On May 28, I spent the day at Disneyland with Michelle from the Disney Dream Girls podcast. The first part of the day can be found here; today is a look at dinner and the nighttime entertainment that we experienced.
Picking up from the previous post, we had just finished up on Indiana Jones and were due for an Advanced Dining Reservation at Carnation Cafe – one of five table service restaurants in the park. This was planned out as a first for both of us, as we’d both had been to Carnation previously for breakfast but neither Michelle nor I had been for dinner. We were joined by Tommy Allison from the DisGeek Podcast for a patio seating, and the three of us enjoyed a long conversation of catching up and talking about Tommy’s experiences at the 24 hour event the week before.
Onto the food. Michelle and I had both asked on different forums what foods would be the best to try at Carnation Cafe. The overwhelming winner left us both underwhelmed at first mention: Fried Pickles. Tommy was not interested in sampling any, so Michelle and I decided to share an order of 5 spears. These pickles were coated in Parmesan cheese and panko bread crust and were served with a dipping sauce. The spears were surprisingly crunchy after being deep fried and were not too tart, despite being dill pickles (I prefer sweet). If I end up eating at Carnation Cafe again, I will splurge for $6.49 to get these again.
For my entree, I ventured off menu slightly. As it was still warm outside, I decided to get the roasted turkey sandwich instead of a hot meal. The menu version of the sandwich was listed on potato bread, but I switched out to a brioche bun, as that is just my bread preference. Instead of french fries, I asked for a side of fresh fruit, which consisted of some honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and a strawberry. This was…a sandwich. While it was tasty and filling, the company made the meal much more than the meal made the meal. But hey, it’s a turkey sandwich.
I should mention that as we were walking to dinner, we had noticed there were people sitting on blankets on the curb, waiting for the Paint the Night parade. This was at 5 pm, and the parade was scheduled to step off at 8:50, and would not arrive to where these guests were sitting until a bit after 9, some four hours away.
After dinner we decided it would be best to join the masses, as the parade and the Disneyland Forever fireworks show were two of the main reasons for the trip. We crossed Main Street to stand on the east side of the street, just in front of the Main Street Photo Supply Co. and across from Coke Corner. The key word here was stand. As all the curb spots were taken, Disneyland Cast Members were ensuring that guests were standing up the entire time. At this point there were still three hours before the parade was due to begin. Michelle and I agreed this would be a good time to spend some alone time, and one of us would hold the spot for a few minutes while the other would would hit the shops and look for some souvenirs. Michelle ventured out first and ended up at the Pandora charm shop in New Orleans Square, picking up what she was hoping to get. While she was away our mutual friend Paul Barrie from the Window to the Magic podcast walked by while on his daily excursion, and he paused and visited for a few minutes. Once Michelle returned I ventured off to the Golden Horseshoe, not for food, but for the 60th anniversary stein that is currently available. (And it comes with a soda, which the cast member offered to put in a separate cup to keep the plastic mug clean.
Once I returned to our viewing spot, I witnessed the pre-parade podcaster parade as my friend Paul from Window to the Magic was waking down Main Street USA with his friend Wendy, along with Richard and Sarah Woloski from the Skywalking Through Neverland Podcast. After a quick hello it they were off walking again, while Michelle and I waited for night to fall and the parade to begin.
Finally, after three hours of waiting, the Main Street lights were dimmed, the music started and Paint the Night was coming our way. And what a parade it was! The music was high energy, the LED lights on the floats and giant puppets were stunning. It was certainly worth the wait (the photos just do not to justice to the parade). This parade is going to be around for years to come. Disneyland finally has a successor to the Main Street Electrical Parade (sorry, Light Magic).
As soon as Sorcerer Mickey had passed by, we were allowed to gather in Main Street to wait to the fireworks, which would only be a few more minutes. We were in the middle of the street, still in front of Coke Corner and the Main Street Photo Supply Co., which offered a view of the Main Street building projections along with a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle; provided you could see over the top of everyone’s head (sorry, Michelle). Where you are standing is important for the fireworks, as there are projections shown on park landmarks to match the score of the show, including the facade of It’s A Small World and Matterhorn Mountain. I need to make another trip down to enjoy these projections, but the vantage point I had was a very good one. The projections on the Main Street buildings stole the show for me, especially during the Mary Poppins sequence, and I will admit that while I was able to take many photos of the fireworks themselves, I missed most of them live, as I was turning my head left and right to see the buildings instead. Again, another trip is needed.
Once the fireworks ended, Michelle and I said our goodbyes to Tommy, who was heading for home, and we headed off to the Haunted Mansion to get one more look at the Hatbox Ghost – besides, the Haunted Mansion is best experienced after dark. While it was a bit of a challenge to get to the Mansion between guests trying to exit Main Street post parade and fireworks, and guests trying to get to their viewing sections for the upcoming showing of Fantasmic, but the attraction itself was a virtual walk on.
After paying our…ahem…final respects…to Hattie, Michelle asked if I wanted to get on Splash Mountain, so we could complete the Disney Mountain Range challenge, and since we both enjoy Song of the South. Our other options was to head over to Fantasyland and knock out of of the classic dark ride attractions before the park closed, thinking the crowds had started to dwindle. We agreed to to Splash Mountain, and then would head to Fantasyland afterward.
Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan from this point forward. We entered the standby line, with only a ten minute wait, and we got boarded into the front of our log fairly quickly. The front of our log. I’m a fairly average guy in height and weight, and almost always end up in the back of the log, and have been able to brag that I don’t get wet on Splash Mountain. The first small drop of the ride broke that streak, and things got worse from there. I suspect I would have been drier if I had tried water skiing behind the Mark Twain Riverboat. Michelle was worse off than I was…she was wearing denim jeans versus my khaki shorts.
Once we exited the ride, we called a teeth chattering audible…hot chocolate from the kiosk in front of Haunted Mansion. This played to our advantage, as the second showing of Fantasmic had just begun, and there was no one in the area, so we were able to walk to the railing and enjoy the show.
Afterwards, we made a mutual decision, based on cold and tired, to call it a day an hour before the park closed. Fantasyland will still be there the next time I go to the park, missing it once is not the end of the world. As we walked down Main Street USA again, we were able to watch Paint the Night make its second pass up the street, with a decent crowd but not as packed as it was during the first showing. We entered a few stores, I bought some goodies to take home with me the next day.
Michelle and I then ended the day as we started it. We stopped in front of the Firehouse again to thank Walt for creating his park that created so many memories on this day, then stopped again at the Mickey floral for a few more photos before we headed off on our separate ways.
I want to thank Michelle for inviting me to spend the day in the park with her, and thanks to all of my podcast friends who met up with me while I was in the park for the day. It was great to see so many friends, and although we do see each other just once or twice a year, it is always a pleasure.
I thank you for taking the time to read this today. I ask you would please leave comments. You may contact me directly on Twitter @, and you may also subscribe to be alerted by email when new postings are published. Quest for Vault Disney is now on Facebook. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/questforvaultdisney. Have a great rest of your day. See ya real soon…