"Geographically Challenged" Best Friends Meet Up In Disneyland! *May 5-8, 2010*
Hi. My name is Annette and I'm a Disney-vacation-a-holic. Yes, I've got issues. Don't we all. LOL
How this girls weekend came along is a bit of a story so stick with me:
I have a fabulous family of 5 who also LOVE all things Disney. Our last trip to Disneyworld was in December of 2009 and we had a fabulous time! (See the TR in my siggy if you're interested). Yet while at WDW we realized we all missed DL. DH and I both work wonderfully fulfilling but not wonderfully paying jobs (he's a police officer, I'm a preschool teacher) so we knew going to Disneyland was going to take us a few years to save up for.
I met my best friend Becky when she and I were pregnant with our youngest child. We each had 2 older boys of similar ages and were pregnant with our final child, which both were girls born less than a month apart. (Here's us back then. She's going to LOVE that I posted this fabulous pic. LOL Bek's on the left and I'm on the right.)
We love a lot of the same things, relate really well and have a great time together. People often mistake us for sisters because we look similar too. It's a bonus that our husbands and children like each other and we have had a great 10 year long friendship. Oh, and did I mention she loves Disney too?
2 years ago Bek's husband got a job in Arizona and they had to go. We've kept in touch through phone calls and have seen each other twice since then. It's been a tough time for her lately and she really felt the need to get away for some "me" time, so I came up with the idea of meeting in Disneyland. She was all for it and the scheming began.
The other part of this equation is the money aspect. As before mentioned, we're definitely not rolling in it and finding the finances was going to be an issue. But DH and I always take a little mad money from our tax returns to spend on something we want. He bought a gun, I bought a weekend in Disneyland!
Fair trade, right? Well, not entirely. He's actually rather sad not to be going and I'm rather sad he's not coming. But I also know I deserve a weekend away and Bek deserves one too.
So here's the plan:
I fly in on Wednesday, May 5 and we leave on the evening of Saturday, May 8.
The basic idea is to let it all go and just have fun. No schedule, which is soooo hard for an uber planner like me ... I want to plan but I also want to try relaxing it a bit so I'm letting it happen as it happens.
I'm flying JetBlue on Wednesday and Bek will pick me up at Long Beach Airport. We'll check into the Hojo, stash our stuff and then find a nice place for appetizers and drinks. This is our night to catch up and relax.
Thursday and Friday will be all Disney, all the time. We're going to catch Wishes Friday night and I hope the weather holds since it will be the only night we can catch it this trip and the last time I can catch it before it's replaced. Saturday will be our last few hours of Disney, as we leave for home Saturday evening.
What you can expect from us: who knows! Lots of pics (I LOVE photography!), lots of details and hopefully some fun to share with everyone. So stay tuned for the fun! 2 weeks and counting...
Dontcha love old pics? Sounds like a fabulous and relaxing trip.
I'm home from a fabulous girls weekend at Disney and have lots to report. I'm off to edit photos and then I'll be writing the trip report to go with them. See you soon with all the details!
Can't wait for the start of your report! :cool1:
Sounds like a great weekend! Can't wait to read your TR.
And so it begins. It hasn't really sunk in at all - the reality that I'm leaving behind my family and going to Disneyland alone. Well, not really alone since Becky is meeting me there, but without kids and a husband.
Alone is how I will describe the traveling though. Brian drove me to the airport and we got there very early, leaving us time to walk the airport and talk a bit before my flight. All too soon it was time to tell him goodbye and make my way through airport security. Saying goodbye was the hardest part. I hated leaving him behind and regretted not making this a couples weekend instead, a situation I will have to rectify in another trip. But for now, it's girls weekend and I have a plane to catch.
After airport security I walked to the gate and took a seat. I sat alone, reading my book (the second time I read "Wings" by Aprilynne Pike... a great book by the way). When it came time to board I waited... and waited... and waited. I was close to last on the plane. I didn't see any sense in rushing on the plane, as I didn't have kids to get seated and situated or a plethora of carry-ons to deal with. So I let the hoardes board and then did so myself. I sat alone, with an empty seat beside me. I didn't talk to my neighbor, just enjoyed my flight all alone.
I flew JetBlue and I was fairly impressed. I love that each passenger has their own TV. It makes the time pass so much more quickly! That would have been very helpful in our long cross-country flight to Disneyworld last year. The flight to California was short though, only 2 1/2 hours. The TV was still a nice perk though.
Upon arriving at Long Beach airport, I marveled at how TINY it was. Not just little but tiny. You walk out of the plane and descend the steps, then walk to the terminal. Even inside it's little and the baggage claim is outside of the airport. I will say that I much prefer the little airport travel, as there are no masses of people to contend with, no walking here and there to find what you need or exit the airport. I like that.
I waited in the beautiful, sunny California weather for my luggage, which soon arrived. I grabbed my large suitcase (which I WAY overpacked. LOL) then called Bek, who was waiting to pick me up. 2 minutes later she rounded the corner and parked right next to me. We hugged and squealed and smiled and were just so glad to see each other and to enjoy this adventure together. We loaded my suitcase and were on our way.
While flying I noticed that the airport was quite close to the beach. I'd never been to a California beach, so Bek and I did our first spontaneous thing - we decided to forego the drive to the hotel and find the beach instead! Thankfully Becky already had the streets figured out some and she knew the way there. We ended up at Seal Beach, where we both kicked off our shoes and walked in the sand. I thought the beach would be different there, but other than a bit warmer water and coarser sand it wasn't much different than Oregon beaches. We walked right along the waters edge, at times running away from and getting hit by the surf.
We stopped mid-walk to take a self-portrait of us on the beach. I grabbed my camera, turned it on, positioned it and snapped the shutter. Nothing happened. Nothing. I turn and look at the screen and almost immediately I know what's wrong - the memory card is still in my computer at home. DOH! I put it in the computer to empty it off and never put it back in the camera. Oh man, here I am on this beautiful beach (and soon to be at Disneyland) and I have no memory card! We know then that the beach is done and we head back to the car and towards the hotel, looking for a store along the way where I can buy a memory card. We did luck out and found a Target on the way, where I bought a memory card on sale and some Pop Chips (YUMMMMM.... these are my new faves).
We made it quickly to our hotel. The Hojo was very nice. First and foremost, you can't beat the price we got. Their Entertainment Book rate can't be beat... seriously. We paid less in 2 nights there than 1 night at another hotel. And I always love a good deal. The beds were soft and comfy, with lots of pillows. The grounds were beautiful, with trees and flowers all along the walkways. We could open our patio door and smell the honeysuckle. It was pretty fabulous. However, we were clear back in Bldg. 2, the farthest building from the parks. So each day we had about an extra block of walking... not a big deal for us but it would have been harder for the kids, who get dog-tired after walking the parks all day. But our room did look out on the pool and we didn't hear any noise from the freeway, so it worked out in that sense. The other negative was our super loud air conditioning unit. After the 2nd night, when it startled me out of sleep several times during the evening and finally woke me up for good at 6am, I did complain. They sent someone up to fix it and while it wasn't much quieter, it also didn't wake me up the next night.
By now it was 7:30pm and we were famished! We headed straight for nearby Mimi's restaurant, which was pretty packed. We did offer to sit at the bar though and sat right down. We ordered some garlic fries, which we DELICIOUS! We shared those and an order of chicken strips. Oh, and you can't forget the drinks... a sweet strawberry margarita for me and a screwdriver for Bek. They make them strong, so she didn't finish hers (wimp!) but I thoroughly enjoyed mine. We talked and munched fattening foods and just had a grand time catching up.
After dinner we really didn't have much to do. We knew we were getting up early in the morning for Magic Mornings so we decided to head back to the room. We talked and talked and talked some more, unpacked and got ready for our week. We headed to bed at a pathetically early time (I think it was 10:30pm. LOL) and set our alarms so we could be ready for Disneyland tomorrow!!!
I purposefully didn't uber-plan (as I am sooooo accustom to doing) this trip, deciding that with just the 2 of us we could be flexible and do what we wanted when we wanted to do it. But I did just enough research to know that you get one Magic Morning with a 3-day park hopper ticket. So we got up early, planning to be at the gates by 8:30 to take advantage of the 9am Magic Morning.
Bek and I dressed in our matching Mickey shirts that she'd picked up at the Disney Store (imagine, someone who's crazy enough to wear a matching shirt with me and not complain about it! LOL). I'm not a big breakfast eater, so I snacked on a granola bar then we left our room by 8am. The walk to Disneyland was wonderful and we were so excited to be on our way!
As we passed under the pedestrian archway onto Disney property I had to pause for this picture. We were finally here!!!
First stop was at the ticket booths so I could trade my "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" pass in for a my free ticket. Then it was on to a 2nd ticket window so I could upgrade my 1-day ticket to a 3-day ticket. That took a little time, but we still made it to the ticket windows by 8:40. We waited in line and finally made our way up to the turnstyles. They scanned my ticket and it didn't go through. That's when I was informed that not all 3-day tickets have Magic Morning and since my ticket didn't say it, I didn't have it. DOH! Really? Bek's ticket had the same issue, so no magic morning for us. :(
We only had an hour before the park opened to the public and it really wasn't worth it to walk back to our hotel then turn around and walk back to the park. Instead we decided to walk Downtown Disney to see what it had to offer. Unfortunately, most of it was closed and didn't open until park opening time, which was 10am. We window-shopped and peeked in at some of the more exciting looking stores. Unfortunately, we never really found time to come back to Downtown Disney this trip. But at least we got to walk through.
In no time at all we were at the other end of Downtown Disney. Right outside the Disneyland Hotel was this... I just had to take pics.
Then we turned back around and walked towards the parks again. Would we finally get in???
By the time we got back to the park entrances it was 9:40 and they were letting people into the parks. We looked at the line for Disneyland, then at the line for Disney's California Adventure. We decided to take the shorter line... so into DCA we went. Now, I knew that the attractions didn't open until 10am, but that they do open Soarin' earlier than that, so we snuck that way and got on our first ride.
It was nearly a walk-on and the perfect start to our vacation! I absolutely love that ride!
Next we headed to Paradise Pier to ride another favorite, California Screamin'. This HUGE rollercoaster is the best on Disneyland property, in my opinion, and is my 2nd favorite of all Disney rides (first being the awesome Rock'n'Rollercoaster in Disneyworld). The line was super-short and we were on within 10 minutes. While I loved the ride, I quickly remembered a lesson I learned in Disneyworld - don't ride the coasters so early in the morning! I felt ill! I knew in 5 minutes I would be fine, but for now my tummy was doing the flip-flops. This wasn't an issue until our WDW trip in 09, so I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or what, but I don't like this ill feeling.
We walked around Paradise Pier for a few minutes and I started to feel better. Since we were here we decided to do the Maliboomer. We were seated nearly instantly and then sat there just waiting for the moment when they would sling us into the air. This ride is so fast! And while I loved it, I also instantly felt ill again. And I was feeling really ill. Too much, too quick. But it was a blast anyways.
Next up was something a little more tame... Mickey's Fun Wheel. This is a huge Ferris wheel type ride with a twist. Some cars are stationary and some are on tracks that roll around as the wheel turns. You had the choice of which one you wanted and I knew there was only one I could handle at the moment. We got in the line for the stationary cars and waited about 5 minutes before getting on. (I must admit, I was the annoying person who made the ride wait for 20 seconds so the cast member could take our photo on the ride. Good thing, as it's one of my fave pics of us this whole trip!) (That's Becky on the left and me on the right.)
It was the right choice - calm and serene and a great way to relax and feel better. It was beautiful from way up there... you could see all the attractions, the work on the new "Cars Land", the view of the city around us, the top of Grizzly River Rapids and the hotels on the strip behind the parks.
Next up was another serene ride - the Golden Zephyr. We walked right on and lazily rode it around chatting with one another and just enjoying the ride.
We were both famished and feeling much better after those serene rides so we headed to nearby Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, where we got kids meals. It was perfect. Supper yummy chicken soft tacos with rice and fruit - just the right amount of food and exactly what we needed right now.
Feeling full and happy we continue our way through the Golden State Area and to A Bugs Life. Aren't we just gorgeous in our bug glasses? LOL
Becky remembers going on this with her daughter Kayli when she was little and how it feaked her out. Well this time it was my turn to freak out. Freaked out probably isn't the word for it, startled is more like it. There's a part when bees come around and all of a sudden I felt a sharp poke in the back. It was just an effect of the show but I'm a little sensitive when it comes to bees so I jumped and yelled. Bek just laughed at me and all too soon I was laughing at myself. :)
Things were getting goofy and they were bound to get goofier. Stay tuned...
Great report so far! How fun that you had a getaway! California Screamin' made me feel like that in the middle of the afternoon :sick: and I loved Rockin' Roller Coaster! Go figure.
That's VERY weird/annoying about your tickets not having Magic Morning...I thought ALL 3-day tickets had it, except for some military tickets that are offered. :scared1: Have you posted about that experience on the main board? I know I and others have been advising people that if they upgrade their GAD to a hopper they can get Magic Morning...if that's not the case, people will need to know.
I'm glad you tried to make the best of it and got to do some exploring, though. :)
I am enjoying your DL trip report so far. How nice for 2 good friends to get together and spend some quality time. I am going this November with my 21 yr old son for some quality time and am so excited I don't know how I'll last. :banana: He is my Disney nut in my family. We are looking forward to exploring every nook in the park. And riding Space and ToT as much as we can:love:
I went to DW and spent some quality time with my sis last December. In fact... I just read your DW trip report, and remember that horrible flight out of Denver... I was one of the folks who boarded in Denver. :rotfl2: Yep, we were on the same plane!! what a Small World (pun intended). In fact, we were also in AK on the rainy day. Riding EE with the rain hitting our faces. And Primeval Hurl. I was the one screaming at the top of my lungs! That is more scary than EE for me. I don't like feeling like we are going off the edge of the track.
It was miserable that day, wasn't it? On the other hand, the park sure was pretty empty.
We were there until the 9th. I bet we walked by each other a couple of times. Well, back to DL. Looking forward to reading more and seeing more pics.
On our way to our next ride we saw Goofy in a back corner of Hollywood Pictures Backlot. There was just one couple waiting to see him so we decided now was the chance. When it was our turn we got up there and hugged Goofy, who thought it would be insanely funny to start leaning from one side to the other. Back and forth we go, as a cast member is attempting to take pictures. And Goofy wasn't letting up a bit, tipping back and forth. He certainly made us smile. :)
Next up was a quick pit stop for a ride on Monsters, Inc. There was literally no wait for this ride - in line and on a car we went. Love it!
We headed to Disney Animation, a place I knew I would love because it has one of my all-time favorite Disney attractions - the Animation Academy. It was nearly noon and another academy was about to start. Becky had never done this, so it was a first for her. And I must say that she loved it almost as much as I did! Our Disney Animator taught us how to draw Winnie the Pooh. It was the first time I learned how to draw anything other than Mickey and it was fast-paced but fun. Both ours came out looking pretty good. I wish we'd thought to take pictures of us with our drawings when we did them, but we didn't so this later photo will have to work. Here's my take on Pooh...
Another thing Bek had never seen was Turtle Talk with Crush. I think this show is so cute... different with no kids maybe but I guess we'd have to find out. We got in the queue and about 3 minutes later a cast member comes to tell us that the show has been cancelled. Darn. Oh well, off to Aladdin then...
We had about 30 minutes before showtime and we just barely made it into the line for the orchestra seating. When they finally let us in we ended up in the 2nd row of the 2nd section of seats - not a bad seat. The show started and it was fabulous! This is a top-rate show, just as good as any Broadway production. The Genie was HILARIOUS! He had us laughing so many times. Then halfway through the show the sound system quits working. And a minute later we hear "This show of Aladdin has been cancelled." Seriously?!? Halfway through the show and they leave us hanging! And 2 cancelled shows in a row? This stinks!!! Oh well, at least we have 2 more days to make it back here for another showing.
After the disappointment at Aladdin we decide to head out of California Adventure and finally make our way into Disneyland! We decided to look through the "Greetings From California" store first, where Bek and I found these hilarious Alice in Wonderland hats. They were too funny and we couldn't resist putting them on. A cast member came over and offered to take our photo. Don't we look fab? (Unfortunately, she shot a blurry pic but I love it anyways!)
By now our little lunch is catching up with us so we head towards Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream for some waffle cones. The line looks a little long and Bek finds a bakery with espresso in it. She opts for an ice coffee and I opt for a Mickey head from the ice cream cart. Yummy!!! Mickey head ice creams are a must-have for any Disney trip. And what do you know, another photopass photographer is taking pics on the way out. I request she take a photo with our camera and she complies, shooting the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. See our sweet treats? YUM!
Finally, it's time for Disneyland!
Finally, it's time for Disneyland! They let me in this time, since it's no longer Magic Morning (can you tell I'm still grumpy about that?) and we head straight up Main Street. One look at the castle and I get a little thud-thud in my heart. *sigh* I love that sight... but then a part of me says "It's so TINY!". It is... it's tiny. Dinky. Such a little castle. Sleeping Beauty's castle is beautiful but it's nowhere near as grand as Cinderella's castle in Disneyworld.
Anywho, up Main Street we go heading for Tomorrowland and Space Mountain. Unfortunately it's down at the moment so we stop nearby at the re-released, circa 1985 3D show "Captain EO", starring Michael Jackson. This show is cheesy and so 80's that we love it! We can't help but laugh at the "special effects" and the "3D effects" (which are pretty non-existent, though you wear 3D glasses). Despite it's ridiculous and cheesy nature, it's so funny that it's actually great. We both enjoyed it!
We slipped over to see if Space Mountain had opened back up and it had. We rushed right in, while there wasn't a wait. I forgot how long the Space Mountain queue is at Disneyland! At Disneyworld it's inside, up some ramps and around then you're there. At Disneyland it's up a big ramp, around and around outside in the blazing sun, then inside for more around and around. We waited a bit for this ride - maybe 10 minutes - but that's not much to complain about. Space Mountain at Disneyland is fabulous! For some reason, I like it better than the DisneyWorld version. Can't pinpoint why, but I do.
We were starting to slow down by now but wanted to head to the other end of the park. What better way than to grab the train? We got to the station and were soon off on the Disneyland Railroad. Bek had never been on it so this was another first for her. What neither of us realized is that there is a whole dinosaur display between Tomorrowland and Main Street that you can't see unless you're on the train. I don't remember seeing this before! It was pretty neat.
The train stopped at Main Street, where we stayed on and I snapped this photo...
Then we headed to the New Orleans Square station, where we disembarked and made our way to Splash Mountain. We decided to try the single-rider line, which was such a time saver! We were the only ones in the line and were seated in empty seats within a few minutes. I was not impressed with the Disneyland version of Splash Mountain. Let's be honest - the reason I love Splash is because of the big drop but the drop at DisneyWorld is way better! Nonetheless, we rode and had a good time, only ending up a little wet. Kudos to Bek for riding this with me, as she really didn't want to... dropping without a seatbelt isn't her favorite thing. ;) Of course the Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah song was stuck in my head the rest of the day - the price we pay for riding Splash Mountain!
After leaving we hightailed it over to the Haunted Mansion, almost passing it by because we couldn't find a wait-time sign. We decided to give it a try and the line really wasn't very long. I took this pic of a dusty old chandelier in the queue but really didn't have time for more as the line was moving quickly.
I do have to remember the secret to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion stretching room. I'm trained for Disneyworld, where you stand under the lady with the parasol, the you're the first out of the room and into the line for the ride. In Disneyworld standing under the lady with the parasol will ensure that you are LAST in the queue, as the hidden door is under the picture exactly opposite the parasol lady. Live and learn...
We continued along New Orleans square and to Pirates of the Carribean. This was a walk-on too, even in the middle of the day. We hit it just right though because as we were getting off we noticed the line was much longer. Score!
After Pirates we headed into Adventureland for Indiana Jones. The sign said 30 minutes so we decided to try single-rider. Holy moly, is it a long walk back there! We walked, and we walked, and we walked. The single-rider line was empty so they just merged us with the regular line up near the ride. We forgot to give them our single-rider passes when we went to get on so we ended up together. After the ride it was another long trek out of there. Despite the decent ride we never went back... we decided the walk wasn't worth it. LOL
By now we were getting tired from all the walking so peruse the shops a little and then stop off at the Enchanted Tiki Room.
Bek's never been here before either. (I feel like I'm saying that a lot today, but her kids just like the rides and her husband isn't fond of the shows so she hasn't done some of these things before, despite 1 trip each to Disneyland and Disneyworld.) I must admit that this isn't the best specimen of a Disney show and Bek was less than impressed. I, on the other hand, enjoyed it more than the ridiculous "Tiki Room, Under New Management" show at Disneyworld. Not that I'm keeping track (though maybe I ought to be) but another point for Disneyland.
After the show Bek and I were getting hungry so we decided to hit a restaurant I remember from our last trip to Disneyland as a family in 2006. I had to search a bit for it but finally found the Stage Door Cafe. I remember our family sitting down to save a place for the parade and fireworks. I walked over to the Stage Door Cafe and brought back mounds of chicken strips, fries and yummy mozzerella strips for us to eat. Those mozzerella strips were fabulous and I still remember the yummy looking funnel cakes that I never had a chance to eat. Well, we hit Stage Door Cafe only to find out that you have to wait 10 minutes for Mozzarella sticks. No worries, we were in no hurry and I had yummy memories of our last ones so I waited. Bek got chicken strips and we both got big sodas to cool us down. My mozz sticks finally came and they were nowhere near as good as I remember... they didn't even look the same. Ugh! I ate a few and Bek shared a few chicken strips with me. The rest went in the trash. And no, I never did get my funnel cake. :(
I did want to share this picture I took today too. It shows how beautiful of a day it was. Gorgeous!
After eating we walked towards the castle in an attempt to finally get some pictures in front of it. I marveled again at how small it was! It is soooooo tiny, at least compared to the castle I saw at Disneyworld just 5 months before. A point for Disneyworld here.
The day is wearing on and it's about 6pm. We decide to hit the marvelous Matterhorn and get in line. The line is deceptively short. We end up waiting about 20 minutes to get on, one of our longest waits the entire trip. Bek and I decide sitting in each others lap is a bit too cozy for us so we opt for our own seats. Maybe that was our pitfall? Either way this ride had us slipping and slidding in our seats, despite the pitiful seatbelts. I attempted to take pics on the way, capturing these...
When we get off the Matterhorn Bek and I are both hashed. We both feel like crap from the ride, we both have headaches and we both are in need of some meds, which neither of us brought. Now's the time to find the first aid station. We toddle our way there, feeling not-so-happy in the happiest place on earth. Thankfully the first aid station has Advil, which we both down along with some water. That's when we realize that we've both drank 2 sodas today and exactly zero waters. No water=headache. Sweet way to end the day.
Since it's about 7pm now and the park will soon be closing we decide to just head back to our hotel. There is no way that we're going to jump on any more rides today. We do peruse the stores on our way out but the hoardes of people that crowd them at end-of-day put us off. We end up just heading out and back to our hotel. We contemplate going out and doing something but neither of us are into it. Back to the room where we try to turn on the TV (which doesn't work), hang out and read books.
One of my friends from book club has just arrived with her daughters, who go to my preschool. She walks them outside of our room and I yell "Hello Addison, Hello Kaylie" to them from our balcony. They're surprised to see me in Disneyland, as the whole trip was a surprise to them and they didn't expect their teacher here too. It's nice to see them and the excitement they have for their first day at Disneyland tomorrow.
By 10pm we are both really winding down. We call our families and head to our comfy, soft, big empty beds pathetically early. A good nights sleep is on the way... or is it???
Your TV didn't work?! :scared1: I don't know; if I were with someone I hadn't seen in a while I guess that could be a mixed blessing but still! :confused3
It sounds like you had an overall great time in Disneyland! Sorry about your headaches, though. :( I tend to get dehydrated too, and have to go out of my way to drink a lot of water.
I have heard (whether it's true or not) that Walt actually WANTED a smaller castle in Disneyland, because in the old days lords would use large castles to intimidate the peasants. So that helps me appreciate DL's mini-castle more. :)
Your chandelier picture is particularly nice!
(I don't really enjoy the Matterhorn either; it's just too bumpy and I don't like to lap-sit; it's possible but a tight squeeze, and since I don't have a boyfriend... :flower3: They are currently working on prototypes for new sleds that would house 6 people total (no lap-sitting). That would of course change the whole feel of the classic attraction, but I think they would also make the ride more comfortable for more people. The new suspension in those new cars might also help alleviate the bumpiness.)
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