A much delayed trip report...2/28-3/3

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Bunless, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    Back in January (a whole whopping six weeks prior) DH and I had taken both of our parents to the Land (see previous trip report). Part of our strategy for that trip was to get annual passes--beause, you know, discounts and all. Of course, the danger of those annual passes is that you suddenly say things like 'hey, want to go to Disneyland in a couple of weeks? air flights are $199 round trip!' Which is of course met by the response 'I'm asking off of work, right now, book it!'

    That's how DH and I found ourselves on a flight to LAX the afternoon of February 28th. Darn.

    Earlier that morning, we decided on a new tradition to go along with the soon to be increasing trips to Disneyland (because, you know, gotta make those annual passes work for you!). We met my parents at 13 Coins, a 24 hour establishment across from SeaTac. It's one of those places that we've always wanted to go, but just never had. It's older, from the 60s, and it looks like the rat pack could wander in at any moment. It was a wonderful, traditional breakfast--though massivly huge, and a great way to start a weekend getaway. My parents live closer to the airport than we do, so we were able to avoid parking fees...and have a great morning with my parents!

    After visiting the airport Borders and Starbucks, we made our way to the gate. Something that I had forgotten about at the SeaTac Airport is the (I think it's called) Laughing Fountain. It's a water fountain in one of the concourses that is hooked up to a speaker, so that when you drink from it it makes a really really loud water noise. I got a kick out of filling my water bottle up with it, just letting the sound go and go while people stopped around to stare--and, eventually, laugh. I think they need that fountain in Toontown.

    We had a decent enough flight, and I've discovered that I actually really like the Alaska Air snack packs that you can get. It's not just 'eh, it's airplane food and I'm hungry'..but I truly enjoy it. That, and the excellent Alaskan Amber. mmmm. good.

    After landing, we took the Disneyland Express to the GCH. It's such an easy thing to take that ride. You don't have to plan, at all. Just remember your cash! One of the things that's nice about buses, strangly, is that they are loud. Is there a family with young children who are way excited? Excellent! they're sitting at the front...we'll make our way to the back. It's just like a private coach then! I have a strange ritual that I now do whenever we're on our way from the airport...I use my phone to trace how close we're getting. Strange, yes, but I enjoy it.

    We ended up with a garden view room (and darn it! I kept wanting to get a photo of the monorail passing through, but never did). No King bed, which is always dissapointing, but a comfortable queen did just fine. I had called ahead of time and ordered a few things to be in the room when we arrived...bannanas, apples, apple slices, milk and juice...and I asked for and received a carton of half and half. Of course it was $10, but it lasted the whole time and if I didn't drink the coffee in the room, I would have spent at least that much on buying it elsewhere. I always bring my own coffee, and my own sugar, the only thing missing was the half and half...and now I can easily get it! ahhh, a perfect vacation recipe.

    That afternoon, 4ish? we had shrimp po boys at the Jazz Kitchen Express. They were ok, not too exciting, but fine. I'd rather have a real Po Boy with oysters. The beignets, however...oh my lord YES! so, so amazing.

    We wandered around Downtown Disney for a bit, I had my heart set on finding the perfect wallet for Disney vacations...ideally one with Tink. It was not to be found at the Disney Vault or the Downtown Disney store, it would be quite a hunt, actually, to find the perfect wallet.

    DH and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening around DCA. We knew it would be crowded, so we went in with thee idea that we would just lazy around DCA, doing the little things and not getting involved in the crowded rush.

    We saw Drawn to the Magic, drew Piglet, saw Muppet Vision, and went on Monsters before wandering back to the hotel for a brief time/nap.

    That evening we wandered back to DCA and headed to the Redwook Creek area. We had so much fun, playing on the ropes and with all the toys. In particular, I enjoyed messing with other people with the radio...

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    I had also never seen the spirit cave before, very interesting, I think. I appear to be a hawk...

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    I love that whole area. I love reading about the animals and plants, I love finding the quiet places to steal a moment with DH. My only complaint about the Redwood Creek? I want to go on the zip line!!!
     
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  3. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    Still Saturday night, I had never seen DCA so crowded! granted, we usually go in the off season and during the week...but still, it was a shock to the system. It was ok, though, we were fine with wandering around, checking out the sights, taking photos, and looking for my wallet.

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    We didn't ride anything in the Paradise Pier area. I wonder how much of the crowding was due to both California Screamin and Tower of Terror being down? I would guess a great deal.

    Honestly, I love just walking around with DH, just holding hands in the lights of Paradise Pier...or any other area around Disney. It's just wonderful, taking our time while people rush by. So often I feel like we're in a movie that's about us, and all the others around are the extras. It's a good feeling--a romantic one at that.
     
  4. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    We made our way to Bugs Land. I really enjoy the new flower displays with the figures of the characters. The smell of clover was so thick and heavenly. Unfortunaly, my photos didn't turn out very well.

    Bugs Land at night is just magical.

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    we finally rode Heimleich...and I screamed when we went through the watermelon. The smells on that ride are just to die for. There needs to be an animal cracker vending stand right when you get off.

    We also rode the bumper cars for the first time. I can't believe how many people I slammed into, it was quite fun.

    *warning, tangent from someone who doesn't have kids and never wants to have them, please forgive*

    With all the discussions on these boards about rides that are appropriate for children, rides that you shouldn't bring kids on, rides that might harm them--either physically or emotionally...I'm surprised that this one doesn't get more attention. I saw so many parents ramming their cars directly into their kids and laughing the whole while. I think that's great, that's how it should be...but I'm surprised that more people don't complain about it.

    *tangent over*

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    I also rode the Lady Bug Boogie thing...LOVED IT! I just which DH enjoying spinning rides, then we could have really gotten that thing going with our combined weight!

    From there we rode Flick's Flyers...again, much fun to be had. DH even managed to not get sick!

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  5. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    Rounding out our Saturday, we headed to Bug's Life, one of my all time favorites. Personally, I like to sit in the bak so that I can witness the mahem in the audiene. Always entertaining. I also love getting there right after the previous show starts, so that DH and I can walk around holding hands and listening to the music while taking in the decor. Whenever those bugs bust into 'Somewhere' or 'Tomorrow' I swear, I'm this close to tears.

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    We attempted a small amount of wandering around after that, but DCA was closing, and honestly, we felt like going back to the hotel.

    Can you believe it, day one and we didn't even set foot in Disneyland park.

    I wanted a cocktail and snack, so we went to the Hearthstone Lounge. I think we had sliders...or flatbread...or something along those lines. It was fine, just typical barfood. Of course, the cocktails were great.

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    Side note, while in the Lounge we got to witness some amazing hospitality. There was an older couple there with their bags. Something had clearly happened because the suites were coming in every now and then to check on them and saying things like 'we really appreciate your understanding' and 'our apologies'. They must have been there awhile because every person on the bar staff seemed to have a cammadarie going on with them. I just got this vibe that something about this couple's trip had really gone awry, but there was never a moment where you felt that it was a negative experience. Before they left, the gentleman stated 'mistakes happen, it's what happens after the mistake that makes for good customer service'. That's my opinion too, and, imo, that's what makes Disney so great.


    Next up, Sunday and the Gospel brunch! That's some good eatin!
     
  6. Tasscrapper

    Tasscrapper I belive in dragons, unicorns, good men and other

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    Waiting for the next segment. :)
     
  7. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    This weekend!
     
  8. erinbev

    erinbev Mouseketeer

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    your pictures are so beautiful! can't wait to hear more! :)
     
  9. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! Here you go....

    Sunday, 2/29

    We woke up early in order to make the ropedrop for Toy Story Mania. We went to the GCH hotel entrance, because...well, that's where we were. I have to say, that was the single most orderly line up for a ride first thing in the morning that I have ever seen. They lined us up at the rope (single file), then at about fifteen till they started to slowly walk us through the Grizzly River back area, the walking path where the smoking section is (this, I have to say, was nice, because I keep wanting to walk back in there but always get thwarted by a coughing fit as I go through the haze). We would periodicaly stop, then go again, as we waited for the line to fill in. Eventually they had us snake through the entire TSMM line, including the line overdraft area across the way from the main line. It was sorta fun, in an odd, odd way.

    I'm still a beaver.

    From there we went Screamin, always a great time. I've heard that they're going to retheme the que for that ride. I'm pulling for a walk-through history of victorian era rollercoasters.

    From there I did the Mailiboomer, DH did not. It's one that I had never done, but then my dad shamed me by going on it on our last trip. So, this time it was my turn to take the plunge--or shot, which is a better term for that ride? I was honestly surprised by it, the initial catapult was bracing, but the rest of it felt like the Jellyfish ride. No joke. The worst part was the waiting, though apparently my scream was heard far and wide.

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    Eventually we made our way to the House of Blues for the Gospel Brunch.

    I think so highly of corporations take the time to preserve traditional art, even if it's just about the bottom line in the end, I still really admire that they do that. The HOB at DTD is done in such a way that, if you pay attention, it makes you want to go out and learn more about what is being presented there in art and architecture. That, to me, is a good thing.

    The food itself was wonderful, it did the trick. I was only dissapointed in that there were no grits and/or turnip greens. That's what I was hoping for, alas! it twas not to be. The rest was good, though.

    Oh yes, we can't forget the $10 endless champaigne/mimosa wristbands. Can't forget that now, can we.

    The show itself was fun. I think they do a good job of walking the line of working for a tourist crowd and acknowlading that there is a tradition of worship that you can choose to participate in if you so choose. There were people there who felt moved to raise their hands up, there were those who didn't move a muscle, there were those like DH and myself who are not religious, but still enjoy taking in the experience and living it to its fullest. Hence, we stood up and danced alot.

    After lunch we headed over to Tom Sawyer's Pirate Lair (what is the correct name of that anyway? lol).

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    We hadn't been on the Island since it had been renovated. DH and I were both wary, but, I have to say that we both loved it. All the new caves and tricks were fabulous and fun, and I love the boat with the pump and waterwheel. I kept thinking that we must have missed alot even though we went all over that island (including the highest point!), but that's the beauty of it, you want to go back.

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    Afterward we headed back to the hotel room for a much deserved nap.

    More to come!
     
  10. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    I wish I could remember where we ate dinner that night...forgive me? Next time I'll do the trip report sooner!

    We did walk through DCA to get to Disneyland, though, 'cause it's just easier from the GCH. I can also remember doing the dash through the Pixar Parade, always a good time. Waiting for the section to pass, lining up at the rope--then Go! Go! Go! I remember being at WDW and having the perfect seat at the MK for watching people do this during the Electrical Parade. So much fun.

    So anyhoo, on to DL

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    This was our night to do Fantasyland. DH and I only do Fantasyland at night. Period, no other time. Amongst other reasons dealing with aesthetics, Dumbo's always five minutes or less. We ended up doing everything in Fantasyland, except for Peter Pan. DH did the Matterhorn without me as I was starting to get a headache and we all know that if there's a ride to not go on when you have a headache--that's the one. So I sat and did the people watching thing on the benches under the monorail. Strangley, I hadn't ever noticed that whole area before. Someday I should walk down that dock.

    On our way back to the hotel, I snapped the shots of the most magical thing that I've ever seen at Disneyland. I just wish that they turned out better...

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    I always felt that the fairy lights around the hub were the most magical thing in all of Disney, but that was until I saw the trees in bloom. Truly, truly spectacular.

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    From there, it was back to the hotel. This is another shot that didn't turn out so well, but ever since we took the hotel tour last visit, I keep noticing how artful the GCH is. This I love in particular because it's a reminent of one of the original themeing ideas of the hotel--the blue moon is always stunning.

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    Next up, DH goes to the spa and a show at the House of BLues--I go for a five course at the Chef's COunter.
     
  11. Czardas

    Czardas Mouseketeer

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    Im loving your trip report, keep it coming. I too don't have children and don't intend to, so it's great reading your slant on disneyland as a couple.
     
  12. PirateFish989

    PirateFish989 Mouseketeer

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    Your pictures are amazing!
     
  13. Belle Ella

    Belle Ella DIS Veteran

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    Keep the posts coming! Loving your TR, and we love pictures!!
     
  14. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    It's good to know there are more of us out there!
    btw...Czardas is one of my favorite dances

    Thank you! more is coming!
     
  15. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    lol, I just realized that I said Sunday was February 29...just kidding!

    Monday, March 2

    Once again, we started the morning with Toy Story (ok, that's a lie, we did the 9:30 Soarin')...but, wow, what a difference in the lineup from the day before. This time, it was a normal ol rope drop followed by the power walk. Still a beaver! I need to do a workout routine for the lower arm, 'cause I can barely last the whole time. DH can last longer on that ride...feel free to comment.

    Afterwards we worked our way around the midway. Screamin (with alot of screams) followed by the Carousel...

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    Mailiboomer, Orange Stinger, Jellyfish (first time on those), Mulholland, and Zephyer. Yes, all of them in a row. DH said that he gets dizzy enough on the Oranger Stinger that it's slightly fun...but he still won't get on the teacups with me.

    We headed over to Cafe Orleans to see if we could score a table. Yup, fifteen minutes, which is cool...but I'm always so surprised at the amount of people who get upset about any wait time at all, especially when they don't have a seating time already. Just blows my mind. We love Cafe Orleans on a warm day, especially when the jazz band is playing close by. Just wonderful. Oh yes, and the beignets...and the pomme frittes. I even braved the coffee.

    Now, a couple of things that we did, but I can't remember when!

    --Animation Academy: this is one of the hidden gems, imo. This time around we drew piglet. Mine was passable, DH did a great job. He was very proud and kept it! I think he kept mine too.

    --Dapper Dans: we finally caught them, and I would rather they didn't tap. Maybe I'm remembering the way they do it in WDW, but it wasn't as good as I'd remembered.

    --Billy Hill: always, always the best show in the park!

    More to come! including Napa Rose...yummmmmm
     
  16. Czardas

    Czardas Mouseketeer

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  17. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    That evening, I had arranged a spa appointment for DH at the GCH. There was a massage and something else, sort of a late valentine's day gift. He finds spas relaxing, I get bored.

    However, that meant that I had an evening to myself. I was able to walk around the parks by myself for awhile, and I had a seating at Napa Rose.

    One thing that I learned, I don't want to go to DL solo. I always thought that I would want to, but after one evening of wandering by myself, I realized it wasn't for me.


    I've never noticed this before....

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    I had a light dinner at Rancho Zocolo, just a kids plate, enouch to let me last until my Napa Rose dinner that night. I loved sitting in a quiet place at night, right by Big Thunder, watching the trains coming in. So wonderful.

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  18. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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  19. Bunless

    Bunless DIS Veteran

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    Ok, finally finishing up the day!

    A couple of weeks before hand I was perusing the House of Blues website to see if there were any shows that we might want to go to. There was nothing for me, but when I saw that it was something like 'guitar legends' on Monday night, I knew my DH would be all over it. I was at my computer in my office, he was in the next room over. I yelled out 'do you know this guy?' yes, he says. "Do you know this second guy?" yes "This third guy?" Yes--and why, what is going on?!?!?!?!

    Ahhhh, baby, it's three of your guitar heros, on stage at once. He was so excited. Me, however, I could care less. So on Monday night, he goes off to the House of Blues...and I go off to the Chef's Counter at Napa Rose.

    Darn.

    So, Napa Rose...

    This was my second time dining there, the first being in January with the entire family. At that time I ordered the chef's tasting menu...everyone else had three courses while I had five...oops. At the time it was the best meal I had ever had, hands down.

    I sat at the seat closest through the pass through station (with a great view of the cheese...seriously, loved it, i love cheese).

    What I love about Napa Rose, other than the food, is how entirely down to earth it is. Yes, the food and wine is amazing--but the people who work there are not the snobs that you associate with similar establisments elsewhere. It's just good people who love good food and love sharing it. It makes me feel warm and comfortable, and completly able to enjoy the food for what it is and not worry about my table manners. Those feelings grow even more at the chef's counter, as you're able to see what all is going into each and every one of those dishes.

    I wish I could remember every course and share with you all, but I don't, I'm sorry. I have the menu somewhere...but it's probably still in the luggage. I will say that it was wonderful, but with one exception I didn't enjoy it as much as the meal in January. Just personal taste for many of the dishes. That one exception, though, was the most memorable food moment of my adult life.

    Remember in the movie, Ratatouille? when the critic is suddenly taken back to his childhood by a single dish? when he begins to cry over that dish? I've heard of that happening before, I know that sense memories are powerful, but I'd never experienced it before myself.

    Backing up now, when I was a kid and my mom made bbq for dinner, it was very simple. She put the chicken in the crock pot with a whole bottle of a particular bbq sauce--let it sit all day...plus slaw and some other fixins. That was always my favorite meal, ever. Even now, that's what I want when we go visit.

    So, somehow, this dish, this second course...the chef managed to distill the flavors of my mom's bbq meal. They were concentrated, they were potent, and they hit me like a ton of bricks. I took a bite, stopped chewing, stared at the food in awe, and started crying. Right there, chef's counter, I started crying (actually I am now too, remembering it). Somehow, I managed through the entire dish, but barely. I was seriously loosing it. I was going to the ugly cry place.

    Everyone there was so wonderful, constantly checking on me to make sure that I was actually 'ok' and by the end everyone knew all about my mom's bbq. Through the rest of the meal, I would, on occasion, start to break down again. So glad I was facing the kitchen and not the rest of the crowd.

    At the end, the chef came over and shook my hand and gave me a signed copy of the menu...saying that it was such a great compliment, my reaction.

    I'll never forget that experience, ever.

    What a great night, both for myself and DH...but in completly different ways.

    Next up, Tuesday, departure day.
     
  20. peppermint

    peppermint Earning My Ears

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    Oh, wow, bunless - what a great story about eating at the Napa Rose. That is a great compliment to the chef. He'll probably always remember that. And so will you. If I get the chance I'll try to order the bbq :)
     
  21. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    I love the frames on your pictures.
     

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