Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Disneyland's Popcorn Machine Crankers

Fun little surprises in life add much, and Disneyland is a master at providing these magical extras that add up wonderful experiences and memories.

A personal favorite of mine are the miniature figures 'making' your popcorn by cranking a 'steam engine'. This design fits nicely into the steam train history of the park.

The little figures are only found in carts at Disneyland, alas, they do not make an appearance at Disney California Adventure. The figures fit with the theming of the land in which they appear and I managed to find five of them on a recent visit, although I understand there are several more. Popcorn remains a top choice for reasonably priced Disneyland snacks, and is without fail hot and delicious. Give it a try!

Can you guess where you might find the following?

I call this fella the honorary 5th Dapper Dan
Clowns are scary and should be banned...even at Disneyland
The Rockawho?
Hold onto your head while the hunter's around
I'd rather see Jack than the slimy Oggie

On my next visit, I'll attempt to find more and update this page.





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Walt Disney World Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake Recipe ~ My Take

Earlier on I shared how I fared duplicating The Grey Stuff recipe, so I thought I may as well try to make the delicious Brown Derby classic; Grapefruit Cake.

Following is the 'official' recipe.

 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs (separated)
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into mixing bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add water, oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice, and lemon rind.
Beat until smooth. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar separately, until whites are stiff but not dry.
Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over whites, folding gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir the mixture. Pour into an ungreased pan (pan size was not specified so I used a 9 inch round).
 Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger.
Invert pan on cake rack until cool. Run spatula around edge of cake and carefully remove from pan. With a serrated knife, gently cut layer in half.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
6-8 drops yellow food coloring
1 one pound can grapefruit sections, well drained
Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Beat cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice and rind. Gradually blend in sugar. Beat until well blended. Add food coloring. Crush several grapefruit sections to measure 2 teaspoons. Blend into frosting.
Spread frosting on bottom half of cake. Top with several grapefruit sections.
 Cover with second layer of cake. Frost top and sides. Garnish with grapefruit sections. Instead, of this I dried a slice of grapefruit to more closely duplicate the way this is served at The Brown Derby.

As you can see in the 'mine' and 'theirs' photos, the actual cake served is four layers and has a pretty orange glaze. Did they make the cake smaller and cut it to make 4 layers or is it actually two cake recipes? No telling. My take looks similar and the flavor is close. This is a tasty cake, and if you can find a suitable glaze recipe, would have a just as pretty presentation.












Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Five Best Economical Disney Souvenirs...That Won't Get Thrown Away or Outgrown

You've saved and planned and off you go to Disney. Of course, you must have souvenirs to commemorate your trip! Pictures are the absolute best souvenirs, and are free to boot, but the following five don't cost much and are an easy way to start a collection to remind you of great trips through the years.

Antenna Toppers
Those cute things you stick on your antenna are everywhere in the parks and new ones constantly show up. Maybe you don't even have an antenna or, like me, are tired of even super glued toppers disappearing, so have been passing these by. Don't! Bring them home and put the toppers on sticks of some sort to display as a stylish Disney bouquet.
Pressed Pennies
Although this should actually read 'Pressed Money' since you can now press quarters as well, this little goodie started out with pennies. You can find these machines tucked away in the corners of stores and in resorts, and it's fun to make your own souvenirs in just a few seconds. Some of these end up being limited as machines come and go featuring a year or character, so you never run out of new machines to discover. You may buy little folders to store your pennies, or come up with more creative ways to display them, such as drilling holes in them and joining them together in a bracelet.
Collector Pin
You can't throw a churro in a park without hitting a pin store, cart, or display, and those that are serious collectors would never utter that this was an economical hobby. However, if you commit to buying ONE special pin per trip, and not get sucked into the trading craze, you can turn the search for the perfect pin into a memory in itself.
Collector Park Packs
Who doesn't like grab bags? These little bags have three tiny figurines inside, and you don't know what you're going to get until you open them. They don't cost much to begin with, and I often see deals where you receive a savings if you buy multiple packs. Those who are old enough to remember Disneykins will have a sense of deja-vu and find themselves drawn to these tiny treasures.

The winner and long time champion in this category remains the Silhouette. Hand snipped by artists on Main Street, one price gives you 2 to keep and one to share. Make this an annual tradition or to highlight special events. I love these so much I did an entire blog piece on them. Find it here.

Of course I've left out many other great choices, such as plush, Vinylmation, Ear Hats, Ornaments and so much more, but for me, these five squeak out on top.