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Old 09-02-2013, 01:55 AM   #1
Belle83
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Disneyland Solo: Celebrating My 30th Birthday! - Updated 10/10 (x2)


Disneyland Solo: Celebrating My 30th Birthday!



Hi! I just returned from a quick trip to California, and was able to spend a day at Disneyland/California Adventure. I only spent one day between the two parks with a park-hopper, so I was very busy! The parks were on the crowded side, since it was the Friday of Labor Day Weekend and it was also the weekend of the Disneyland Half Marathon.

When: August 30, 2013

Who: Just me!

About Me: This trip was a week shy of my 30th birthday (yikes!). It was my 5th trip to Disneyland, but my most recent trip was just over 10 years ago so this was long overdue. My fiancé and I got engaged during a recent trip to WDW, and are planning a Disneymoon (WDW/Disney Cruise) right now. Due to the nature of my work, there won't be a lot of pictures of me in this trip report. I will try my best to keep it interesting though!

Hotel: Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

Trip Background: My fiancé and I had planned to go to Disneyland to celebrate my 30th birthday (September 2013). I celebrated my 16th birthday (or close enough to it) in Disneyland, and really wanted to be able to do the same for my 30th. Then my family joined in and it turned into planning a huge family trip. THEN my fiancé and I got engaged (you can read about that here), and started planning an October 2013 wedding, which postponed the family Disneyland trip. Nobody (myself included) wanted to have a huge Disney family vacation so close to our destination wedding. The family Disneyland trip would be postponed a year and that was that.

UNTIL I came across a work thing I could attend in Hollywood, the week before my 30th birthday. I signed up for the work thing, and my fiancé and I booked a ticket for him to join me for the weekend after. We started booking a hotel and tickets for right after my work stuff, but the expenses started adding up fast. With all of the expensive wedding stuff going on right now, we ultimately decided it just didn't make sense. So we cancelled his plane ticket, and changed mine to come back home earlier. Since my hotel was right next to Universal Studios Hollywood and I wouldn't have a rental car to drive to Anaheim, I had no plans to go to Disneyland and, as I had said before, that was that.

UNTIL the day I flew to LA (August 27th) and discovered a rental car would be cheaper than taking the shuttle from LAX to/from my hotel in Hollywood. So I ended up with a rental car with unlimited miles, and all of a sudden Disneyland was back on the table. On Thursday night, I talked to my fiancé on the phone about it and to make a long story short, after the work stuff ended I was 'officially' going to spend a good portion of the next day (Friday, August 30th) at Disneyland! Yay!

I hope you enjoy reading about my day, as a solo traveler, at Disneyland and California Adventure!



Thanks for reading!


Last edited by Belle83; 10-10-2013 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:56 AM   #2
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Table of Contents


Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Part 1: Travel Day

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 & Thursday, August 29, 2013
Part 2: Hollywood & Universal City Walk

Friday, August 30, 2013
Part 3: Arriving at California Adventure
Part 4: More California Adventure




Last edited by Belle83; 10-10-2013 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:42 AM   #3
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Part 1: Travel Day
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I am starting this trip report a little bit before my day at Disney, so bear with me. I flew to LA from Denver on Tuesday Aug. 27th. This was the day before my work stuff started, so all I had to do today was get to my hotel room. After a long day of traveling, including navigating LA traffic at 6 p.m. on a weekday (OMG), I made it to the hotel.

I stayed at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, which is one of 2 hotels that are basically on-site for Universal Studios Hollywood. It was walking distance to Universal, pretty much just as close to the park entrance as the parking garages and parking lots, if not closer. The hotel that my conference was at was booked, and this was one of the overflow hotel options. I of course picked this one because I knew it was near Universal.

I thought the room was pretty nice. Plenty of space!



View from the desk area and window, looking toward the door. These beds were sooo comfy!



The bathroom area was pretty spacious. You can't tell from this picture but there is a separate area to the left with the toilet, so the bathroom is even wider than it looks in this picture. One of my only complaints about the room was the plumbing. You could hear it from the other rooms, and after you took a shower it was tricky to get the water to stop leaking out of the faucet.



The mini-fridge kind of oddly sat by itself in the room, but it was nice to have it.



I was in room 1653, which overlooked the freeway and the pool.



Still a pretty view, even with the freeway.



Overall, like any hotel, it had its pros and cons. It's a great location if you want to visit Universal Studios. It's only one metro stop away from Hollywood landmarks, if you want to see that stuff too. The LA metro station is a 10-minute walk down the hill from the hotel, a hill that you won't want to walk back up (but can, I did). You can catch the Universal tram from the bottom of the hill but it will take you up past the hotel, to the other end of City Walk. You can very quickly walk from the hotel to the Universal entrance (like, 5 minutes). There is a sky bridge to take you from the hotel to the Universal entrance. The hotel lobby area is a little dated, but nothing too bad. There were pretty bad elevator issues when I was there, which was the biggest downside. Internet was $8/day, and then self-parking was I think $26/day (with in-and-out "privileges", lol). There's a coffee stand with Starbucks coffee (yay!) in the lobby, a restaurant with pretty decent food, a small overpriced gift shop, and a bar.

That night, I walked to City Walk and had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Bistro. Yum!


Last edited by Belle83; 09-02-2013 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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Part 2: Hollywood & Universal City Walk
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 & Thursday, August 29, 2013

Like I said before, my conference was in Hollywood. Even though I had a rental car, parking and traffic were out of control so I took the metro one stop down. During my lunch breaks at the conference I was able to wander around and see some tourist-y stuff. Most of these pictures were taken on Wednesday Aug. 28th.

This was the view from the Hollywood and Highland Center, right next door to my conference.



Sorry for the picture quality, I think this was taken with my phone.



The Hollywood and Highland Center. It was nice having this by the conference, because of the dining options. It's also a great place to get pictures of the Hollywood sign, lol.



Leaving the Hollywood & Highland Center, you can see Disney's El Capitan theater.



It's also next door to the Jimmy Kimmel show.



Grauman's Chinese Theater (it has a different name now, but whatever).



Harry Potter handprints/wandprints



Walk of Fame.



More Walk of Fame.



I spent evenings at Universal's City Walk, right at the entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood. That's my hotel in the background.



Not nearly as impressive as the one in Universal Orlando.



I never actually went in Universal Hollywood. Just took pictures of the entrance.



I've only been to Universal Hollywood once, in 1995 when I was 11. I have a picture of me as a kid in front of this sign, so I had to take another picture of it. It's very 80s/90s, lol.



This was taken from the skybridge from City Walk to my hotel.



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Old 10-10-2013, 01:35 PM   #5
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Part 3: Arriving at California Adventure
Friday, August 30, 2013

I woke up Friday so excited and ready to go! I could hardly sleep the night before, lol. I arrived at the Mickey & Friends parking structure at around 11 a.m. I was very impressed by how efficient it was, but I shouldn't have been surprised because it is Disney after all. I parked in the Donald Duck area.



First, I needed to buy my ticket (1 day, park hopper)! Best $137 I've spent in a long time.



This was my 2nd trip to California Adventure, and the first since 2003! The new entrance looks great, very Hollywood Studios-esque.



I'm in Disney!



Even though it was pretty late in the morning, and that it was the Friday of a holiday weekend (Labor Day Weekend), I figured I should at least try to get a Fast Pass for Radiator Springs Racers. The problem was, I had no idea where they were. I got a little lost and wound up back by Tower of Terror.



I wandered through a Bug's Life area, in search of the elusive Fast Pass machines. As an aside, this was my first trip through this area, and it was so cute. Can't wait to take little ones here some day.



I found something almost as good as Fast Passes....churros! These are hands down my favorite snack in Disney. There are so many more churro stands in Disneyland/California Adventure than in WDW. I didn't get one yet because it was still a little early, but it was nice to know they were around.



Finally, I found the Fast Pass machines. Did they have any left? Of course not! lol I don't think my detour made a difference. Those things had probably been gone for hours.



Oh well! I decided to head over to Soarin' over California to help ease my pain.



I did the single rider line for Soarin'. I think I would have been better off with a Fast Pass or just waiting in the regular line. Single Rider line can be a great option, but they sort of ignore the fact that people use the line because they are in fact single riders, not just because they want to skip the line. I think I ended up waiting longer than the standby line. This wasn't true for all rides, but it definitely was true for Soarin'.



Still, this was not a bad way to start the day!



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Old 10-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #6
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiigirl View Post
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:17 PM   #8
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Part 4: More California Adventure
Friday, August 30, 2013

After Soarin' over California, I went to check out Grizzly River Run. I wasn't quite up for going on it (yet), so I just took a few pictures. As much fun as I know it is, I just didn't feel like getting wet.



The geysers are a cute little touch. I would expect nothing less from Disney.



The waterfall in that area is so pretty. Who doesn't love waterfalls? I really like this area of the park.



Paradise Pier was next on my list. Being by myself, I felt a little weird asking a CM to take my picture but he was so nice and so very Disney about it. I'm glad I asked, I don't have many pictures of myself from this trip.



Some more shots of Paradise Pier. This was my first time seeing it with the huge Mickey face. I love most of the changes that came with the 'new' California Adventure, but the Mickey face is a little cheesy to me. I'm not sure what else could have gone there though, because I like it more than the sun face.



Just another angle of the same pic.



I was really excited about California Screamin'. During my first trip to CA in 2003, this was one of my favorite rides. It was the first launch coaster I had ever been on.



Luckily for me, the wait was only about 5 minutes.



Since I was a single rider, I sat in a 1-person row that had nothing next to me. It was fun BUT I will say that either I'm feeling my age (30 years old, compared to 20 years old the last time I rode this), OR this ride has become much more bumpy and shaky.



It kind of hurt, actually. I wasn't as impressed with it this time around, and only went on it the one time this trip.

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