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Old 06-09-2013, 01:42 PM   #106
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So we all want to know what you wanted for lunch instead of Bengal Barbeque!
Before I get to my lunch, there's another land I need to cover. (But don't worry - I'll sneak some food into the next update, even if it's from our previous trip ).
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:30 PM   #107
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New Orleans Square - Monte Cristo Throwback

In the last update, I mentioned that DL's Pirates of the Caribbean isn't located in Adventureland. That's because DL's Pirates are swashbuckling away in a nearby land: New Orleans Square.



The exterior for Pirates in DL is subtler than the one in MK. MK's exterior (pictured below) simply screams "Pirates!", and I actually prefer the queue at MK. Those dark, ominous caverns perfectly set the mood for the attraction.



However, in almost every other way, DL's version is the stronger attraction. It feels twice as long as MK's, and your voyage begins in a calm Louisiana bayou (instead of starting directly with a grotto scene). After passing by a dinner party at a Southern Plantation and traveling down two waterfalls, you're fully immersed in a series of richly detailed coves and grottos (which MK basically lacks). Of course, MK originally wasn't supposed to have any Pirates at all, since we were going to get the more elaborate "Western River Expedition". But I digress.

One more thing - DL still has a parrot animatronic!



Back to New Orleans Square - as you'd probably expect, this land is basically the DL counterpart to Liberty Square. Both lands are located near the Rivers of America and are richly detailed. They're also home to another classic attraction: the Haunted Mansion!

I slightly prefer MK's version (shown below). The Northeastern, Gothic Revival architecture creeps me out more, and MK's mansion is on a hill, looming overhead as you approach the attraction. The ride itself has some minor additions (such as the staircase room and the piano scene).



DL's mansion looks like a Southern plantation and is creepy in its own way. Unlike MK's mansion, DL's is at ground level, and you enter through the front door. Another thing (I'm sure a lot of you know this): in the pre-show stretch room, MK's ceiling goes up, while in DL, the floor goes down (to get you underneath the train tracks).

One huge bonus for DL's mansion is Haunted Mansion Holiday, a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay in the fall and winter. I've never experienced it, but it's very popular, and it's something that might skew the "Mansion vs. Mansion" battle in DL's favor. Overall, though, both mansions are great.



Another similarity between New Orleans Square and Liberty Square is that both lands have popular dining options. Liberty Square has one of my favorite CS locations in MK - Columbia Harbour House. CHH has some lighter, seafood-based options, such as this grilled salmon dish (I got it with no couscous and extra broccoli).



Liberty Tree Tavern offers a Thanksgiving feast year-round for dinner (I won't comment on the quality, since we've never done it). For lunch, it offers several popular dishes, but my favorite is the relatively light Colony Salad (pictured here with the cheese and dressing on the side).



Liberty Square is also home to Sleepy Hollow, a snack stop that offers some of the most beloved treats in MK. Not only are funnel cakes and ice cream cookie sandwiches available, but also the new waffle sandwiches that nearly everyone raves about. I haven't tried them, but Disney Food Blog has some nice pictures of these creations.

You might be wondering, how do you top all that? It's surprisingly easy: beignets, jambalaya, gumbo served in bread bowls, non-alcoholic mint juleps, Monte Cristo sandwiches, a sit-down restaurant serving surf & turf, filet mignon, and rack of lamb, another sit-down restaurant offering crêpes and parmesan-topped pommes frites, and finally, the most exclusive Disney dining destination in the world. Well, that was a mouthful.

New Orleans Square is incredible. Not only is it the original home of the attractions discussed above, but it's also got some serious eats. To start, Blue Bayou is one of the most popular restaurants here. Remember how DL's Pirates attraction passes by a dinner party? Blue Bayou is the dinner party! This place is very similar to San Angel Inn at Epcot (in terms of atmosphere), but overlooking Pirates is way cooler than overlooking Gran Fiesta Tour.



We ate at Blue Bayou 5 years ago, and we felt that the atmosphere trumped the food. However, their current dinner menu (as of May 2013) looks very impressive. This is the restaurant that offers surf & turf, rack of lamb, and filet mignon for dinner.

If you're in the mood for something quick and hearty, Royal Street Veranda is a great stop. This is the place to find gumbo and clam chowder served in bread bowls.



The French Market is a counter service location with satisfying fare such as jambalaya and rice & beans. In addition, I absolutely loved the French dip sandwich when I had it 5 years ago. Here's the AllEars menu.



I'm sure by now, you've all heard about a 'secret' establishment on 33 Royal Street.



That's right - Club 33 is here and it lies beyond this unassuming door. I would love to see it one day, but for now let's just look at the door together.



So now you've gotten a taste of the rides and the food in New Orleans Square. But wait, there's more! The land is also full of incredible details and unique shops. Here's a relatively hidden area, the Court of Angels.



There's also a villain shop, Le Bat en Rouge (great name!). This pic is from our first trip, so I don't know what the current merchandise selection is.



Cristal d'Orleans



There's one prominent table service location I haven't gotten to yet: Café Orleans. That's because I have a food pic to share from our first Disneyland trip! This is basically a mini-review before I discuss my actual Disneyland lunch.



Café Orleans has an interesting menu, with sweet or savory crêpes, pommes frites, salads, sandwiches, and Mickey beignets. But I originally came here on a mission: to try the famous Monte Cristo sandwich. This sandwich includes sliced turkey, ham and swiss cheese. It's then battered, fried, and served with berry purée and powdered sugar.



This sandwich is legendary in the Disney food universe, and I'm glad I tried it. However, I wish someone had been there to split this dish with me. This dish was so heavy - I couldn't even finish two of the sandwich pieces. Plus, while I'm normally a fan of sweet and savory together, this was just too much (it felt like a dessert with ham and turkey). Overall, while I recommend trying it (especially if you share it with one or two people), the Monte Cristo is still the most decadent plate of food I never want to have again.

Here's a picture that helps put some of New Orleans Square in perspective. On the far left is the Pirates queue. Royal Street Veranda is in the center, and I believe Café Orleans is to the right. On the second story of the Pirates building is the Disneyland Dream Suite (you can see a curved staircase leading up to it). This picture also shows some of the great details in New Orleans Square, such as the beautiful wrought iron above Royal Street Veranda.



One more thing about New Orleans Square - this is the original home of Fantasmic! The show technically takes place on Tom Sawyer Island (Frontierland), but most of the viewing is in New Orleans Square. I've never seen the show here, but apparently it's much better than the one at DHS (which I've never been a huge fan of). I believe this is where the show takes place:



On this past trip, we actually didn't eat in New Orleans Square at all. But 5 years ago, this was my #1 spot. It's definitely a place that any WDW veteran needs to explore, but this time there were other places on my list. In particular, it was time to try a quick service location in another nearby land...

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Old 06-09-2013, 04:42 PM   #108
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More great review and pix! And you are right, that is where F! takes place. I've seen both and DLR is superior, even if the seating isn't as comfy.

Can't wait to hear where you ate.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:22 PM   #109
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More great review and pix! And you are right, that is where F! takes place. I've seen both and DLR is superior, even if the seating isn't as comfy.

Can't wait to hear where you ate.
Thanks for the info! I'd rather have an amazing show than comfortable seating, so DL's Fantasmic is the winner. I really need to see it next time, as well as the fireworks at DL (the one night I was going to see "Remember..." on our first trip, it was cancelled due to wind).
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:56 PM   #110
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I'm another fan that requests... no demands more not less non food related photos and review!! This is so awesome to see DLR through your photos and experience.

There are so many wonderful, fun and surprising elements for Indy... did you see the Eeyore sign in the room where the movie is playing? You really have to be at the very front of the line before your proceed around the corner to see it. Also, near the beginning of the queue inside the temple are some cool effects if you pull on the spears by the skulls. And the well in the center of the queue before you go into the room with the movie clip has some effects as well.

I love the MK HM a little better; however, the MK version of Pirates has nothing on DRL!! Two drops and a cool bayou to start - no competition!

Ahhh Bengal BBQ... just the smell of the grilling food and spicy sauces as you walk by makes your mouth water! Mmmmmm! That monte cristo is huge and delicious. Have you head of the pomme frittes at Café Orleans?? Amazing.

The Dream Suite balcony with the green railing in your photo of New Orleans Square leads from a secondary bedroom that was created with Walt's love of trains in mind. There is a toy train track that encircles the entire room with a scale train. Walt never lived to see this built but when I toured it the CMs said that it was used by Roy.

I'm going to stop myself from commenting on everything. (And yes, I did learn something... I didn't know the Tiki Room turns 50 this month.)

I wonder where you'll eat lunch???? Can't wait to see. My guess is Hungry Bear restaurant.

Great job Mr. DDW!!
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:15 AM   #111
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Have loved reading your review...love the combination of dining and everything else...makes me even more excited to be visiting Disneyland for my first ever trip in about 6 weeks time
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:49 AM   #112
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Love the reviews. Especially since we have never been to DL. It is really fun to see the photos.

Food looks great too!
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:40 PM   #113
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I'm another fan that requests... no demands more not less non food related photos and review!! This is so awesome to see DLR through your photos and experience.

I'll definitely keep including non-food pics.

There are so many wonderful, fun and surprising elements for Indy... did you see the Eeyore sign in the room where the movie is playing? You really have to be at the very front of the line before your proceed around the corner to see it. Also, near the beginning of the queue inside the temple are some cool effects if you pull on the spears by the skulls. And the well in the center of the queue before you go into the room with the movie clip has some effects as well.

Nope, I missed the Eeyore! I also didn't get to mess with any of the other queue props since I did single rider, but I remember those from my first trip. Very cool effects (while still blending in better than the interactive additions at WDW's Space Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, and Haunted Mansion queues).

I love the MK HM a little better; however, the MK version of Pirates has nothing on DRL!! Two drops and a cool bayou to start - no competition!

Agreed - any differences between the Mansions are relatively minor (besides the exteriors and Haunted Mansion Holiday), but DL's Pirates blows MK's out of the water!

Ahhh Bengal BBQ... just the smell of the grilling food and spicy sauces as you walk by makes your mouth water! Mmmmmm! That monte cristo is huge and delicious. Have you head of the pomme frittes at Café Orleans?? Amazing.

I've heard about the pommes frites but haven't tried them! They're just another thing to look forward to whenever we go back.

The Dream Suite balcony with the green railing in your photo of New Orleans Square leads from a secondary bedroom that was created with Walt's love of trains in mind. There is a toy train track that encircles the entire room with a scale train. Walt never lived to see this built but when I toured it the CMs said that it was used by Roy.

Very cool info about the Suite! I've seen pics of it (including yours when you included them in a report) and it looks incredible.

I'm going to stop myself from commenting on everything. (And yes, I did learn something... I didn't know the Tiki Room turns 50 this month.)

Be sure to head over to the Limited Time Magic event later in the month! Apparently they'll be handing out vintage Tiki Room brochures to annual passholders.

I wonder where you'll eat lunch???? Can't wait to see. My guess is Hungry Bear restaurant.

Good guess! I was considering it but ended up having lunch in Frontierland (Hungry Bear will be making an appearance eventually ).

Great job Mr. DDW!!
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Have loved reading your review...love the combination of dining and everything else...makes me even more excited to be visiting Disneyland for my first ever trip in about 6 weeks time
I really hope you enjoy your first trip to Disneyland! It's such a special place, and it has so much that you can't experience at WDW.

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Love the reviews. Especially since we have never been to DL. It is really fun to see the photos.

Food looks great too!
I'm so glad you're enjoying the reviews! DL is an awesome place, and I hope this report is helping people get to know it a bit.
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:55 PM   #114
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I am loving this virtual journey through Disneyland - please keep it up

Although some food pics would be nice too
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:12 PM   #115
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I am loving this virtual journey through Disneyland - please keep it up

Although some food pics would be nice too
I'm glad you're enjoying the DL journey!

As for food pics...I honestly wish we'd eaten more food so I had more to share! The Disneyland Park reviews are going to play out like a tour of the park because we each wanted food from different places (including dessert ). And the Monte Cristo wasn't even from this trip, but I had to include it anyway. Don't worry - there's definitely some good food coming up.
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:20 PM   #116
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Thanks for the info! I'd rather have an amazing show than comfortable seating, so DL's Fantasmic is the winner. I really need to see it next time, as well as the fireworks at DL (the one night I was going to see "Remember..." on our first trip, it was cancelled due to wind).
Our AP expire today so we are leaving shortly to go specifically to see the fireworks. My fingers are crossed there are no adverse wind conditions! The fireworks always make me tear up.

If I can talk my DM73 and DD 13 into trying The Cove, I want to eat there this evening. Been meaning to and your review just made me want to even more.

I would love to (finally) see WOC but with the times I'm not sure if we can do it and fireworks. WOC is at 9 and 10:15 and FW are 9:30. Getting to DL after the 9 WOC won't work but maybe we can do the 10:15. One of our favorite FW viewing areas is on Main St, towards Town Square. This is a good location for viewing if you want to leave right after-as soon as the finale goes off you turn and hustle to the exit. It's either that or what 1/2 hour for Main St. to empty. Don't hate me but I have yet to make it to WOC. Maybe tonight!
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:24 PM   #117
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Our AP expire today so we are leaving shortly to go specifically to see the fireworks. My fingers are crossed there are no adverse wind conditions! The fireworks always make me tear up.

If I can talk my DM73 and DD 13 into trying The Cove, I want to eat there this evening. Been meaning to and your review just made me want to even more.

I would love to (finally) see WOC but with the times I'm not sure if we can do it and fireworks. WOC is at 9 and 10:15 and FW are 9:30. Getting to DL after the 9 WOC won't work but maybe we can do the 10:15. One of our favorite FW viewing areas is on Main St, towards Town Square. This is a good location for viewing if you want to leave right after-as soon as the finale goes off you turn and hustle to the exit. It's either that or what 1/2 hour for Main St. to empty. Don't hate me but I have yet to make it to WOC. Maybe tonight!
Sorry to hear about your APs expiring. At least you're getting one more magical day out of the passes - I'd love to hear how it went (although not right now, since I assume you're still enjoying yourselves!).

The one time I almost saw DL's fireworks, I was standing in the hub waiting for the show. It was insanely busy, so your viewing location sounds like a much better alternative (especially if you want to make it over to DCA afterwards).

It sounds like the timing is tricky between the fireworks and World of Color. I really hope you get to see both! A stop at Cove Bar would be nice too, but obviously there's so much to see and do (and eat) that it wouldn't be possible to fit everything in. I'm sure you'll have a great time either way.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:08 PM   #118
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Frontierland - Rancho del Zocalo

As mentioned previously, we didn't actually stop for food in New Orleans Square. Instead, I decided to get my lunch in another land by the Rivers of America: Frontierland. There was a certain Mexican quick service location that I'd heard a lot about.



Rancho del Zocalo is another unique location to DL. Sure, MK has Mexican offerings at Tortuga Tavern (when it's open) and a high-capacity Frontierland eatery in Pecos Bill's, but I think Rancho del Zocalo has a better menu (and is more beautifully designed) than either of them. Here's a link to the AllEars menu.



I'm still surprised at how gorgeous and detailed Rancho del Zocalo is. My pictures don't do it justice, but the official Disneyland website has a ton of great photos in a slide show. Here's another one of my pics, with a glimpse at the expansive outdoor seating area.



I knew in advance that Rancho del Zocalo had fish tacos, and that's exactly what I wanted. The tacos are topped with cabbage slaw and chipotle-ranch sauce, and they're served with a side of rice and beans. While the fish tacos weren't as good as the ones I had at Cove Bar, they were still very tasty (and they came with lime wedges, which earns huge points from me). In addition, the hearty rice and beans were a satisfying side, and overall I'd have this dish again.



Here's one more picture I took while exploring Rancho del Zocalo. It's one of my absolute favorites, thanks to the real bird on the fountain.



Next up are some pics from Frontierland. Unlike MK's Frontierland (which has two headliner attractions), DL's only has Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Also, DL has two boats (the Sailing Ship Columbia and the Mark Twain Riverboat) instead of one, and the land isn't on the edge of the park - it partially borders Fantasyland and the hub.



Big Thunder Mountain has an interesting history. The area has actually been used for a train attraction since 1956: initially the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train, and then the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland. While the ride is no longer the leisurely, slow-paced attraction it once was, parts of the former attraction have survived. This includes some buildings from Rainbow Ridge, a small little town that you can see while in the Big Thunder Mountain queue (as well as from the ride).



Another interesting fact - while walking along Big Thunder Trail (the path that connects Frontierland to Fantasyland), I saw an interesting-looking tunnel (with train tracks on the ground) across a pond from Big Thunder Mountain. I thought nothing of it at first, but after conducting some research, I learned that this was once part of the track for Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland! I don't have a pic, but you can see the abandoned tunnel in this Disney Parks video.

Big Thunder Mountain has been closed since January for a lengthy refurbishment, including updates to Rainbow Ridge, brand new trains, and an all-new track. That means I didn't actually get to ride Big Thunder Mountain on this trip, and all these Big Thunder pictures are from 5 years ago. Still, I remember that the ride itself has some differences from MK's version (such as Coyote Canyon, where you hear the sounds of cackling coyotes as you rush through it). Also, the queue and load area are very different, with DL's being largely outdoors and open air. Overall, both Big Thunder Mountains are fun attractions, but the meticulous refurb and new trains will probably push California's ahead when it reopens.


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Old 06-11-2013, 12:13 AM   #119
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Another AWESOME update! Not to mention another solid lunch choice at one of my favorites! (Ok, so I was completely wrong in my guess!) I like that they will make a custom order at Rancho del Zocalo if you don't see anything you like on the menu. Did you see the dessert selections? (Tres leche cake is amazing!! Ask Linda67, we split one in April.)

Your Mark Twain Riverboat photo with BTMRR in the background is awesome.

I have seen that tunnel and tracks on the other side of BTMRR (by the pond with the fake fish) but didn't know the history. Good to know....another DLR history lesson for me.

Thanks for the heads up for the vintage Tiki Room brochures. I'll have to keep tuned in.

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Old 06-11-2013, 12:20 AM   #120
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Everything looks great! Rancho Del Zocalo is a personal favorite of mine. I always like the carne asada with enchiladas or the chicken sonora style burrito. They do such a good job at making a satisfying meal there. They also have the best tap water in the park there... Is it quirky that I noticed (or have an opinion at all)?
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