A Churro a Day Keeps the Doctor Away - First TR Ever! DLR July 2019 (Completed 12/10/19!)

Disneyhanna

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Table of Contents

Hi all, and welcome to my very first trip report! My name’s Hanna and I’m a fairly recent college grad with a newfound love for all things Disney! I was never particularly interested in Disney when growing up (all I did was read books, LOL :rotfl:), so now I think I’m just making up for lost time.


I started reading WDW and DLR trip reports about a month ago and it has been such a fun way to beat the Disney blues between trips. I’m pretty new to DISboards, so please excuse any mistakes I make as I learn how to post on here.

A little bit (or a lot) about me:

I’m 23 and hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota ❄. I'm celebrating my one year anniversary at my first big girl job and am embracing my independent adult life! (And by embracing, I mean giving way too much $ to the Mouse!)

This trip report will feature me, in the Bertie Bott’s box, and my college friend Shannon, holding the cute Tangled painting I made her.



I took my first trip to Disney World in October ‘04 with my mom and a bunch of family friends. (More like one family, we have just been adopted into said family.) I didn’t know how lucky I was at the time, but we stayed in a huge house(?) in Old Key West since our friends are DVC members. The entire trip is a blur to me now since I was so young, but I distinctly remember keeping my eyes closed on the entirety of the Haunted Mansion :eek:. Luckily it didn’t scar me permanently, as that is now one of my favorite rides. My mom will never let me live it down that I missed my first hitchhiking ghost.


My first trip to Disneyland was next, in the summer of ‘08. My mom and I were visiting my cousin and were total Disney n00bs still, so we just spent one day in the parks. My memories are still pretty fuzzy, but I did ride ToT eight times in a row because there was no line :rotfl2:. I’m lucky to have such a patient mom, who doesn’t ride any big rides due to motion sickness and dizziness. It’s a Small World was down during our first trip to WDW and it was also down for this first trip to Disneyland, so this was a priority when we went back to WDW for our first *real* trip in January ‘17.

I almost didn't post this picture because LOL. But it's pretty much the only picture my mom managed to wrangle me into taking that picture. Now, I chase down the PP photographers!

Flash forward to 2017, when my mom and I spent three days (with park hoppers, always) at WDW and two days at Universal Orlando. This was my first time going as an adult, with a plan. One of my best friends is a huge Disney fan and now thanks to her, so am I! We were so much more prepared and ended up getting hooked. Since then, we’ve taken two more trips to the World and one day together at DLR. We tend to be budget conscious and limit our table service to a few times a trip, and share quick service or order kids meals. We seem to have an upward trend in resorts though, since we started at POP and will be at AKL for part of our next trip. I guess that's what happens when I am paying for half! :hyper:





Back to the present! I went to Disneyland in July for five days with my friend Shannon, who had never been to DLR and had only been to WDW as a kid. We stayed just across the entrance at the Best Western Park Place Inn and spent months watching vlogs and ordering lots of fun Disney shirts. I reserved our hotel in mid-April with a nice corporate discount, and I’m glad I did because they were fully occupied soon after.

I arrived on Disneyland’s birthday on an early flight and was able to hit the parks solo by 1pm. My friend, Shannon, was arriving around 10pm that night.



Phew! Thank you if you’re still here! I think that’s enough introduction, and so on with the TR. I never intended to make a TR so this will be mostly me stringing together what I can from memory and based on pictures :magnify:. This is also “practice” for me as I hope to better document my next trip to WDW for my second TR. Any tips are welcome as I figure out how this works.

Here we go!

Edited AGAIN: I'm not sure why I'm having so much trouble getting the photos to show up. Hopefully it works now!
 
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Disneyhanna

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
7/17 Day One - Part One: I’m only a morning person for Disney

This was my first Disney trip where I flew in to have time for a park day, I typically like taking mid-afternoon flights to arrive in time for dinner and a reasonable bedtime. I live a mile away from my office, so I typically don’t get up until 8AM. Mornings are my enemy! :sad2:

Well, to save money, I booked a flight for 23,000 Delta skymiles that departed at 7AM. I flipped back and forth between taking an Uber or the light rail train (one block from my apartment) and ended up “risking” it to take the train in the wee hours for only $2. The nice thing about the light rail is that it goes directly to the airport and at that early in the morning, the trains are the “first” of the day and are usually on schedule despite being half an hour apart. I decided to take the 4:25AM rather than the 4:50AM in case I ended up taking an Uber instead. I was not going to risk missing my flight to Disneyland, and I wanted to leave time to get breakfast at the airport. Since I’m a night owl, I think I only got two hours of sleep this night. That will come into play later in the day!



Here is a picture (not mine) of the light rail for anyone who is unfamiliar. I was surprised to see a fair amount of people waiting for the train at such an early time so I felt pretty safe. I live in a nice part of downtown Minneapolis so I wasn’t too worried since I was only walking a block.

My journey to MSP was quite uneventful. It’s about a 20 minute ride and I only waited about 10 minutes to get through security :woohoo:. I only ever get pre-check when traveling with my mom, I guess she has been flagged as a trusty traveler! Not because she's old or anything, HA! MSP is definitely one of the best airports I’ve been to so I am thankful for that!

I usually skip breakfast, but vacation is my exception so I headed to Dunkin’ to get a bacon egg wrap and a decaf iced coffee.
(Decaf??? IKR, I might as well drink dirt water! Long story, but I used to work in a coffee shop and had to cut caffeine out because it started making my heart race way too much. I still miss the taste of coffee though, so I order decaf a lot.) They put way too much cream in my coffee, oh well, lesson learned.


Stock photo, mine didn't look nearly this good!

For the first time ever, my gate was the closest gate to security. A Disney miracle! Usually I have to walk for 15 minutes to get to my plane. My plane was on time and I watched Bohemian Rhapsody on the flight to LAX. I cried of course :sad:, and thanked myself for deciding to fly Delta. I was originally going to fly Sun Country to save money, but I got cold feet before my 24 hour cancellation window was over and ended up cancelling. I waited 2.5hours on hold to talk to an agent to cancel, which further made me glad I switched to Delta.

Not my picture (can you see a trend, LOL) but I usually have to take a few of these walkways to get to my gate. I typically next to the walkways to get more steps in, but they are nice when you’re in a hurry. It reminds me of Universal!
The moving walkway exit is approaching. Please, watch your step. :hyper:


I landed around 9AM and retrieved my bag from the carousel very quickly. I’ve never waited more than a few minutes to get my bag with Delta, they are really speedy with bags. I decided to change into my park clothes at the airport, which was probably a mistake. The bathrooms were tiny and I almost got stuck in the stall with my checked bag :rotfl2:. I ordered an Uber and was lucky enough that he arrived within five minutes. LAX is crazy hot mess and I hated it so I will fly into SNA next time, even if it costs $200 more (maybe).

The Uber driver was nice enough, but Google Maps said it would take 40 minutes to get to the hotel, and for some reason it took my driver just over an hour. I tipped him $10 cash (idk why, in hindsight I'm not sure he deserved it) and went to check in. More to come later on this ride…

Checking into the BWPPI was a breeze, the front desk is well staffed with 2-3 people and they stored my luggage for me. They give you real bag claim tickets for when you return, so I felt good having them stow my luggage. I tipped and they really seemed to appreciate that so I get the feeling a lot of people do not.

The lobby had two very nice single bathrooms, so I spent some time freshening up and loading up on sunscreen. You know bathrooms are nice when they use Kleenex brand paper towels instead of a towel dispenser! I walked across the street and then within a few minutes I was at the gates of Disneyland! :cool1: I made it into the park around 11:30 AM, purchased my MaxPass immediately, and was ready to start my trip! I bought tickets from UT and scanned them into the app, so I was ready to go right away. Disney gave me a physical ticket that I packed away in my wallet and I only used my phone app for the rest of the trip.



Wow--I guess I’m pretty long winded! I didn’t take any notes so I have no idea how I remember all of this. Sorry this part doesn’t have a lot of real photos, I didn’t take any since I was pretty much a zombie that morning. I promise there will be plenty of pictures (especially of food) for the rest of the TR.

Continued in Day One - Part Two: Wait...that's the Millennium Falcon?
 
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  • Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    7/17 Day One - Part Two: Wait...that’s the Millennium Falcon?

    Disclaimer: I apologize if I’m inconsistent with my times in this TR. I’m going off of photos and receipts, and I’m in a different time zone than Anaheim so I keep messing that up! Also, the receipts are in military time, and that is way too much thinking for me to do after a long day at work.

    On with the actual trip report!

    Wow, I was so so happy to be back in the parks! It had been about eight months since I’d last been in a Disney Park, which felt like forever. Between being solo for the day and not having planned FP+s I felt a little thrown off my game. I did keep track of most of my rides the first day via texts to my mom, who was a little bit jealous back home.

    Though I had not eaten for a few hours, I was too excited to stop and spent the first hour wandering around Disneyland and taking it all in. I had no plan and wasn’t super familiar with the layout (feels like a wonky Magic Kingdom, tbh) so I decided I’d just see where my feet took me.

    First up were a few pictures to send to my mom and Shannon, who had to go to work before heading to LAX in the evening. I walked down Main Street, of course, and had to see the new paint job on the castle. Wow, so many benches :lovestruc! I sent a quick picture of this to my mom, who always complains about the lack of places to rest in WDW.



    The castle looks even better in real life than in pictures! It is smaller than Cinderella’s Castle, but it really grew on me because it felt more intimate. The pink makes for such cute pictures. I didn’t stop for a PP picture because it was midday and pretty crowded.


    I stopped by the Wishing Well and saw my first Disney Duck! We have lots of ducks in Minnesota, but for some reason the Disney ducks fascinate me. No duck picture but I promise there will be plenty later on because I really love animals. I was surprised that it wasn’t very crowded despite being Disneyland’s birthday.


    Now, I admit, I’m not a big Star Wars fan :confused3. I didn’t see it growing up so I think I missed out on the ideal time to get hooked. I can name most of the main characters and know some of the plot, but I’ve only “seen” the original trilogy (I was heavily multitasking while watching). A lot of my friends are big fans though, and since Galaxy’s Edge had just opened, I had to check it out right away. I went in the direction I thought it was and guessed correctly, because I soon was making my way into Batuu.

    I’m not going to share a picture out of embarrassment, but the first thing I passed was a black ship (I don’t know the name) where Kylo Ren and the Stormtroopers do shows. I was like, that’s kind of small, it looked a lot bigger in pictures :magnify:. PAUSE! I know you’re probably laughing, if you’ve been there and know what I’m talking about. That was absolutely not the Millennium Falcon, and I’m blaming my tired zombie state for my error.

    Anyways, I kept walking and ran into the actual Millennium Falcon, which is very large and unmistakable. I’m glad no one was there to witness my case of mistaken identity :rolleyes1!



    I had to get my first PP pic in one of my favorite pairs of ears that I made. Mulan really likes them, she told me so! I’m super awkward in all photos and this PP photographer told me to look over my shoulder into the distance. This is me trying to follow directions. This is also my most artsy picture of the trip, most of my other pictures are either of me smiling or doing funny poses for magic shots.


    I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get a picture in front of the Millennium Falcon. They have a CM directing lines for photos (not usually more than a few people in line at a time, with multiple photographers for all the angles). This keeps congestion down for photo ops, but you can definitely sneak in for your own picture.

    Here is a picture from the raised platform area by Docking Bay. You can get a nice picture from up here with no one behind you and a wider angle of the Millennium Falcon.



    I have no idea what this statue is, or really what anything is. I’m just a Batuu tourist from another galaxy, clearly.


    I didn’t go into any of the shops since I didn’t have any interest in merch, which is probably for the best because everything is so expensive. I did find Oga’s Cantina since I know Shannon and I would want to try that out together. They were still doing daily reservations at the time so I wasn’t worried about getting in.

    Satisfied with my trip to Batuu, I decided to venture on. Actually, I spent about 30 minutes under the covered exit to Frontierland so I could get some shade and edit some pictures for Instagram. Gotta give my fans some new content after all! :cool2:

    Here’s a picture of some roses by the Rivers of America. I sent this to my mom since she loves gardening. I’m amazed how the Disney CMs keep the flowers looking so beautiful in the intense California sun. I, on the other hand, am having trouble keeping my succulent alive.



    I snagged a BTMR FP so I needed to kill some time and headed over to Critter Country. Winnie the Pooh is so far off the beaten path compared to WDW, I love it, because it’s not mobbed with little kids. I went in the standby line which said five minutes, and this was accurate. WtP is one of my favorite rides in WDW and my favorite part is bouncing with Tigger :tigger:. Thus, I was a bit disappointed in my ride at Disneyland. I know most people seem to prefer the DLR version, so I was surprised. I still loved it though, and rode it multiple times over this trip.

    I then rode BTMR, which I definitely think is better in Disneyland. I’ll make my final judgement when I head back to WDW for the holidays. The FP line is kind of long at both parks though, which always tests my patience. I had to make my first choice of right or left, which always leads to me panicking and sometimes running into the divider. Anyone know which way you’re supposed to go?

    Next up was a Haunted Mansion FP, which was basically walk on. Love seeing the Hatbox ghost. This ride is so cold, it always makes me appreciate the warmth when I’m off the ride.

    Pirates said 20 minutes standby, so I braved the wait and it ended up being only 10. The line is always moving so it feels pretty short. This is so so much better in Disneyland compared to WDW. I do wish they would do one drop at the beginning and one at the end though, to keep you on your toes the entire ride.

    Finally, my hunger got the best of me. I had a Hyperspace Mountain FP next so I headed back towards the hub. I stopped at the Plaza Inn because I was craving carbs. I tend to get kids meals when I can because they are such a good deal. This ended up being awkward because the CM had trouble hearing and made me an adult portion at first :(. I took it and hesitated, because it was a pretty big plate and had no sides, so I knew something was up. She had already moved on to helping the next guest, so I awkwardly had to interrupt and ask for the kid’s meal instead. I almost didn’t bother but the adult meal was twice as expensive and I didn’t want that much pasta for lunch. With my kid’s meal in hand, I decided I also wanted to try the chicken so I got a chicken breast a la carte. It ended up being $6 and kind of dry, so I wish I had gotten a thigh instead. (Is this even possible, and is it cheaper? Lol.) The fried skin was delicious though, so I mostly just ate that. I ate all my carrots though, so I think it was a very healthy meal. Ha!



    On to Hyperspace Mountain! I have a soft spot for Space Mountain since I love a good coaster, and while it’s not a particularly fast or scary coaster, the darkness element makes it so fun. I was excited to ride it with an overlay for the first time.

    Now, I already mentioned that I’m not a huge Star Wars fan. I do love John Williams though, so when the theme song started playing so grandly I could not stop grinning. I thought the ride was much more exciting with the overlay. The lasers are a great addition and now I can’t imagine riding regular SM. For some reason I did not get my ride photo. Adding ride codes didn’t always work and I didn’t care enough to ask a CM to help me track it down.

    I headed back to the hotel around 4PM, since I was able to get a GotG FP over in California Adventure around 4:30 and wanted to make sure I got there in time. It is so nice to be close to the hotel and also to be able to park hop without taking any buses.

    I picked up my keys and retrieved my luggage, and set off to find my room. It was on the second floor near the driveway to the parking lot, which ended up being fine and pretty quiet. We were close to the stairs so we didn’t have to go far at all. Here’s a low quality panorama of the room, which was no five star room but was clean and perfectly serviceable. Would recommend for the convenience, although I got about 20% off so I’m not sure if I’d pay the full amount.



    I did a little unpacking and organizing, and then set off to California Adventure to break out some Guardians!

    Funny story: While at the hotel, I texted my mom to let her know I had my room. She asked me if I was calling it a night. Me, calling it quits, at 4PM? As if! I told her that my day was just getting started, and that I fully intended to stay in the parks until Shannon arrived close to midnight. I can sleep when vacation is over!

    Did I make it the whole day on two hours of sleep? Stay tuned and you will find out!


    Day One is concluded in Part Three: Baby you can drive my car!
     
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    mamamary

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2006
    I’m enjoying reading your report. Will be making my first trip to Disneyland in a few weeks!
     

    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    I’m enjoying reading your report. Will be making my first trip to Disneyland in a few weeks!
    Thank you so much for following along! You're going to have a blast, the crowds have been fantastic since most locals are blocked out this summer.

    I'm hoping to write and post Day One Part Three tonight, and plan on doing a bunch of writing this weekend so I can post every day next week. :thumbsup2
     

    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    7/17 Day One - Part Three: Baby you can drive my car!

    Confession time: Looking back at my minimal notes, I did NOT have a SM FP. I did single rider, which took about 10 minutes and standby was 45. I noticed that the SR line was pretty much empty throughout the trip, so I definitely recommend it.

    Also, I forgot to tell the airport Uber story! When I was eating at the Plaza Inn, I was on my phone to be less awkward as a solo diner. I opened the Uber app and saw that my fee was a shocking $80! It was only supposed to be $50, so I was like what the heck happened! I eventually determined that it was because of all the extra time my driver took. He was not using any type of navigation so I think he took a roundabout way, since Google maps estimated a 20 minute shorter route. I still couldn’t believe that would raise it $30. I luckily was able to click a few buttons in the app to get the fee dropped back to what was quoted, but if I hadn’t looked I might not have noticed until it was too late. So note to readers, check your Uber fares when your trips are complete! The driver’s name was Hamlet, and luckily this story did not end in tragedy! :eek:

    After freshening up at my hotel, I headed to California Adventure. I remembered this park a lot better from my short 2018 trip compared to Disneyland, which always kind of blurs together with Magic Kingdom in my memory.

    I was very excited to ride GotG because I spent my Christmas vacation marathoning the entire MCU with my mom. We watched every single movie (except for the Incredible Hulk) and quickly boarded the MCU train. Prior to this movie marathon, we had only seen a handful of the movies. I had already seen Iron Man, GotG, Black Panther, and Spider-Man. While I liked all of them, I liked them a heck of a lot more after watching all of the movies in a roughly chronological order.

    I really enjoyed the GotG ride on my last trip to DLR in 2018, but I hadn’t seen the movie yet, so I was really excited to reexperience it with my newfound MCU knowledge! It did not disappoint and it quickly shot up (he he) to being in my top few Disney Park rides. Guess how many times I managed to re-ride over the next four days?


    I was supposed to be in the front middle spot, but that little girl loaded first and took my spot! Arg! I’m just a childless millennial though, and I wasn’t going to crush any dreams today, so I woefully climbed past this family to take my spot on the side of the gantry lift. :rotfl:

    Feeling very satisfied with my day so far, I headed off to Radiator Springs with no fastpass in hand. Distribution was done for the day, but I thought I would try my hand at single rider. I didn’t get a chance to ride last year since I only had one day and was using paper FPs at the time, and went to Disneyland in the morning

    I saw the first Cars movie a long, long time ago but the nice part about Cars Land is that anyone can enjoy it. It really transports you to a whole different place, and looks spectacular at night when all the signs light up neon. This was around 5PM so the sun was starting to drop and the overall ambiance was something else. A lot of people call California Adventure a half day park, but I think Cars Land is one of the best themed lands in DLR.

    Here is a picture of me in front of the iconic Cars Land sign. The PP photographer was an older gentleman who was very fun and had me pose in a few different ways. This is the princess pose, because I am a princess after all! :wizard:



    I entered the single rider line when the standby read 120 minutes, and I ended up waiting about 30 minutes. It was really hot though, and the SR line is pretty much in direct sun the entire time. I was lucky enough that our trip was during a cooler week, so the temperature peaked in the low 80s. Still, I got pretty hot in this line and was glad to get on the ride after not too long a wait. :worship: This ended up being the shortest I saw the standby line throughout the trip, apart from in the early mornings, since it seemed to be down a lot the next few days.

    This ride photo is so hilarious, the lady’s face in the middle next to me really makes it. Her son also thought it was hilarious when he saw the picture.



    People compare RSR to Test Track, but I think it blows TT out of the water! Granted, I haven’t ridden TT in a few years since it’s not my favorite and I prioritize Frozen, but RSR is such a fun ride that I think most people can enjoy. It’s very thrilling but mostly feels like a fast car ride so I think I will drag my motion sickness prone mom on it next time.

    Next stop was the Pier! It was Paradise Pier (and was pretty much closed) during my last trip, so I was excited to see the redesign. I thought the Pixar theming lended itself really well, the bright colors look great with the water and it’s an overall really fun area to spend some time hanging around.



    The “murals” are so cute and make the wall a lot more pleasant to look at. I loved Finding Dory so I thought this was a hoot.


    Starting to lose a bit of steam, I stopped by to catch “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by the The Pixarmonic Orchestra. They were fantastic, the percussionist was hilarious to watch and you can tell they’re all having a great time.


    I think the travel day and lack of sleep killed my appetite a bit, as I did not snack much this day. I got an Incredicoaster FP and was on the ride within a few minutes. This has one of the fastest FP lines for sure. My picture did not turn out since it wasn’t dark enough for flash but too dark to not have flash, and I couldn’t get the code to work to see if it looked better in the app. A trend it seems!


    According to my notes, I rode Soarin' next, with a FP. It still took about 20 min since I just missed a showing. The CM asked how many in my party, and I responded one, so he instead took the two people behind me and had me wait for the next flight. I wasn’t too happy but whatever, I wanted to experience the new (old) version of the ride.

    Finally on Soarin', I must say I was somewhat disappointed. I loved the shots of California, but it didn’t feel like there was very much movement. Soarin' Around the World feels much more thrilling and the scents are stronger, even if the CGI can be wonky. I could hardly smell the oranges on SoC, so I’m not sure if they needed to refill their scent machine or what. I’m not a particularly nostalgic person, so this was just so so for me.

    At this point it was close to 7PM, and my pasta and chicken from the Plaza Inn was a distant memory. I decided I wanted to catch some fireworks in Disneyland that night, so I headed into Downtown Disney to get some dinner.

    I’ve heard rave reviews about Earl of Sandwich, and for some reason we hardly eat in Disney Springs, so I thought this was the time to try it out. I ordered the Full Montagu, which was a hot sandwich with “Roasted beef, turkey, Swiss, cheddar, lettuce, Roma tomato & mustard sauce.” I thought it was just okay. The bread was way thicker than I was expecting, and I ate it open face style because it was too much bread for me. I have mixed feelings about mustard so I think I might have liked it better with mayo. I tend to prefer sandwiches from chains like Jersey Mike's, with a softer bread. This was more like a ciabatta style bread.



    Since I only ate half the bread, I knew I had room for some beignets from Jazz Kitchen Express! I ordered the smallest size, four, and received an extra beignet along with probably three cups of powdered sugar. Here’s a super appetizing picture! I think I ate one already :tongue:.


    I wanted to try these since people say they’re more authentic than the mickey beignets. To me, deep fried dough is deep fried dough, and I think I prefer the Mickey version since they’re so cute. I only finished 2.5 beignets (which took effort) and also polished off half of a hot chocolate, since it was cooling off. The cocoa was cheap and delicious, albeit a sugar overload.

    On my last legs, I wandered through a few shops and headed back to Disneyland. I love how Downtown Disney is just steps away from the parks.



    Partners! :love:


    I bought this popcorn bucket for $9 in Frontierland, and it is my second bucket! I’ve decided to buy a bucket on every trip starting last November. No cheap refills in Disneyland, but the bucket is only a few dollars more than the popcorn so it’s worth it to me. Disney popcorn always smells so good and tends to disappoint me when I actually eat it, so most of this popcorn ended up in my hotel trash. Whoops!


    I managed to catch Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and they closed the queue a few minutes after me for the fireworks. I thought it was cute, but not my favorite dark ride.

    I was pretty exhausted at this point and only watched a few fireworks from Tomorrowland. If my memory serves, I left halfway through to catch a Hyperspace Mountain FP. A lot of others had this idea, as hoardes of people seemed to be abandoning the fireworks and fast walking to Space Mountain. The wait was only a few minutes as usual, they really have things down to a science for this ride in Disneyland and Disney World.

    Shannon was on her way to Anaheim from LAX finally, and it took over half an hour for her Uber to get to her at the airport. Clearly, I lucked out with my five minute wait! Evenings seem to be much busier than mid-mornings. She made it to the hotel around midnight, and it was so nice to be reunited! She lives near Chicago and we hadn’t seen each other since I drove down a few weeks prior to go to Six Flags.

    She was starving and microwaved the rest of my beignets in our room as a snack. We chatted for a while and both crashed. We planned on getting up at 8 to make it to the parks by around 9AM.

    We slept pretty well throughout the trip thanks to my wonderful white noise machine. I definitely recommend this hotel and your feet will thank you!

    All in all, I spent about twelve hours solo in the parks on my first day. I walked almost 30,000 steps which was just barely a record for me. And not even a full park day! My feet really hurt though, and I had to walk quite gingerly around the hotel room. Luckily, sleeping each night seems to alleviate a lot of the soreness!

    And that’s a wrap on Day One! I can’t believe I wrote so much from memory! I just love Disney and could talk about it forever. Let me know if you are following along! I have never commented on a TR before but really enjoy them, so I hope there are some readers who are enjoying my posts and are just too shy to let me know!

    Stay tuned for Day Two, which will probably be just as long and should involve a lot more food and funny ride photos. Going solo was heaps of fun, but I was excited to have a friend to show around.

    Will I survive five consecutive days in the parks? :eek:

    Continued in Day Two, Part One!
     
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  • momtohms

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2012
    Following along! You are doing a great job with your first report :) I especially love hearing about other’s solo experiences since I’m doing my first solo(ish) trip later this month!
     

    TinkerTay

    ... A Pirate’s Life for Me
    Joined
    Jul 20, 2018
    I’m loving your report, and I love your enthusiasm! I’ll be there in November for my first time to see the holiday decor, and I’m pretty excited about that! Sometimes I wish I had the confidence to do a solo trip, as it seems people get a lot more done and can take advantage of the single rider lines. Looking forward to reading more about the rest of your trip!
    :jumping1:
     

    CandyMouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 21, 2008
    Great trip report. looking forward to reading more! We have a trip coming up in Spring of 2020 and I can't wait!
     
  • Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    Thank you all for joining in on my trip report! I have been organizing pictures into folders and tried to get them in order, and I think that Days 2-4 will each have three parts again, and Day 5 will just be two parts. This is a lot more work than I anticipated, but I am having so much fun reliving my trip!

    On a fun note, I just bought my very first annual pass to WDW! I wish I had made up my mind before the price increased dramatically in June, but hindsight is always 20/20...I'll save a good chunk on my hotel, so I've convinced myself it's a good deal.:rotfl: I wish I could have the Premier Passport, but that is really just wishful thinking.

    I'm hoping to post the next part later tomorrow, and will try to get another part posted at least every other day! Thanks again for all following along, I'm so excited to share more about my amazing trip :lovestruc.
     

    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    7/18 Day Two - Part One: The one where we eat our first churro

    Woohoo, our first day together in Disneyland! I zonked out after my first day and woke up to my alarm at 8AM. I remember looking over at Shannon and seeing that she was already awake! She woke up at 7:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep because she was so excited to go to the parks. First timers are really the best, aren’t they! :woohoo:

    We rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes, and headed next door to Captain Kidd’s for our free hotel breakfast. Now, I read some horror stories about this buffet online :crazy2:. I have pretty low expectations for breakfast in general so I was curious to see if it was as bad as some people seem to think. (Spoiler: it’s totally fine and we both give it two thumbs up!)



    Here's our hotel and the buffet, courtesy of Google Maps. Our room was on the second floor just up those stairs, which was super convenient. Directly across the street is the entrance to DLR!

    The hotel buffet is upstairs, and you check in with your name, which they have on a list that they print out. There was plenty of seating every day and we were happy to see a large spread including make your own breakfast sandwiches and your typical continental breakfast stuff such as yogurt (Chobani), cereal, oatmeal packets, pastries, scrambled eggs, etc.

    Shannon is a coffee drinker and said the coffee from the machine was actually very good for hotel coffee.

    We had a breakfast sandwich every morning. There was bread, bagels, and english muffins along with American cheese slices, turkey or pork sausage patties, and regular egg patties or egg white patties. I thought this was a fantastic option that a lot of free hotel breakfasts do not have. There was hot sauce on every table which we appreciated.

    Here is my sandwich, consisting of a bagel with two egg white patties, cheese, and a turkey sausage patty. Tastes just like McDonald’s!



    Turns out Shannon and I are pretty slow to get moving, and we took our time at breakfast before heading back to our room to get ready for the day. I don’t think we made it to the parks until around 9:30, which still was pretty impressive considering Shannon didn’t get to the hotel until midnight and I had walked over 14 miles on two hours of sleep the night before!

    We made it into Disneyland and of course had to stop for some pictures in front of the train station.



    Our next stop was a beeline to the castle, since Shannon had never seen Sleeping Beauty’s castle before! It was actually really quiet this morning, as you can tell from our photo taken by a very nice guest.


    Also, here’s another picture to appreciate how beautiful the castle looks with the new paint job! It’s night and day compared to how it looked last year, it’s so much more vibrant now and really pops in photos.

    These pictures are unedited because #lazy. So it does really look this good in person!

    I finally got a picture of some Disney ducklings :lovestruc.


    We decided to hit up some Fantasyland rides to start off our trip while we waited for our first FP, which I believe was Hyperspace Mountain. Snow White was our first ride since the line was walk on. Shannon told me to rub the apple when we walked into the queue, and I continued to do so every time.

    Not my picture, but this is what I'm talking about!

    I had never ridden this ride, and it became one of my new favorite dark rides! I’m amazed that children can ride this and not be scarred for life. I probably would have cried if I rode this as a kid, so much scarier than HM. Shannon and are fearless adults though, so we thought it was very funny :rotfl:. Especially the ending, we were *shook* (as kids say these days) and decided that this was a great way to kick off our trip together.

    My memory is a little fuzzy regarding rides without ride photos, since I wasn’t planning on doing a TR and am relying pretty heavily on photo timestamps. I’m pretty sure we did Mr. Toad’s, which is cute but not a favorite for us. More of a one and done, unless it’s a walk on. I definitely remember doing Alice and waiting about 15 minutes. We really enjoyed this ride and I’m glad it’s another one that my mom will be able to do, if she closes her eyes during the beginning as you “go down” the rabbit hole.

    We stopped for another PP picture, this time in the tea cups.



    The photographer told us to grab our ears in the second pic, and for some reason I always make weird faces when posing :confused3. Later during the trip, I saw a lot of men using these tea cups to take a break from walking.


    Off we went to Tomorrowland for our SM fastpass. We were getting hungry around 11AM, so we decided to have a churro, since we hear that’s what you’re supposed to eat when in Disneyland! We had a lunch reservation at Cafe Orleans at 1PM so we decided to be #healthy and share. This really hit the spot, nothing like a breakfast churro!



    Hyperspace Mountain was a blast. Shannon loved it and agreed with me that the overlay makes it even more fun than a regular roller coaster. This is the only ride I don’t put my hands up on. Ever since I saw it with the lights on in WDW on the PeopleMover, I will not “risk” it.


    After SM, we headed over to Adventureland. I think we did Pirates or Jungle Cruise, I can’t remember exactly. We were hungry again shortly after at 11:40 and stopped at Bengal Barbecue for some sustenance. (Pre-lunch will be a theme of this TR :rotfl2:.) Shannon is a vegetarian (technically pescatarian since she eats seafood). She ordered a veggie skewer based on my recommendation, and we shared a Jungle Julep based on a YouTuber’s recommendation.


    The Julep was fantastic! The paper straw is a lot wider than the normal ones, and it holds up much better. The drink is fairly sweet but it is really refreshing and cold on a warm day. It’s kind of a slushy but with thicker ice pellets, sort of like a drinkable snow cone. You could finish this on your own but we were glad to have shared it.


    I ordered a Banyan beef skewer with sauce on the side because I like spicy stuff. The beef is a very small portion, only three tiny pieces. It’s not very tender, but it does taste really good and is very satisfying although pricey.

    Bengal Barbecue is definitely one of my favorite quick service restaurants in Disneyland. It is pricey for what you get, but I appreciate not having fried food or burgers for every meal. I really wish WDW would have this. We did mobile order, which I definitely recommend as the line can get really long. You also have to hover around for a table here, so I recommend getting a table while you order your food on your phone. I recommend getting three skewers as a meal over the platter with two skewers and rice, and it’ll cost about the same. I prefer my carbs in the form of a Mickey shaped pretzel :hyper:.

    I think we had an Indy FP after this. We both absolutely loved it, and it became one of our top 3 rides for sure. I haven’t ridden Dinosaur in WDW before (idk why, but now it’s on the top of my list so I can compare them) and I had no idea what to expect. The theming of the queue is amazing, and I like that you see everything even in the FP queue, unlike some rides where you really miss out by having a FP. I put my hands up and let myself flop around while everyone else always holds on for dear life :banana:.

    I felt bad, but I had my popcorn bucket clasped onto my backpack and it was flopping around a bit. The guy next to me thought it was going to fall out and kept grabbing it, so I think that took him out of the ride experience a bit. Oh well, he’s still my hero! ::yes::

    Next up is our lunch reservation at Cafe Orleans, and an afternoon drink at Oga's! Did we save room for Mickey beignets?

    Continued in Part Two.

     
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    momtohms

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2012
    Mmm Breakfast Churros...lol! Love all the pics you guys got together - that’s a great shot in front of the castle!

    I have yet to try Bengal Barbecue, I always plan on it and then never get there. Definitely going to try on my next trip though, especially for the Jungle Julep.

    I’m with you on no hands up on Space. I’m short, but I have long arms and I’ve also seen it with the lights on. That’s a big no thanks. Eek!

    Looking forward to hearing more :)
     

    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    Mmm Breakfast Churros...lol! Love all the pics you guys got together - that’s a great shot in front of the castle!

    I have yet to try Bengal Barbecue, I always plan on it and then never get there. Definitely going to try on my next trip though, especially for the Jungle Julep.

    I’m with you on no hands up on Space. I’m short, but I have long arms and I’ve also seen it with the lights on. That’s a big no thanks. Eek!

    Looking forward to hearing more :)
    We did not hold back on the photopass this trip! I loved that so much about DLR, only $15/day for unlimited photo downloads. What a steal!

    The Julep was a surprise favorite for us. Disney makes some great NA drinks and they are really cheap, relatively speaking.
     

    CandyMouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 21, 2008
    I like all your pictures, looks like a fun time! Love the castle pictures, looks very pretty! We might have to get the max pass at least 1 day, if it works on my older phone, lol.
     

    GILL635

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2007
    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us.

    I’m about to do my first solo DLC trip at the start of October, so your info really helps. Especially where snacks and food are concerned ha ha
     

    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    I like all your pictures, looks like a fun time! Love the castle pictures, looks very pretty! We might have to get the max pass at least 1 day, if it works on my older phone, lol.
    MaxPass is awesome! I had so much trouble with the paper fastpasses during my one day trip last year. I had no idea where the machines were and I didn't park hop until it was too late to get a FP for cars. Even if it's too much for everyone to get, if one person gets it you'll at least get the pictures for that day.


    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us.

    I’m about to do my first solo DLC trip at the start of October, so your info really helps. Especially where snacks and food are concerned ha ha
    I'm so excited for you! It's really fun to explore the parks at your own pace, which in my case means being super inefficient and doing a lot of back and forth. I may not have planned for this TR, but I always take pictures of my food so there is plenty more to come!
     

    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    7/18 Day Two - Part Two: Yo ho, yo ho, a napper’s life for me.

    Phew, I had no idea TRs were so much work! Now I understand why some people are still posting theirs even months after their trips :eek: !

    Anyways, Shannon has been to New Orleans multiple times, so we were very excited to try Cafe Orleans. We had kind of been hanging around Adventureland for our 1PM reservation, and we checked in on time and were seated immediately. I think there were some people waiting outside for walk-ins, and it wasn’t too insanely busy. There were reservations available pretty much everywhere up to day of, if that helps show how uncrowded the parks were.

    We knew exactly what we were going to order, but we decided to start off with Mint Juleps.


    I’ve never had one before, alcoholic or N/A, so I had no idea what to expect. Disney’s version is very sweet and very spearmint-y. It kind of tasted like juice with mint syrup (bad description, I know). We had mixed feelings, but it kind of grows on you as you drink it. Since I’m typically a water drinker in restaurants, I was surprised when I was halfway through and our waiter topped mine off. I forgot that refills are a thing!

    We placed our order of pommes frites and a three-cheese Monte Cristo to share. I had done my research and knew that the portion size is huge, and we didn’t want to be too sleepy after our meal. More on that to come. :rotfl2:

    Our pommes frites came out first, the waiter actually had an entire tray of them that he was dropping off at multiple tables. Definitely a popular item!


    These were as great as everyone raves, nice and crispy and plenty big to share. We love fries and still didn’t make our way through the entire order.

    It was funny, because our waiter stopped by and asked if we needed anything else, and we said no. Just after he left, we realized we could use more dipping sauce. Shortly after he came by to top off our drinks and he had brought an extra sauce, without us even asking! The service here was really excellent, not the chit chatty type but extremely good at his job. Definitely a pro! :thumbsup2

    Woohoo, our Monte Cristo arrived!


    It looks small, but I promise you that you will not need more than two pieces if you are having pommes frites as well. I’m a pretty big eater for my size and still left a few bites behind. Clearly we did not save room for beignets, especially considering we just ate cheese covered in fried dough. I definitely can recommend the Monte Cristo, it’s pretty heavy and not a “light and fluffy” breading, but it really is indulgent. It’s pretty brie forward, which isn’t my favorite kind of cheese, but I still enjoyed it.

    Completely stuffed, Shannon and I basically rolled out of Cafe Orleans. We decided to go ride Pirates again, and I must confess, I briefly dozed off somewhere around the middle of the ride. It is a 15 minute ride in my defense, and the drops are all at the beginning. I wasn’t sure if Shannon noticed, but she did mention it to me later in the trip. Oopsies! :rotfl:

    I’m not usually a napper, but apparently my solo day (and the Monte Cristo) really did a number on me. I still recommend flying in early and having a park day, especially if you’re from the Midwest or East coast, so you don’t miss out on much time. (Maybe don’t do this with kids though.) If anything, you’ll be so tired you’ll sleep like a baby the entire trip!

    Slightly refreshed after my five minute power nap, we made our way back to the castle for a PP photo. I think we might have rode BTMR with a FP on the way there. :confused3

    We got some really great pictures in front of the castle, it seemed to me that the more seasoned photographers got placed in front of the castle and the train station.


    I’m not sure how this CM knew, but they asked me to do my best Sleeping Beauty impression. I wonder if a little birdie told them about my ride on Pirates...;)



    My face is so white from sunscreen in these pictures, no sunburn for us! ::yes::
    We set a reminder to reapply two hours, which I recommend especially for those not used to so much sun.


    We caught the Mickey and Friends Band-Tastic Cavalcade on Main Street, and it does only last a few minutes. There were plenty of spots to watch so I wouldn’t stake out for this at all. I just love the celebration outfits!


    Look, it’s Genie!



    And of course, one of my favorites, the lovely Marie.


    At this point, we were nearing our reservation for Oga’s Cantina. I think our reservation was 4:25. We made it the morning of at around 8AM (I think they opened daily at 7AM) but now I think you can make reservations ahead of time. I liked the day of system, since it gave everyone a fair shot and you don’t always know your plans for the day.

    We of course had to stop for our picture in front of the Millennium Falcon. Shannon is not a huge Star Wars fan either, but she knows a lot more about it than I do since her family is pretty into it. She pointed out some characters walking around and I was like, who? :hyper:



    We attempted to check in to our reservation ten minutes early since the app said arrive early, but the CM bluntly told us that we couldn’t check in until exactly our time. Sheesh! She was kind of rude, which always puts me off a bit. I have worked in customer service so I know how it is, but she really said it like we were idiots.

    We sat around and then got back in line, and she did remember my name for the reservation and got us checked in. I guess it must be really annoying to be turning down guests all day without reservations or showing up at the wrong time, so I’ll cut her some slack.

    And finally we were in! I don’t think they checked our IDs but they did verify we were over 21. We only waited a few minutes after our reservation before they were leading us to our spots. They had a CM inside with a tablet and a map of all the seats and standing spots, so I think they monitor parties quite closely.


    We stood at the bar and placed our orders. Each CM only seemed to be serving a handful of people.


    I ordered the Jedi Mind Trick, which is “Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit and Rose Vodka, John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum, Bols Blue Curaçao, White Grape Juice, Lime Juice, and Grapefruit Bitters.” It went down very easy and I would recommend it, although it is absolutely tiny. You won’t be getting a buzz here.


    Shannon got the Outer Rim, which is “Patrón Silver Tequila, Cedilla Açaí Liqueur, Lime Juice, and Pure Cane Sugar topped with Black Salt and Exotic Fruit Purée.” It had a ton of salt on one side of the rim, and I think it had passion fruit puree. The tequila was very strong, so this probably has more bang for your buck than the Jedi Mind Trick.

    Our bill was around $38 with tip, but alcohol is pretty expensive anywhere in the parks. We thought Oga’s was really fun, but I would probably only go back with someone who hasn’t been before. I would consider getting an N/A drink next time since they are way cheaper and still have fun stuff in them like boba.

    I would recommend Oga's for anyone, but especially for Star Wars fans. The guys next to us were so excited, it was fun to listen to them marvel over the entire place. It’s so bizarre walking up to the Cantina, because the music is really loud. It felt like entering a club!


    Continued in Part Three: Park Hop 'til We Drop!
     
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    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    7/18 Day Two - Part Three: Park Hop ‘til We Drop!

    Ready to move on from Disneyland for the day, we decided to hop over to California Adventure and catch World of Color that evening. Our first photo op was at the Cars Land sign, where there is always a really nice CM. We noticed they rotated pretty frequently since this was a pretty sunny spot.



    Ah, I just love the theming of Cars Land. While I love how green Minnesota is (except when it’s covered in snow half the year), I really do love the desert scenery and old town feel of Cars Land.


    At this point I think it was around 6PM and we were starving. For some reason we were really hungry for pasta, and I knew that the Plaza Inn was pretty overpriced (from my experience on the first day). We searched the mobile app and decided to try Pizza Planet. This is why I love Disneyland, because you can park hop and only have walked a few minutes! Also we loved not having to go through security again. :woohoo:

    Shannon got the Terra Nova vegetable pasta, which had “Mini Penne, Vegetable Ragu, Seasonal Vegetable Medley and Shaved Parmesan Cheese.” I think it had beans, broccolini, and mushrooms with some other veggies. It looked super filling and is a lot better deal than Plaza Inn, which is just marinara sauce and costs a few dollars extra.

    I don’t have any pictures because I think we were so hungry we forgot. Here is a picture from HappyCow to give you an idea.

    It looks like this picture is sans the cheese, which maybe makes it vegan.
    Well our pastas both had a TON of cheese.
    Like, the entire top was covered in shaved cheese. So not as photogenic but so so tasty!


    I got the special pasta, which was even cheaper (around $10) and absolutely delicious! It’s not listed on the mobile menu, but I did some digging and I believe it was the “Outer Rim Pasta” containing rigatoni, tomatoes, sausage, peppers, and a creamy tomato sauce with a good amount of kick. I added crushed red pepper because a little spice never hurt nobody.

    Here is the official Disney picture, and I may have been blinded by my hunger but mine actually looked this good.

    Again, imagine 10x the cheese. A sheet of cheese. Cheese galore.

    I somehow ate the entire thing, but Shannon only finished about half of hers. I think two moderately hungry people could share these pastas, otherwise it’s an extremely filling meal for not a bad price. We were happy to see pasta that wasn’t just noodles and sauce. Pizza Planet is a huge thumbs up from us! Next time we will have to try that cute alien macaron.

    Our bellies full, we headed back to DCA for a Guardians FP. I think this was Shannon’s first time of the trip (feels like Day One, Part One was eons ago) and I was so excited for her to ride it. When Rocket tells everyone to put their hands up, I just get so excited! It makes it a lot more fun that ToT.

    Shannon’s fitbit always restarted during this ride, which was pretty funny. I have automatic fall detection disabled on my watch, but I wonder if it would go off if it was enabled...:rotfl:


    Here’s a throwback to my eight consecutive rides on ToT in 2008. Notice how some things (hands UP) never change! :hyper:


    Next, we were off to the Pier to ride Incredicoaster. We stopped here for some cute pictures for the ‘gram of course. I pointed out to Shannon that we would be eating at Lamplight Lounge the next day for a late lunch.


    Incredicoaster was fun, and we had to resist buying a Jack Jack cookie. But don’t worry, we got one eventually!

    Back to Cars Land, I believe we had a FP that either had turned into an anytime or we just got it earlier in the day for a later time. Anyways, the sun had set and so the land became even more picture perfect.


    We got to cruise around Radiator Springs at night, which I think I liked even more than during the day. The way they light up the scenery is really amazing. Ladies, if you don’t want to mess up your hair, don’t ride RSR! :scared1:


    We stopped to take an artsy picture of the big rock lit up at night. Anyone know if this thing has a name?


    It was starting to get close to World of Color time (10:30PM that night) so we decided to look for a snack. I think we did a loop around the Pier before deciding. Shannon got another churro, this time from Señor Buzz Churros. I convinced her to get the galaxy churro, which has glitter on it.

    A pretty picture from Disney Food Blog, since I didn’t get a picture of Shannon’s churro.


    I decided on a jalapeno and cheese stuffed pretzel from Bayside Brews, along with a Pacifico beer. This was my biggest mistake of the trip! I think it was because it was late and the pretzel had been in the warmer drawer too long, but this was the worst pretzel I’ve had in my entire life. It was dried out and crispy, and the cheese was solidified and just awful.

    I tortured myself through two bites and then just tossed the thing :sad:. I am a huge pretzel fan, and this pretzel was so bad I didn’t even get my usual Mickey pretzel this trip because I was so put off. I think it’s usually very good, but I would not recommend getting one at the end of the day, especially if you don’t know how long it’s been sitting around for.

    A little disappointed in my snack, I resigned to sipping my beer as we sought off to find the FP entrance for WoC. We got there maybe 30 minutes before showtime, and they kept us from entering until the people who waited a lot longer got their spots. I don’t really see the point in getting there that early because the view is pretty much the same everywhere, and there aren’t very many spots against the railing. :confused3

    I am always annoyed when the CMs make you stand up 15 minutes before, I get that it’s probably a fire hazard or something to be sitting, but it would be so much more enjoyable if we could sit the entire show! There was plenty of extra room in the FP area and we actually backed up behind everyone so we could see better, since the viewing area is kind of slanted.

    I didn’t take any pictures that night, but here’s one from my trip in 2018.



    I really enjoy this show, I don’t think fireworks are necessary to put on a good nighttime spectacular.

    Shannon and I were pretty wiped from our day, so I think we headed back into Disneyland to do one or two rides before tapping out and heading back to our hotel room.

    In total, I got almost 26,000 steps on this day! We were in the parks from 9:30 to 11, and I don’t think we took an afternoon break. I was pretty shocked that I got less steps than my first day, where I had a lot less time. Just goes to show you how much ground you can cover when going solo!

    All in all, it was a fantastic first day together in the parks! Shannon agreed with me that having park hoppers is a must, since the change of scenery is very refreshing. We were so happy that we still had three more days in the parks, so we never felt bad about “skipping” things and leaving them for another day.

    And that’s a wrap on Day Two! Hope I haven’t scared anyone off with my rambling posts! :rolleyes1


    This trip report is continued in Day Three - Part One: Another day, another churro...
     
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