For those of you who have experienced my other TRs, or have encountered me on various threads, youll probably know that I am a bit of a fortunate guy in that I like to tack on time (when possible) to do something fun. If I cant tack on a day at the beginning or end of a trip, Ill definitely try to at least seek out something fun in the area Im in for example when in NYC, I love to see a show, or a Yankees game, or ride the subway, or take the Staten Island Ferry, or, or, or. When in Philly, I enjoy seeing some of the historical sites. Everywhere has something to see or do, if you only take the time to explore. Some places just happen to have the best themed experiences on the planet Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong and if Im in the neighborhood, youd better believe Im going to tack on some time and go see some old pals and enjoy some great architecture too sometimes even have a great meal. SOLO. Because Im comfortable enough traveling & touring on my own (that and I cant always afford to bring the family along on a work trip!) So with that in mind, its time once again for a SOLO adventure by stopher1 (vs. my FAMILY adventures when at least one other member of the family gets to go with me). I travel a lot for my for work, and those travels just happen to include both California (headquarters is located in Orange County the home of Disneyland, and a few other things in case you were somehow not aware) and my regional territory (24 states on the eastern half of the country) naturally includes Florida (the home of Walt Disney World again, just in case you were somehow not sure where that plane takes you each time you go to the World! ) This trip report is actually the compilation of 2 individual trips that were made within one week of each other to opposite coasts and resorts and has lots of DIS meets in it as well!! Filled with the parks, resorts, old friends, family, friends from my DL CM days via a reunion of Carnation Plaza Gardens friends, WL Groupies and DISDads so why have 2 separate reports, but rather lump them together into 1! Its more fun that way especially since within this single report you will be able to see some of the Christmas decorations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in one without the personal expense of flying there yourself! Well begin this tale the day after Thanksgiving 2010, as I prepared to fly west for my companys annual end of year meetings where we go over the current year, and do some planning for the upcoming year. Everyone in the company is there, regardless of where they reside in the nation (there are only 41 of us in all on the team about half are regional folks in 4 offices around the country). I normally dont like to fly the day after Thanksgiving, typically the Saturday or Sunday after, but that was the plan this year and hey, the airport was extremely light! Practically everyone was already where they wanted to be. Upon arrival at John Wayne airport in Orange County, waiting for my bag to come off the conveyor, I was greeted with this SIGN probably about 6x9 in size (or bigger) on the wall of the airport. I can't wait to stay at Aulani! I would not be checking in to the Grand until Saturday afternoon so that Friday night I was able to go down to our family retreat house my FILs condo overlooking the beach in San Clemente and spend some time with him. He was diagnosed with cancer this past summer, and time with him is precious. Heres the view from his living room window, which can never be obstructed since there is a public access staircase from the bluff his condo is on down to the actual beach below. He insisted on taking me out to dinner that evening, so here we are at Islands, one of my favorites from So. Cal. This is a view from the top of the stairs in the morning. Notice the train tracks near the waters edge? Amtraks Surfliner runs right along the coast for quite a stretch there from Dana Point on south to Oceanside. Its a fun sight to behold when the train goes by, and you can hear the horns blaring all through the day and night when it is approaching / passing. Here's a view looking south along the coast, with the Pier in the distance. It's a nice walk from his place. It was an absolute delight being able to spend my evening and the next morning with him. It was just the two of us, and in the 19 years I have known him, it was honestly the nicest, most open and caring ongoing conversation we've ever had. It was neat. I left my FILs place around noon, had a quick bite for lunch and proceeded north along the 5 to my destination. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of staying at the Grand Californian, the hotel was built literally adjacent to Disney California Adventure, with a private entrance leading directly INTO that park, putting you just steps away from both Grizzly River Run (like Kali River Rapids) and Soarin (Over California). Both theme park and hotel were built on the original Disneyland parking lot. Parking for the Grand is either via Valet (with underground parking under the new Villas wing), or self-parking, across Disneyland Drive. Thats the route I took, being the relative cheapskate that I am. After checking in, I drove over to the lot, and then walked back to the hotel. This is the view of the hotel from across the street, specifically the new wing opened in September 2009 with the 48 DVC villas in it. The rooms you are looking at here are all hotel rooms for cash guests. The DVC villas are on the other side, either looking towards the pool complex, or over and in to DCA. Since it was just me, naturally I didnt need anything larger than a Studio. I had requested an upper floor, theme park view room. The hotel is only 6 floors high. I got level 3. So the first park of my request was sort of honored, but not fully. I did get a theme park view but the room itself was way down at the end , next to the GV that looks out over DCAs Paradise Pier so the GV juts out further than the rest of the rooms do so my view was of the park, but not very good at least for seeing World of Color. But thats okay. There would be ample opportunity to see it later on, as youll see. I was in Here are a few quick pics of the room itself. Any the view out my window. Straight on is Paradise Pier kind of blocked by trees. WOC is really off to the left. I could only see a tiny bit as seen in this view later that evening but Im getting ahead of myself. Up next DTD, old friends time in Disneyland itself. See ya real soon.