The first installment of a series from Mrs. Collateral Damage who knows more about The World of Mouse than you do (trust me, she’s been to all of them except Hong Kong).
There is a proper way to eat a Mickey bar in 100 degree heat. Mickey bars are by nature rather top-heavy, and prone to splattering on the sidewalk if not consumed properly. To protect your Mickey bar from an untimely end, keep it in the bag, exposing approximately 1/2″ of bar at a time. If the bar does collapse, it should fall into the bag and remain retrievable.
Light eaters can get by with the children’s meals at counter service restaurants. The chicken poppers at California Adventure’s (aka Lame-O-Land West) Taste Pilot’s Grill are a reasonably good sized serving, and come in a souvenier snack box that’s handy for storing craft supplies.
In Disneyland’s New Orleans’ Square, you can buy “make your own pirate” headgear, based on either a Jack Sparrow wig or a bandana/do-rag. The wigs and do-rags are a little over-priced (welcome to capitalism, kids), but the add-ons are reasonably inexpensive for a little Do-It-Yourself Disney fashion. The snap-on patches come in designs both classic and trendy, and can be converted to sew-on patches with careful use of an exacto knife on the flip side. Examine the patches carefully; you’ll see which ones are actually embroidered, and which are painted on (the embroidered ones are likely to hold up better in the wash, over time).
If you prefer the last car of the rollercoaster, or want to sit in the driver’s section of the monorail, don’t be afraid to ask a Disney Cast Member (nicely). Nobody’s told me no yet.
If you go to see Muppets 3D, in Lame-O-Land West, try to time your arrival so you can see the entire pre-show. If you arrive at the end of the pre-show, consider sticking around to watch the whole thing before taking in the main attraction. Many fans think it’s better than the 3D movie itself, as do many of the Cast Members.
Also, I simply must sing the praises of the Disney lost-and-found system. One Friday night recently, I was in Lame-O-Land West, having had a lovely time celebrating my 40th birthday. I lost an important pouch, which held my (very expensive) seven-day Disneyland ticket, a gift card, and my hotel key. I talked to a series of Cast Members, all of whom were kind and helpful, and who re-united me with my lost things within 15 minutes. It could have been a nightmare, but it was hardly a blip in my evening. I love Disneyland for its dreams-come-true sentimentality and it’s nostalgic appeal, but in the long run that wouldn’t be enough on its own; ultimately it’s this kind of attention to detail and service that keeps me a loyal customer.