Let me start out by saying do NOT attempt to walk around Disneyland for 15 hours on Friday and then get up bright and early the next day and walk around another solid 10 hours more. Your feet will be none too happy and no amount of pampering by the Mandara Spa will help. If any of you had seen Mr. L and I trying to walk around the John Wayne airport on Sunday as we waited for our flight home, you would have been in hysterics over our hobbling around....but it was worth it :)
Since I had spent my 21st birthday at Disneyland many years ago, Mr. L had promised me a trip to Disneyland for my (momentous) birthday last May. Unfortunately due to the crud, we had to reschedule for the weekend after Labor Day. Except for the fact that a few key rides or attractions were closed (Haunted Mansion due to Halloween preps and Small World) it was business as usual for Disneyland...except there were no crowds. How uncrowded was it? They said a five minute wait for Pirates of the Caribbean...but as we were getting off the ride, we noticed not a soul in line to get on so we just went around and got on again. The longest wait on Friday was about twenty minutes for one of the Fantasyland rides and maybe twenty or so minutes on Indiana Jones (and that was only because they shut down the ride while we were in line). Saturday we had to wait about 40 minutes for the new Toy Story ride. Though we got fast passes for most rides, I think we only used them once!
A few comments on the trip:
- We stayed at the Grand Californian. While I've heard lots of complaints that the rooms aren't anything special for the price the proximity to everything was worth it. Walk one way you're at Downtown Disney, walk another you're in California Adventure and Disneyland is right there too. Plus, just sitting in that lobby is pretty cool (and they put chocolates on the bed at night).
- The hotel ran out of postcard stamps and the machines at Disneyland weren't working so I'm sorry that all of you didn't get your usual vacation postcards!
- We enjoyed the redone Pirates. We did not enjoy the bozo behind us that had to have running commentary through the entire ride about things that were different. This is why we enjoyed being able to get off and go on the ride again without waiting.
- Though most kids seemed to be back in school, it seemed to be "stroller weekend". And seriously, on Friday we were wondering on some rides if we were scary giants or something as lots of screaming unhappy little preschoolers joined us on rides.
- If the CM says "do not stand until I say to so the boat won't tip over" please you intelligent adults you, listen to them (thankfully the CM kept her cool and the boat didn't tip).
- Mr. L and I had never been to Tom Sawyers Island so it was neat to experience a part of the park that neither of us had seen.
- Space Mountain still rocks
- Use separate seats when riding the Matterhorn unless you want seat belt marks around your boobs.
- We tried to find Hidden Mickeys on our own, but gave up. So we started asking CM's. I'd like to thank John the CM at the end of the Pinocchio ride, who not only put us back in our seats so we could go on the ride again to find the Hidden Mickeys, but who also told us about several that were not in the Hidden Mickey book (which I went and bought later that day). Most CM's were pretty knowledgeable and since the place wasn't that crowded, didn't mind stopping and letting us know where they were.
- I've done the "early entry" into Disneyland before but on this Saturday at 7 AM there were less than, maybe, 75 people going into the park at that time. 75 people. We really did have the park to ourselves for almost an hour. That was worth the whole trip.
- The new Nemo ride. Do not go if it is 100 degrees outside or if you are claustrophobic. Though it was a nice ride, it didn't thrill us enough to go again, even with short lines.
- Had no idea what the new Toy Story ride was. We went in clueless. I am not a video game or "shooter" by any means but Mr. L and I really liked it and would have gone again if we had time.
- It was HOT. And humid. I even turned to Mr. L at one time Friday and asked him if we had made a wrong turn and ended up in Disneyworld, Florida. Of course the heat made the water rides that much more fun.
- We had some portraits done in New Orleans Square (which you may see at some point). We had to sit for an hour right across from "Club 33". Interesting to watch who goes in and who tries to go in and get rejected or are made to wait. And those that have no clue who walk right on by.
- I would like to thank the man in the wheelchair behind me while in line for the Buzz Astro Blasters attraction. He whispered to me some of the secrets on how to get more points so that "I could beat my husband at the game". Which I did, ...until I told said husband the secrets and then he beat me...but still...I beat him at least once at a shooting game, hahahahaha.
- Character Breakfasts...no I am not a child but yes, we did Minnie and Friends and Lilo and Stitch and had fun watching the kids and yes taking photos with the Characters (though the photo of Captain Hook with his hook precariously near certain parts of my anatomy will remain private...as will the photo of Stitch trying to stick his finger up Mr. L's nose!)
- In my wanting to go on every ride in Disneyland, I almost bypassed the fireworks show. I'm glad Mr. L made me take a few minutes to watch. Seeing Tink fly by and just the whole production was kinda cool.
- Please note...next time you go on the Indiana Ride and see the well and the sign that says do not pull on the rope? PULL ON THE ROPE! (brought to you by a family member of Mr. L who is an Imagineer)
- We did miss a section of California Adventure as seriously, by 5 on Saturday our feet were about ready to fall off. The only major attraction we really missed was California Screamin' which we had both already been on years ago. We had planned on going back after dinner but our feet could barely get us back to our hotel room let alone the trek through the park for the ride.
- We had dinners at Blue Bayou, Napa Rose and Yamabuki along with Mickey shaped ice cream, Mickey shaped pancakes, Mickey shaped waffles, Mickey shaped chocolate, Mickey shaped cookies, Mickey shaped ice cream and Mickey shaped rice crispy treats. I'll do a separate report on food (the photos from Guess. Where. I. Am? were from a previous trip).
- Only saw a few princesses but did see most major characters and of course, my favorite, Cruela!
- I need to thank Mr. L who was a trooper and went on the tea cups with me. Lets just say he was a little green after and leave it at that (actually I think it was going on the tea cups, both sides of the Matterhorn and Space Mountain within about twenty minutes that got to him).
- We met some really cool folks on our trip, from tourists from Australia, to CM's who were very helpful to folks at the hotel and spa who were very friendly. My favorite though, has to be the very tiny little boy in his snugsack on his Dad's chest totally enthralled with the Nemo ride one minute and then head bouncing completely asleep the next.
Are we Disney fanatics? Not by any means, but we still enjoy a good trip to the Happiest Place on Earth every now and then. Though we may not get to Disneyland again anytime in the near future, we are hoping to get to DisneyWorld sometime soon. Only we'll not try to do the entire park in 15 straight hours! (and I'll put my feet in training at least a month before!)
Above photo taken by me while me feet were still working....