Magical Blogorail: Disneyland Hotels – Good Neighbor Hotels

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are reviewing the official Disneyland hotels and some of Disneyland’s Good Neighbor hotels.


Good Neighbor Hotel: Howard Johnson

We booked our reservations at the Howard Johnson through a friend who is a Disney travel agent and we never regretted the decision! Everything went off without a hitch thanks to the professionalism of our agent and the friendly staff at the hotel.

I intend to keep this review short with a what-you-really-need-to-know approach. So with that said, here is the room we stayed in:

    

The bed was very comfortable and the decor was nice with everything being extra clean. We also had a great view of Disneyland off our balcony. Well, parts of it anyway:

    

Taking a peek at the nighttime fireworks

Blue Monorail with the Matterhorn

Red Monorail with the Matterhorn

Blue sky with the Matterhorn

The hotel was just a 5-minute walk from the entrance to Disneyland. Pricing varies with the time of visit and length of stay, so suffice it to say that we found the cost to be at least 40% cheaper than a Disneyland hotel, if not even cheaper.

The wife and I (or is it Minnie?) arriving

You can also enjoy the Family Water Playground: “Our Castaway Cove pirate themed water park area is the only one in Anaheim outside of the Disney hotels. Kids of all ages will enjoy a 30-foot pirate ship with slides, water cannons, fountains, toddler wading pool, 200-gallon drench bucket and more. There is something for everyone at Castaway Cove, from your Captain to your tiniest buccaneer. Don’t miss the 15-person Hot Tub Spa, or the Garden Pool, a separate secluded area for swimming, relaxing or getting that California tan.” It was too cold for us to take advantage of these amenities when we visited. Oh well, next time!

Other amenities include free wi-fi, free parking, gym, restaurant and bar, convenience store, great staff, and of course, information on all-things Disney!

For more Disneyland hotel reviews,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Disneyland & Good Neighbor Hotel Reviews Loop:

My Dreams

What do you want to see on My Dreams of Disney?

My Dreams

What do you want to see on My Dreams of Disney?

By Mike Ellis.

Every now and again, I query my readers to see what they are interested in reading about on My Dreams of Disney, and today is that day.  If you had a blank canvas, a clean slate, so to speak, what would you be interested in reading about right now?  Well, today, the best answers are going to get their blog post answered!

Let’s keep this whimsical, if we can, and let’s keep it focused on Disney.  Perhaps you want a post on what you want to see at the new Star Wars land when it opens, or perhaps you want to weigh in on what my buddy Andy from WDW Shutterbug asked about — “If you were given a free hotel stay on Walt Disney World property would you stay at the Grand Floridian or somewhere else?”

Or, perhaps you want to chime in on what your favorite attractions are, like I’ve been chiming in on Mike’s Favorites…

Or, if you are like me, and gearing up for some really cold nights and days (or are already experiencing them), perhaps you want to get out of the cold blahs and start thinking about warmer temperatures when you can ride Kali River Rapids to cool off, or enjoy Stormalong Bay at the Beach and Yacht Clubs…

Maybe you want to tell the story of your first trip to Walt Disney World, or your last trip?  Or maybe you want to share with us your most heartwarming story of Cast Member excellence, or the time your child met their Princess or favorite Character for the very first time…

I’ve got plenty of ideas here of my own, but I want to hear what you are interested in.  Take a moment, leave me a comment here, shoot me a Tweet on Twitter, write on my Facebook Page, or email me at mickey@mydreamsofdisney.com.  Somehow, reach out to me and let’s get working on YOUR story!

The sky is the limit here!  Let’s have some fun with this and see where it takes us!  Have fun dreaming about your Disney adventure!

WDW 25th Anniversary Guide & T-shirt

I love finding unusual items for my collection, and when I saw this Special Edition release for the 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, I just had to have it:

12″ x 12″ Presentation Box

One Anniversary Guide and T-shirt (medium)

This is from perhaps one of the most vilified promotions in WDW history. It included the hated Birthday Cake Castle, as pictured on the cover of the Anniversary Guide.

1971-1996

I for one wish I could have seen the Birthday Cake Castle in person, if for no other reason than to say ‘I was there!’ ‘I saw it!’ But my trips to WDW would bracket this promotion.

Let’s have a look at the contents of the Anniversary Guide. As we do, I’ll point out the new attractions that were offered for this promotion:

New: Hunchback of Notre Dame – A Musical Adventure

New: Remember the Magic Parade / ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

New: Ellen DeGeneres Universe of Energy / Honey I Shrunk the Audience

I hear that as of 2016, the Honey I Shrunk the Audience attraction will be discontinued. Not perhaps the worse news?

I’d also like to mention that Epcot had some new Streetmosphere acts in the form of Stilt Birds and Moving Statues for 1996.

New: Toy Story Parade

New: Blizzard Beach

It’s also interesting to note that at this time, 1996, WDW had three water parks, as River Country was still in operation. Discovery Island was also open and the two attractions were advertised as two great places to be visited in one day.

New: Planet Hollywood

Old: The Disney Village Marketplace

Character Dining chart and map

WDW Maps: Three Parks (no Animal Kingdom yet)

Back Cover

I hope you can take the time to enlarge the above pictures and enjoy a look into the past of WDW as it was found in 1996!

But this great box set also contained a very nice t-shirt with the promotional logo and a special surprise on the back:

Autographs from four Big Celebs!

         

Mickey Inc. Made in the USA

I haven’t worn this t-shirt (it wouldn’t fit anyway!) instead choosing to leave it with the set. I enjoy opening it up from time to time for a look into the past of my favorite Disney park!

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Kazoo by Omara

This product is somewhat misnamed. The Mickey Mouse Kazoo is more like a blowhorn that one would use at a college pep rally. Have a look for yourself:

Rah Rah Shish Boom Bah!

This is a basic plastic toy, probably from the 1970’s, that doesn’t do much. You can yell in it all you want, but little amplification will occur! Although I did notice a little more volume when I tried it.

    

No holes = little sound amplification

There is a thin metal plate between the two white discs which I presume vibrates to create at least the illusion of amplification.

But for a little kid, it was no doubt a lot of fun bellowing into it and imagining the kids on the next block could hear them!

     Whatza matta kazoo?

Made in Hong Kong by Omara.

Walt Disney’s Cinderella Special Edition DVD Gift Set

I’d like to start by saying that the promises of Blu-ray have been overstated and under-realized. The claim of better picture quality and sound along with increased storage capacity were supposed to bring a whole new world to home entertainment.

The reality has been a marginal increase in presentation quality and, in most cases, less extras than we previously enjoyed on DVD. Much less if you compare today’s Blu-ray releases with yesterday’s Platinum 2-disc DVD Editions! And as you will see in this post, there simply is no comparison when you look at the Collector’s DVD Gift Sets:

Cinderella Collector’s DVD Gift Set

  • 2-disc Special Edition DVD (Platinum Edition)
  • 8 Exclusive Character Portraits
  • Collector Book
  • Film Frame from the movie

I have three of these Disney collectible DVD sets and I continue to be amazed at the value they yield. Let’s start with the Platinum Edition DVD:

Remember when the DVD case came in a cardboard sleeve with an opening cover? Remember that once you opened the DVD, you found a booklet inside describing what was on the discs, with navigational flow charts? Remember when ‘hours of extras’ meant hours of extras, not just 2 hours, if you were lucky? Then you remember the Platinum series of DVD’s!

The gift sets gave you this version of the DVD along with exclusive extras, like:

    

A Dream Come True ‘making of’ Storybook

As you can see from the picture above right, the illustrations in this publication are amazing! You’ll also find behind-the-scenes pictures and stories of production.

Next, this set has something truly special:

Film Frame: Cinderella on the staircase

But wait, that’s not all! You also get:

 

 

 

 

8 Exclusive Character Portraits by:

Ollie Johnston and Andre Deja

This set sold for upwards of $50.00 CAN when it first came out, and they are hard to find today, even on eBay. And when you do, the price is usually quite high. I’m glad I picked this up when I did!

So the next time you hear a commercial extolling the virtues of Blu-ray, remember this post, and the great Platinum DVD and Collector’s Gift Sets of yesterday.