We are Disneyland fanatics…. trading pins and all!! Over a year ago we sat down with our kids and set a family goal to earn money for Disneyland Season Passes for the 2011 calendar year. We had a planning meeting and thought of a variety of money earning projects to do together. Our family had a huge 2 day yard sale, bake/lemonade sales, and the kids sold homemade concessions at Jake’s football games. Each child had to save a certain amount of personal money and by December of 2010 we’d saved enough to go to Disneyland for Christmas!! We’re so proud of our kids for reaching this goal! I’ve always helped my kids be goal oriented … it’s such an important skill for them to have as they mature 🙂
What a fun trip!! and the best part of getting season passes (per person… it’s only 80$ more than a 5 day hopper) is we’ve been able to go several more times this year! It’s around a 12 hours drive for us but that’s alright. We load up the kids iPod’s with movies and games AND OFF WE GO! The last time we went in June, Drew and I were holding our place for the Fantasmic night show and I happened into one of the cafes nearby where I found this incredible Chocolate Cake. WOW! It was good! We didn’t share with the kids… shhh, shhh!! We’re getting ready to go again in a couple of weeks so, I thought I’d share this cake and some of our Disneyland Tips for your next trip!!
The most amazing Chocolate Cake… no wonder it’s 6 BUCKS a slice!!!
Triple Chocolate Moose Cake
1 package chocolate cake mix, prepare in two 9″ cake pans, turned out and cooled
Kahlua Simple Sugar Syrup
2 C water
2 C sugar
2 C Kahlua
Combine ingredients in large fry pan and simmer for 45 minutes (this cooks off the alcohol, leaves less than vanilla extract) Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
1 1/2 C Semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C powdered sugar
Have a large bowl of ice water ready by the stove. In sauce pan, combine the chocolate and heavy cream. Cook over medium heat until chocolate begins to melt and the cream is almost simmering. Whisk the chocolate and cream until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Remove from heat and place pan into the bowl of ice water but don’t let it get in the pan! Whisk until the mixture is creamy smooth and softly holds it’s shape. (approx 6-7 minutes) Spoon into a serving bowl and chill for two hours.
Assemble the cake. Cut the skin off each cake and then cut in half length wise. On a cake plate: layer cake, simple syrup(divide into 4 layers), chocolate mousse(divide into 3 layers), repeat order for each layer. On the fourth layer do not put any mousse but top with Ganache.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
2 1/2 C Bittersweet chocolate (approx 2 bars)
2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbls Brandy extract
1 Tbls Vanilla extract
Have a large bowl of ice water ready by the stove. In sauce pan, melt the chocolate over medium low heat. Whisk in the cream, add brandy and vanilla extracts. Turn up to medium heat and bring almost to a boil. Place into ice water bowl and continue whisking until holds it’s shape. (approx 8-9 minutes) Do not let it cool too much as it will set and be unworkable. Frost the top and sides of the cake.
Garnish with Fresh Raspberries
Prepare cake mix as directed in two 9″ pans
Have a large bowl of ice water. Heat Cream and Chocolate for Mousse
Whisk until smooth over medium heat
Add vanilla and powdered sugar
Remove from heat and place in ice water
Whisk until creamy smooth and softly holds it’s shape
Pour into serving bowl and chill for two hours (and in those 2 hours… I changed into my jammie pants 🙂
Cut the skin off each cake
Cut cakes in half length wise
Layer cake, syrup, mousse for each layer
Don’t put mousse on top layer… frost with Ganache
To make Ganache… melt bittersweet chocolate
Stir in cream, vanilla, and brandy extracts
Remove from heat, place Ganache in ice water and whisk for approx 8-9 minutes
Whisk until it holds it’s shape
Frost top (my mistake??? not putting the simple syrup on the top layer)
* This recipe is an adaptation off of CDKitchen.com , the instructions where confusing but I figured it out!! I’m guessing this is the cake we had… it sure tastes like it! (this one is from Disney World) I think it’d also be really great with a homemade chocolate cake 🙂
Disneyland is a magical place.. the kids never squabble or anything!! Just Kidding… they do a little bit but that’s probably normal. When we go we need several days in a row to make it worth the trip. We spend the day at either Disneyland or California Adventures. (Kinda flip-flop the parks) The reason being… FAST PASSES, which will change your entire trip if you know how to use them right.
Madi and Lex.. “special friends”
The best thing Disneyland ever did was to install fast pass machines! The trick to them is to get there when the park opens, run to a favorite ride (we usually go for space mountain ) fast pass it and then ride it with out using that fast pass. There’s no line yet and so you get right on.
The fast passes NEVER expire for that day… even though they say they do. A fast pass just has to be used after the start time and you aren’t allowed another fast pass till after that start time. The cool thing is when you get there first thing, then your first start time is in 20 minutes (instead of the 2 hours you usually have to wait.) Keep an eye on each start time and then run to fast pass another ride you’d like to go on. Only the larger rides have the fast pass machines (Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Roger Rabbit, etc) There are not any fast passes in Fantasy Land…FYI. We leave the park with a stack of fast passes and never have to wait in a line, even at Christmas time! Well, actually we usually give our fast passes to a group as large as ours and they are always thrilled to have them!! There is also a riders switch pass that allows the adults to switch off if they have an infant and basically the adults get to “switch” and the little tikes are still be watched over. The funniest thing I ever heard was a friend of mine complaining about “those fast pass people” thinking it was something extra you had to pay for, when NOPE!! It’s free and they spent their entire day waiting in lines 🙁
Mickey Suckers.. Kids fav!
Food…. Disneyland has lockers in each park (5, 7, 10$ depending on the size). Make sure you have the correct cash because there’s not a change machine. We bring a packed lunch in a flexible cooler and locker it along with snacks, drinks, and our jackets (if it’s cool at night). Food at Disneyland is kinda expensive, similar to an airport in price. I wasn’t impressed with their lunch type food unless you like gourmet hotdogs and turkey legs… GAG! I did find a turkey panini that was pretty good but at 10 bucks I’ll make my own!! There are tables to eat at and they don’t mind if it’s your own sack lunch.
Oh and one other tip… You simply must get a Pineapple Dole Whip at the Tiki House for a snack, they are just to die for!
Madi chowin’ down
For dinners we like Redd Rockets Pizza Port, Royal Street Veranda’s bread bowls and chowder, and the Rancho Del Zocalo lime chicken is delicious! We’ve heard the all you can eat Celebration Round Up an BBQ is good too but we haven’t been able to get a reservation early enough yet. One trip we ate at the Blue Bayou (the restaurant in Pirates of the Caribbean) and it was 5 star! The kids all shared a plate because the portions were that large. That was an extra special treat 🙂
All of our kids (okay… Drew and I too!!) LOVE pin trading!! It is really a lot more fun than it sounds. It keeps the children happy while we are walking around… it’s like a big treasure hunt! Any of the Cast Members (aka Disney employees) who are wearing a lanyard have to trade any 2 of theirs with any 2 you want. The teal lanyards are for guests under 12 years of age. Every day at 1pm and 3pm Cast members bring out the Disney pin bags to the trading tables in Frontier Land. (to the right off the pin store) and most stores have at least one lanyard at the counter. You can also trade with other guests, but it has to be a mutual agreed upon trade. The kids all collect different characters pins and sets… so they don’t end up squabbling very often. The best part of pin trading is that you can buy official Disney Pins on Ebay before you go for a fraction of the price!! Then trade them at Disneyland just the same.
One last thing… the morning of the day you are going to California Adventure (which opens at 10am) at 9:30 am the gates open to allow Fast Passing for the World of Color show. (they use the Grizzley River Run fast pass machines) The earlier you get your tickets the better seat you will have in the evening for the show. This will be the highlight of your trip… Disney spent like 800 million on it! It’s worth it to get a good spot!
Fly with Dumbo and his magic feather!
Car’s Land opens Spring 2012
Good Times at the Mouse House!!
Hope these tips and ideas help make your Disneyland trips as fun and MAGICAL as ours 🙂
Chef Ruthie is a professionally trained chef who specializes in bringing cuisines, cultures and culinary adventures to your kitchen. Chef Ruthie inspires readers to create in the kitchen, explore the world and find joy in all the many aspects of living!