Monday, November 24, 2014

Disney at Home: Disneyland's Pumpkin Cheesecake




I promised you a new recipe last week, and it has arrived! If you haven't already planned what you are making for Thanksgiving dessert, you might want to add this Pumpkin Cheesecake to your list! I've long been a fan of Pumpkin Cheesecake instead of p
umpkin pie at Thanksgiving (or if you can't buck tradition, you could have both!) - so I was really excited when this recipe rolled across the Disney Parks Blog. It's the same recipe they use for the Pumpkin Cheesecake found at the Jolly Holiday and French Market at Disneyland as well as Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta in Disney California Adventure. So you know it's going to be a crowd pleaser! 


Disneyland's Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Supplies:
  • 9 inch springform pan
  • large roasting pan
  • aluminum foil
  • cooking spray

Ingredients: 

    Crust-
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker
  • 3 tbl. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

    Cheesecake Filling-
  • 3 - 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbl. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5 oz. can evaporated milk
  • chocolate syrup - for drizzling (optional)

Instructions:
crust ready, pan foiled

    For crust-
  • In a bowl combine the crushed graham cracker, sugar and ginger. 
  • Melt the butter and stir into mixture.
  • Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan using your hands.
  • Place pan on a large piece of foil and wrap foil tightly up sides and around pan (this will be to keep the water out of the pan, later on).

    For cheesecake filling - 
mix, scrape, repeat
  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  • Whisk together pumpkin purée, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well combined. 
  • Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese mixture, beating until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. 
  • Add evaporated milk, mixing well.
  • Slowly pour cheesecake filling onto crust mixture in prepared pan. If you want, drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  • Place foil-wrapped pan inside a larger roasting pan. Place on oven rack and carefully add enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of springform pan.
  • Bake 1 hour, or until center moves only slightly when shaken.
  • Turn oven off. Crack open oven door, and allow cheesecake to cool inside oven 1 hour (this prevents cracking in the surface of the cheesecake).
  • Remove pan from water bath and set on a wire rack to cool completely (if you cover too early, moisture will collect on the foil and drip onto your cheesecake). 
  • Cover top of pan with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  •   Remove the side of your springform pan. Slice, and enjoy!

Baking Notes
Cheesecake bath
  • Many of the baking notes I added into the instruction, and bolded them - I found that they were all pretty need-to-know... (in case you're like me you don't always read through all of the instructions before beginning the recipe.)
  • I used my food processor to crush up the graham crackers - a full sleeve was just exactly 1 1/2 cups. 
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl a lot - to prevent the cream cheese from forming lumps in your cake.
  • Start baking early in the day - this cheesecake takes a lot of time, at least 8 hours, before it's ready. {1/2 hour to make, 1 hour to bake, 1 hour to rest, 1.5 hours to cool, 4 hours in the fridge}
  • Really get that foil on the pan tight, even double it up - if any water can get through the foil it will seep up into the cheesecake through the bottom, and ruin it.
  • I omitted the chocolate syrup in favor of going with a more traditional whipped cream topping.
  • I had to keep adding another 5 minutes, and another because the center was still too jiggly - so make sure you test it before you pull it out of the oven.
my Thanksgiving table is ready!

Outcome & Opinion
Of all the Disney recipes I've tried, this one was maybe the most difficult... but only like a 3 out of 5 - so generally a not-too-tricky recipe. Putting together the crust and cheesecake is simple, but a little time consuming, and certainly the entire process is very time consuming. Don't be like me - and start making it at 10:00 P.M. The water bath thing was easy, but I was worried about the water getting in through the foil to the cake. All in all - it is a very delicious (like pumpkin pie, but more decadent), very fancy (how many people make homemade cheesecake?) holiday dessert that will definitely impress your family and friends! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Want to see more Disneyland recipes just like this one? Click here to check out our Baking Guide!

Read more from Jessica on her blog, Idahome. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, or on Instagram.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fun Fact Friday: Town Square's Little Secrets



In the past, I wrote about forced perspective used on Main Street.  What you may not know is that there are two buildings on Main Street that do not use forced perspective--the City Hall Building and the Disneyland Opera House building. Both located in Town Square, they are two of the very first structures at Disneyland.  

Unlike most of the other buildings on Main Street, the second story of the structures are full size and are actual working offices. City Hall even has a full size attic on the third floor.  Above the fire house in Town Square is Walt's apartment. (Learn more about Walt Disney's apartment by clicking here.) 

The Disneyland Opera House on the other side of Town Square was originally the mill used to create the beautiful wood work seen throughout Disneyland. Upon completion of the park, the second story of the Opera House was used as the PBX (Disneyland operator) office, which continues today.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Disneyland Baking Guide - Updated!



We're just one week away from Thanksgiving folks! That means that the season of baking delicious treats us upon us, so I've updated our Disneyland Baking Guide - a compilation of all of our tried-and-tested Disneyland dessert recipes. Here are all of the recipes we've made so far, and we'll continue to add new ones as they come along too - look for a new one next week in fact! So don't forget to bookmark or pin this post to Pinterest for later! Happy Baking!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ask the Disney Experts: Favorite Restaurant in Downtown Disney




We're taking a trip out of the parks and into the surrounding Disney property, at Downtown Disney! Yet again, we have reached out to some of our favorite fellow Disneyland experts to get their opinions. For this edition we asked them about their favorite Downtown Disney restaurant, and here are the answers:





My favorite restaurant in the Downtown Disney District is Ralph Brenann's Jazz Kitchen because of the tasty, Cajun and Creole-inspired dishes and decadent desserts... double chocolate bread pudding, anyone? The kids menu offers hearty and healthy three-course meals with foods my son loves, plus each option is served with Oreo cookies for dessert - a definite kid-pleaser. The atmosphere is colorful and energetic, with live music offered many nights. - Courtney

Image courtesy of Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen.



 




For the fun theme, the kids love the Rainforest Cafe, and for the guys' pick it's always ESPN Zone (actually, despite the sports I like it too for the food). But we recently ate at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen and were blown away by the food and super cool atmosphere on the upstairs balcony. We would choose to eat there again in a heartbeat! - Jessica



My top restaurant pick in Downtown Disney is Tortilla Jo's. I love Mexican food and their fresh tortilla chips and salsa and their crispy beef tacos. Their tacos come with either shredded beef or chicken as well as lettuce, cheese and pico de gallo in a corn tortilla. They also go perfectly with a well-deserved Jo’s Super Gold Margarita after running around the parks on a hot day. (Gluten free) Beth blogs over at myadventuresindisneyland.blogspot.com.





We don't often eat outside of Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure but when we do the restaurant we most prefer is Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria. I am not very adventurous when it comes to trying new flavors, but really enjoy the pepperoni.  Mostly, I love the ambiance, especially in the evening.  The outdoor patio is lit with twinkle lights and is an excellent place to people watch.  I highly recommend calling ahead or making reservations online as the wait time for Naples can be quite long.  For those who don't want to wait in line or prefer to take a slice or even a whole pizza back to their hotel room Napolini is located right next door and is a quick service version of Naples. - Kendra



My favorite place to grab a bite in Downtown Disney is Starbucks. We love their breakfast sandwiches and protein pack and I am a huge Starbucks coffee fan. (Ok, it's more like FANTATIC.) We often grab breakfast there when we are staying on property or grab a coffee to keep us awake on the drive back to L.A. - Lisa



The Earl of Sandwich is one of my favorite places to eat in Downtown Disney. It is affordable, delicious, and I love being able to sit outside and eat while listening to the live music at the Downtown Disney stage.  Mr. Daps is the publisher of DAPS Magic, Geeks' Corner and much, much more. Check him out by clicking here.





If I had to pick an actually Downtown Disney restaurant, it would actually be the House of Blues.  Ever since they updated their menu, I have never been disappointed with a meal.  If you're a fan of music and need a place that has a bit more energy (but isn't quite the Rainforest Cafe), the House of Blues is a great choice.





If you consider Earl of Sandwich a restaurant, that's my top pick. I can never pass up a Holiday Turkey Sandwich. But if you're looking for table service I'd say Catal. Heather is a Disneyland food expert for The Disney Food Blog.







What is your favorite restaurant to wine and dine at in Downtown Disney? What do you think of our picks? Please leave us a comment below and let us know!



Monday, November 17, 2014

Control vacation spending with Disney gift cards and Disney Dollars



Let's face it. A trip to the Disneyland Resort is expensive. There's no need to sugar-coat the truth. It is especially expensive if you are making a big family trip taking place over days or a week. With that in mind, a great way to keep spending under control is to use Disney gift cards and Disney Dollars. Here's why I think they are great.
  • By creating a budget and transferring your vacation dollars to gift cards, you will have to pay really close attention to your pennies. It's so easy to spends small amounts of money at a time on things like churros and bottles of waters. Using a gift card makes you much more accountable for each dime spent. You can also get separate gift cards for different types of purchases. Let's say you only want to spend a certain amount of money on meals and another amount of money on merchandise. You can put the different amounts on different gift cards. If your visit will take place over multiple days, you can also budget to only spend a certain amount each day and load the card each day (or have separate cards) in order to keep tabs on your daily spending. You can make
    Image courtesy of Disneystore.com
    creating different cards for different people even more fun by creating personalized gift cards with your own photos on them on the Disney Store website!
  • Kids want just about everything they lay their eyes on while at the Disneyland Resort. By providing them with Disney Dollars or a Disney gift card, once the money's gone...it's gone! I prefer Disney Dollars because they require children to have to count their money and really allows them to see their money being spent. Gift cards keep the money "virtual" which is far less meaningful for young children. Gift cards may be a better option for teens.
  • Another reason I love gift cards is because you can get them as gifts! Are grandma and grandpa stumped on what to get the family for the holidays or birthday? Tell them Disney gift cards!
  • Perhaps one of my favorite things about gift cards is that they also serve a great little keepsakes that will help your family remember the trip. They are small enough to easily fit in the family scrapbook along side your photos. Don't forget to take a picture or two of the kids (or the adults) paying with the gift cards to put next to them in the family album. The gift cards come in many different designs and you may be able to pick a design that helps commemorate your favorite characters or special celebration. I have a Disneyland gift card designed by the artist Shag that has a tour guide on it. It's very special to me--something that is in with my Disney mementos.
Disney gift cards are available for purchase at many major retailers including Disney Stores, many grocery and toy stores, and through the Disneyland website. There are a number of gift cards available at the Disneyland Resort ticket booths as well.

Learn more about Disney Dollars and why they are the best way to beat ATM fees by clicking here.

Gift card image courtesy of the Disneyland Resort.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 Dates for Disneyland's Handmade Candy Canes Have Been Released!



disneyland candy canes
Image Courtesy of the Disneyland Resort



The official dates for the 2014 handmade candy canes at The Disneyland Resort have been released, along with all the scrumptious goodies you can expect at both Disneyland's Candy Palace and Disney California Adventure Trolley Treats!  Now's the perfect time to make sure you've got the Candy Palace phone line on speed dial (see Lisa's post earlier this week) as you won't want to miss out on this annual tradition, as well as many of the other treats in store!

The 2014 dates are:

Disneyland Park – Candy Palace
November 28 and December 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 21, 23 and 24


Disney California Adventure park – Trolley Treats
November 29 and December 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22 and 25


These Disneyland hand-crafted candy canes are always in high demand and sell out quickly. They are only available on certain days through the holiday season and usually require a wristband to get your hands on one. Good luck!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Fun Fact: Main Street's Buildings



The buildings on Main Street were built using forced perspective. The first floor of the buildings are built at regular human scale but the second and third stories are each built smaller than the story below--even the bricks, boards, and windows are smaller. This optical illusion encourages the eye to travel up and the tricks us into thinking the buildings are much taller than they are.

And the next time you are admiring those buildings, read the names on the windows. The tradition of honoring individuals with a personalized decorative window was started on Main Street, U.S.A. by Walt Disney and has continued at Disney parks worldwide. A Disneyland window is considered the ultimate honor anyone can receive from “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Most recently, the Sherman Brothers, received a window on Main Street. Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman are the Academy Award winning composers of the music from "it's a small world," The Enchanted Tiki Room, and "Mary Poppins."

A Special "it's a small world" Holiday Lighting and the 2014 A Christmas Fantasy Parade!



November 13th marked the kick-off of the holiday season at The Disneyland Resort, which will continue through January 6, 2015, and promises to have plenty for the whole family to enjoy!

To kick off the start of Disneyland's Just Got Merrier holiday makeover, The Disneyland Resort hosted a special lighting ceremony of the "it's a small world" holiday overlay.

The current Disneyland Ambassador, Sachiko White (pictured above, left), hosted the ceremony and invited Vice President of The Disneyland Resort, Mary Niven, on stage to speak briefly on the many offerings that Guests can experience this holiday season






At Disneyland, there's Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle, "it's a small world" and Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday and the "Jingle Cruise" that has set sail in Frontierland.  Over at Disney California Adventure, Mary mentioned that "World of Color - Winter Dreams" would return, as well as Disney Viva Navidad celebration.  Both parks will be decked out in holiday flowers, colors, and decorations. Learn more about

After Mary's presentation, and with the help of Siemens (a proud sponsor of Disney since 2005) and City of Hope, one of the country's leading research and treatment centers for diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases, Sachido then invited the Gallardo family from Orange County on stage with a few Disney friends. Daughter Maya was the recipient of a life-saving stem cell transplant from her brother Aaron at the City of Hope eleven years ago. With the help of Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto, The Gallardo family ushered the holiday season into the Disneyland Resort with a flip of a switch, lighting the "it's a small world" holiday attraction. 

Watch this heartfelt moment! (Sorry for the small camera glitch in the middle!)



The Gallardo family answered questions after the ceremony, including what their Christmas wish would be this year.  Mayra Gallardo responded, "This is our Christmas wish," referring to the opportunity to have her family all together in one place, celebrating at The Disneyland Resort and being treated like a celebrity.  Her sister chimed in, "Yeah - our Christmas wish came true - to be famous!"    



Then, the beautifully lit "it's a small world" attraction became a wonderful backdrop for the 2014 Christmas Fantasy parade.  As Lisa mentioned in her blog post earlier this month, the holidays were going to get a bit "Frozen." This year, "A Christmas Fantasy Parade" celebrates its 20th anniversary by welcoming Anna and Elsa from "Frozen" into the cast. The float, which is similar to the one from the Soundsation Pre-Parade, makes an appearance among the other 100-plus parade performers that also include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Santa Claus!  

If you're a fan of the parade, you'll notice some changes to A Christmas Fantasy Parade.  Check out the photo recap below!


First float of the evening

Toy soldiers - a familiar site at the Christmas parade

Minnie and Mickey Mouse now reside on a festive float

Dancing snowmen are still around, but no skating snowflakes

Tigger is enjoying his sled

A very "Frozen" Christmas tree 

Snow flakes now replaced with these ladies on skates 

Anna and Elsa heading up the front of their parade float



Gingerbread Men

Goofy and Pluto on their own sweet tent

Anastasia, Druzilla, and Lady Tremaine make a boisterous appearance

The Royal Float - so divine!

Geppetto, Pinocchio, and Jiminy Cricket

Buzz Lightyear
Wrapping up the parade with Santa Claus!

Hope you enjoyed this first glimpse at the holidays in 2014 at Disneyland!  Tell us!  Are you planning a trip to the Parks this holiday, and are you excited for the season at The Disneyland Resort?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Want to know what's cooking at the Candy Palace? You can!



Ever wanted to know what was cooking at the Candy Palace?  If you want to know what candy is going to be made at the Candy Palace on a given day, you can get the schedule by calling the Candy Kitchen Menu Line (714) 781-0112. This phone number if for the candy kitchen at the Candy Palace on Main Street and does not apply to the kitchen at Disney California Adventure Park's Trolley Treats.


Feel like you can resist going into the Candy Palace when you walk by it?  Find out why it's not your fault by clicking here to read my very first Friday fun fact!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guru Travel: The official Disney Authorized Travel Agency for Babes In Disneyland



I am very pleased to announce that Babes In Disneyland has partnered with a new travel agent sponsor, Guru Travel. As I'm sure you can imagine, I am very, very picky about the travel agents with whom I will work. I have had very long conversations with the agency's owners to make sure that their level of customer service and Disney expertise would not only meet but exceed the needs of Babes In Disneyland readers. I was completely blown away with the level of training each agent receives and the owners' and agents' passions for planning great Disney vacations.

There are a few things I want to point out about using Guru Travel:
  • Guru Travel is a Disney Authorized travel agency, which means they work hand-in-hand with Disney to provide great deals and continuously monitor the latest news and specials. They provide more than just reservations; they act as a guide through the vacation planning process and can even make dining reservations for you!
  • No vacation is too small for their vacation planners. 
  • Guru Travel's Disney Destination Gurus do NOT charge their clients a fee and work to find the very best deals and notify their clients when even better deals come about. If you are considering a Disney vacation--whether it's a cruise, Walt Disney World, Aulani or Disneyland--they have specialists who can plan the perfect vacation and take all of the worry out of the process.
  • Supporting Guru Travel means you are supporting a mom-owned business who employs other moms and Disney fans who are passionate about family time and Disney Parks and Resorts.

Now, without further ado, I am happy to let Kelly Ortiz, co-owner of Guru Travel tell you in her words about her Disney Authorized Agency:



Kelly Ortiz (left) and Tracey DeMarco (right) are
co-owners of Guru Travel.
We are thrilled to be able to partner up with Babes in Disneyland. This is a partnership that is built on relationship building and service to the fans of all things Disney. Guru Travel, LLC is operated by me, Kelly Ortiz and Tracey DeMarco. In addition, we have 14 full-time, on-staff Disney Destination Gurus, planning magical vacations to all Disney Destinations.

Some of you may have visited our site from time to time to see what we are all about, or to view our ever-so-popular Walt Disney World snack credit list…one of the most highly viewed pages on our site. But I often wonder if you know the heart that is behind the service that we offer.

It all started back in 2009 when I decided that I needed a Disney outlet. I could not get to Disney Parks as often as I craved but not being able to share my passion for all things Disney was beginning to suffocate me. So I began Disney Guru from scratch one day on my couch. It was really funny because when you do that NOBODY takes you seriously! After almost a year of blogging and connecting with wonderful Disney fans, I started to feel that I was onto something so I began to plan Disney Vacations. Through this I connected with a WONDERFUL person that I knew I wanted to work with forever and we recreated Disney Guru which is now known as Guru Travel, LLC. I am forever grateful for Tracey DeMarco. She has taken what was good and made it GREAT!

From the start this brand has always been about service. We have a very deep love for Walt Disney himself and everything that he was about. Our commitment to keeping with his vision of service is what drives us daily. Disney is our LIFE! We have been blessed enough to be able to turn our passion into a reality and for this, I believe that Walt would be proud, after-all, it is what he was all about.

Tracey, and I have personally handpicked a WONDERFUL group of people to work alongside of us on this fabulous journey to help you feel the magic and the love that we do.  It is our mission not only to plan the most magical vacation with you but to have you come home and let us know that you too feel the passion and the love that we do.

We would be honored to work with you on your magical Disney Destination Vacation; we have a Guru specializing in every Disney Destination. Contact us today to begin the planning process by calling us at 877-825-6146 or via email at admin@thewdwguru.com or by visiting us at www.thewdwguru.com


Guru Travel pays a monthly sponsorship fee to be featured on the Babes In Disneyland blog and were selected based on their integrity and commitment to guest service. All posts are held to the same level of authenticity and professionalism that our nonsponsored must adhere to.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Merchandise Monday: November 2014



Here is our round-up of what is new and exciting in the world of Disney merchandise for the month of November. Although primarily this merchandise can be found right at the Disneyland Resort, most of it can also be found online as well...and occasionally there are a few things (like the Jingle Cruise t-shirt shown below) that can only be found on the Disney Parks Merchandise website, so be sure to check it out for online merchandise exclusives!


image via DisneyParksBlog.com
New Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Merchandise - Shirts, jackets, hats, pillows, pins, Acorns Gifts N' Goods shop inside the Grand Californian has an excellent variety of newly designed merchandise! 

Holiday Mouse Ears
Lisa recently saw these during a visit and immediately fell in love. They are so incredibly cute and sure to be a hit this year!




Jingle Cruise T-Shirts Disney Parks Online Exclusive! - THIS has to be the best thing to come out in the month of November - I don't need to say anything more, just take a peek at this CUTEST-EVER Jingle Cruise shirt! Look for them online only on Nov. 10-13th! 




Pin Releases - This month 9 new pins are set to release, on the 6th, 13th, and 21st of the most - most featuring a holiday theme, also several Frozen themed pins, and one Cheshire Cat pin! Check here for the full list.



image via DisneyParksBlog.com

Featured Treat: Rocky Road Gourmet Apple - This favorite seasonal apple is dipped in creamy caramel, coated in milk chocolate, then generously sprinkled with mini marshmallows and roasted almonds, and finally just a bit more chocolate!



Artist Sketch of the Month The November 2014 Annual Passholder Sketch is "Viva Navidad" which is available at Disneyana and Off the Page at the Disneyland Resort. 


image via DisneyParksMerchandise.com



How adorable is this piece of art by Joey Chou?
November Merchandise Events - 

  • Joey Chou at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney. Nov. 14, 15, 21, 22, from 6:00-10:00 p.m.
  • WonderGround Gallery Artist Showcase at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney. Meet-and-greet and signing with several artists. Nov. 15, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • HARVEYS for Disney Couture Launch at Disney Vault 28 in Downtown Disney. Nov. 15  from 11 a.m -1 p.m.
  • Raymond Swanland at D Street in the Downtown Disney. Nov. 15-16, from 2-5 p.m.
  • John Coulter and Noah at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney. Nov. 22, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • Jackie Huang at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney. Nov. 29 & 30, from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

HARVEYS

Raymond Swanland