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Old 06-07-2014, 10:50 PM   #1
whoever
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Matt’s first ever solo trip to the Disneyland Resort… (and some San Diego time)

So here it is… my first ever solo trip report. I’m going to actually start off with my San Diego portion just because I haven’t been in a LONG time, and while I was there on business, I took advantage of several of the local sights and attractions.

6/2/14... 0700... dropped off at Terminal 4 to catch my 0740 flight to San Diego... delayed about 45 minutes in leaving. Got to SD, and went to check into the hotel and pick up my lead BA who had been there since Friday as her husband was running in a marathon. They had some trouble at the hotel with a rowdy party above them which went unmitigated, so she had gotten both herself, and me (the boss) upgraded to beach bungalows for the regular room price. Yay. At any rate, staying on the beach was great, and for way less than staying over by the office about 9 miles inland. Here was the view from my room at the Bahia Beach Resort:







And my ugly mug… I can’t do a selfie worth a darn.


First night, we walked down to the beach and had dinner at Wavehouse and did some people watching and chatted about work.



The second night, we went to Old Town, grabbed dinner at one of the local Mexican joints, cruised around the Mission Hills looking at 7-figure homes with Ocean views, and then cruised out to Coronado.





The last night, we just cruised down the strip a little bit, as we were in the mood for steak, hit the Tony Roma’s in Mission Beach. Tomorrow would be work and the trip up to DLR!!!

Last edited by whoever; 06-07-2014 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:12 AM   #2
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6/5/2014… Dropped off coworker, dropped off work rental car, got personal rental car, and pulled out of the rental lot at 16:00. Made HORRIBLE time leaving SD. At this rate, I’d never make it to DLR. After Carlsbad, it opened up, and I was MOVING. That was… until I hit an immigration checkpoint in the middle of nowhere. I guess I looked legal because they just waved me past, but boy, what a cluster that was. Probably took 15 mins to get through and I was back to making excellent time.. UNTIL about 12 miles from my exit, I was reduced to a speed less than the average 4 year old could walk. I took the time to catch up on emails and chat with my coworker who was now back in Phoenix. Time has never passed so slowly in my life.




18:10… I’m pulling into the Super 8. Checked it, grabbed room 108 (right up front), dropped the luggage, changed, grabbed my stuff, and I’m out the door at 18:28.

18:41… after powerwalking to DLR due to sheer excitement, I noted while in bag check, the teenage girl next to me had the HM Dooney… the red lining one. What a lucky teenager.. somebody loves her.
18:45… I’m at the ticket booths… finally… I am an Annual Passholder!!!!



And walking in for the first time as an AP!!



18:51… I’m through the gates and take my usual right underneath the entrance plaque. I’ve got a copy of this plaque hanging in my hallway on the way into my girl’s playroom and a smaller one on my file cabinet at work. It brings a smile to my face every time I read it. As I pass under the train tracks, the real world dissolves and I’m in the happiest place on Earth!
My timing could have been a bit better because the rush hour congestion I had faced getting to the park hit me in the face as I entered the park in the middle of a parade, and I was ushered right, right, till I couldn’t go any more right, and was stuck in the corner over at Mad Hatter, unable to move, and unable to see the parade. After 5 minutes went bye, a CM let us cross the parade, and I was off down Main Street.



Given it was parade time, there was no getting to the west side of the park, so I snaked through Tomorrowland… with Space Mtn Down for refurb, and 45 mins showing for Star Tours, I decided to head to The Matterhorn for a single rider ride down the Tomorrowland side (my favorite of the two sides). I arrived at 19:06 only to find it was 101. Man, I’m not catching any breaks tonight. I waited for a break in the parade to cut across the parade route to Fantasyland.



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Old 06-08-2014, 12:13 AM   #3
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I snaked through the incredibly crowded North end of Fantasyland, went down Big Thunder Trail, and grabbed a Big Thunder Fastpass at 19:15. The wait for standby was posted at 45 minutes, so I headed to my usual first ride of the parks when arriving mid-day… PIRATES!! Pirates had a posted 25 minute wait, so I hopped in line, observed some of the nuances of the queue, and caught up on work emails. They were pretty spot-on with the wait time.






I noticed a couple things from the latest refurb. First, the light sabre is no longer in the barrel of swords, and the Lego on the chest is gone. Second, the lighting is turned up in certain areas, which actually kind of kills the mood because you can see them streaming from on high through the mist.






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Old 06-08-2014, 12:15 AM   #4
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19:59… off of pirates. Swung by Pieces of Eight to reconnoiter one of the souvenirs for my eldest daughter, and then headed over to another of my first must-rides of every mid-day trip… Haunted Mansion!!! There was a posted 15 minute wait.






I was happy to see the dueling ghosts were back.




And the Hatbox Ghost played me a tune



They really need to switch to rear-projection from the Black Widow.




By now, it was 20:30, and I was getting hungry, so time to boogie over to Trader Sam’s. I get sad seeing the back side of the Adventureland signage. Along the way, passing through a CROWDED NOS, I overheard a teenager yelling expletives into his phone… my head snapped around and I just shook it in a disapproving manner of someone who hopes the younger generation will someway wise up. A nearby mother noticed this, and also commented on the foolishness of “kids these days.”



And even more disappointing… my usual turnoff… The Grand Californian is our Disney home…


Last edited by whoever; 06-08-2014 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:16 AM   #5
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Walked into Sam’s at 20:50, and lucked into a lady getting up to leave who was sitting at the corner of the bar. Sat down, and started to peruse the menu. I landed on a Krakatoa Punch and an order of Shrimp Tacos. The Lime Tartar Sauce on the tacos was superb and I really liked the Krakatoa. I had got the Shrunken Zombie Head on my last trip, and it wasn’t really my thing, so I was pleasantly surprised at the Krakatoa (and I needed the mug for the collection). The Volcano show was cool. After seeing and hearing no less than 7 Shipwreck on the Rocks go across the bar and watching the ship get struck by lightning and sink I went for one myself. It sure had a kick to it, and I’m used to straight bourbon. That thirstily consumed, I collected my two collectable mugs for the tiki collection, and headed out at 21:30. I stopped at the Adventureland tower and scoped out all the cool stuff in the lobby.




On the walk back, I stopped for a few minutes to watch the DL fireworks from Downtown Disney.



22:00… After a quick jaunt to the west side of the park, I’m going Single Rider on Splash.






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Old 06-08-2014, 12:18 AM   #6
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22:15… I’m off with enough time to do another HM run before my FP time is valid for Big Thunder. Some nice shots of the Gargoyles. I’ve got a 1:1 version of them from one of the original casts I need to get cleaned up, finished, and staring at me from on high for my own home.










On the way over to BTMRR, scoped out some of Fantasmic!


Hit the Queue at 22:41 The new effects on Thunder were great!



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Old 06-08-2014, 12:19 AM   #7
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22:50… off and heading over to Indy only to find it 101. Man, that’s the second time today I had seen it 101. 22:59 and I’m waiting in the Jungle Cruise queue. They are only running a handful of boats tonight, and it is SLOW going. Saw a member of the Hidden Mickeys Social group in the queue. He couldn’t decide if he wanted to go or stay, and finally left. I’m finally in the boat, and…. “Wave good bye to all the beautiful people on the dock… and now wave good bye to the rest of them.






23:30 and I’m off to do my shopping from earlier at Pieces of Eight. After I crossed that off of my list, I jumped on Pirates at 23:36. It was practically walk-on.








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Old 06-08-2014, 12:21 AM   #8
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With just minutes to spare after getting off Pirates, I boogied to Indy and jumped in the queue at 23:55. It was a REALLY rough ride tonight… I noticed the Imagineers had removed Bones’ hat during the last refurb. Man.. all the Easter eggs are getting removed. I also see that the Eeyore parking sign behind and above the projector in the queue is also gone. Had never seen this version of Mara on previous trips.




6/6/2014…00:25 and I’m walking past the Adventureland Bazaar in an empty Adventureland. I swung by the Castle and Fantasy Faire for some late night picture taking.








A deserted Tomorrowland




And time to call it a night… I’ve got some shopping to do on Main Street though.


After completing my shopping, I left the park at 00:41. As I’m standing there looking back reflecting on my first day as an AP, I see a Disneyland cat, an orange tabby. It’s coming from East of the main gates and just walks over, and straight through the fence like it wasn’t there. Before I could grab my camera, it sped up to a trot and was gone into the park.

After a LONG walk back to the Super 8, I stopped by the 7-11 and grabbed some Gatorade to rehydrate and finally walked into my room at 01:05. I’ll have to be up in just over four hours, so it’s off to bed ASAP.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:58 AM   #9
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6/6/14… My alarm went off at 05:30, and I grumpily awoke feeling like I had just laid down to sleep. I got out of bed and stumbled around the room looking for the light switch…Grabbed a quick shower, of which it has some indiscernible puzzle masquerading as the shower mixing valve. After messing with it for a good 4-5 minutes, I determined I did not at present possess the mental faculties to get the water to a temperature less than “scald your flesh from your bones”, so I bravely tipped the shower head down, and stepped into the lava-esque shower. After a VERY quick wash, it was time to get dressed, pack, load the car, grab breakfast, and get to the Mickey and Friends parking structure. I finally rolled out onto Katella at 06:55.
Google maps was apparently non-Disney-Optimized because I missed the M&F lane, and had to go down and loop around the lot by the Disneyland Hotel, via Magic way. The second pass, I made it, and pulled into the parking garage at 07:10. I had read that the garage opens 90 mins before park opening, and assumed that had meant EMH/MM opening as well…. I was wrong. I was faced with this when I pulled up, and apparently 20 minutes to burn sitting in line.



07:40… I’m parked on the roof and walking down the escalator for the trams.




07:54… I cruise through bag check and make my way onto the esplanade. I see an SCer taking pics right in the middle of the hub. I’d never heard of that particular SC before (Big Bad Wolves). I determine EMH is at DCA today, both parks open at the same time (09:00 for us non-onsite mortals), and get in line for DL. I struck up a conversation with the older couple standing behind me. I had heard them looking at a map, and planning their day. They were going to head straight to Space Mountain. I let them know it was down for refurb, and told them about BTMRR, and its recent refurb, how if I were traveling with my family that Peter Pan would be our first ride because the standby queue goes up to half an hour IMMEDIATELY after park open, and gave them some strategy tips for their first FP, and what they should ride next if they wanted to maximize their morning. I would see them in the BTMRR queue a little later, and they said my recommendations were AWESOME.





08:35… We are in the park. They are rope-dropping at each land from the hub today, so I go over and line up at Adventureland as you can’t quite get to the Frontierland bridge as the hub is roped off just after Adventureland on the West side. I’m right up front, and there aren’t many people… yet…





About 5 minutes go by and I turn around to see this:




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Old 06-08-2014, 11:01 AM   #10
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I’m standing there listening to some Grad Night kids planning their day. Their strategy seems sound, and they see me nodding approval. One of them musters up some courage to ask “are you famous?” I’m wearing my Club 33 ball cap and Polo, so they assume I’m one of the elite. They asked me all about it, I debunked some rumors about it, and told them all about the refurb going on. Seemed like good kids all around. They rope dropped at 09:00 on the dot, and we were OFF. When everybody zigged left towards JC/Indy, I zagged right and caught the shortcut into Frontierland. I had 3 people in front of me who had come across at a run via the Frontierland entrance from the hub.



09:02… the CM at BTMRR are telling me they aren’t ready yet, and that the FP won’t be going until the ride is up. Switch to plan B…. Head over to the West side of the River. I pass HM, make it to where the exit is, and realize…. Hey, I’ve not done the Pet Cemetary yet. I pull a 180, and head back for the HM queue. As I’m walking up the steps, they people in front of me are asking about the Pet Cemetary too, so all 3 of us go over. I’m probably in their pics, hopefully not unintentionally photo-bomming them. I snap some pics, soak in the area and head for Splash which is walk on. The couple in the Pet Cemetary with me go down the standby queue, but I head to the single rider entrance… I don’t see them make it through the queue before I’m on a log and off to the briar patch.












09:20… I’m off Splash and head over to Pooh. I’m going to try to see if I can get a pic of Max, Buff & Melvin. I get my own honeycomb as the ride is deserted. Try as I may, I couldn’t get a decent shot of MB&M. I’ve got all illumination turned off on my camera, and subsequently, I couldn’t use auto focus (it needs the illuminator in that area to be able to meter/focus, and none of my manual shots turned out as I was shooting wide open at f/1.4, which has a razor thin depth of field.






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Old 06-08-2014, 11:15 AM   #11
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09:27… I’m off Pooh, and decide to stroll over to Thunder to see if it is up yet. The West end of the park is deserted.





I get to Thunder about 5 minutes later, grab a FP, and notice a stated 5 min standby. I go through, and have a great time. 14 minutes later, I’m back in line again for another ride on it. By 10:08 I’ve completed my second run on it, and decided to head over to the Twain to see about piloting it.







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Old 06-08-2014, 11:15 AM   #12
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The CM on the dock says there are already two parties in front of me waiting to do the pilot house, so not wanting to burn 40 minutes waiting, I head over to Pirates.












10:42… I take a quick trip down to my favorite door in the park…. So sad I’ll never get to use it again.. I’m heading back to Thunder to use my FP. On the way, I stop by the Twain… by this time, there are FOUR people lined up, and that’s it for the day according to the CM manning the dock. I decide its time to give the East side of the park some love, so I head over to Matterhorn. I get there at 11:05 only to find that it is 101 AGAIN (what’s going on with Matterhorn lately… just can’t catch a break). I decide its time to head over to DCA because I’ll only have a few hours before I need to be back in DL for my Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour. I stop by the Main Street Train Station and inquire about tender rides. The CM checks and says none are available for today.



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Old 06-08-2014, 12:50 PM   #13
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I get into DCA, and start my remaining souvenir shopping. I just had the wife and myself left to do. I found her a nicely patterned Midnight with Mickey Mini Hipster Bag by Vera Bradley. After that, I venture to Off the Page. I’ve been dying for some DCA attraction posters to compliment my DL attraction posters. I order up 6 of them (left a few for next time). Afterword, I grabbed a Chili cheese dog from Wiener’s, and then proceeded over to Tower of Terror at 11:50 to grab a Fastpass.



After I grabbed my FP, I headed over to RSR and jumped in the single rider line at 12:00. I rode it back to back as single rider, and ended up averaging 11 minutes per ride including the wait in line. That was pretty darn awesome.









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Old 06-08-2014, 12:54 PM   #14
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I’m off of it at 12:23 and feeling terribly thirsty. I wander over to The Karl Strauss Beer Truck and grab a Tower 10 IPA. I walk back to the Cars Land arch, and strike up a conversation with the two Photopass photogs standing there. I tell them they should lend me their SB800 speedlight as my SB600 was acting up, and not consistently firing (think the capacitor went bad). One of them, Niki from Gilbert, AZ (right in my backyard) says she LOVES my C33 hat and asks where I got it. I tell her about my trip there last may, and how I can’t wait to go back. The three of us continue to chat, and they ask me whether I like DCA or DL better, to which I respond with a resounding Disneyland. They ask me about my favorite ride (Pirates of course), and I tell them that they changed some things in the latest refurb. I told them how the increased lighting ruined the mood in spots, and how the imagineers removed the light sabre and lego easter eggs. Niki told me about Bones’ hat on Indy, but I had to sadly tell her that was gone as well. She and the other photog asked me if I had ever been to Disney World, and what I thought. Its OK was my response, and I told them about how DLR with two parks has more attractions than WDW with four parks. By then, it was 12:49 and I was just about done with my beer, so I headed back towards TOT to utilize my fast pass.










Got off TOT at 13:08. It was a GREAT ride. I didn’t make it on my last trip, so I was Jones-ing for some greater than free fall fun. I decided that I just HAD to get a California Screamin’ ride in, so I made my way over to the pier and got in line for single rider. The line was in direct sun, HOT, LONG, and slow moving. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally boarded my car.





After departing the ride at 13:35, I was extra thirsty due to waiting in that hot sun. Over to cove bar I went. There was a line at the hostess station, but I walked around it, and asked if there was room at the bar. One spot was open, and I took it. Another Tower 10 IPA was set in front of me, and eagerly consumed. The two girls sitting next to me were having a great conversation, and I saw them eyeing my hat (greatest hat ever, everybody wants to talk to you when you are sporting Club 33 wear). They asked about it, and I told them about my may trip. The conversation turned to Dapper Day, and I found out they do both the February and September Dapper Days. Chelsea lives up north (San Francisco I think), and Marina is a local (unless I got them backwards). They showed me pics of them from dapper day, and I showed them my pics of the family and I. They loved my girl’s outfits, and I told them how you could make anything look vintage by adding women’s gloves. We had a brief convo about the vintage clothing they had acquired to build their outfits, and then it was time for them to leave as it was 14:06 so Chelsea could catch her flight, and I had to run to my tour over at Disneyland.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:41 PM   #15
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I got to DL with the 10 minutes to spare before my 14:30 start. I checked in the tour gardens, got my personalized nametag (two actually as they accidentally made up two) and sat down to wait for the guide to show up. Steven from Pasadena was to be my guide on the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour. His enthusiasm was astounding. During the course of the tour, I found out he had started out in Tomorrowland, had done Nemo, and Star Tours, and then moved up to City Hall, and then onto tours. We started with a meet and greet in front of City Hall. There was a group of four from Canada, a family of three (two of whom it was their first day ever in DL, an older couple who were DVC members, and a gentleman my age name of Sean. We started out by venturing over to the town square, where he recounted for us the opening day debacle, and played some clips of Walt’s dedication speech.

From there, we ventured down Main Street to the Hub, where we had some additional stories told. I knew everything he was telling, so I had to restrain myself from answering every question he posed to the group to give other’s a chance to answer. From there, we went via the western entrance through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Once in Fantasyland, we stopped outside of the Peter Pan Exit while he went and arranged our trip on the attraction. A short wait, and we were boarding the ships through the exit and were OFF to NEVERLAND!!! I learned that there’s a Mickey Silhouette in one of the London Windows after you pass Big Ben. I’ll have to find it next time.




By now, it was 15:10, and we traveled to Frontierland via Big Thunder Trail over towards NOS. Steven went on to describe Walt’s original vision for NOS, including the residence which was to become the Dream Suite, Club 33, as well as the currently under construction Salon Nuevo Jazz Club. Once done with the history lesson, and a brief history on the original concepts for Pirates and HM, we were guided towards the NOS train depot, and we boarded the train… instructed in no uncertain terms to get off at Tomorrowland, NOT Toon Town. On the way, they almost had to stop the train because a kid kept hanging off the side trying to touch the tunnel running through Splash Mountain.

Upon arrival at Tomorrowland, we disembarked, and were allowed a 3 minute bathroom break. While there, I struck up a conversation with Steven about whether anybody has ever tried to eat the landscaping in Tomorrowland. He said “yes actually”. Steven also leads the Cultivating the Magic tour, so he was familiar with exactly what I was talking about. He mentioned how the carrots were coming up the other day, and how a guy ate an apple off of one of the trees. For those who don’t know, most of the landscaping in Tomorrowland is edible or can be harvested.

After the bathroom break, we meandered towards the monorail, and he explained the history of it, and how Walt landed on the perfect conveyance which was quiet, and who’s structure could blend in to nearly any area of the park. On the way back through Fantasyland, we were talking about the fireworks and he mentioned how the canal boats are the PERFECT spot to watch the fireworks, and if you time it right, they’ll stop in the middle of the ride while the fireworks are going on. Apparently it’s a MAJOR proposal spot, eclipsed only by the hub in front of SB’s castle.

We made our way through the hub and over to Adventureland with a brief comment on how it’s the only land without a weenie because you need to make a turn to discover the ADVENTURE which awaits you. We got a quick history on the inspiration for the Tiki Room (While antique hunting, Walt came across a cage with a little automaton bird and thought his Imagineers could surely plus it). After we went into the waiting area, Steve and I had a quick chat. At the Toon Town Depot, I expressed concern that I may need to cut out early and would the tour really take 3.5 hours that he had told me on the train? Yes was the answer, which was going to put me EXTREMELY tight on making my flight as I had to gas up the rental car, get to John Wayne, Check a bag, get through security, etc. It was 16:37, and my flight was supposed to be wheel s up at 19:10. So while we were at the Tiki queue, he called his supervisor, and arranged for me to pick up my lunch to go, AND…. See Walt’s apartment all by myself. Talk about Disney accommodation. There was a parade going on, so I had to snake through the shops to get back to tour gardens.

I was greeted there by Angie from Chino Hills. She would be my personal tour guide to Walt’s Apartment. She took me over past the firehouse, by the CM gate, and told me to hold on, because she needed to go get the key. A few minutes later she was back, and told me to please keep the lens cap on the camera as we were going back stage. We climbed the modern stairs, and got to the door at the top, which is where she started the tour. She explained the manual doorbell inset into the door. I told her how my neighbor has one being that we live in a 1920s subdivision, and how I loved the era. We then entered the apartment. I commented on how wide the door was. Maybe a 40-42” opening judging by my eye. Wonder what that was all about. I was told to use the coat rack for anything I wanted to hang up, so I slug my bag, camera, and hat.

Angie went into the tour pitch as we reached the main room. We talked about the decorations, the beds, the music makers, the kitchenette, opening day, etc. I was sort of leading her with my eyes, as I’ve read so much about the apartment, and watched several videos of it all that I knew where everything was going. We had a laugh about it all. She then took me down the back hall into the closet/bathroom. Got to see the modern (for 1955) bathroom, with the four shower sprayers, and learned something new I’ve never read or heard. In the built-in chest of drawers, they used to keep crayons and paper for Walt’s grandchildren to scribble on. Walt would take their scribbles and turn them into a character. How neat. After all that, she took a picture of me in the apartment with the lamp in the background. With that, my tour was over. I collected my things, and we headed for the door.

After we got back on stage, the flag retreat was going on. It was PERFECT timing. I’d always wanted to see it. We paused for a few moments, and then returned to tour gardens where my lunch was packed to go, and I got a bag with all my tour swag in it. I thanked her profusely for letting me get to see Walt’s apartment and for accommodating my abbreviated schedule. Disney sure knows how to do it. With that, I was gone… I crossed the turnstiles at 17:00 and rushed towards the tram pickup.



I quickly jumped in the car, went all the way around the parking structure, until I found the exit ramp, and was to the intersection of Ball Rd and Disneyland Dr by 17:18. Hopefully traffic would not be bad, otherwise I would be in for a world of hurt. Luckily, there were on a few slow-downs, so I made it to John Wayne and grabbed some fuel for the car, and went to return it. That being done, I hauled my now increased load (all those souvenirs and my lunch) up to the terminal, and finally found the ticketing agent to check my bag. Feeling as though I had enough time to wolf down my lunch, I tore into the turkey sandwich I had ordered. The fruit and Macaroon would have to wait for the plane. I rushed through security… well I would have if the app on my phone with my boarding pass didn’t decide it needed to be completely reinstalled, reregistered, and the pass re-downloaded to get past the first check. I finally make it to my gate with only 15 minutes to spare…. and….. my flight is delayed due to some mechanical problem. Seriously? I rushed, rushed, rushed, and now I’m looking at a 90 minute delay.

To make the best of a bad situation, there’s nothing like a beer, some tunes, and charging the electronic devices. The plane did get fixed, and I think our pilot turned the normal 70 minute flight into a 45 minute flight (the engines never powered back the whole time, and we came into Phoenix HOT on the glide path. Collected my bags, got home, and CRASHED. It had been a LONG week.



Now on to the fun stuff. The wife had sent me a list of stuff for the kids. The eldest, a pirate princess costume. Thank heavens for my healthy AP discount… that was pricy for a kids costume. The middle girl got a baby Tinkerbelle plush. The youngest, a Peter Pan figure set. She REALLY loves Peter Pan. I got myself two tiki mugs for the collection from the drinks I had at Trader Sam’s, and the wife got the aforementioned Vera Bradley bag.




And the eldest sporting her costume. I don’t think it’s been off of her other than to sleep and bathe since.


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