Daisy’s Best Week Ever, October 26, 2017: 46 Hours in California

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Hello, friends! I’ve just returned from a wild adventure that I’m so excited to share with you. When new Halloween events were announced at Disney’s California Adventure, we started trying to make a trip to the west coast happen. Unfortunately, between other plans and work we just couldn’t find a time… Until we realized we had one glorious weekend to squeeze in just 46 hours at the happiest place on Earth! The Headless Horseman was our first hint that we’d make a good decision.

If I’m being honest, the entire reason we wanted to visit so much were the decorations in Cars Land. We’re huge fans of this area and really wanted to see the new changes. This sign greets guests as they enter to wish them a Happy Haul-O-Ween. I’m glad I snapped a photo first thing in the morning because this spot had a long Photopass line the entire rest of the day!

Want to see the rest of our trip? Click to read more.

Tow Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree was our first stop. The overlay was impressive with entirely new spooky songs and decorations throughout. I have my fingers crossed that our new Little Green Aliens ride in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be similar to this attraction. While it’s a simple ride it’s one we never skip.

Next we stopped by Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween. Inside they had these super cute tire pumpkins on display. Later in the day we found out they sold mini light-up ones attached to drinking straws and decided we needed to add one to our collection. Unfortunately, the light stopped working before we left the park that night. We went back to replace it and found several other people were having the same trouble.

Again, they did such an impressive job with the decorative overlay. The signs were all updated and the songs were updated to a Halloween playlist. I’m so jealous they can do things like this on the west coast. I’d love to see events happen like this in our parks here at Walt Disney World. Maybe it will be possible in Toy Story Land. What do you think? Would you like an addition like this?

Over at Flo’s V8 Cafe a Mr. Toad car had turned arachnid. This was another spot covered in PhotoPass photographers all day, so I was lucky I stopped by early. Speaking of PhotoPass, it is included with MaxPass which, after using for a couple of days, I decided is well worth the price. The reason I was able to casually take photos in the morning was because I was able to grab my Radiator Springs Racers FastPasses from my phone without waiting in line.

Since we were passing by Flo’s anyway we stopped in for breakfast. It certainly isn’t the best food, but it’s become a tradition for us. We love stopping in early in the morning while things still aren’t too busy and watching cars from Radiator Springs Racers zoom by. Do you have a favorite Disney dining spot that you visit, but not for the food? I’d love to hear in the comments! 🙂

The Day of the Dead is even being celebrated in Cars Land. Inside this shop was an altar for Doc Hudson. I had never heard of this holiday growing up, but I’ve really started to like it and have considered celebrating it myself. It was so cool to see this creative interpretation in Cars Land!

Nothing was left untouched. It was clear the decorations were carefully considered and planned. Even though we had extremely limited time we spent half the day taking in every inch of the new decorations. Everywhere we looked we found something new.

Then, the ultimate! Vampire Mater had more to do with booking this trip than I’d like to admit. It proved to be a good choice, I mean look at him! Of course, we took a bunch of photos with him and also went looking for the Vampire Mater sourdough we’d seen advertised. You’ll notice I didn’t include a photo of that bread because it really didn’t look much like Mater at all. (We bought it anyway.)

As the day wore on we stopped by the Cozy Cones to grab a seasonal snack. They were absolutely mobbed with lines snaking out longer than I’d ever seen them. Good thing we packed our patience as we ended up waiting nearly 45 minutes just for a treat!

We didn’t feel like sugar, so we went with the Slow Burnin’ Mac and Cheese Cone. It tasted pretty much like the regular macaroni and cheese cone just with spicy cheeto dust on top. After a long wait we ended up tossing most of it.

I had planned to spend the evening in Cars Land taking photos in the dark, but once I got home I realized most things looked better in the light. The one exception was this zombie car. He looked much better with his creepy red light!

When we decided it was time for sugar, we headed to Schmoozies. If you can believe it, the below treats tasted better than they looked! The candy apple smoothie even had little pieces of apple in it and tasted very natural rather than overly sweet. The marshmallow cronut is maybe the best treat I’ve tasted in a very long time. I didn’t think a cronut could get any better! It was pretty filling though, so I was glad to have friends to share it with.

As it was getting dark we checked out the sneak peek of Coco. The display itself was a bit basic, but I’m getting very excited to see this movie. Are you looking forward to it?

Thanks to MaxPass we were able to score FastPasses to the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride and the seasonal After Dark experience. I’m way too much of a ride chicken to try this myself, but my husband was delighted to have the FastPasses. He decided that he liked the after dark experience better than the regular ride. Have you tried this one? What do you think of the overlay?

As we made our way over to World of Color I noticed there was fog over the water. I hadn’t done much research for this trip and hoped maybe this meant we were in for a new Halloween edition of the nighttime show. Ends up it was regular World of Color, which is amazing, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe a Halloween version will come next year.

As we wrapped up the night we saw Buena Vista Street lit up for the first time. Bright purple lights covered all the trees and spooky lights showcased the bats flying out of the Carthay Circle restaurant. I couldn’t imagine anything better for this area. I keep hearing rumors that Mickey’s Halloween Party is moving to this park for 2018 and after seeing all these decorations I hope it’s true.

As we left the park I finally got the epic, nighttime shot of the park entrance that I’d been dreaming of. I’m a huge The Nightmare Before Christmas fan and it makes me sad that it’s mostly been forgotten at Walt Disney World. What a treat to see Oogie Boogie proudly right on top of the entrance to a theme park!

The next morning, after too little sleep, we bounced out of bed to rope drop Disneyland. All of the same decorations were up from years past. Much like the Magic Kingdom things don’t seem to change much year to year. To see more about those decorations here is an older post from 2015.

Something that was very new this year were these seasonal donuts! I’d heard that only a limited batch was made each day and they always sold out so we stopped by first thing in the morning. These were tasty and cute, but nothing special.  I wasn’t in too much of a rush because Alice in Wonderland never seems to open on time and that was the first ride I had planned. Sure enough after finishing our treats we were able to walk on that and every other ride in Fantasyland with the exception of Peter Pan.

Again, MaxPass came in handy. We were able to spend valuable time riding rides in Fantasyland rather than running over to get a Haunted Mansion Holiday FastPass. We spent the rest of our morning scheduling FastPasses to this ride and hopping on whatever was nearby with a short wait. Did I mention I love The Nightmare Before Christmas? 😉

While I could devote an entire blog to just this ride alone and bore you with dozens of photos, I’ll leave you with just one. Last year The Disney Parks Blog shared a photo of Sally and it has haunted me ever since (pun intended). I tried different lenses, but could never get wide enough. I finally got a photo I’m happy with this trip, with a 6.5mm lens!

As our morning turned into afternoon we headed to Cafe Orleans for our last meal of the trip. Of course, we had to order pommes frites. My hubby went for an old favorite, the Monte Cristo. The only time I tried this popular sandwich it killed my stomach. Have you tried it? What do you think?


I normally get the gumbo, but I was feeling brave and wanted to try something new. I settled on the shrimp and grits and I think this will be my new “go to” dish. Wow, was this fantastic! I’m lucky this isn’t served anywhere here at Walt Disney World because I’d already be planning my next meal!

And just like that, our trip was over too soon. We shopped our way out of the park and found Baby Pua is now a thing! I might have snuck him home in my suitcase. I mean, look at that face. How can you resist?

That’s it for this time. Thanks for joining me for another week of fun! Please let me know if you have requests for next time around. Until then – I hope you’re having the best week ever. 

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Daisy Lauren

I'm just about the biggest Touring Plans fan ever and still pinching myself that they let me be part of the team! I love sharing all things Disney with you and always appreciate your ideas and feedback at: daisylauren@touringplans.com or @dizdaisylauren on twitter Above everything else THANK YOU for reading and commenting!

13 thoughts on “Daisy’s Best Week Ever, October 26, 2017: 46 Hours in California

  • October 26, 2017 at 10:25 am

    We loved our short Halloween DL trip! The GoG overlap on ToT was fabulous! Loved the main ride better than after dark version. We rode it 6 times while there, and saw 4 of the vignettes/song (6 in total). I thought it was the most clever piece of story telling and use of an already great ride I’ve ever seen. My favorite ride now in BOTH lands! Also had wonderful experiences with Maxpass (definitely helped with weekend crowds), so convenient compared to FP, and Haunted Mansion overlay was a hoot. Thanks for your post!

    • October 26, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Laura – I’m so glad you enjoyed your short trip too. I really liked Maxpass as found myself wishing that we had it here at WDW. It just made it some much easier to visit same day. So glad you enjoyed. Thanks for your kind comment. 🙂

  • October 26, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Wow, that all just looks great, Daisy! Your photos have me wondering if there’s still time to work in a visit before the parks switch over to Christmas mode. With Halloween on a Tuesday this year, do you know if the decorations are coming down November 1 or would they hang on a little longer?

    • October 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Martha – thanks for your comment. 🙂 Now, I don’t pretend to be a Disneyland expert. But I assume it works a lot like Disney World. Halloween “ends” October 31 and Christmas “begins” November 10th… but in between is an odd mix of both as they transition. I actually think it’s a neat time of year to visit. Plus, Haunted Mansion Holiday is going all the way through to Christmas so you’ll see it no matter what. I hope you get a chance to visit. Halloween is awesome this year!

  • October 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    OMG your post is toooooo awesome. Looks like an amazing time! I am hoping to see the Disneyland decorations next year since we have booked a trip to DL in late September (staying at the Grand Californian, woot!).

    I would looooovvve for one of you knowledgeable TouringPlans bloggers to write an article aimed at Disney World experts (like all of your readers) explaining the differences found at DisneyLand. E.g. what is MaxPass and why would you use it? How far in advance can you make dining reservations? Options for getting between the airport and DL?

    • October 31, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Hi Dawn – I’m so late to reply! So sorry – I’ll suggest to article. Great idea. 🙂 And I’m so Jelly staying at Grand Californian. We’ve never stayed there. Take lots of pics! 😉

  • October 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    You can uncross your fingers, the ride vehicle model displayed in the Walt Disney Presents exhibit shows that the new Green Alien ride will be EXACTLY like Mater’s.

    • October 31, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Hi Andy – Ironically I’ve posted a photo of those ride vehicles. I guess I’m hoping for the same thing as far as unique songs and not so crazy lines. But I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath for that second one. 😉

      • November 1, 2017 at 11:53 am

        Not in a park with so few kid-friendly rides, no.

  • October 27, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    OMG this blog post makes me want to book a trip right now to Disneyland! Alas, I’m saving all of my pennies for my trip to WDW in April. I will however need to figure out when my hubs and I can take a fall trip to DLand – especially for the amazing overlays and possible party at DCA! Thanks again Daisy for the fantastic post 🙂

    • October 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Belinda – so I’m crazy late here, but I replied on Twitter so that counts right?? 😉 (glad we’re connected there) April countdown to WDW, let me know if you have any photo requests. And DLand is so worth a Halloween trip. I loved the new Carsland stuff. Thanks for your nice comment! 😀

      • October 31, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        Oh no worries! I completely understand, you’re right Twitter absolutely counts! 🙂 180 days till WDW (but who’s counting 😉 ) ADR’s booked, FPP’s to book in 120 days and money to save. I love any and all photos – especially Epcot – love that park! Thanks for all you do 😀

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