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Old 05-31-2010, 01:27 AM   #16
pixleyyy
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Last night I was snuggled in my soft, comfy bed in the HoJo eagerly anticipating a wonderful nights sleep. I capped the night off by finishing off "Wings" by Aprilynne Pike, a fabulous book that is the first in what is now my favorite series - even moreso than Twilight. *gasp* Anyways, am I painting the idyllic picture? Us girls come back to the room, tired and happy from a day well spent at the parks. We relax and I nestle down in bed.... only to be woken up again and again and again by the air conditioner. Seriously? The stupid thing was SOOOOO loud! Every time the compressor in it would turn on it would make a huge noise and then ran so, so loud. I could not sleep. It woke me up all night long and by early morning there was no way I was going to be able to sleep any longer. At 6am I got up, disgruntled at the ridiculous A/C.

Now, Bek was up late last night taking care of some stuff so she was still fast asleep. I dressed then slunk off quietly to the front desk, where I complained about the air conditioner. They were nice about it and told me they would send someone up to look at it. Unfortunately, that didn't help me now. I decided to go peruse the gift shop at the hotel and then walked back slowly, enjoying all the plants and flowers growing there and stopping to take pictures of the fountain. Nothing exciting, just relaxing and taking my time since I was up so early.

When I got back to the room I headed for a shower, enjoying the nice, hot water until it RAN OUT! Halfway through the shower I got FREEZING water. Ugh! Strike #2 for the HoJo, and all in one day. Sheesh. I did finish my shower though, got dressed and munched a granola bar. About then Bek woke up and we decided to start our day.

Our plan for today was to hit the nearby Character Warehouse to see if we could find any cheaper souvenirs to take home. I didn't have high hopes, since I had specific requests from the kids, who all wanted a Vinylamation, these collectible Mickey characters decorated in different ways. I was also searching for a nice mens wallet for Brian. We roll up to the character warehouse and go inside, taking our time to look around at the tons and tons of stuff they have. There was some great prices if you were into whatever was on sale, however there really wasn't much that we could find. I ended up with a t-shirt for me and a polo for Brian and Bek grabbed one sweatshirt. That's it... that's all she wrote.

Slightly disappointed, we headed back to the hotel. It was 10am and we were famished. We knew exactly where to head next - Mimi's! Bek and I both enjoyed hearty breakfast meals that were so good. Yum! She had a few things to take care of back at the hotel so I headed to the parks and she headed back to the hotel. I went into California Adventure, as that's where Bek and I would be meeting. I really didn't do much other than walk around and soak up the ambiance. It was pretty surreal to be wandering around Disneyland with nowhere to go and nothing to do, but that's exactly what I did. Bek called when she made her way into the park and we headed for our big goal of the day - Grizzly River Rapids!

We couldn't have chosen a nicer day to ride Grizzly. It would end up being about 80 today and the sun was shining and warm. We safely stowed our backpack (in which we packed extra shoes... smart, huh?) and my camera in the free lockers before getting in line. The stand-by line only took about 15 minutes at 11:30am on a warm, sunny day. Not too shabby.

Bek and I rode in a raft with a family of 4, who had 2 small kid, and a couple from New Zealand. The kids weren't thrilled to be riding, but stuck it out thanks to some kind words from Bek. We got pretty wet riding and both left looking like we'd wet our pants. Gotta love that! LOL

Since we were already wet and not planning on sticking around California Adventure all day we decided to go again right away. We thought about going single-rider but decided it was much more fun to ride together. So we did.

This time we were on a raft with a Dad, Grandma and two tween boys as well as a couple. What I love about Bek is that she isn't afraid to talk to these strangers and got all sorts of conversations going. I am much too quiet to do that with people I don't know so having her along meant that we chatted it up a bit more. I liked that. The two boys were such little cuties and were having so much fun talking to us about the ride. I must say that the boys did take the majority of the soaking though. LOL

By the time we were done with Grizzly Bek and I were pretty darned soaked. Our pants were the worst and it was hours before they dried enough to be comfortable. Let's just say that Bek and I dealt with our fair share of chafing today. 'Nuff said.

Next up was a trip to Paradise Pier to ride Screamin' again! The line was moving well and before too long we were right waiting for a car to board. As it came around the corner into the loading area it stopped. The whole thing stopped. They shut down the ride!

Ugh! Seriously? But they did. It was flat out down. There were people stuck in cars all over the track, including a set right at the pinnacle of the highest crest of the ride. The people were still stuck there 15 minutes later, sitting in the hot sun just waiting to be extracted from the ride. In a way I was glad we hadn't quite made it on, because that would have sucked!

Bek and I headed to Toy Story Mania, which had a horrendous line! Sheesh, they need fastpass machines for TSM, like they have in Disneyworld. But since they didn't and since I had ridden it at least 5 or 6 times at Disneyworld 5 months prior we decided the wait definitely wasn't worth it and moved on. We looked at a few shops then walked the long way around Paradise Pier to the front, where we took pics in front of Mickey's FunWheel...
(Me on L, Bek on R)

I will say that the area behind us is where the spectators for the new "World of Color" show will be standing. Just the thought of that area packed with spectators, all standing, was enough to make me shudder. Guess we need to let the ferver of the new show die down some before coming because I have a feeling that it's going to be crazy! Thankfully we just missed the premier of the show, which opens later this month.

After walking the pier we decided to head to Disneyland. We decided to take the scenic route and check out Disney's Grand Californian by taking that exit out of the park. Wow, that resort is huge and so gorgeous. The inside looked like a giant plush hunting lodge. What I wouldn't give to stay here sometime. It was absolutely fabulous!
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:40 AM   #17
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Great girls' trip so far! You really did a lot on your first day. My 2 sons and DS32's gf are hoping to come out to CA in late October for a gaming conference and this will be my youngest son's first trip to any Disney park (we are going in late November to WDW and DS17 will be joining us but they have this opportunity to visit Disneyland for one day in October.) Which park would you recommend - Disneyland or the other one? My son is 17 and traveling with his 32 yr old brother plus my 27 yr old son who lives in Los Angeles will be joining them. Since my oldest son & his gf are going to this conference, they won't be going to WDW and I want them to see the best Park. I would choose California Adventure since it has Soarin' and TSM.

I'm anxious to hear which park you enjoyed the most! I also agree with you that Sleeping Beauty's castle is sort of a disappointment compared to Cinderella's castle.
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Old 05-31-2010, 12:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven2dc View Post
Great girls' trip so far! You really did a lot on your first day. My 2 sons and DS32's gf are hoping to come out to CA in late October for a gaming conference and this will be my youngest son's first trip to any Disney park (we are going in late November to WDW and DS17 will be joining us but they have this opportunity to visit Disneyland for one day in October.) Which park would you recommend - Disneyland or the other one? My son is 17 and traveling with his 32 yr old brother plus my 27 yr old son who lives in Los Angeles will be joining them. Since my oldest son & his gf are going to this conference, they won't be going to WDW and I want them to see the best Park. I would choose California Adventure since it has Soarin' and TSM.

I'm anxious to hear which park you enjoyed the most! I also agree with you that Sleeping Beauty's castle is sort of a disappointment compared to Cinderella's castle.
I would say CA also. It doesn't have all the classic stuff like Pirates or Peter Pan or Space Mountain, but it does have some fabulous rides you won't find in Disneyworld like California Screamin', Grizzly River Run and Maliboomer. We also LOVED the animators academy and the Aladdin show is not to be missed! And yes, it's got Soarin' and TSM.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:55 AM   #19
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I am enjoying your girls trip very much. You seem to be having a great time & it must have been so nice to be able to spend time & catch up with a great friend.

P.S. did anyone ever tell you that you look a little bit like Stephanie Meyer?
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:31 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Disneygrl36 View Post
I am enjoying your girls trip very much. You seem to be having a great time & it must have been so nice to be able to spend time & catch up with a great friend.

P.S. did anyone ever tell you that you look a little bit like Stephanie Meyer?
ROFL... that is too funny. Someone did tell me that a few weeks ago but until then - nothing. Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:36 AM   #21
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In honor of my 36th birthday today, I'm posting my favorite moment of the trip - meeting the big cheese himself!

We made our way out of California Adventure, through the beautiful Grand Californian Hotel, out to Downtown Disney and then to Disneyland. Again, we went with no huge plan other than to enjoy ourselves and stick around for the fireworks in the evening.

We flitted around for a bit, stopping first to ride It's A Small World. Can you guess what time we got there?

This was my first time seeing It's A Small World in Disneyland with the addition of some of Disney's popular movie characters. I strictly adhere to the "no flash" rule, so getting pictures inside the ride was very, very difficult for me. My favorite addition was Lilo and Stitch on their surfboard, but it came out very blurry. Also loved Jasmine and Aladdin on the flying carpet. This guy was pretty cute to see too:

I will admit to taking a phone call while on the ride. My oldest, Chase, called while we were riding and I let him listen for a bit. He told me about his great day at school and suddenly it hit him... he said "Mom! Are you on Small World? Oh no...." He talks like this ride is his arch enemy, but I bet he would have traded being at home for being here with me on Small World.

After another rousing verse of "It's a Small World After All..." we disembarked and were promptly blocked by the Celebrate Street Parade. We took off towards Toontown and it was a pretty good time to go.

After a quick stop at a counter-service for a free cup of ice water (we were parched!) we headed for Mickey's house. I'd missed seeing Mickey in his classic costume (I saw him only as Chef Mickey) at Disneyworld, I knew I wanted to see him while in Disneyland. Bek and I walked the queue... and walked... and walked. In the end there were probably 20 people ahead of us in line. They let most of them through then held the rope at us.

When it was our turn we were the first ones through to see Mickey. I've got to tell you, I got the little flip-flops when I saw him... he is the epitome of Disney for me and so symbolic of my love for the magic Disney provides. I was just so happy to see him!

Now, after the flip-flops I did a double-take... Mickey was so short! He was dinky. Tiny. This guy was one short mouse. I've seen Mickey before but he's never been this small. Sheesh! I can't believe I was taller than him!

Bek and I took turns taking photos for one another and then took one together with the big cheese himself.

Mission accomplished, we had met Mickey!
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:49 PM   #22
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Up next was Minnie. We walked towards her house and saw the line for her... the outside line in the blazing sun. We were hot already and standing in the sun didn't sound very fun so Bek and I decided to skip seeing Miss Mouse. Oh well.

After a bit of perusing the shops (we did a very good job of perusing this trip... hit them all at least once I think. LOL) we left Toontown. I had mentioned to Bek that I'd never been on the Storybook Land Canal Boats and she suggested we go now. The line was very short and we jumped right on. I was pretty impressed with what I saw. All those teeny tiny plants, all those miniature houses and castles and cities. It was relaxing and adorable to see.



Up next was Fantasyland. Bek and I wanted to cover it today, before the hoardes of locals took over tomorrow (Saturday). Most of the rides were a pass for us, but the one we both really, really wanted to go to was Peter Pan's Flight. This is my favorite non-thrill ride in all of Disney. I just love the way it makes me feel, how I'm out there flying and part of the magic that is Peter Pan. The wait time said 20 minutes but we probably waited closer to 30, half of it in the hot sun. Let me tell you, it was worth it. I still love that ride as much as ever.

Bek and I were getting hungry now and we knew just where we wanted to eat. There was this place I kept hearing about on the DisBoards called Cafe Orleans that supposedly had fabulous Monte Cristo's, garlic fries and Beignets. Neither Bek nor I had every been there before so we just headed to New Orleans square and expected to see it. We walked around New Orleans square, and around again and even caught a glimpse of Tiana, who had just finished a show.

We finally gave up and consulted the map. We were nearly in front of it! The reason we didn't see it was because they have temporary walls put up that make it hard to see the sign. We had walked by it at least 2 or 3 times already this trip. Doh!

We made our way to the counter and requested seating outside. We were seated in a matter of minutes and enjoyed people watching and chatting. First up for the meal was the Pommes Frites... fries with Parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley. Bek and I shared an order and they were SOOOOO delicious!

Then came the Monte Cristo. This is like a heart attack on a plate - ham, turkey and swiss cheese coated in batter and fried then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Let me tell you, it was soooooo worth it! It was absolutely delicious. The best part of the whole meal was the little tub of berry puree you see by the grapes. YUM! I could eat just that berry puree and be perfectly happy. And I would NEVER have thought to eat berry puree with a sandwich like this, but it tasted so yummy!

This was the most fabulous meal ever! It was so yummy and rich (and we'd filled ourselves up with Pommes Frites) that we couldn't even order the beignets. We saw a dad and son who ate the same thing we did but then shared 2 orders of beignets afterwards. There was no way Bek and I could have done that! As it was we only ate half our sandwiches and we were stuffed. Guess we'd have to plan a trip back for the beignets.

After eating our fill we just took in the ambiance a little, enjoyed the cool evening air and decided to go shopping. Remember those Vinylmation characters I told you the kids asked for? Well, they have this set called "Cutesters" and it's nothing but cute little girly things - cupcakes, Minnie's dress, Fairies, an owl, a tree with critters on it, etc. ADORABLE! They were so cute and I knew I had to have one for Carissa. But in the time we'd spent here I had yet to find a store with them in stock. They had them on display but didn't have any for sale. So we looked in nearby stores, on a mission to find a Cutester.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:09 AM   #23
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I haven't had breakfast ... your meal at Cafe Orleans is making me drool! I cannot wait to try those Pomme Frites myself!
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:13 PM   #24
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It was starting to get late and Bek was getting pretty worn down. She offered to take a load off and save us a seat for the fireworks, so we headed to the hub. Despite it being only 7pm, with the fireworks not schedule until over 2 hours later, the hub was pretty busy and the benches were getting filled. We found a bench that was 1/2 empty and took a seat. It was nice to relax for a few minutes after all the walking in the sun we'd done today. After a bit I took back off, in search of the Cutester. Bek happily stayed behind to guard our bench.

I will admit to making a few stop on the way to wander next to the castle in search of the Snow White fountain. I'd heard of it but never been there before. While walking back from the fountain I caught a glimpse of the castle at dusk and took a few minutes to stop and take photos. And in the few minutes I stayed there to take photos, mess with the settings (I'm really trying to improve my photography) and take more photos, the sky was subtly shifting into darker shades of blue. Isn't it beautiful?

Well, despite my search, my walk from Tomorrowland to Frontierland, to Critter Country (where I stopped for a yummy treat to munch later - marshmallows covered in caramel, peanuts and then chocolate. YUM!) there were no Cutesters to be found. I was so bummed!

In time I made my way back to Becky, who was ready for a bathroom break and a chance to stretch her legs. I held down the bench while she did that and made a trip to the lockers, where we'd stowed our sweatshirts. By the time she got back I was very happy I'd thought to bring them, as it was getting chilly now that the sun was down.

While waiting I tried taking a few night photos from my bench. This one is my fave, looking into Tomorrowland.

It was great to sit and relax and both Bek and I took time to catch up with our families back home.

I could tell time for the fireworks was getting near, as cast members came along asking all those people camped out in the hub to stand up and move forward. Bek and I stayed put. Having held down a bench for this long had it's privledges. LOL

The announcements began and I started to get excited about seeing my absolute favorite part of Disney... the fireworks. And of all the fireworks I've ever seen at Disney, "Remember, Dreams Come True" is my hands-down favorite!

Then the lights went out on Main Street and everyone got quiet. Julie Andrews voice filled the air and then the music that makes me tear up just to think about ... a little girls voice singing:
Star light, starbright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight
We'll make a wish and do as dreamers do
And all our wishes will come true.

*sigh* I love that. I can't even describe how magical those words are for me. And to hear them in Disneyland is, itself, a wish come true.

The Disneyland fireworks are so good because they encompass all that is fabulous about Disneyland, all the attractions and rides and show. For instance, here's what they looked like at the Pirates of the Carribean section. See the skull and crossbones?

I love how the castle changes colors, how the fireworks are so precisely choreographed, how they each element is so perfectly coordinated for the particular attraction or song. I took lots of pictures. Here's some of my faves:






The park was open until midnight tonight, so when the fireworks were over Bek and I busted butt for the one ride we hadn't been able ride yet - Finding Nemo! This ride wasn't here my last trip to Disneyland so I wanted to check it out, yet the line had been really long all trip and I just couldn't see waiting 1/2 an hour for it. Even right after the fireworks we had a 20 minute wait, but we decided now was as good a time as any. I can say that I was really unimpressed with it. I mean, the addition of the special effects is good but it's still really boring and in such tiny, cramped quarters. Bek did say it's better in the daylight and she may be right, but either way it's not one I'd be in a hurry to ride again.

Bek and I had Space Mountain fastpasses to use and headed that way next, only to find that it was currently closed. We never did get there for a 2nd ride this trip.

We had really exhausted what we wanted to do in the parks today. Our feet were tired, we were tired and we decided to just call it a night. On our way out we did run into this little lady...

It was nice to see her, since we'd missed her at her house earlier in the day.

This pic of us three girls was a fitting end to another day of our girls trip.
Back to the hotel we went and pretty much straight to bed. We hoped that the air conditioner was quieter, but really we were both too tired to care.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:29 AM   #25
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Sorry, I haven't been on the boards lately. Suffering a little Disney withdrawal, coupled with all my end-of-the-year and graduation stuff for my preschool. Now that it's all over and summer is here I finally have time to finish my trip report. Watch for it soon...
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