Princesses, Pirates and Pumpkins

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Once we were in the car, I finally had the chance to have a proper chat with our friends. We had seen Sue in January when she collected us when we came off the Wonder after the Panama Canal cruise, but I had not seen Ken since the Med cruise where we had met them. It was nice to put the world to rights. We had booked dinner at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel that evening and Sue and Ken were going to join us for this. I had just assumed that we would hang out for the rest of the afternoon. However, they suggested that they will give us the chance to have some rest. Sue's parents live quite close to Disneyland and they would go and visit them for a few hours and then meet us back in the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel at 18:00. We agreed to this.

There was a bit of a line for check in. While we were waiting for our turn, a lot of people who passed us shouted "Congratulations". Check in was quite a lengthy affair this time round. The cast member who checked us in disappeared out back for a while. He finally came back with some "Just Married" badges, a signed photo of Mickey and Minnie and some helium balloons. We were then handed our key cards, the welcome back and a map with our room number marked and we were on our way. This time round, we were on the second floor at the far end with a great view of the Paradise Pier area of the park. I took some photos of the room before we made it too messy. Graham had left his luggage with Bell Services earlier that day and had been given a card with a number to ring when we were in our room. I rang the number and they told me that this would be delivered within the next 30 minutes and that we needed to stay in the room until this had been delivered. I did not mind this at all and enjoyed the nice view.

















Once the luggage had been delivered, we headed down to the Hearthstone Lounge. I was feeling quite thirsty and I also still had not eaten anything. Graham had a beer and I ended up with a Shirley Temple (Ginger Ale, Orange Juice and Grenadine), which was very refreshing. We also decided to share a flatbread. We went with the "Robusto" Flatbread, which was topped with Chorizo de Bilbao, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Burrata Cheese and Romesco Sauce. It was very tasty. We got talking to the couple at the table next to ours. They had just arrived that day and were from Las Vegas. They come every year at that time of the year to take in the various Halloween offerings at the parks in Southern California. She mentioned that she worked for the Mirage and I said that two of my finny friends live there nowadays. She got very interested and wanted to know who I was referring to. I told her that I was talking about two dolphins called Cosmo and Beetle. Her eyes lit up. It turned out that she is the senior trainer at the Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. She wondered how I knew those two dolphins. They were born at Seaworld Orlando, but have spent most of their lives behind the scenes. When they were still very young and had just joined the community pool, one of them bit a tourist. It was not really the dolphin's fault as the boy in question was messing around and put his arm in the dolphin's mouth. The dolphin closed his mouth and the boy needed 43 stitches. As those two dolphins have been inseparable since birth, they were both banished to the back stage areas. I met them when I did my two Marine Mammal Keeper Experiences and got to interact with them backstage. They were quite cheeky and just captured my heart. The last time I had seen them at Seaworld, they had been moved to the nursery pool to keep the mums and calves company. We spent a couple of hours talking about dolphins and approaches to training. We had visited the Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage in 2006 so I was reasonably familiar with this. This conversation made an already wonderful day even more magical.
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Time is definitely flying when you are having fun. We realised that we needed to head back up to the room to get a few odds and ends before meeting our friends in the lobby. We said goodbye to the other couple and went back upstairs. I wanted to get my camera and the cake topper. Once I had collected those, we went back to the lobby and sat down. Pretty much as soon as we sat down, our friends arrived. We decided to make the move even though we were still a little early for our reservation. We walked through Downtown Disney to get to the Disneyland Hotel and many people shouted "Congratulations" at us. I felt like royalty.

When we got to the restaurant, our table was not ready yet, so we decided to have a drink at the bar. We just got our drinks when they called us. Steakhouse 55 is right next to Goofy's Kitchen, but it could not be more different if it tried. It is very elegant and subdued and definitely falls into the fine dining category. Our table was right next to their "wine cellar". As soon as we were seated, our server came to take our drinks order. We had brought the drinks from the bar to the table, but wanted some sparkling wine to toast with. Graham left the choice to me. I had set my heart on the Magicale, which is a rose sparkling wine that is produced exclusively for the Disney Resorts. Unfortunately this was out of stock, so we went with an "old friend" instead: Fairy Tale Cuvee. Again, this is produced exclusively for Disney and is only available at the American Disney Resorts and on the Disney ships. We also ordered our dinner at the same time. Our friends went with Dry Aged Bone-in New York Strip and Kurobuta Pork Porterhouse with roasted apples and a side of sautéed spinach. Graham went with Cajun-spiced Mahi Mahi with mashed potatoes and I had the Filet Mignon with a side of Macaroni and Cheese. I was a little worried about how the steak would compare to the wonderful steak that I had at Rhodes Twenty Ten in Dubai, but this one was every bit as good. The Macaroni and Cheese was very unusual with an addition of bacon and was the best Macaroni Cheese that I had ever tasted. Everybody else enjoyed their dinner two. The whole dinner was wonderful with great food and even better company.

However, just before our dinner was brought out, my heart nearly stood still. I had ordered a cake to have after dinner. The restaurant manager came to see me to say that they have a note on our reservation that a cake had been ordered, but what they don't seem to have is a cake. She asked me to describe it. I had gone with an ocean theme and asked for a cake with blue butter cream frosting and ocean themed decorations. She came back a bit later to say all was well. Once we had our dinner and the table had been cleared, she brought out the cake herself. She explained that they are sharing kitchen space with Goofy's Kitchen and for some reason our cake had ended up in one of the fridges for that restaurant. Normally the cakes are in a box with an order form attached, but this one was just sitting on a plate. There was some disagreement behind the scenes where the cake belongs, but fortunately they had personalized our cake with our names so that settled the argument fairly swiftly. The cake was both gorgeous to look at and absolutely delicious. I had chosen vanilla cake filled with white chocolate mousse and butter cream frosting. They had put a couple of lit candles on the cake. I took a few photos of the cake and the cake topper. They then asked if we wanted to cut the cake ourselves or if we wanted then to take the cake out back to cut it. We agreed that we would make the first cut for a photo and then they took the cake to cut it properly. They cut a slice for everybody, which we had as our dessert and then the boxed up the rest with some disposable cutlery so that we could take it back to the hotel.













Once we had finished our slices of cake, we made arrangements with our friends for the next day and then we said goodbye to them. They were parked near Downtown Disney. We walked back to the hotel and I enjoyed being given the royal treatment once more. I had planned to see if I could watch World of Colour from our room, but I was absolutely exhausted. I realized that I had a pretty good view from our bed. So I left the curtains open and went to bed. I watched the first part of World of Colour and the view was actually pretty good. I was a asleep before the show was over, but it was still a fitting end to a wonderful day.
 

franandaj

I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Ebay usually provides. The burgundy and blue evening gowns where absolute bargains. I paid about $30 each for them. The gold evening gown was custom made in China, but even that was less than $100 including shipping.

This is why we love our Disney cruises so much. They really offer something for everybody. I am an absolute Disney nut, but Graham does not really get it. Still, he enjoys our Disney cruises as much as I do. Only the other day he asked me when we will be Platinum Castaway Club Members. We still have 3 more cruises to go, but I am sure we will reach this some time in 2013.

Corinna
That's where I got my wedding dress, it came from China too. I should remember that and get some really pretty dresses made, although I still haven't convinced Fran on the cruise idea. It didn't strike me about the tenders in Cabo on our TR, but another's posted all the documents and pictures of the loading process. I don't think we could go to Cabo as the boarding process isn't handicapped friendly.


Your wedding dress was beautiful! I love the pictures from the Crystal Cathedral. I've driven past it, but never stopped or been inside.
 
  • tiggrbaby

    <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2004
    What a lovely vow renewal! You both look so happy and in love! Thanks for sharing!
     

    princess_ariel_85

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2011
    Hi Corinna,

    I've just read all way through your TR and it looks like you had one amazing trip. I love all the photos you have posted. Congratulations on the VR

    xx
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    That's where I got my wedding dress, it came from China too. I should remember that and get some really pretty dresses made, although I still haven't convinced Fran on the cruise idea. It didn't strike me about the tenders in Cabo on our TR, but another's posted all the documents and pictures of the loading process. I don't think we could go to Cabo as the boarding process isn't handicapped friendly.


    Your wedding dress was beautiful! I love the pictures from the Crystal Cathedral. I've driven past it, but never stopped or been inside.
    You just can't beat the price, choice and quality of dresses from China especially if you need plus sizes.

    I would not attempt getting off the ship at Cabo with anybody with mobility issues. Tendering is difficult enough as it is, but the sea in Cabo is also often a bit choppy.

    If you are in the area, I would really recommend that you have a look at Crystal Cathedral. They do free campus tours during the week. There is something really special about this place.

    Great report and lovely photos Corinna. Congratulations on the vow renewal. :goodvibes
    Hi Corinna,

    I've just read all way through your TR and it looks like you had one amazing trip. I love all the photos you have posted. Congratulations on the VR

    xx
    Thanks for the good wishes.

    Corinna
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 16

    This was the day that Graham refers to as the "Hunt for the Dead Disney". We had a leisurely morning that morning as our friends were not picking us up until 10:00. We had set a wake up call for 9:30, but we were awake a while before the alarm call. I made some coffee and we went to sit on the balcony with the coffee and a slice of wedding cake. This was a very civilized start to the morning. We went downstairs shortly before 10:00 and walked down the drive so that they did not have to park. We got about halfway down the drive when they pulled up. That day was Columbus Day and as they both work for the City of Los Angeles, they both had the day off. It was nice to get the chance to spend another day with them.

    Our first destination where the La Brea Tar Pits and the George C. Page Museum. We had a quick look at the La Brea Tar Pits in January, but we wanted a better look and also have a look at the museum. The La Brea Tar Pits are right in the middle of Los Angeles. Asphaltum or tar (brea in Spanish) has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years. This is often covered by water and all kinds of animals have become trapped in this. The tar in turn has preserved their bones. The tar pits were originally an asphalt mine and a lot of the early finds were discarded as people thought that the phones were discarded bones from animals that had been slaughtered to be eaten. It was only when they found the bones of a mastodon (essentially a pre-historic elephant) that they started to excavate and examine the bones. A lot of the fossils that they found are now on display at the George C. Page Museum. We had a look around the museum and watched a brief film about how the Tar Pits were formed. When we came out of the film, they announced that a tour of the Tar Pits would commence shortly and would meet outside the museum. As this was included in the admission, we decided to go for it.

    Our guide initially took us to the pit right outside the museum and explained a bit about how the animals got trapped and why the bones are so well preserved. We then found out a bit more about the people who made the research and the museum possible. We then went to some of the pits were there is some active seepage. Our guide explained by the tar is bubbling. We watched how some bubbles were forming. We then had a look at the largest excavation site that would under normal circumstances still be active. However, all work on this pit is currently put on hold as they found a large amounts of fossils when the neighbouring art museum was building a parking structure. They were given very limited time to retrieve those fossils and they are now in the process of cleaning, cataloguing and assembling those fossils. They still have a large number of grates to go through. After the tour, we headed back to have a look at the second half of the museum and watched a film about the excavations at Pit 91 (the active pit that we looked at earlier). We also had the opportunity to have a look at the glass-fronted lab called the Fish Bowl where the fossils are cleaned and catalogued.











    http://youtu.be/jT1aVcpDvOs

    http://youtu.be/2Qo_z2MWBhs

    Once we had finished at the museum, we went for some lunch at a nearby restaurant called Callender's Grill. They are famous for their fruit pies. Our friends had a pasta and pie combo, but Graham went for the Fish and Chips with coleslaw and I could not resist the Meatloaf on Grilled Parmesan Sourdough with fries. Neither of us finished the main course and I definitely did not have room for a dessert. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal though. After lunch, we got back in the car. Our friends told us about Hancock Park, which is a residential area that is named after the same mayor of Los Angeles who owned the land that the La Brea Tar Pits are located on. According to our friends, this is quite a nice neighbourhood and worth a little detour. I don't know what I expected, but definitely not what I saw. The whole area was just packed with huge and elaborate mansions. I could not quite believe my eyes.

    After this little eye-opener, we headed to our next destination. Our friends had asked if we had ever been to the Griffith Park Observatory. We had not and this sounded really interesting. They pointed out various landmarks on the drive up. From the car park, we got a great view of the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately it turned out that the observatory is closed on Mondays. Still, we took a walk around the grounds and enjoyed the fantastic views.

































    While we were having a wander around, I had asked our friends how far Glendale is from Disneyland. They gave me a rough estimate and asked why I wanted to know. I mentioned that Walt Disney's final resting place is at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale and that I had always wanted to go and see this. So our friends suggested that we could head there if we were up for this. I was very excited. We initially ended up at the wrong Forest Lawn. We followed road signs to Forest Lawn, but they were for their Hollywood Hills location. We had a bizarre conversation with the person at the information booth. Our friend explained that we were looking for Walt Disney's grave site. She told us that she could not give out any information about people being buried there, but then advised us that we were in the wrong place and that we were looking for Forest Lawn Glendale. We knew this already, but they are quite close together and at the gates it just said Forest lawn. She was kind enough to give us directions to the Glendale location. The Disney Studios are right across from Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills so I got a glimpse of those in the bargain. When we drove into Glendale, we could see Forest Lawn on the top of the hill in the distance. Glendale itself is a bit down at heel, but Forest Lawn is very impressive. When we got to the gate, we had an equally surreal conversation there. Our friend told the person manning the information booth that he had some Disney fans from the UK in the back of the car and that we were hoping to visit Walt Disney's final resting place. He again told us that he could not comment on who is buried there, but advised us to Google this and that this information is readily available online. He was kind enough to provide us with a maps showing all the roads and paths that crisscross Forest Lawn Glendale. Fortunately one of our friends had her iPhone with her and I managed to find directions to Walt Disney's grave site. So we compared this to the map that we had been given and set off in that general direction.

    On our way there, we passed the Great Mausoleum, which is the final resting place of Michael Jackson. His grave is in an area that is not accessible to the public, but fans had left flowers and photos just outside the wing where his grave is located. It was not quite as easy to find Walt Disney's burial site even with the directions. The directions had said that we needed to look for the number 33 on the kerb and we could not find this. However, we were in the general vicinity so we decided to park and explore by foot. When we came back, we realized that we had parked right next to the number 33. Anyway, we had gone as far as we could go so we knew we had to be close by. Suddenly something caught my eye. In the far corner, there was something hanging from a tree that looked suspiciously like 3D glasses. I decided to check this out. It turned out that the tree was in the little garden for Walt Disney. We spend a few minutes there and I took some photos and then we moved on. We had a brief look at the adjacent Freedom Mausoleum. I found out when we got back home that there are a number of famous people buried in the Freedom Mausoleum, but I did not see any famous names and I did what I had come for.







    When we went back to the car, we realised that we somehow had managed to lose Graham. The last any of us had seen of him was when we got out of the car. We were discussing giving him a bit of a fright and driving off a short way, but just as we were getting in the car, he turned up. He had seen a rare bird and had followed that. Once we were all together again, we headed off for a quick whistle stop tour of Los Angeles. I have never been to Downtown Los Angeles. On our very first visit to California, we did a bus tour that took in a lot of the Hollywood landmarks, but that was it. Graham had been to Los Angeles a couple of time when he was exploring by public transport. We mainly stayed in the car with our friends pointing out the various landmarks. We did get out of the car briefly at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This is a very modern cathedral and looks pretty stark from the outside, but the interior is stunning and very light and airy. Other landmarks like the Staples Centre, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the larges court house in the USA we just passed. We also saw the crowds in the distance that were camped out in front of another court where the trial of Conrad Murray was taken place. I could not believe the masses of people that had assembled.



    Once we had finished our tour through Los Angeles, we encountered the famous Los Angles gridlock. Up to that point we had been lucky, but as it was now rush hour, the traffic was relentless. Still, we did make slow progress and once we were back in Orange County, the traffic had started to flow again. On our first visit to California, we had discovered a lovely Italian restaurant in the own of Fullerton, which is only a few miles from Disneyland. The restaurant is in the old station building and the station is still serviced by the Surfliner train a few times every day. The restaurant is cheap and cheerful and even have a old railway car in the middle of the restaurant. We have had a number of great meals there on previous visits. I was a little worried that it might have become a victim of recession, but I checked this out online in the morning before we left and it is still there. So we decided to head there for dinner. I have always struggled with their huge portions, but they now offer bread, salad or soup, a soft drink or tea or coffee and a dessert with the meal. I went with the soup, which was a Minestrone, but this was not really to my liking. Graham also had the soup and he finished off mine as well. I then had Spaghetti with Meatballs and Marinara Sauce. The Meatballs where about the size of tennis balls and very tasty, but true to form, I did not manage to finish my food. Graham had Chicken Parmigiana with Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce. He also really enjoyed it. The choice of dessert was either Vanilla ice cream or Spumoni, which is a mixture of cherry, pistachio and chocolate ice cream. Graham had the Vanilla ice cream and the rest of us when with the Spumoni, which was very tasty.

    After a lovely meal with good company and a wonderful day, our friends took us back to the hotel. We said goodbye and then headed up to our room. Because it was a public holiday, there were two showings of World of Colour that day. We arrived back at the room just as the first showing was wrapping up. Even though we were quite tired, we decided to stay up until the second showing and watch this from our balcony. This was the one occasion when I wished that we were on a higher floor. We could here the music and see the coloured fountains and the flames, but we could not see the projections on the mist screen. Graham tried to video this, but the camera had trouble focusing with all the different things going on. Still, I really enjoyed watching it and it made a nice close to the day. Once World of Colour had finished, we came back inside and headed to bed.
     

    tiggrbaby

    <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2004
    What an interesting day! I wonder what is meant by "ashes scattered in paradise?"
     

    Tammy Stringer

    <font color=red>I love babies - all milky and baby
    Joined
    May 5, 2002
    Really enjoying your report Corinna.

    Susan mentioned visiting the Le Brea Tar pits when we visited but unfortunately there were just not enough hours in the day to do everything. I was interested to read all about it through your report.

    What lovely pictures of your vow renewal - you both look so happy

    Can't wait to read more

    Tam
     
  • franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    Sorry you got stuck in our sucky traffic, but that's pretty much what happens coming from LA to OC.

    Because it was a public holiday, there were two showings of World of Colour that day. We arrived back at the room just as the first showing was wrapping up. Even though we were quite tired, we decided to stay up until the second showing and watch this from our balcony. This was the one occasion when I wished that we were on a higher floor. We could here the music and see the coloured fountains and the flames, but we could not see the projections on the mist screen. Graham tried to video this, but the camera had trouble focusing with all the different things going on. Still, I really enjoyed watching it and it made a nice close to the day. Once World of Colour had finished, we came back inside and headed to bed.
    You really can't see the water projections on WoC from any of the Villa windows except maybe the Grand Villa, even the higher floors you don't see the projections.

    Sounds like a fun day! Thanks for sharing!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Really enjoying your report Corinna.

    Susan mentioned visiting the Le Brea Tar pits when we visited but unfortunately there were just not enough hours in the day to do everything. I was interested to read all about it through your report.

    What lovely pictures of your vow renewal - you both look so happy

    Can't wait to read more

    Tam
    If you are ever heading in this direction again, I can recommend a trip to the Tar Pits. I only made it there on my 4th visit, but I was so intrigued that we have to come back for a closer look this time round.

    Sorry you got stuck in our sucky traffic, but that's pretty much what happens coming from LA to OC.



    You really can't see the water projections on WoC from any of the Villa windows except maybe the Grand Villa, even the higher floors you don't see the projections.

    Sounds like a fun day! Thanks for sharing!
    I could see some of the projections at partially from our room. Actually, the view was no worse then when I actually watched in the in the park. We had blue Fast Passes and with people in front of me putting their kids on their shoulders, I could see hardly anything of the projections either. The best view I had was actually from the observation deck on top of the Grand Californian. I have promised myself that I will do one of the dinner packages next time if World of Colour is shown when we are at Disneyland in May.

    Corinna
     

    PJB71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2009
    Oh Corrina you and Graham look sooooo happy :love::love:

    Your pictures are wonderfull and you must be thrilled with them :yay:

    Really enjoy your TR:thumbsup2
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 17

    We had another leisurely start to the morning. We had ticket for Mickey's Halloween Party that day. We were able to enter Disneyland with the party ticket at 15:00 so we had the morning free. We started the morning with having a slice of wedding cake and a cup of coffee on the balcony. Graham wanted to do the laundry and I decided to try out the pool. Grand Californian as 3 proper pools, 2 kid's pools and two hot tubs. The Mariposa pool was put in when they were adding the DVC villas and this has its own hot tub. It is a good size oval pool and nice to have swim in. There is also another quiet pool plus the main pool that has a water slide. I started off having a nice long swim. Once I had enough of that, I decided to check out the water slide, but this was still closed. So I headed for the hot tub instead. This is the largest hot tub that I have ever encountered. It is so big that you can almost swim in it. Once I had enough of this, Graham had also arrived. He was just chilling out on one of the very plush and comfortable loungers. I decided to join him. We both relaxed for a while. I decided to have another session in the hot tub and then I dried myself off and we headed back inside. Just as we were leaving the pool area, they opened up the water slide.

    We headed back to the laundry room to check on the dryers. They still had a little time to run, but as they have a TV in the laundry room that was tuned to CNN, this was no hardship. Shortly after we arrived, a member of DVC staff came in with two prospective members. He was very excited when he realized that we were DVC Members and asked us a number of questions. By the time they had moved on, our dryers had finished as well and we took our laundry and went back to our room.

    We dropped off the laundry and got changed. We decided that it was time for some lunch and we headed down to Storyteller's Café. At breakfast and dinner, they offer a choice of buffet or a la carte menu, but at lunch they just offer the a la carte menu. I had wanted to try the Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder with Rotisserie Chicken, Bacon, and Coriander. Graham just had some of the bread. He then the Half-Pound Char-broiled Beef Burger with Cheddar on a Harvest Bun served with French Fries, which he pronounced one of the best burgers he ever had. I had the Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Garlic Bread topped with Caramelized Onion, Beefsteak Tomato and Jack Cheese with French Fries, which was also very tasty. We were both pretty stuffed, but there was something that I had to do. Halloween is a big affair at Disneyland and they have two different Demitasse Desserts in a Halloween themed collectable cup. The Mickey version, which was filled with Hazelnut Tiramisu was only available at table service restaurants and the Donald version, which was filled with Spiced Pumpkin Muffin and a Pumpkin Mousse, was only available at counter service restaurants. As I was not sure if I would get another chance to get the Mickey version, I decided to have dessert. Fortunately it was only a couple of spoons worth and Graham helped me with this.

    After lunch, we headed back to the room as I needed to get changed again. I had a tea length Princess dress made for this party and I needed help to get in this as it has a corset top. Graham did a great job tying me into my dress. I put a zip up top over the dress as the earliest that you can enter the park in costume on the day of Mickey's Halloween Party is 15:00 on a Tuesday or 16:00 on a Friday. The skirt on this dress is relatively plain with just multiple layers of pink chiffon. It is the bodice that makes this into a princess dress with lace, sequins and fabric flowers. That was well hidden underneath the top. It was toasty with a long-sleeved top on, but well worth it. The reason I had to enter the park earlier was that I had a 14:00 appointment booked at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to make the Princess look complete. I had a make over for one of the formal nights on our Transatlantic cruise in 2010 when they temporarily offered Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the Disney Magic and thoroughly enjoyed it. I left nice and early as I was not quite sure where I needed to go. However, when I got to the park, I was pointed in the right direction by a cast member and I arrived a good 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I checked in as soon as I got there and was told that there would be a wait until it was my turn. I was absolutely fine with this as my appointment was not for another 30 minutes. However, a couple of minutes later, I was called. I got a few foul looks from parents and especially from the fathers. I really don't understand why. Considering the fact that they were able to see me 30 minutes ahead of schedule, there must have been spare capacity so it was not the case that I took the chance away from a child that they could have a make over.

    My two Fairy Godmothers in Training introduced themselves and checked what hairstyle I wanted. They offer three different styles: Disney Diva, Pop Princess and Fairytale Princess. I went with the Fairytale Princess as this is the only style that includes a tiara. The Disney Diva style includes a hair piece to match the natural hair colour and the Pop Princess style includes a coloured hair piece. I then got to choose two shades of eye shadow and a lip gloss from a selection. Once this was also settled, my two Fairy Godmothers in Training set to work. My hair is a bit of a nightmare and tangles when you just look at it. I warned them that they may have a bit of a job to tease this into shape, but they had some magical potion that made my hair behave. I wish I could get a bottle of this. While the Fairy Godmothers in Training worked their magic, a Photopass photographer took photos at the different stages of the transformation. Once the make over was finished, it was time for the big reveal. The chair was turned around and I was facing a curtain. Just before the big reveal was taking place, while they were tidying away all the stuff that was used for the make over, I did a little reveal of myself and took off my top so that the reveal photos would show the dress. The Fairy Godmothers in Training were very surprised by this. Once we were all ready, the curtains were drawn back and I could look at myself in the mirror that had been hidden behind the mirror. I got to choose a ring with a huge "stone" and I was given a drawstring bag with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique logo on, the make up palette that was used, the combs and the brush that was used and a sash with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique logo.































    It was just before 2 PM when I was finished. When I walked back towards Main Street, there was a Photopass photographer taking photos on the plaza in front of the castle. So I quickly took the top off again so that I could have a princess photo in front of the castle. I did the same in front of the Partners statue. I still had plenty of time before my arranged meeting time with Graham. There was one thing that I needed to sort out. Before we left for our holiday, I had heard that they are selling a Photopass Value Pack at the Photopass Store on Main Street and at the Photopass Kiosk at California Adventure. If you purchase the Gallery CD, this includes a voucher for a free Photopass CD. The Gallery CD costs the same as the Photopass CD when ordered online, but it also includes free postage, which makes this a great saving for international customers.













     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Once I had my Photopass Value Pack, I browsed the various shops for a bit. When I arrived back at Town Square. I noticed that both Pluto and Mickey were out in their Halloween costumes. Pluto had a Photopass photographer with him so that was easy. Mickey did not. I had my own camera with me, but nobody to take a photo and there was no character escort in sight. Mickey realised what was going on and took my camera off me. He then walked up to the cast members who where manning the entrance to Great Moments with Mr Lincoln, which was nearby. He handed one of them my camera and pointed towards me. The cast member came over and took the photo for me. I was well impressed with this.











    By that time, it was nearly time to meet up with Graham just outside the park. He was already there when I got to the meeting spot. He had brought my Bridal Mickey Ears, which did not quite work with the princess theme. We also both had our hoodies in case that we needed them later as evenings can be pretty chilly. So we decided to leave all the stuff that we did not need straight away in a locker near the entrance. Once we had that, we headed to the dedicated turnstiles for people holding tickets for Mickey's Halloween party. This went very smoothly this time round. At the turnstiles they stamped our tickets with the date and then straight after the turnstile, somebody was standing with the wristbands and the Trick or Treat bags. In no time at all, we were on our way.



    Our first stop was the Disneyland Railroad. When I went to the first Halloween party of the season before our cruise, the park was really crowded during the cutover period when people holding regular tickets were still allowed in the park and people holding party tickets were already allowed in, too. As Graham is not a big friend of crowds, I was trying to structure the first couple of hours in a way to minimize the impact of the crowds. As the Disneyland Railroad hardly draws a crowd, I figured that this would be a good starting point. When we got to the station at Town Square, we were the first people waiting. When the train arrived a couple of minutes later, there were maybe 5 or 6 people in total. The train filled up as we made our way around the park, but that was no problem. We took the full circle around the park and got off at Town Square.













    When we got off the train, we noticed that the Photopass photographers by the giant pumpkin on Town Square only had relatively relatively short lines and the line for the photographer closest to us was in the shade. So we decided to get a photo together in front of the pumpkin. Once we had our photos taken, we headed over to Adventureland. Our first stop was Jungle Cruise, which had a wait time of 5 minutes. Some parts of this ride are quite different from Magic Kingdom. For instance the temple scene is missing completely. It is however just as corny as it is at Walt Disney World and it is great fun. Once we had finished this ride, we got something to drink as we were quite dehydrated. With this out of the way, we headed for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. The standby time was listed as 75 minutes. I love this ride, but I will not stand in line for it for this length of time. However, the ride has a single rider line and we decided to go for this. Our wait time was approximately 10 minutes. Of course, the whole idea behind the single rider line is that families and groups are split up. However, Graham and I did not only got sent to the same car, but we actually ended up sitting next to each other. This is what I call a result. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye uses the same ride technology as Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom, but I much prefer this ride. There are so many clever details that you kind of forget just how bumpy the ride is.























     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    By that time, we were in need to a bathroom break. We headed onwards to New Orleans Square, but that was a big building site and we could not find any bathrooms. In the end, we ended up on Mainstreet again and still had not found a bathroom. They are not as plentiful as at Walt Disney World and they are also well hidden. In the end I asked a cast member near the hub. He pointed me in the right direction. There was absolutely no way that we would ever have found this. Near the hub, there is a building fence behind which they are currently building a new restaurant. Next to this there is a path that leads to an open-air theater, that you could not see from either the hub or Main Street. The bathrooms where behind the theater. When we came out of the bathrooms, we headed in the wrong direction and ended up behind the Rancho del Zocalo Restaurant. Again, there was no indication from this direction either that there are bathrooms hiding in this area. We had a look around the area as the themeing is really stunning and then headed across to Zocalo Park to have a look at the Dias de los Muertos display.















    After having a good look around Zocalo Park, we headed deeper into Frontierland. I wanted to have a look at the Halloween Round Up at Big Thunder Ranch. I had heard before we left for our holiday that this is not to be missed. On the way, we had to pass Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the waiting time indicated that this was essentially a walk on. The walk from the entrance to the loading platform takes longer than the posted waiting time. We were able to walk straight up to the loading platform, but then had a brief wait as they were loading some people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters from the exit side. Still, that was no hardship and soon we were on the ride. I had done this ride a number of times before both on previous visits to Disneyland and this time round. For Graham this was the first time. We both agreed that the version of the ride at Disneyland Paris is still the best, but this version is a worthy second. Both of us much preferred this version to Big Thunder Mountain at Walt Disney World.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    We then headed towards Big Thunder Ranch. This is an area that I have never visited before and probably would not have done this time either if I had not heard about the fantastic carved character pumpkins. They are constantly changing, but when we were there they had pumpkins with Nemo, Lightning McQueen, the aliens from Toy Story and my personal favourite, a Stitch pumpkin. There were also all kind of other Halloween decorations and the whole area looked very festive. One of the trick or treat trails during the party is located there and they were setting up for this. While I was walking around the area, I admired a patchwork quilt and a harvest wreath that were displayed near the stage in this area. I was just about to take a photo of those, when a cast member appeared out of the middle of nowhere and offered to take a photo of me in front of the decorations that I had admired. I accepted gratefully.

















































     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007


















    I caught up with Graham again just outside the entrance to Big Thunder Ranch. They are supposedly have a whole lot of different farm yard animals at the ranch, but up to this point I had only seen a very friendly cow. Graham was looking at a turkey, but this was not just any turkey. The turkey in this enclosure was supposed to be the presidential Thanksgiving turkey in 2008. However, the turkey was pardoned and flown across the country to Disneyland, where it then took part in the Thanksgiving parade the same day. Ever since then, this famous turkey's home has been at Big Thunder Ranch. The whole story is told on a plaque near the enclosure.



     



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