~*Disneyland Private party event 1/24 & 1/25/2013*~
Cast of characters: Me (34), DH (35)
Length of stay: 2 days at Disney, 2 nights in hotel
Accommodations: King room at Best Western Orange Plaza
Reason for stay: Vons and Safeway had a private party event at Disneyland; $45 per person gets you free parking and entrance to Disneyland from 4pm to 130am. They also offered an option for $90 where you could ride a bus down that morning, go to Disneyland and then it drives you home after 130 so you don’t have to get a hotel. We decided to just do the “drive yourself” option and make a mini 2-day trip out of it.
After dropping kids off at school and the 2 year old off with my Granny, I headed home to get DH. We left the house at 9:17am (running a little late since we were shooting for leaving at 8:30). After gassing up the car, we were on our way. A very uneventful ride, I think I fell asleep from Fresno to Bakersfield (thanks Dramamine!). We stopped for a bathroom-and-top-off-the-tank break at our usual stop, Olive Ave in Bakersfield. This stop is great because there is a Starbucks, gas station and now several fast food restaurants all right off the exit, and it is super easy to get back on the freeway. Gas was a little high here, $3.89/gallon.
Grapevine was uneventful and drive through LA was our quickest EVER. Man, did we time this drive correctly!!! We arrived at our hotel between 2:15 and 2:30 (5 hours exactly, woot!) and proceeded to check-in. Checking in didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped. The clerk behind the counter misheard my name and gave me someone elses reservation (1 queen bed and a higher rate) and then took a phone call and made a booking while making me wait. There was another clerk at the desk that was doing nothing. GRRR! Lol Oh well. We got into the correct room and dropped off our stuff. It was kind of small but SUPER clean. We had a king size bed, a desk and office chair next to the TV stand/dresser, a little round table by the window with 2 chairs for eating, and the sink, counter and hair dryer were outside of the bathroom.
On our way to Disneyland, we decided to stop for a light late lunch at OC Poultry and Rotisserie. After checking the menu online several times leading up to the trip I get there and completely forgot what I had planned to get (some type of Banh Mi) so settled for House Fried Rice. DH got some kind of Pho with meat and he loved it. Looking at the menu online now I don’t see Pho on it and the menu we got there didn’t have any of the Banh Mi on it so maybe the one online is a lunch menu and since we were there later it was a dinner menu? DH ordered the Vietnamese coffee and I got water, total was $18.
After chowing down we (FINALLY!) headed to Disneyland. We received free parking with our event ticket (woot!) and were sent up to Donald. While in line to enter the park (maybe 3 people ahead of us), we were told to put our red bracelets on now (even tho all of the paperwork said they didn’t need to be on until 7pm but who are we to argue?) so we did and went through the turnstiles.
Since we arrived 30 minutes after we had scheduled Ride Max we decided to just loosely follow RM and take everything as we came to it. We headed to Space Mountain which listed a 15 minute wait time, actually took 20 minutes. When we departed, wait time had jumped to 40 minutes. Next up was Star Tours which had a projected 15 minute wait time, actual wait was 13 minutes. This was our first time on Star Tours since they redid it and OH EM GEE!!! Love love LOVED it!!! We went to Naboo and the 3D effects were amazingly fun and well done. I’m not a huge fan of the beginning where Vader is “surfing” on his little hovercraft thing tho, seems very un-Vader-like. After Star Tours we went to Buzz which had a projected and actual wait time of 5 minutes. DH seriously annihilated me here, oh well. I enjoyed spinning us around like a 4 year old, MWA HAHAHAHA! After Buzz we decided to ride the Matterhorn. I explained to DH that they had changed the cars and a lot of people on DISboards had said it was more painful and bumpy but he wanted to see for himself so away we went. Had a 30 minute wait here but it went quickly. We got moved ahead a bit because they were asking for a party of 2 (score!) to fill a car. I had a bit of a moment trying to get into the car as I couldn’t figure out where to place my legs. Silly girl, I eventually got it. This ride seemed MUCH smoother and less jostle-y than our previous rides so sign me up as a fan of the new cars!
Next up was my favorite, Pirates of the Caribbean which was a 3 minute wait. Afterwards it was time for our 7pm ADR at Café Orleans, nom nom nom! We decided to split a Monte Cristo (my favorite Disney food!!!) and a bananas fosters crepe instead of getting a Monte each since we had just eaten at OC. This was a good choice as half a Monte was enough for both of us. DH ate the entire bananas foster crepe because I didn’t like it at all. The smell of the rum sauce was very off putting to me but the crepe and caramel was tasty. DH ordered coffee and got an entire little pot (room temperature tho, not hot) and I ordered a pomegranate light lemonade and even got a refill in a to-go cup (after asking twice). Total came to $35.
After dinner, we decided to head back to the parking garage so I could change my shoes. Back story: I checked the weather all week on my The Weather Channel app on my phone and it listed the week as sunny and low 80s so the only shoes I brought were my very old Croc flip flops and my Wicked Good moccasin slippers from LL Bean for the car. Well it was cool and rainy so I had to wear my slippers into DL and the fur inside was causing weird bruises on the bottoms of my feet. So, DH talked me into heading back to change them. Walking down Main Street we had an AMAZINGLY MAGICAL Disney moment. A CM came out of the ice cream shop (seriously, she looked like Anne Hathaways twin!) and offered us a mint chip hot fudge waffle bowl sundae because they “made it by accident”. Umm wow, thank you!!! On the other side of Main Street there was this little stairway tucked away so we decided to sit there and eat our ice cream. We had a very special moment just the 2 of us, people watching eating ice cream and discussing the difference between Band of Brothers and The Pacific (hahaha!).
I ate about half of the sundae and DH tried to hang but since he ate the entire Bananas Fosters Crepe he tapped out so we had to toss the rest. After double checking with the exit CMs that all we needed to enter the park was our ticket and red wristband we exited DL and took the tram to the parking garage. From the second we left to the second we returned, it took exactly 30 minutes. Not too bad to save my feet for the night and tomorrow!!
When we entered, the park was closed and we had to use the restroom but there was NO ONE in front of the Mickey head in front of the Main Street Railroad Station so I made DH take my picture there. I mean, I’ve NEVER seen that area empty!
We headed for Adventureland and the Jungle Cruise, since we both love that ride. Wait was 29 minutes, not bad in my mind but DH is like a 5 year old and anything over 10 minutes and he gets antsy. We stuck it out and had a very enjoyable evening cruise. I always think it changes the entire ride to ride in the dark. Next we headed to Indiana Jones which had a 30 minute wait (listed and actual). About 5 minutes into the line, the 3 girls in front of us let 5 members of their party squeeze ahead of us. Rudely. Shoving. I got pushed into a wall and kind of scraped my elbow by the mom of the group and both DH and I were bumped into by the 2 little kids. DH says loudly to the dad, oh well excuse me! And the guy started yelling at DH about how he SAID excuse me, blah blah. Yeah well your kids and wife didn’t and isn’t it a bit rude to crowd in front of the rest of the line when your party could have easily waited for you instead? Ugh, bad bad bad. Took DH about 20 minutes to calm down, as when he gets heated he gets HEATED. Right before loading the CMs were asking for a party of 2 so we got to squeeze past everyone and get on before the rude party of 8. As DH walks past them he says very loudly, KARMA! HAHAHA such a silly guy but really, it was SOOO rude!!
After our dramatical Indy adventure we headed to Haunted Mansion which was a walk-on. I think I might be tired of HM. It used to be one of my favorite rides, I just love the attention to detail but I just wasn’t feeling it this time. We tried to head over to the candy story by Pooh as that is DHs favorite but there was a CM on the path turning people away. I guess since Splash Mountain was closed they decided to not staff the store? We went back to Star Tours and it also was a walk on. After Star Tours we thought ok, we’re tired and we should head on out so we can be awake for tomorrow, as we had ridden everything we wanted. It felt alien to completely bypass Fantasyland!!!
We stopped at the big store on Main Street where I picked up 3 Mickey Head keychains for our daughters and a 5 pack of Mickey Head suckers for our 3 daughters and 2 of our nieces. Tram ride was uneventful, DTD was closed since it was midnight and the parks closed at 8pm.
Private party thoughts: We will definitely do this again next year!! Even before they cleared the park for the party the crowds were minimal and once it was closed, it was almost a ghost town except for Adventureland and Tomorrowland. They closed most of the Main Street shops at 9 (boo!) but the Main Street food places were open (not Café Orleans, they closed at 8) and several carts were open. They had a DJ on the curb in front of the castle. Definitely worth the $45!
Friday, 1/25. DCA Day!!
We decided to sleep in today and completely bypass RideMax again. Left the hotel sometime after 11 and hit Downtown Disney for a “brunch” at Earl of Sandwich. I got the ham and swiss add avocado and water, and DH ordered the Full Montagu add horseradish and already had a coffee from Starbucks. OH EM GEE this place was super delicious!!! The best thing we ate the entire 3 days, no contest. After Earl we were walking to DCA when I noticed a little store called Sanuk where they sold SANDALS not SHOES, lol. So I went in and DH convinced me to buy a pair. Because of the rain and the super slick bottoms on the Croc flip flops I was slipping and sliding all over the place. I even fell walking into Star Tours last night, boo!! So, I bought a pair and holy cow, those are my new Disney shoes!!! My feet never hurt all day!
We entered DCA after having a very rude entrance CM shove their hands in our faces to see our tickets so he could take our pictures if we had multi-day tickets. He looked at DH ticket and in a rude way moved him along and then tried to snatch my ticket. I held it back and said, it is a one day also. He kind of growled and made the rude move along hand gesture so I moved along. Boo, be polite and I will too! The last time we were at DCA they had walls EVERYWHERE (WoC, Little Mermaid, Carsland) so we vowed not to return until they came down. Well, DH looooved their Main Street now, said it looked amazing and quaint.
We headed to Soarin’ Over California first, where we had a 6 minute wait. Again, they were looking for 2 people. It sure was nice to be just 2 on this trip!!!! We walked around and got FPs for the 8pm WoC show and decided to check out Carsland. After a whole lot of ooohing and ahhhhing from me, we found the single rider line for Radiator Springs Racers (FPs were all gone for the day, stand-by was at 65 minutes). Single rider line took us 16 minutes. Holy cow, they did everything right on this ride!!! Wouldn’t change a thing, crazy amazing! After RSR I had my picture taken with Lightning McQueen. I didn’t realize that he was interactive, so fun!! He kept revving his engine at the little boy ahead of us and the kid was kind of freaked out to stand next to him for his picture and Lightning says, “hey don’t worry, I know I have a loud engine but I’m still your pal.” Awwww sooooo cute!!! When it was my turn (line was super short, we just had the one kid ahead of us) Lightning kept bouncing up and down rubbing against me and saying, “come on squeeze in here.” Hahahaha! That was super cute. We stopped by Fillmores and I got a Coke and then we headed over to Screaming. Wait time was 6 minutes, AGAIN with the “we need 2 people”, hooray!
After Screaming we headed to Toy Story but the line was outrageous so we bypassed it for later. Went to Silly Symphony Swings, which we had never ridden and it was walk-on. After Swings we went to Little Mermaid and it was also a walk on. We stopped by the beer truck and each got a jalapeno cheese filled pretzel since those are our favorite Disney snacks and then walked to Fiddler, Fifer and Practical so DH could get a coffee. I was really intrigued that the Starbucks treats were not horribly marked up!! At home the cake pops are $1.50, at Disney they were $1.79. That’s crazy! I wasn’t a huge fan here, we had typical Starbucks slowness with crazy Disney lines. Boo! We drank our drinks at the little tables next to Muppets (I got a venti water) and then headed in for the show. After the show we went to Animation to learn how to draw the Cheshire Cat. I was very happy to see the sign out front showing what characters they would be teaching at each time, very helpful! We decided to hit Tower of Terror and get FPs at the same time. 15 minute wait. Afterwards we did Screaming again, 7 minute wait. We were starting to flag a bit so headed to Toy Story and waited 20 minutes, not bad. We both LOOOVE this ride!! And we broke down for about 7 or 8 minutes. I like that they let you keep hitting the targets but I don’t like that you don’t get points for it, hahaha. Either way, I FINALLY beat DH, wooty woot!!!
After Toy Story we went back to Carsland since we had planned to eat dinner at Flo’s or Cozy Cones but nothing sounded good to DH so decided to leave the park for the night and stop at this little Mexican place by the hotel. On the way out, we stopped a couple and gave them our ToT and WoC FPs, hooray spreading the magic! We went to World of Disney in DTD and bought a few things and then headed for the tram. We *almost* went to Earl of Sandwich for dinner (should have, it was THAT good!) but decided we really wanted to try the Mexican place. They had a sign outside saying Fresh Fish Tacos and another that said something like, We Got 5 Stars Again! Hey, who are we to argue with fresh fish tacos that are worthy of 5 stars?!
Well, we couldn’t find the Mexican joint so hit Carl’s Jr and took it back to the hotel. Literally turned the corner from Carl’s and BAM! There was the Mexican restaurant. ARGH!! Oh well, next time. We ate our burgers in bed, watching CSI: NY and then read and slept. And that was our super wonderful “date” to Disney, hooray! I will leave a review of our hotel in the last post.
Saturday, 1/26, Going home day!
We way slept in today. Before DH woke up I walked to Starbucks to get him a coffee and then we showered and checked out about 30 minutes early. Cashier busted my chops a bit about my Giants tshirt but hey, jealousy is an ugly thing! We drove to our favorite donut shop, Georgies, on State College Blvd and also stopped by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. DH got a caramel latte and we both picked up cups (travel mug for DH, insulated water cup for me). After picking up donuts (crazy donut holes, ham and cheese croissant, maple donuts for the kids) we drove to Anaheim Hills to try a new restaurant, Slaters 50/50. Their burgers are half beef, half bacon!!! We ordered onions rings, fried pickles and sweet potato fries (pickles were GREAT, the rest was not delicious) and then our burgers. DH got the BBB Bacon Burger and I decided to build my own. Tasty and filling, but next time will definitely add some things and leave off some others (the 1000 island sauce is SOUR not sweet, boo!). We made good time getting home, 5 hours even stopping off for gas in Bakersfield.
Earl of Sandwich
Free ice cream sundae!!!
Very low crowds
Being a party of 2. We’ve never had that work in our favor before, so great!
Sharing a Monte Cristo
Indiana Jones argument
30 minute wait at Jungle Cruise
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