Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friends - A Coast to Coast Adventure

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Day 1

After still having to work an early shift, my colleague Helen kindly dropped me off at the airport. The first leg of the journey was a normal commercial flight on Easyjet from Manchester to Amsterdam. As for some reason commercial flights were crazy expensive this time, I had decided to brave flying standby. There is an early morning flight from Manchester to Amsterdam that does connect to the Amsterdam Los Angeles flight that I had chosen, but this tends to be very busy and a number of my colleagues have got stuck when they tried to get on this. As I am a terrible standby flyer anyway, I decided to play it as safe as I could.

The check in desks for Easyjet are right next to Emirates at Manchester airport. I bumped into a couple of colleagues that I know and had a brief chat. Then I went over to check in for my flight. Even though it was still about half an hour before baggage drop for my flight was supposed to start, I decide to check if I could already drop off my suitcase. There were plenty of check in agents available and hardly any customers. I was in luck. I was able to drop off my suitcase there and then. Packing my suitcase had been precision work. For that part of the trip, I had 20kg to play with and my suitcase was precisely 20kg. It was just as well that I was nice and early as security was very busy and the lines did not seem to move at all. Still, eventually I was through and I still had enough time to have a quick look at the duty free shop and get some dinner. I did not find anything I wanted to buy. I had been at the airport not long before when I flew out to Dubai and there was nothing new since then. I headed over to where the restaurants are to get something to eat.

I had looked at my options a while ago. As I was coming straight from work and due to the time difference between here and Amsterdam, which meant it would be quite late by the time I arrived, I had decided to get my dinner at the airport. I had chosen a restaurant called Giraffe and had a look at the menu a couple of weeks before I was due to fly. I liked the look of the Huevos Rancheros Mexican Breakfast, which they serve all day. However, when it came down to it, I changed my mind. I rather fancied the "Milanese" Chicken Linguine, which consisted of chicken schnitzel, garlic, slow roasted crushed tomatoes, roasted red peppers, white wine & rocket. So I went with this and had a glass of Coke to wash it down. This was amazing. Even though my food came out really quickly, everything tasted fresh and delicious. I am not a fan of rocket so I took this off, but I did not leave a crumb of anything else. Once I finished my meal, I paid and then headed out to find my gate.



When I looked at the screen, there was still no gate listed, even though boarding was supposed to start very shortly. It soon became obvious that there was a delay and I spent some time looking around some of the other shops and then found a seat near a screen and caught up online. The delay was creeping on and on and eventually we started boarding about an hour later than we should have done. Well, I say started boarding. This was a novel experience. Once the gate was announced, everybody went to line up at the gate. They actually opened the gate about 15 minutes later, checked boarding passes and directed people to one of two lines depending on whether they would board via the front or back staircase. That process was smooth and quick, but there was an important element missing. There was no plane. The final boarding call was made and the gate closed and there was still no plane. That arrived shortly afterwards. Apparently there had been an issue with the paperwork on an earlier flight, which then affected the other flights that were scheduled on this particular plane.

I was impressed with how quickly they got the plane turned around and although they would not have had much time to clean it once everybody was off, it was spotless. We soon were allowed to board and this was a smooth and efficient process as well. The flight was eventless and I spent the whole flight reading. There was a further delay when we got to Amsterdam. First of all, air traffic control directed us to the opposite end of the airport from where we should have landed. Shortly afterwards the pilot made an announcement that due to an incident at the other side of the airport, all the ground handling staff were tied up with this and it would be a little while until somebody would be able to get to us. The pilot kept us updated and had a wicked sense of humour. One advantage of us being at the opposite end of the airport was that rather than disembarking via the stairs, we got off via an air bridge. In the end, even though we had made good time in flight, by the time we were allowed to get off the plane, we were about 90 minutes behind schedule.

Although we transited in Amsterdam a few times, this was the first time that I left the airport. I am not overly keen on this airport, as it looks very stark with little by the way of facilities airside and never-ending corridors. My experience when arriving was not much different either just that there are now extensive building works added to the mix. I must have walked for miles and my Fitbit was most certainly happy. It started buzzing at me before I even got to immigration. Speaking of immigration, this seemed to take forever. As I got closer, I realized why. Only two desks were open. Once it was my turn, I was through very quickly. My passport was just given a passing glance and then I was waived through. I was hoping that the baggage hall would be straight after immigration as this is the case with most airports I have been to, but not here. I had to navigate another set of endless corridors that actually looked like a backstage area rather than something that was built with passengers in mind. Eventually I did make it to the baggage hall and of course the carousel on which our baggage was supposed to arrive was the one furthest away. Still, when I got there, I just saw my suitcase heading towards me. I quickly grabbed it and was on my way out.

Landside looked a lot more inviting. This was bright, airy and modern with a lot of shops, coffee shops and restaurants. I did not stop to have a closer look as at that stage; I just wanted to get to the hotel. I was encouraged by the fact that my hotel was signposted as soon as I came out of the baggage hall and according to a map that I spotted; it is really as close as they advertise. So I made my way there. It was raining pretty heavily when I got out of the airport, but the walkway that links the airport with the hotel has a sunroof over it all the way, which did a great job at keeping the rain off me.

The hotel was a bit of a find. I was looking for a hotel that is close to the airport and did not break the bank. I was originally looking at our crew hotel in Amsterdam, but when I was looking to find out a bit more information about this online, something else caught my eye. CitizenM can only be described as quirky. It is very modern and bright. The rooms looked compact, but have a huge bed and an equally big picture window. The whole concept just appealed to me.

I was not disappointed. When I approached the hotel, it was very red. There were red lights in the entrance area, which made me smile. Straight across from the entrance were the self-service check in desks. This was all very easy until I came to the payment options. There it gave me the option of either paying my credit card, which incurred an additional fee or a type of card I had never heard of. Fortunately a member of staff came to my rescue. The mystery card is a Dutch debit card and after she had a look at my card, she advised me to select this option and it would recognize my UK visa debit card, which it did. Once I paid for the room, it gave me the choice between a city view and an airport view and I went with the airport view. The last step was to take a key card and touch it against a reader to program and activate it. This all worked out pretty well and I was soon on the way to my room. In passing I saw the bar, the restaurant and the living area with loads of different seating options. I had every intention to come back down to explore and take some photos, but this never happened.

My room was pretty close to the lift, but not so close that the noise would have carried. The room was a good size and the bed was absolutely massive. This was right by the window overlooking the runway. The rest of the room was pretty much taken by two pods: one with the toilet and one with the shower. While this open plan arrangement worked perfectly well for me, I don't think it would have worked as well if Graham had been with me.













I took some photos and checked out how everything works. Everything in the room is controlled by an iPad mini, which appealed to me. I played around with the mood lighting for a bit and then I made myself comfortable on the bed and caught up with things online. All the stress suddenly fell off me and I felt completely calm. I did not understand this happy change at first, but then I realized that the room very much had the look and feel of a cruise ship cabin. It was that association that calmed me down.

Around midnight I decided that I better get some sleep. I set my alarm for the next morning, but my gadgets on charge and got ready for bed. It did not take long at all until I was fast asleep.
 

franandaj

I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Sounds like a great travel day even with the delays. That room is quirky to say the least! It would never have worked for Fran and me!

Glad you're off to a good start!
 

Malia78

Flotsam and Jetsam
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
That room is definitely intriguing. Excited about this trip report!--had the chance to meet you and enjoy a little Halloween fun in the park
 
  • Paula Sedley-Burke

    Proud to believe in Rainbows and Unicorns...
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2008
    Joining in for your trip. Sorry about the delays. Good you were proactive about eating at the airport that yummy meal.
    That hotel very quirky! Controlled by ipad! Good for one person but sharing and open plan no thanks!

    Looking forward to hearing more.
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    Great start! How nice to have your coworker take you to the airport, and that they were able to check your bag early.

    I adore the hotel room! the check in process at the hotel is something I've never heard of before. Thankfully that lady came by to help with your debit card.
     
  • jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    I'm here! That hotel is very quirky! I kind of like it!

    Jill in CO
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    That room is quirky to say the least! It would never have worked for Fran and me!
    Welcome.

    I am sure of this. I think this would not work for a lot of people, but for me it was perfect.

    had the chance to meet you and enjoy a little Halloween fun in the park
    Welcome. I just wrote about our evening with Jenn and Jeff between Christmas and New Year. I am well organized. I am currently writing up day 12, which was the first full day in Orlando. It was so great to be able to spend time with you.

    Here! Will be watching for updates on this TR as well.
    Welcome.

    Sorry about the delays.
    Welcome.

    Delays are part and parcel of the airline industry. As this is how I earn my travel money, I know this better than most and don't get to worried about this.

    Good you were proactive about eating at the airport that yummy meal.
    Yes, I did not fancy my chances finding something I liked at that time of the evening in a city I don't know.

    Great start! How nice to have your coworker take you to the airport, and that they were able to check your bag early.
    Welcome. Our office is just across the road from one of the runways so it did not take her long, but I still really appreciated it.

    I adore the hotel room!
    So did I. This was something unusual and caught my imagination, but at the same time it was really comfortable.

    the check in process at the hotel is something I've never heard of before.
    That was a new one on me as well.

    I'm here!
    Welcome.

    That hotel is very quirky! I kind of like it!
    It was really great and I hope I get another opportunity to stay there or at one of their other hotels.

    I think about half of our usual little family are here. I think we are just missing @Flossbolna , @tiggrbaby , @jenseib , @PJB71 , @rentayenta, @Chilly and @dgbg100106.

    Corinna
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    Signing in since I was called! :-) Am traveling currently, so not a lot of DIS time! Will be back to catch up!
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 2

    I had set my alarm for 7:00. The alarm system is very clever. The TV comes on and the lights gradually come on as well. As I woke up, I was treated to a spectacular view over the runway. I had checked with my colleagues that regularly fly standby on KLM when I should check in and was advised about two hours ahead of time. As I was so close to the airport, I figured this would give me plenty of time to get showered and reorganise my hand luggage. The shower was a lovely rain shower and the shampoo and shower gel were lovely, too. Once I got myself organised, I headed down to check out. This was done on the touchscreen self-service kiosks again and was all taken care of very quickly.

    I walked over to the airport. Land-side it is a really lovely airport. It feels more like shopping centre with lots of different shops and restaurants. It is however huge. It took me longer to get from the entrance to the check in desks than it had taken me from the hotel to the airport. The signposting could also be better. Near the entrances, the signposting is pretty good, but then it suddenly stops. I ended up going to one of the airport information desks and they pointed me in the right direction. Once I got to the area where the KLM check in desk are, I went up to a member of staff and explained that I am flying standby and asked her how this works with KLM. I was asked where I was flying to and I was then directed to a self-service machine. This seemed a little strange as I had already checked in online the day before and had a check in receipt, which I did show to the person I was speaking to. I was a little hopeful that this meant that I would get on, but essentially I got the same receipt again, which still stated “standby” in the area where the seat number goes. The screen then prompted me to go to the clearance desk. I looked long and hard and could not find anything of the sort. So I approached yet another member of staff and she directed me to a certain area of check in desks. I did not have to wait very long until it was my turn.

    I had a lovely chat with the check in agent. When she saw where I was going, she told me that this is somewhere she really wants to go. I shared with her that I go pretty regularly as I have friends in the area. She told me that the flight was full and that a total of 4 people were listed for standby. She thought that the likelihood of me getting on that flight was about 50 50. She did however take my luggage off me, tagged it and told me to go to the gate. I took that as good news.

    The line for security did not look too bad and it appeared to be well organised. Unfortunately something in my hand luggage attracted interest. It turned out to be my iPad Mini. I was a little surprised as the person at the beginning of the line had advised to only take laptops out of the bag and leave tablets and Kindles inside the bag. Normally this would not have been an issue, but the machine that they use to analyze the swabs that they use to test for chemicals was not working properly. They restarted this a few times. Eventually it did work again and the first person in line was on her way. Unfortunately it was not quite my turn yet. There was a couple in front of me. The man had thought it would be a clever idea to have Swiss Army Knife in his hand luggage. There was some discussion and some pleading that this was expensive and he should be allowed to keep it, but to no avail (and very rightly so). Eventually he did accept that his Swiss Army Knife would not make the trip and they moved on. My iPad got swabbed for chemicals and must have passed muster and I was finally on my way again.

    It amused me considerably that they have self-service machines for when you leave the country, but not for coming in. I scanned my boarding pass and passport and I was on my way to the gate. Knowing my luck, the gate was the last one in this part of the airport, but I still made it in plenty of time. I checked in with one of the gate agents and was provided with the information that the flight was not just full, but overbooked. Working in the industry myself, I know that there is always a certain number of no shows, but I was not fancying my chances with an overbooked flight and 4 people on standby. The gate agent asked me which airline I work for and when I told her she responded that this means that I am not eligible to travel on the jump seat. Now, I have to admit that spending a flight of this duration on the jump seat did not appeal anyway. She put my airline on the boarding pass, put it to one side and told me that she would call me if she had a seat for me.

    I went to sit down near the desk. I was still surprisingly calm. This soon changed when an additional three people turned up who were hoping to fly standby especially as they were Delta staff and Delta and KLM have a pretty close relationship. It suddenly dawned on me that I may not be in California for the beginning of a VIP tour at Disneyland the following day. Sure, there was a second flight that day, but this is operated by a plane where the front half is for passengers and the back half is for cargo. So this flight has a significantly lower capacity and I would not be the only person who would try to relist for this flight. Still, there was absolutely nothing I could do. There was free WiFi so I entertained myself with catching up on Facebook.

    Soon they started to pre board and a couple who had been sitting next to me were called to the desk and they returned with boarding passes. They were speaking Dutch so I assumed that at least one of them works for KLM. Regular boarding commenced and business class customers and the first boarding group in economy had been called. Suddenly my name was called. I can assure you, I have never heard sweeter words than "Mrs Ball, I have a seat for you." I nearly burst into tears. I thanked the gate agent and took my boarding pass. I went back to sit down and checked out on Seat Guru where I had ended up. For a standby seat I was pretty lucky. I had ended up on the middle seat in a block of three near the front of the economy cabin. I posted a quick update on Facebook as I knew a lot of people were rooting for me and I think some were as nervous as I was. In all the excitement I had lost track of which boarding groups had been called. I got up to see if I could figure out if I should have boarded already. I must have looked thoroughly lost as a member of KLM staff approached me to check if I was OK. I explained what the issue was and we had a lovely chat. She told me a bit about what I can expect on the flight. She then pointed me to the end of the line.



    That line was quite a sight to behold. It went the whole length of the gate area and then outside almost as far as the next gate. Before I even entered the gate area again, they did the final boarding call. I was nowhere near the end of the line either. So this was a touch optimistic. I have to say though that they dealt with this quite efficiently and soon I had my boarding pass scanned and was on my way to the plane. When I got on, the two people that I was supposed to sit with had not arrived yet. That happened shortly afterwards. A gentleman addressed me in French and I had no idea what he was saying. I assumed that he wanted to get to his seat and started to get out of the way. He then switched to English and asked me if I would mind moving to the window seat so that he and his wife could sit next to each other. I did not mind at all. In fact, I thought I had hit the jackpot. Just how much that was the case became apparent later during the flight.

    Soon afterwards everybody was on board and the aircraft door was closed. I breathed a little sigh of relief, but I did not completely start to relax until we were in the air. I checked out the menu and had a look at what was on offer on the entertainment system. Soon after we were at cruising altitude, they came round with snacks and drinks. I had a Coke and settled in to watch Cinderella. A little while later, they brought round hot towels and this was followed shortly afterwards by the lunch service. I had Oriental Cucumber Salad followed by Chicken in Sesame Sauce with Fried Rice and Lime Mousse with Berries for dessert. The salad was too fancy for my liking and I did not eat much of this, but the rest was very nice. I had some white wine with my lunch, which was quite drinkable.

    Once Cinderella was finished, I read for a while and then decided to watch Inside Out. I think I got through about 15 minutes and then decided that this is not for me. I just don’t get this film. I decided to watch Frozen instead and ended up falling asleep. For most of the rest of the flight, I alternated napping with reading. At some stage, we were treated to beautiful scenery so I watched this. It was a beautiful clear day. About two hours before we were due to land in Los Angeles, there were more hot towels followed by a drink service and another meal, which consisted of Caprese Salad, Margarita Pizza and a Coffee Dessert. Once this was cleared away, the purser came to see me to check if I have had a pleasant flight. This was a very novel experience. She did ask me who I work for and asked me to encourage my colleagues to consider KLM for their staff travel. Soon afterwards, we started our descent into Los Angeles. We spent some time circling and we flew over some familiar landmarks, but we arrived pretty much on time. I think we have been about 15 minutes behind schedule by the time we got to the gate.













     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    When we were taxiing towards the terminal, I had a surprise. We were heading towards the Tom Bradley International Terminal. We have flown out of Los Angeles with KLM before and they were then sharing one of the domestically terminals. I was very impressed. LAX is not the nicest airport and the fact that it has been a giant building site for the last few years has not helped either. There were however no building works in sight here. Instead I was welcomed by a bright and modern terminal with plenty of facilities. I made a quick bathroom stop and also put my US SIM card in my phone before heading for the immigration hall.

    The line looked impressive, but nowhere near as bad as I have seen before. When I came to the end of the first switchback, somebody was announcing that people that have ESTAs could go to different line. That line was just at the other side of the rope. I spoke to the person who was standing next to the rope and she checked if I have an ESTA and have entered the USA on the same passport. She then let me through. There was an area with plenty of self-service machines. One became available as soon as approached. The process was very simple. I just placed the photo page of the passport on the scanner, answered a few questions via a touchscreen, placed 4 fingers of one hand on a different scanner and looked at the camera. I was then issued with a receipt. I then had to join a line where the paperwork was checked and the passport stamped. This line moved very quickly and I was soon on my way.

    I got down the escalator to the baggage hall and noticed that I did not have the customs form. I remember the immigration official stamping it and then handing me back my passport with some paperwork inside. However, I only had my passport and the receipt. I figured that I must have dropped it and retraced my steps. I did not find it, but there was a member of staff in the area. I explained what the issue was and she told me that the receipt replaces the customs form. So I headed back downstairs again. I spotted my suitcase as soon as I got to the carousel. I collected it and headed towards customs.

    This was the only point in the whole process where I encountered a slight delay. There was a rather big Japanese tour group ahead of me. Most of them did not seem to understand English and the tour guide and the customs officials got rather frazzled. Eventually they were all through and I was on my way. I checked my watch as I left the terminal and it had taken me 30 minutes from leaving the aircraft to this point. That is what I call a result.

    I went in search of the Supershuttle stop and checked in. I was asked to go and sit down on a bench in that area until my shuttle arrived. I only just had enough time to update my status on Facebook to let people know that I had arrived before I was called. Traffic out of the airport was quite slow, but I was busily texting and messaging with my local friends and was quite content. I only looked up when we suddenly stopped. We were on the hard shoulder a mile away from the exit to Disneyland according to the signs. I turned out that our driver had been pulled over for speeding. Apparently he had been doing 85 miles per hour. It took a little while until the paperwork was completed and then we were on our way again. This was not how I had planned my arrival at Disneyland.

    Fortunately from there on in, it was smooth sailing. I was the first person to be dropped off and the Disneyland Hotel was very close to where we had been stopped. I was a little confused as I had only ever approached the Disneyland Hotel on foot and I was not entirely sure where I was in relation to the check in desks. I did find it quite quickly and I did not have long to wait for a check in agent to become available. Better still, my room was ready. I had hoped that this would be the case. I ended up in the Frontier Tower. We have always liked this tower as it is nice and quiet and has a scale model of Big Thunder Mountain in the lobby. However, from the point of view of the location, it is probably the most inconvenient of the three. When I was checked in, I was advised that some packages had arrived for me and the check in agent got those for me and then walked out to Bell Services with me. One of the Bell Men then assisted me to take my luggage to my room.

    Once I got to the room, I took some photos of the room. I love the headboard on the beds at the Disneyland Hotel. They have the castle carved into them and come alive with fireworks when you flick a switch. Other than that I thought that the décor is a little dark. The beds however looked very comfortable. I quickly had a look at the packages and got myself my first orange soda of the trip from the vending machine near my room. I then set an alarm call for later this afternoon and then settled down for a nap.











    Once the alarm went off, I got showered and changed and then I headed out to the parks. I had a quick peak into Disney Vault 28 on the way. I had the most surreal feeling while I walked through Downtown Disney. It was almost like I was dreaming. It just did not feel real that I was actually at Disneyland. I think this was a combination of the stress that I had experienced in the run up to the trip and also that my body clock was totally confused. I headed to Disney California Adventure first. Oswald was supposed to be out until 19:00 and I also wanted to sort out my Photopass+ lanyard there, as the Photopass shop there is usually not as busy as the one at Disneyland. This time round it was not quite as straightforward as just redeeming a voucher. When I opened the Photopass+ pack a few days before I was due to leave, I noticed that voucher that you need to get your Photopass+ lanyard was not included. I emailed Photopass and they advised me to take my order number to either of the Photopass shops at Disneyland and they would sort it out. I had even taken the email, but the cast member I spoke to had no idea what to do. She called a supervisor who then tried to make contact with Photopass Guest Services. Unfortunately she was not successful. After trying a couple of times, she made the executive decision to give me the lanyard anyway. I thanked her and was on my way.

    Even though Oswald was supposed to be out at this time, he was nowhere to be seen. I spoke with one of the character escorts who was just passing by and she advised that Oswald would be back out a bit later. I wandered down Buena Vista Street and spotted Mickey out and about. The line was not too long so I thought it was already closed, but I was in luck. Unfortunately there was no Photopass photographer with him, but the cast member who was with him took a photo with my camera. I had a quick look around the shops and especially took a good look at the Diamond Anniversary merchandise. Then I headed back to where Oswald was supposed to meet. This time he was out and I got in line. The line was nice and short. There was even a Photopass photographer there, but unfortunately without a camera. He still took some photos with my camera though.









    I was going to head over to Disneyland at that stage and this would have made sense considering that I was right across the exit. However, the temptation to experience Soarin with the new projection system was too much. I decided to wander over there to check out how long the waiting time was. I did however get sidetracked once more. As I walked up to the fountain, I spotted Minnie in a period costume. Normally it was always Mickey, Pluto, Goofy and Chip and Dale in Buena Vista Street outfits. Minnie was a new one to me and I could not pass up this opportunity. Her line did not look to long and better still; she had a Photopass photographer with a camera with her. She briefly went inside to powder her nose, but she was soon back and it was my turn pretty much as soon as she came back. We had some photos taken together and then I was on my way again.





    I finally headed over to Soarin taking some photos of the Carthay Circle all dressed up for the Diamond Anniversary on the way. The waiting time for Soarin was 30 minutes and I figured this would be OK for the single rider line. I had no idea just how OK. This was pretty much a walk on. I was given the usual spiel that there was no guarantee as to how long the wait would be, but when I got to the area where the Fastpasses are checked, I was straight send down the line to one of the loading area and a cast member there intercepted me as he had a spot to fill. I was a happy bunny. This is now a completely different experience. The picture is now much sharper and there are no more dust specks on the film. It feels a lot more immersive now. The scents also seem stronger and are more evenly distributed. Before, the scents were not as strong when you were sitting on the end seats. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I was glad that I managed to do this on my first evening at Disneyland.



    I was tempted to go again, but figured that I would have plenty of time to ride this during my time there. So I finally headed over to Disneyland. I could not believe the masses that were there. It was still well over an hour until the first showing of Paint the Night and Main Street was wall-to-wall people. I decided that it was time for some dinner and stopped at the Jolly Holiday Bakery. I went with the Jolly Holiday Combo, which consists of a toasted cheese sandwich and cup of tomato and basil soup. I was a little bit disappointed by the bread on the sandwich, which was kind of bland. I loved the soup and the sandwich was much improved by dunking it into the soup. I also had some orange soda and a Matterhorn Macaroon. This must be the biggest bargain at Disneyland. It is quite a good size for a dessert and only costs $1.99.



    By the time I had finished my dinner, I started to hit the wall. I had every intention to watch Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever that night, but I started to come to the realization that this may not be such a great idea. I decided that I was going to head for Tomorrowland, ride Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters if the waiting time was not too long and then head for the monorail to get back to the hotel. The first part of the plan worked out OK. The posted waiting time for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters was 10 minutes and was much shorter in reality. I did really enjoy this and got a decent result for me. I do enjoy this ride, but I am not very good at it. I then headed over to the monorail and that is where my plan unraveled. When I got to the monorail station, I was told that the monorail was not running until about an hour after the fireworks. I was not inclined to hang around that long and I expected that Main Street would be a complete zoo. One of the cast members suggested that I head over to the train station and get the train back to Main Street station. This made perfect sense. I headed over there and a train just left as I got there. Supposedly a train comes every 10 minutes, but I think it was almost twice that by the time the next train turned up. Worse still, there was only enough room for about half the people waiting. I did not make it, but was near the front of the line once that train departed. It took another 20 minutes or so for the next train to arrive and this time I was on it.

    At least when I finally got to Main Street, I was able to make a very quick exit. As I was walking through Downtown Disney on my way to the hotel, the fireworks started to go off. So in the end, I was not back at the hotel a lot earlier than I would have been if I stayed for the fireworks. I did make a quick stop at the pin-trading kiosk, where I got a couple of annual pass holder Diamond Anniversary pins and a Diamond Anniversary lanyard medal. Once I got back, I got ready for bed. I set an alarm for the next morning just in case also I did not anticipate that I would need it. I quickly switched on the fireworks on my headboard and then I fell asleep.
     

    jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    Your trip is off to a great start minus the speeding ticket on the way to the hotel! I love Minnie's period costume!

    Jill in CO
     

    PrincessInOz

    Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2010
    I can't believe that a shuttle driver was speeding! I expect he didn't have that job for too long.

    Your view from the plane was great. That was lucky to have the window seat. I suspect that that couple may have pre-booked their seats for the window and aisle in the hopes that no one booked the seat in-between. Oh well. Your gain.

    As always, the pics of you and the characters are adorable!
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    I'm so glad everything worked out with your flight! I'm sure going into it expecting to maybe not get on the flight you want prepares you a little, but to read about it it sounds very stressful. Bonus to get a window seat!!!

    I completely understand the unreal feeling of the first day of vacation. Fun to get some park time your first evening.

    Minnie in her flapper dress is soooo cute!

    That train situation would have had me frustrated to no end.
     

    Paula Sedley-Burke

    Proud to believe in Rainbows and Unicorns...
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2008
    Exiciting update! I really did not think you were going to get a seat on the flight! Is it a much cheaper option?

    I like the sound of that alarm and light system at your Amsterdam hotel. Gradually waking you up like natural sunlight. Nice when you can help somebody out and also score a more prefered seat! Like swapping candy at Halloween after trick or treat!

    Great photos from the plane. I love that Disneyland hotel headboard! I recall Pam telling me about that and showing me a photo. Like you I do prefer lighter wood like Beach Club. That's why I don't rush to be at Bay Lake Towers but oddly it does work at AK.

    Great that you had a sleep then got to go to the park. Nice Minnie outfit not seen that before! I was wondering now that the WDW annual passes include photopass are DL going to do that also? Be a nice bonus. Espically for folks like yourself and Alison and Fran. I think Alison and Fran may even get the one where it covers WDW and DL. Makes sense they cover photopass on both for the whole year. I really enjoyed the photopass this Christmas. Plus it not expriming for a whole year.

    The new soarin update sounds good. That film was getting tired. More crackles than a piece of bacon.

    That matterhorn coconut pastry does look good! I love coconut. Anything under 5 bucks these days gets my vote!

    Looking forward to reading more.
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    I'm glad everything worked out. Sorry about the whole standby experience, but at least you ended up getting a seat and everything worked out in the end. I can't believe that your driver got a ticket on the way to the hotel. Nice you got a nap in and a few things done at Disneyland. I guess your choices from Jolly Holiday influenced me last night. I ended up with a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner last night! :laughing:
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I can't believe that a shuttle driver was speeding!
    Nor could I.

    I suspect that that couple may have pre-booked their seats for the window and aisle in the hopes that no one booked the seat in-between.
    I am absolutely certain of this. Our customers do it all the time. Sometime it pays off and sometimes you will have the company of either a grumpy revenue customer who is stuck sitting in between strangers or a very happy standby traveller who is just relieved to get a seat.

    Your view from the plane was great.
    We were blessed to have such a clear day.

    I'm so glad everything worked out with your flight! I'm sure going into it expecting to maybe not get on the flight you want prepares you a little, but to read about it it sounds very stressful.
    It does and if you do your research, you can minimize the risk of getting left behind, but I still find it really stressful.

    I completely understand the unreal feeling of the first day of vacation.
    I occasionally feel that way and sometimes it takes two or three days until it has really sunk in that I am on vacation, but I never had this dreamlike feeling before.

    Fun to get some park time your first evening.
    That was the main reason why I chose the flight out of Amsterdam. After not having had a proper vacation for far too long by my standards, I wanted to hit the floor running.

    Minnie in her flapper dress is soooo cute!
    I loved Minnie in that dress,

    That train situation would have had me frustrated to no end.
    I was not a happy bunny.

    I really did not think you were going to get a seat on the flight! Is it a much cheaper option?
    It is. The flight to LA cost me £100 and the flight back from Orlando about £60.

    I like the sound of that alarm and light system at your Amsterdam hotel. Gradually waking you up like natural sunlight.
    I really like this. I wish my alarm at home was like this.

    I love that Disneyland hotel headboard!
    It is so pretty and even more so when it is all lit up.

    That's why I don't rush to be at Bay Lake Towers but oddly it does work at AK.
    We have stayed at Bay Lake Towers in 2010 and I remember this as feeling really light and airy. I pretty much made the same comment about Animal Kingdom Lodge, but also included Aulani, which has a very similar feel. I love the rooms in both resorts even though the decor is really dark.


    Nice Minnie outfit not seen that before!
    No, this was a new one for me, too. On our previous trip, Minnie was wearing an aviator outfit at California Adventure.


    I was wondering now that the WDW annual passes include photopass are DL going to do that also? Be a nice bonus.
    At least some of them do.

    The new soarin update sounds good. That film was getting tired. More crackles than a piece of bacon.
    It is amazing. The other extreme will come later in the trip report. It is a shame that I won't get to see this again as by the next time I will get to experience it, it will be the new version. I am still a bit bitter that they are taking the last part of California out of California Adventure. I am all for having the new version in Florida and Shanghai, but they should leave well enough alone in California.

    That matterhorn coconut pastry does look good! I love coconut. Anything under 5 bucks these days gets my vote!
    I am a big fan of coconut, too and they are so yummy. I was introduced to them as part of lunch when I did a tour in 2014 and had no idea how good value they are.

    Looking forward to reading more.
    I should be able to have the next instalment up tomorrow after work.

    I'm glad everything worked out. Sorry about the whole standby experience, but at least you ended up getting a seat and everything worked out in the end.
    I think this was a typical case of "All Is Well That Ends Well"

    I can't believe that your driver got a ticket on the way to the hotel.
    I could not believe it either. I was texting with Sue at the time and she was thinking I was joking when I told her.

    Nice you got a nap in and a few things done at Disneyland.
    This worked out perfectly

    I guess your choices from Jolly Holiday influenced me last night. I ended up with a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner last night! :laughing:
    I hope you enjoyed it.

    Corinna
     



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