my order, and remove the cheese from the cheeseburger.

The first night, a chef brought out my hamburger, and I confirmed that everything was gluten free.

We mobile ordered everything we could at Disneyland, because it is a huge time-saver. If you have more than one food restriction, you cannot mobile order. If you have anaphylactic reactions to any foods, I would suggest talking to a manager or chef at all Disney restaurants.

Before heading over to Disneyland to see their incredible Halloween Screams with Fireworks, we stopped at Flo's V8 Cafe to pick up the pumpkin spice classic shake I mobile ordered.

Halloween music was playing, and the lights were changing from one odd color to another, so it was hard to get a normal picture of my milkshake. I so wanted to like it, but I would never order it again. The pumpkin spice classic shake appeared to be a vanilla milkshake with a lot of add-ins, which were not good. After my husband and I both took a few sips, we threw it away. It was overly sweet, and did not have the pumpkin flavor I was looking for.

Saturday morning, we headed straight to Disneyland to check out Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. I brought a granola bar with me, and bought fresh mango in the park. My husband had Mickey waffles at our hotel, and our daughters ate pastries from La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney.

At 10:30, when they switch from breakfast to lunch service, we stopped at Red Rose Taverne to have pommes frites. Unfortunately, a side of fries is not available to mobile order for a gluten/wheat allergy. I had to wait in line for at least 15 minutes before I could order, because they do not switch to lunch service until every breakfast order has been served, and a lot of people were ordering a late breakfast. The pommes frites with garlic and Parmesan were definitely worth the wait, and I am glad I got two orders, so I did not have to share with my family.

After eating our pommes frites, we headed to Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to have the rest of our lunch.

The only item listed as gluten-friendly in the app was the Yobshrimp Noodle Youngling Salad.

My gluten-eating family enjoyed their Braised Shaak Roast and the Felucian Garden Spread. 

The Yobshrimp Noodle Youngling Salad was my favorite dish at Disneyland on this trip. The portion was not big, because it is from the kids menu, but I loved the sauce on the noodles, which was slightly sweet with a hint of spice. The shrimp were super fresh, and I enjoyed the thin strips of vegetables.

Right after lunch, we stopped at Kat Saka's Kettle to try the Outpost Popcorn Mix, which I confirmed is gluten free, but it does contain soy, and is made with coconut oil.

I have read mixed reviews of the popcorn, but my husband and I really liked it. According to Vegan Disney Food, the flavors are blueberry lemon pound cake and red chili lime. They work really well together, but I did not like the savory red popcorn on its own. My daughters would have eaten all my sweet blue popcorn if I had let them. The two flavors are mixed together, and cannot be ordered separately.

My family wanted sundaes from Ghiradelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop after our three course lunch, so we walked over to Disney California Adventure. The main reason we add the park hopper option to our tickets is so we can eat at both theme parks every day.

While we were in Disney California Adventure, I bought a gluten-friendly Incredicookie from the stand right near the entrance to the Incredicoaster.

The sugar cookie itself is soft and delicious, and I love the berry jam in the middle.

My family was not too happy with me when I said I wanted to head back to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to wait in line to ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. You currently cannot get a fastpass for this ride, and the line was huge when we stopped by in the morning. I felt that a 65 minute wait in the afternoon was our best shot at riding it.

I have got to admit that we were all unimpressed. I hope that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the second attraction in Galaxy's Edge, is a lot more exciting. Star Tours is a better ride, and I had way more fun riding Hyperspace Mountain later that night. We will probably ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run with my parents at Disney World in November, but in the future, our family will definitely skip it without a fastpass.

For dinner, I decided to return to Docking Bay 7 for the Yobshrimp Noodle Youngling Salad, because I wanted something light after all the food I had eaten earlier in the day.

While the app only listed one gluten-friendly dish for lunch and dinner, the actual allergy-friendly menu at the restaurant had two other dishes I could have chosen for dinner. I have heard that the Roasted Endorian Tip-Yip Salad is great, but decided not to try it, because I do not like anything that tastes like ranch.

Because I liked the Outpost Popcorn Mix so much, I went back for round two of that as well.

I highly recommend a trip to Disneyland during the Halloween or Christmas seasons just to see Haunted Mansion Holiday.

It is worthy of riding two or three times in one day, it is that amazing.

I love The Nightmare Before Christmas theming that takes over the whole attraction, and I am always noticing new things every time we ride it, which adds to the fun.

We did want to see the Halloween decorations and fireworks, and ride Haunted Mansion Holiday, but the main reason we visited Disneyland the last weekend in September was to see the Main Street Electrical Parade before it disappeared again on September 30th.

The Main Street Electrical Parade is probably my favorite Disney parade, only rivaled by Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade at Disney World.

My fondest childhood memories are of our trips to Disney World, and this parade brings back all the magic. My family had not seen it since our daughters were little, so we got in the car to drive 6 1/2 hours for a trip to Disneyland that did not even last 48 hours. Was it worth it? Heck, yes! We ended up snagging a great viewing spot near It's a Small World about 10 minutes before the parade started, and I was so happy that my family loved the experience as much as I did.

Sunday morning, we made sure we arrived at Disney California Adventure when it opened, because we were only staying until lunch, and did not want to buy the MaxPass if we weren't going to be at Disneyland all day.

We headed straight to Cars Land to get some old school fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers, then rode some other favorite attractions before the park got too crowded.

I had a hard time deciding what I wanted for our last meal at Disneyland. I did consider trying one of the new gluten-friendly dishes at the Lucky Fortune Cookery, but the chefs at my school make amazing Asian food, so I decided to skip it.

I also considered eating at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, but in the end, decided to have lunch at Flo's V8 Cafe, because I knew I wanted a Neapolitan milkshake before we left Disneyland.

Flo's V8 Cafe has gluten-friendly options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I considered having breakfast at Flo's on Sunday, but decided to eat the second granola bar I brought with me. I feel better when I eat a light breakfast, and I knew I wanted a big lunch before we drove home.

Thanks to mobile ordering, my family, who could not decide on one place we all wanted to dine, was able to have lunch at three separate restaurants. 

My husband and daughter Emma ate at Pacific Wharf Cafe, while I took Katie back to Smokejumpers. We then all met up again at Flo's, where I had lunch. 

I decided to order the Ramone's Low and Slow Turkey Club without the avocado bacon mayo, which I was able to customize in the Disneyland app when I mobile ordered.

I had the option to add extra bacon, which I regret not doing, because the bacon was so good.

The buns at Disneyland on this trip were decent, but not amazing, so I decided to take the top bun off my sandwich. The thick-sliced turkey breast was great, and I loved the steak fries too. I had fries three times on this trip, and they were all so good, it is hard to pick a favorite. I am so thankful for the dedicated fryers at Disneyland and Disney World.

My Neapolitan milkshake was just as incredible as I remembered it being. It is not to be missed on any trip to Disneyland. In April, the machine with chocolate and strawberry was broken, so I had to settle for a vanilla milkshake, but it was great too. You can read reviews from our two visits to Disneyland earlier this year here.

Gluten free Snacks with Character are available at a variety of stores around Disneyland if you are looking for safe pre-packaged snacks. They are made by Enjoy Life Foods, WOW Baking Company, and Way Better Snacks.

We ended up bringing home a lot of fun Disney merchandise from Disneyland. I could not pass up this limited edition Main Street Electrical Parade giclee from Jerrod Maruyama.

We also bought 11 Christmas ornaments. With three visits to Disneyland, three trips to Disney World, two Disney Cruise Line cruises, and our Disneyland Paris vacation, we might have to add a third Disney-themed Christmas tree this year if we are not careful. I think we brought home at least 3 ornaments from every trip.

For years, we have been told that a ghost might follow us home in the Haunted Mansion, and this time, the dire warning came true! I have been eyeing the Host a Ghost Spirit Jars on shopDisney for a few weeks, and after seeing them in person, we decided to bring The Bride home with us. It was a little pricey, but it is a super fun addition to our Halloween decorations.

We had such an amazing time at Disneyland, we have already booked the same weekend for next year, but instead of 2 nights, we will be staying 3 nights to make the trip a bit less hectic. We never even had a chance to visit Downtown Disney, because our time was so limited.

Some of my students recently asked me if I prefer Disneyland or Disney World. After our two trips to Disney World this summer, I was thinking that Disney World is better than Disneyland, but it is so hard to choose a favorite. For food, I will always pick Disney World, but the weather is better at Disneyland for most of the year, and I love the MaxPass, which allows you to ride way more rides without waiting in line in one day. Disneyland might only have two parks, but we love how close they are to each other, and to the three Disneyland Resort Hotels. Finally, there are some shared attractions at both Disney World and Disneyland that are way better at Disneyland, like Space Mountain, It's a Small World (especially at Christmas), and Haunted Mansion Holiday.

This past weekend, my daughters and I found ourselves wishing that we were back at Disneyland. Now that we live in California, it would be nice to live closer, so we could visit more often. Oddly enough, we are still annual passholders at Disney World, but not at Disneyland, because financially, it does not make sense for us. We don't spend more than 6 days a year in a Disneyland park, but we do visit the theme parks at Disney World for at least a week, two or three times a year.

Disneyland might not have the quality of gluten free food that Disney World has, but I enjoyed what I ate on this trip, and I always have a great time with my family at Disneyland.

What are your favorite gluten free eats at Disneyland?


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