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Happy Haven: Mandara Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

We all know Disneyland Resort is the Happiest Place on Earth. But did you know that many people call the Mandara Spa the happiest spot inside the Happiest Place on Earth?

Mandara Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

After a long day walking the parks and riding attractions, you might also want to check out Mandara Spa atDisney’s Grand Californian Hotel. Like most of the magic at Disneyland Resort, it’s the little things at Mandara Spa that make all the difference. The greeters at the front desk are all smiles, and they’re happy to answer questions. The aromatherapy is soft and pleasant, adding to the relaxing atmosphere. Therapists utilize Balinese practices, massaging the left side of the body and then moving to the right to achieve optimal results.

Be sure to ask an attendant which treatment might be best for your sore spots. Attalia Alverdes, the new manager at Mandara, said the hot stone massage is very popular. The smoothly rounded stones are heated to just the right temperature to make knotted-up muscles give a big sigh of relief.

Mandara Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

Facials also are very popular at Mandara and it offers a wonderful selection. To test it out, I chose the “Visibly Brilliant Facial.” The therapist suggested this one after we had chatted about how I wanted to feel when I went home: relaxed and hydrated. I also recommend the scalp treatment and the seaweed wrap massage. Next time, I want to try the “Thai Poultice Massage.”

One surprise was also one of my favorite things: The therapists are trained to wash a guest’s feet at the beginning of each treatment. It’s not just to soothe feet that may have taken 10,000 steps that day; it’s the theory that clean feet are necessary for the body to fully relax.

I thanked the staff profusely for their service, but I never got to give them the best compliment possible: When I got home that evening, I still felt like I was floating on a cloud and I enjoyed one of the most restful night’s sleep in a long while.

Dylan McDermott Visits Disney California Adventure Park

Dylan McDermott Visits Disney California Adventure Park

Last Friday, Dylan McDermott visited Disney California Adventure park with his daughters Charlotte and Collette, to celebrate Charlotte’s seventh birthday. He made a quick stop on Buena Vista Street to check out the new Red Car Trolley, and made quite a fashion statement in his Conductor Mickey hat.

“We’ve been coming [to Disneyland Resort] for years – the girls get so excited,” he told me. “They know it’s the happiest place on Earth.”


How a Horse Becomes a Disneyland Horse: Getting Ready for the Show

We’ve already learned how a horse lands a job at the happiest place on Earth – so now we move on to how he gets ready for his role at Disneyland park.

Once the horse is selected, his education begins at Circle D Corral. The two newest horses at the corral, Owen and Gus, are learning the ropes right now. When they are finished, they will have gone through approximately three to six months of training to get show ready, to get to know the Circle D cast and to allow the cast to observe their progress and interactions.
“Training here is very progressive,” says Alan Cooper, Equine Trainer Leader at Circle D Corral, meaning that once a horse achieves a training goal, he moves on to the next level – and only when he’s comfortable with what is being taught. Once the new recruit learns all he needs to know at the corral, it is time to get used to working in the park. He starts with trips around the perimeter of the park, getting used to all the sights, sounds and movement of backstage activity. When he’s ready, it’s time for dress rehearsals on the big stage: Main Street, U.S.A.!

Disneyland Horses at the Circle D Corral

In the last post of this series, we’ll learn how the new cast member gets ready for his big debut in the park.

How Does a Horse Become a Disneyland Horse?

Disneyland park is a special place to work – even if you’re a horse. Have you ever watched the horses strutting along Main Street, U.S.A., and wondered how they got a job at the happiest place on Earth? Me too! So I asked Alan Cooper, Equine Trainer Leader at Circle D Corral.

When casting a new horse for a role at Disneyland park, “what we’re looking for is comfort,” said Alan, who has been at Circle D for more than 25 years. He said that the handlers will observe things like interaction and personality when “interviewing” a new horse to work in the park – they look for one that will be comfortable when surrounded by lots of people and activity.

Alan also looks for horses that have unique colors and other visual traits – things that will be noticed by guests and create conversation.

Roxy - Disneyland Horse

Roxy is a great example – in addition to her beautiful white coat and mane, she is also a blue ribbon winner at the L.A. County Fair International Draft Horse and Mule Show.

Next time, I’ll tell you how a new horse prepares for his role in the park.

Treat Yourself to a Halloween Transformation at Disney Parks

It’s hard to believe kids are already heading back to school or will be within the next month. Where did the time go? Which means one thing, Halloween is right around the corner. That’s why in the coming weeks Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller and I will be sharing some of the many “tricks” and “treats” that we have up our sleeves this year, as we debut some of the new Halloween merchandise set to hit store shelves at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Before we share all of these “boo-tiful” new items with you, here’s a quick reminder about some things to keep on your radar. If you are looking to scare up some fun this Halloween, then Mickey’s Halloween Party is the ticket. What better way to celebrate the season than to trick-or-treat throughout the ultimate Disney neighborhood, view Halloween Screams fireworks spectacular, meet some of your favorite Disney characters decked out in festive Halloween attire and enjoy many of your favorite Disneyland park attractions? The best part is – if you buy early, you save. Where will I be? First in line for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, of course.

Halloween Transformation at Disney Parks

With The Happiest Place on Earth about to get a little spookier, there’s only one question that remains … what look should you dress up as this year? And there’s no better place to start than with a transformation, especially for those of you thinking about becoming a Pirate or Pirate Princess. If you haven’t joined Jack’s crew yet, it’s time to climb aboard because The Pirates League ship has set sail. Reservations opened today! Of course, for our little princesses and valiant knights, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is brewing up something a little more be’witch’ing, while Studio Disney 365 is sure to give you a case of “Night Fright.”

What other Halloween costumes and goodies are coming your way this season? I guess you’ll have to wait and see … it will be a ghoulish delight!


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