Solo trip 25-28 October
Hi everyone! I made a solo trip to Disneyland and DCA two weeks ago and had an amazing time there - and am now doing a trip report so I can hopefully relive some of the magic!
Bit of background about me: I'm in my twenties, and I really love theme parks and all things Disney. I last visited a Disney park two years ago (Hong Kong), but haven't been to Disneyland for 15 years (since I was a child)! So I was both apprehensive and looking forward to seeing Disneyland from the perspective of an adult this time. Especially since this would also be my first time visiting a theme park by myself...
Table of Contents
Before the trip and trip planning
Day 0: Getting there...
Day 1: Disneyland/DCA with Soundsational and WOC
Day 2: Mickey's Halloween Party
Day 3: A non-stop 16 hours in Disneyland/DCA...
Day 4: And a morning in Disneyland/DCA
Before the trip and trip planning
How this trip came about: I was going to be in San Francisco and the call of Disneyland was too strong to resist (I live near London so it would normally be an 11 hour flight to LAX)!
Before I booked anything I read extensively about Disneyland and DCA over here (and at the other Disneyland forums and blogs). All of which made me very excited, and also meant that I picked up lots of tips/tricks to maximising my time in the parks!
Booked Southwest for SFO-SNA-SFO. Must admit I was surprised how Southwest had free checked baggage whereas United and other full service carriers were charging for checked bags (complete opposite of over here with the low cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet charging for checked bags while they are free with the full service carriers)! Also pleasantly surprised by how there weren't any hidden fees with Southwest.
I booked my hotel through booking.com. Unfortunately I left this a little too late so had a limited choice of hotels. Ended up booking the Best Value Astoria on West Ball Road, which was a little further away from Disneyland than I wanted but was great otherwise.
Mickey's Halloween Party during my trip was on 26 October. I bought a ticket for this online a few weeks before, mainly because of all the threads here about various dates selling out! And it was a good thing I booked it when I did as well as 26 October sold out about 2 days after I booked...
Also bought my Disneyland tickets online through Disneyland.com - a 3-day park hopper.
I had decided to book the Fantasmic dessert seating for the 10.30pm show on 27 October (Saturday). Called up the hotline and gave them my card details. Was told that the transaction wouldn't go through! Called my bank (based in the UK) the next day and found that they had blocked my card because of "suspicious activity", as the Fantasmic transaction was US-based (and over the phone? - as didn't have a problem with the MHP ticket). Not great for me, but gave me faith in my bank's suspicious activity monitoring. Asked them to unblock my card and told them I would be travelling to the US so would have US-based transactions. Called to book the Fantasmic dessert seating again a couple of days later. Gave them my card details. And the same thing happened again - cue calling my bank and asking them to unblock my card. Gave up on booking the Fantasmic dessert seating...
Signed up for Ridemax before my trip and played around a lot with the ride plans before I left. However all my well-crafted plans went out of the window when I got to the parks...
Looking forward to reading more :thumbsup2
Subscribed - looking forward to hearing more :thumbsup2
I would love to hear more! I've done WDW a few times solo, but I haven't yet done DL... but it is always a possibility!!!
Day 0: Getting there...
It's been a while since I last updated - got distracted by a solo trip to Disneyland Paris in the meantime! To continue...
So it was a rather long journey to get to Anaheim for me as I live in the UK. Also turned out to be rather stressful because of flight delays (my first flight was delayed by more than 2 hours, but my connecting flight was also delayed so still managed to make it!).
Flew into SNA, which is really a very pleasant airport and very easy to navigate. I did need to ask people where the Supershuttle station was though as I couldn't understand what Supershuttle meant by them being "located on the 3rd island, which is the outer most island from the terminal"...
I had pre-booked the Supershuttle so it was just a matter of waiting for the next shuttle (about 15 minutes), getting on the van and heading to the hotel (Best Value Astoria on West Ball Road).
By the time I got to the hotel it was around 9pm - more than 24 hours since I'd left my house (and also 5am in the UK) - so promptly fell asleep in anticipation of an early Magic Morning the next day!
Day 1: Disneyland/DCA with Soundsational and WOC
I woke up bright and early on my first day on Thursday - partly due to jet lag, and partly due to the excitement of going to Disneyland!
Walked from the hotel to Disneyland, which was quite a pleasant 15-20 minute walk. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, warm, sunny, with the most amazing clear blue skies! It was such a change from England which had really gloomy weather when I left...
Got to the gates just around 8am for Magic Morning. There was already a massive crowd of people waiting to get in...
Also - Disney pumpkins just about the gates of Disneyland! Very appropriate for the Halloween season...
The queues to get into the park moved quite quickly, so it wasn't long before I was in Disneyland itself!
The last time I went to Disneyland in Anaheim was about 17 years ago, before DCA. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, until I set foot on Main Street and realised that it felt so very familiar - because all the Magic Kingdoms around the world have a similar layout! And it was very similar, but at the same time also very different...
Ridemax didn't cover Magic Morning. However they provided a list of suggested rides to do during Magic Morning - and keeping that in mind, I went on Peter Pan first.
Peter Pan: This ride seemed identical to the one in Disneyland Paris. I really do like this ride, especially with the bit where you get to soar over London! :) Because it was Magic Morning, the queue time was also very short - probably about 10 minutes.
I then made my way through the Fantasyland rides, going on Mr Toad, Pinocchio, Alice and Teacups.
Towards the end of Magic Morning, I passed by Finding Nemo and found that it only had a 10 minute wait. Given all that I'd heard about how this ride had horrendous queues, I decided that this was probably my best chance to take the ride. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a very long ride, and I found myself rather bored a couple of minutes into the ride. Thankfully I hadn't queued up for an hour for the ride!
But all in all, it was a very successful Magic Morning - just managed to fit in so many rides during that first hour because the queue times were just so short! :)
By the time I got off Finding Nemo, it was already 9.15am. According to my Ridemax plan, I was supposed to be somewhere in Frontierland - halfway across the park. As Space Mountain (right next door) had only a 5 minute wait, I decided to abandon the Ridemax plan for the rest of the morning...
Space Mountain: Much, much tamer than the version at Disneyland Paris. But still fun (just in a different way). I'm not sure I liked the Ghost Galaxy overlay that much though...
Got a Fastpass for Star Tours, went on Buzz Lightyear (which is pretty much identical to the one in Disneyland Paris), and went on the Matterhorn.
Matterhorn: I was quite looking forward to taking this ride, as I don't remember it from my last visit to Disneyland such a long time ago, and it doesn't exist in any of the other Magic Kingdoms. It was nice to take it because it was unique to Disneyland, and there were some nice scenes during the ride. However it was a really jerky ride, and the seats were very uncomfortable - I really can't imagine what it must have been like before the recent refurb! Decided once was enough and avoided the Matterhorn for the rest of my trip...
Went back to the hub, and came upon one of the horse drawn streetcars! Took it back to the entrance of the park.
At this point, I park hopped over to DCA. Wanted to make a reservation for a World of Color lunch at Wine Country Trattoria, but it wasn't open yet, so went around DCA first.
Soarin' over California: Single rider line came in very handy for this! This is such a fantastic ride/show (can't decide which one it is), and really felt like I was soaring. The only way I could tell that I wasn't actually moving was if I looked to the side and saw the part where the screen ended (was seated at the side). It is also a very good advertisement for California!! I just wish they had a similar ride at Disneyland Paris...
The Paradise Pier area of DCA is beautiful, and the clear blue skies made everything seem so pretty!
California Screamin': Amazing. Walked straight on to the ride, and it was just so much fun! The fun started with the launch (it is a launched roller coaster), and just continued with the various ups and downs and the one inversion - I believe it is the only ride in Disneyland Resort that goes upside down! It is also a very nice long track and very satisfying to ride. On my third or so ride during my time in DLR, I realised that the guy doing the voice-overs sounded familiar - asked a CM and turned out that the voice-over guy was Neil Patrick Harris!
Walked around Paradise Pier.
And stopped at Goofy's Sky School.
Goofy's Sky School: Not really a fan of this ride. It was very tame, but the continual twists and turns just felt very jerky. Would much rather ride California Screamin' instead!
Got my reservation for lunch at Wine Country Trattoria, then went back to Disneyland to Tomorrowland...
... as I had a date with my favourite robots (Star Tours Fastpass).
Star Tours: The last Star Tours ride I had taken was in Disneyland Paris a few years ago. Disneyland Paris still has the old version of Star Tours, which is narrated exclusively in French. And as I don't speak French, it means that I missed out on the storyline when I took the ride! So I was very much looking forward to taking the new version of Star Tours, in English, and it really didn't disappoint. Very well done, Disneyland! And also love how there are so many different variations to the ride... Also later found the most amazing Disneyland and Star Tours advertisement ever - Darth Vader goes to Disneyland! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4_dZPVg8KI
Next, I went to have a ride on the "wildest ride in the wilderness" - Big Thunder Mountain! I was disappointed on my first ride on BTM, possibly after the excitement of California Screamin'... However I subsequently took BTM a few more times during my time at DLR, and I grew to really like the ride. I also found that I liked this ride much more at night - it just seemed a bit more special somehow?
Also saw the Halloween tree.
Went back to DCA for my World of Color lunch at Wine Country Trattoria - solo! The weather was really hot at this point, so I asked to be seated at the coolest part of the restaurant - the fan and maybe some air conditioning (?) was a very welcome relief from the heat! The food was also excellent and plentiful - went in starving, and came out feeling very full indeed. The CMs were also very nice and friendly. I was actually rather worried about going solo for this, as it was a table service restaurant, but it wasn't too odd at all, especially with my trusty Kindle...
Had another tour of the Star Wars universe, then left Disneyland for a couple of hours (as wanted to try to get a pay as you go mobile data plan - which turned out to be too difficult/expensive!).
Came back to Disneyland just before sunset.
Went on Pirates. It's a very fun ride, and I love passing by the Blue Bayou at the start of the ride! The only thing that wasn't fun about this ride was having to wait 10 minutes to be unloaded from the boats at the end of the ride as there were too many boats...
Rivers of America at sunset...
Next up was Haunted Mansion (Holiday). Before I went to Disneyland I made a point of watching the Nightmare before Christmas and was quite excited to see the Haunted Mansion...
At this point, it was time for the Soundsational parade!
I waited patiently for the parade to come...
At a spot right opposite the giant Mickey pumpkin...
And it came!
I can still remember the Soundsational song - it was really catchy!
To finish off the day, I went over to DCA for World of Color (park closing at 8pm, World of Color at 8.15pm). I used my WOC fastpass from my meal at Wine Country Trattoria, and got a very good viewing spot around 8pm.
Unfortunately I don't have any photographs of WOC, but it was a very magical show and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it!
And so ends my first day at the Disneyland Resort...
DisneyFreak - I really want to go to WDW again and was seriously considering a solo trip! However at the moment it's a bit too expensive (as would have to fly from the UK)... :(
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