Tag Archives: California Adventure

A Quick Disney Day (or Getting Back To The Parks And Onto The Train)

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Disneyland. The summer blackout for my annual pass is only about 2 months, but when you are used to going to the parks once a month or so it feels so much longer! So when my friends and I looked at the blackout date calendar and saw that we were finally going to be able to go back to the parks, we put it on our calendars so we could make sure we got our Disney day in!

For a while, the train has been closed because of the work going on for the new Star Wars land. I love the train and it’s been sad that it’s been down for so long and I couldn’t wait to be able to get back on it. Plus, Dani had never been on the train at Disneyland! So knowing that the train was open again now made me even more excited to be going to the parks.

We knew it wasn’t going to be a normal Disney day when we arrived. Normally when we get there around lunchtime, there may be some cars lined up for the parking structure but we get parked pretty quickly. But this time, the lines were pretty far back for parking. It didn’t take too long, but we realized that it was going to be much more crowded than we expected. Maybe everyone else was just like us and was excited to finally be able to get back to the parks after the summer blackout?

No matter way, we were ready to have some fun as soon as we arrived. And the first stop was the train. There’s normally not a line for the trains, but everyone was so happy that it was back and they wanted to see the new stuff they added. So we were in line for a little while before we could get on the train. But that was ok because I was just so happy to see that the trains were running and was enjoying people watching everyone there. And when we got on a few trains later, I couldn’t wait to see all the new changes.

I didn’t take a ton of photos because I wanted to focus on enjoying the train, but I love the new views of the river that you get from the train. It’s so pretty and the landscaping looks so good!

They also did some fun work in the diorama section of the train. There are now more moving elements, especially on the background of the mural. I think it added some nice touches while still maintaining the classic look of the diorama that I love so much. I know my mom loves that part of the train too and I can’t wait until she can come with me to Disneyland again so she can see it herself!

After doing the full trip around the park on the train, we headed over to California Adventure to ride the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. We were hoping to get a new song (there are 7 songs and we’ve heard 2 of them already), but we ended up getting one of the same ones we had the last time we rode. But it was still such a fun ride and I don’t miss the old Tower of Terror ride. We were trying to think of a fun photo to do this time and we decide to try to do some sort of ninja/karate pose. You can’t really see it well, but because of where I was sitting I was able to kick my leg up and I got it up pretty high!

After the ride, we were feeling a bit overwhelmed from the heat and the crowds so we decided to take a break to get something to eat. We decided to go to the Trattoria and I didn’t realize that neither Michelle nor Dani had been there before! It’s one of the places I really like so I was excited to share it with them.

I decided to get the Osso Bucco and it was delicious. Maybe a bit too rich considering how the heat was affecting me, but it was so good!

After eating, we went back to Guardians of the Galaxy where there was a little show happening in front of the ride. It’s a dance off thing and it was cute to watch for a minute.

We decided to go back on the ride after that, but Dani wasn’t feeling up for it so she waited in the shade while Michelle and I went on it. Again, we were hoping for a new song but we ended up getting the other one we heard the first time we rode. I guess it wasn’t meant to be to hear the other songs and know what the other versions of the ride were like. We didn’t really have a fun photo and that’s probably for the best since the person in front of us kind of blocked us in the photo.

We were thinking about doing another ride after that, but I think all of us were feeling a bit done. I wanted to have a full day at Disneyland, but the heat was getting to me and I hadn’t slept too well over the weekend so I think that was catching up to me. We tried to take a bit of a break in the shade to relax, but we realized that we were all ready to go home.

Since we all have annual passes, it’s ok that we had a short day at Disneyland. We can go back soon to ride other things that we didn’t get a chance to ride this time. And hopefully when we go back it will be less crowded and we won’t feel as off as we did from the heat. But no matter how long we were in the parks, being at Disneyland makes me so happy and I’m so glad I was able to go back this week!

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Guardians and Ladies Who Lunch (or A Fun Summer Day At Disneyland)

Every summer, I know that my Disneyland pass will be blacked out. So we always try to plan a really fun Disney day as our last day before the summer blackout. And my friends Dani, Michelle, and I had planned a Disney day for this week about a month ago. We had no clue that we would be there about a week before our adventure, but we still were more than ready for an amazing Disney day!

Knowing that this was going to be our last day in the parks for about 2 months, we worked on what we wanted to do. The biggest thing was to ride the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride that is where the Tower of Terror ride used to be. It had just opened and we hadn’t had the chance to ride it. And originally when I thought I would need surgery, there was a chance that I wouldn’t be able to ride it until the fall. So to know I could ride it this time made me so happy!

We got to Disneyland around 12:30 and immediately started to work on a plan for the day. We had a few things on our list and we wanted to time things out carefully. We first got Fastpasses for the Haunted Mansion and went on the Pirates ride while we waited for our Fastpass time. And the timing worked out perfectly because we were off Pirates right when the Fastpasses were good. We quickly got into the room before the stretching room and it seemed to be taking a bit of time. So we took advantage of that and tried to get a cute group photo in the room.

Unfortunately, the reason we were stuck in that room for so long was the ride broke down. They gave us the option to wait to see how long it would take for the ride to start back up again, but we weren’t able to stay. And that was because we had some lunch reservations that we were looking forward to!

When we were planning this Disney day, we wanted to make sure we did some special things. And to us, getting to eat at the Blue Bayou is pretty special. It’s not too much more expensive than what we normally spend for meals, but it is a bit of a splurge. And you have to make sure that you make reservations in advance because it’s so rare to be able to walk up and get a reservation for some point that same day. We actually made our reservations the last time we were at Disneyland and we got one of the last reservations times for the day!

And even with our reservation, we still had to wait about 30 minutes for a table to open up. But it was worth it because it is such a fun restaurant!

We didn’t get a water front table (I’m sure the wait would have been even longer if we wanted one of those), but you still get a fun view of the Pirates ride from the seats. And we were pretty sure that the last time we ate there we were at the exact same table.

We took our time eating lunch because it was hot outside and nice and air-conditioned in the restaurant. I had the steak (which I think I had the last time too) and it was the perfect meal. I knew this was going to be my main meal of the day and it was delicious! And getting to have a nice, relaxing, and kind of fancy meals with my friends was exactly what we wanted to do.

After lunch, it was time for the other main event of the day: riding the new Guardians ride. I’ve seen so many videos of the ride and I was almost shaking with excitement as we got to the ride. And I think Michelle and Dani felt the same way. We were all smiles as got into line!

The line for the ride was pretty awesome too. The first room that you go into has Rocket Raccoon and it’s so funny. And there are some things hidden in the room that we were pretty sure were from the Tower of Terror ride. And when you are close to the ride, there is a Yeti from the Matterhorn ride up in a display!

And it was exactly what we hoped the ride would be! It’s not exactly a drop ride, but it still has drops. But the ride is almost always in motion (instead of just going up and dropping) and it was almost more exciting to be flying up than to be dropping down. We loved it so much that we rode it twice! There are 6 different versions of the ride, all with their own soundtrack. The first time we rode the soundtrack was Elvis and the second time we rode the soundtrack was the Jackson 5.

And not only is the ride different, the way that the photos work at the top were different too! The first time, it took forever and we were wondering if we were ever going to drop. The second time, we didn’t even really stop where they take the photo so we all have half poses on our faces.

We also walked to the side of the ride where we heard there was an Avengers logo in the ground. There are rumors that an entire Marvel land will be coming one day, and having this next to the ride makes me think that those rumors are probably true.

After those rides, we headed back to the Disneyland side. We wanted to get on Space Mountain before the summer blackout again. And because our second ride photo on the Guardians ride was so funny, we decided to pose like each other. So I posed like Dani, Dani like Michelle, and Michelle like me. I think we nailed it!

After Space Mountain, we were done with the rides. But we still had one more thing we wanted to do before we left. We had said that we really wanted to watch the fireworks show since it’s such a good one. We thought we had claimed a good spot near the castle, but because of the angle of how they shoot off fireworks we had a tree blocking our view (I’m sorry Michelle!).

We did get to see the projections on the castle up close which was fun. It reminded me of the amazing projections Universal had at their show. But it might have been ok that we couldn’t really see the fireworks because in the middle of the show, everything stopped and the lights came back up. The winds had gotten too strong and the fireworks had to be cancelled. It’s unfortunate, but I know how it can be super dangerous if there are high winds. So maybe this Disney day was meant to see the castle projections and when we go back after the summer blackout we can watch the fireworks from farther back.

By this point, we were all pretty tired. We ended up walking through Downtown Disney and checking out some of the stores and then walking back to the parking garage. I was so tired when we got back to the car, but it was worth it. We got almost everything done that we set out to do and it was pretty close to a perfect day. Now I just have to wait about 2 months until I can get back!

Dentist and Disneyland (or Having Fun Things To Look Forward To)

After my past few dentist appointments, I’ve tried to schedule a Disneyland afternoon. This helps me stay calm at the dentist since I’ve got something good to focus on. It’s a nice tradition that I’ve started and I’m glad that it seems to help to keep me calm. So when I found out that I had a dentist appointment this week, my first thought was to call my friend Michelle to see if she wanted to go to Disneyland. And ironically, she had a dentist appointment that day too so we decided to go after we were both done at the dentist.

I didn’t have the best dentist appointment. This was the big appointment where I meet with the dentist and get x-rays. And one of the fillings that was done 14 years ago is now chipped and I will need some work done to fix it. Hopefully that will only be another filling, but there is always the possibility that it will be a crown. This isn’t fun, but I have to do it. Hopefully since I’ve had so many more needles lately I won’t react as badly to the numbing shot. But I won’t know until I have my dental work appointment.

My dentist is a block away from Michelle’s house, so I had parked my car at her house and walked to the dentist. When I was done, I walked back over to her place and we got into her car and headed to Disneyland!

Because I had my big dentist appointment, it was a bit later than I usually have dentist appointments. So we were driving down to Disneyland in the start of rush hour traffic. There are some carpool lanes on the freeways that we take, but it still was a bit of a longer drive than we are used to. But since we were both feeling pretty chill about this Disney adventure, we didn’t mind things taking longer for us. And once we got parked, we were able to get onto a tram to the park really quickly!

The only ride we really wanted to ride was Hyperspace Mountain since that will be closing and the ride will be the normal ride again next week. But we also both needed something to eat (I don’t usually eat much before dentist appointments and I was so hungry). We thought about trying to see if we could get into Blue Bayou, but they weren’t doing any walk ups at that time. They told us we could come back later, but we were both pretty hungry so we headed over to Plaza Inn for some pot roast.

I usually don’t get this to eat, but it was pretty good and filling! And it’s always nice to sit down to eat and not feel too rushed. The park was pretty crowded between people being there after work and people celebrating graduations, so to be away from the crowds was good.

After that, we headed over to California Adventure to wait until our time to ride Hyperspace Mountain. The new Guardians of The Galaxy ride will be opening this weekend and the entire park is going to be doing a summer of heroes event. I don’t think anything has started yet, but the signs were up as we walked into the park.

I know I’ll be in the park at least once before I’m blacked out for the summer, so I’m excited to get to see what offerings will be in the park. They’ve already promoted a fun menu and I think that it will be nice to see what else is happening.

Once we got to California Adventure, we did a bit of window shopping and then headed over to the Animation Academy. My biggest issue with drawing is drawing circles. And of course, the character we were drawing was Mickey Mouse, which is all circles! But I think in the end both of our drawing look pretty decent!

We headed back to Disneyland after that to ride our ride, and I got a moment to admire how much my new key chain matches the park!

We had a good ride on Hyperspace Mountain. Our photo didn’t really come out, so I don’t have a ride photo to share (sorry!). But we were both just taking in the ride and enjoying all the fun things they added for the Hyperspace overlay. I don’t know if this overlay will come back, but I hope it will eventually. But I think I agree with Michelle when she said it will be nice to have the regular ride back. It’s had this overlay for quite some time and I think the normal ride is going to feel special again.

Our last ride that day was Buzz Lightyear since Michelle and I have our year-long competition happening with that ride. I guess I’m really lucky that one time I scored a really high score on that ride, because Michelle is always beating me! And this time was no exception. But in our year-long battle, I’m still ahead!

With the park being as crowded as it was and both Michelle and I tired from our dentist appointments, we were ready to head home. And we realized that the parade was going to start so we wanted to rush out before it started and it became difficult to leave. But even with rushing out of the park, I took a brief moment to get a photo of how pretty Main Street looks at nighttime.

It’s always magical at Disneyland, and at nighttime it seems even more magical. After getting out of the park, we made one more stop at World of Disney in Downtown Disney. There were a few things that I had been debating about getting and I wanted to look in the store to see prices and to think carefully about what I wanted to spend my money on.

I’ve been wanting the Disney ice cube tray since I had seen it months ago, and I finally decided to get it. And right next to it was a really cute votive holder that I couldn’t resist getting. And I’ve been looking casually for a new mug (the ones I have are all chipping and are pretty old) and had never found a Disney mug that I loved. But this time, there was a really cool mug that didn’t scream Disney that I had to get!

It’s a bit of a splurge to get stuff at Disneyland, but I rarely do it. And it wasn’t too expensive even with all 3 items so I figured I could find other places I could cut back this week to make it work with my budget.

Michelle and I were only at Disneyland for about 4 hours and we really didn’t do much, but it was a perfect post-dentist outing. I know I won’t be able to go after my big dental appointment since that is so late in the afternoon, but I’ve already got a Disney day planned for June. And there’s always a chance I’ll have another random Disney day before I’m blacked out for the summer!

One More Disney Day (or Yummy Food and Roller Coasters)

With my surgery coming up in about 2 more weeks, I’m trying to get a lot of fun stuff in before I have to take time to recover. And of course, this list included going to Disneyland. While I’m recovering, I won’t be able ride roller coasters for a while. I might be able to walk around Disneyland and do some of the easy rides, but since I love roller coasters I wanted to make sure that I did my favorites before I had to take a few months off.

My favorite Disney buddies Dani and Michelle were with me this time and we were also joined by Michelle’s friend Lauren (who fit in perfectly with our Disney craziness). All 3 of them knew that I was on a mission to ride the roller coasters I love the most and I’m so grateful that they let me decide most of the rides that went on that day. And besides my mission to ride a bunch of roller coasters, this was the only time I was going to be at Disneyland during this year’s Food and Wine Festival. So we all wanted to make sure we tried a bunch of the offerings that they had this year.

When we got to Disneyland, we headed to the California Adventure side first where we went on Toy Story Mania first. I used to be so much better at this ride, but I think I’m overconfident in my ability to play the games within the ride. I didn’t get that great of a score, but as always it was fun to ride. And right after that we had Fastpasses for California Screamin’ which is one of the roller coasters I love and had on my bucket list for the day. We all wanted to do some great poses for our ride photo, and this photo makes me laugh so much! And thanks to Lauren, who has Photopass on her annual pass, I was able to get great copies of all of our ride photos that day!

Our next ride time wasn’t for a few hours after that, so we decided to take some time to check out the Food and Wine Festival and get some lunch. Last year, I got one of the cards Annual Passholders could buy to save a little money on food. But I wasn’t going to eat that many things so I ended up just paying for each thing I got one by one. I got the deviled eggs, a beef tenderloin slider, and tacos.

The servings are small, but that was fine with me because I could try those 3 things and not feel too full. Each thing was really good and I feel like the food was even better this year than it was last year. And hopefully next year will be even better!

We also did some sightseeing around the park. They have been busy working on changing the Tower of Terror ride to the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride. This will be opening soon and there is a chance I might be able to ride it before my pass is blacked out for the summer. But if not, I’ll totally be going on it in August!

We also made a stop at the Animation Academy where we drew Hei Hei from “Moana”. I actually have not seen “Moana” yet, so it was weird to draw a character that I didn’t know what they looked like. But I think we all did a pretty good job with our artwork.

Our last ride in California Adventure was Radiator Springs Racers. The 4 of us ended up getting a car to ourselves so we were trying to plan something funny to do in our ride photo. Dani, Michelle, and I are so used to just thinking of what we can do with the 3 of us so it took a moment to figure out what could work with 4. And we decided to do the YMCA poses in our photo. We weren’t totally successful in doing that, but again it was an awesome photo!

We headed over to Disneyland after that ride to get in the rest of the rides we were hoping to do. I had a couple of rides on my list, but we ended up just doing 2 rides and riding each one twice. We did Buzz Lightyear twice because Michelle and I have our points competition for this year and we wanted to see what we could do. She ended up beating me both times, but this is a ride that I can go on while I’m recovering so I’m hoping to get some good scores soon.

The only other ride that we did that night was to ride Hyperspace Mountain. This is probably my favorite ride in the park and I am honestly a bit sad that I will have to take a few months off from riding it. One time we rode it Lauren was with us but she had to leave before we were able to ride it the second time. I was wearing my new I’m A Liver Not A Fighter shirt and was hoping to show it off in the ride photos. It didn’t quite work out that way, but that’s ok.

After our last ride, we were a bit stuck in Tomorrowland because of the parade and the fireworks. So we decided to see if we could find a nice spot to watch the fireworks and then we were going to take the Monorail to Downtown Disney to miss the crazy crowds trying to leave the park. But that ended up being a great decision because we found an almost empty area to watch the fireworks from that also got us to the Monorail quickly when it reopened.

Even though we weren’t expecting to be at Disneyland for a full day, we ended up being there for about 12 hours. That really helped me get my Disneyland fix in and while I probably will be antsy to get back I think I’m good for a little while now. It felt weird being there knowing that I might not be able to do a day like this again for a few months, but I’ve been preparing for this and this was just another thing in my pre-surgery countdown.

Thank you Dani, Michelle, and Lauren for making my day so awesome! Thanks for letting me take charge a bit to pick out our rides and being just as silly and ridiculous as me in our ride photos. Now I’m just counting down the weeks until surgery is done and I can get back!

Another Disney Day (or Gaston And AP Days)

I was just at Disneyland last week, but of course I wasn’t going to say no to going again this week! This trip had been planned for a bit because my friend Michelle and I wanted to see what they were doing for the AP Days at Disneyland and this seemed to be the only time we could go when the event was happening. But then they also announced all the Beauty and the Beast stuff at Disneyland so we added wanting to go to the pop up restaurant on our list and were very excited to have a fun Disney day!

When we got to the parks, we were pretty shocked about how crowded it was. It wasn’t spring break and there wasn’t a holiday so we didn’t know why everyone was at Disneyland. It wasn’t unbearably crowded, but it did surprise us. And since we knew the Beauty and the Beast pop up restaurant was a limited time thing, we were prepared to have to wait a while to get food when we were ready to eat.

But before eating, we had some stuff to do! We started with Hyperspace Mountain. I’m trying to get in a bunch of roller coasters before surgery since I know I won’t be able to ride them for a while after surgery. I’m planning at least one more Disney trip before surgery and I know I’ll be going on this again. And Michelle and I tried to do the pose from the Hamilton poster for the ride, but I turned a bit too much to the side so my arm got cut off. But Michelle looked awesome!

Our next stop was right next to Hyperspace Mountain at the old arcade building. That is where the AP Days event was being held. There were some art projects for kids, special merchandise that you could purchase, and phone charging stations. But the photo ops were what we decided to take advantage of!

There weren’t a ton of people inside of the event, so we were able to get through the photos pretty quickly. Then we went on a quick ride on Star Tours (another ride that I won’t be able to go on after surgery) before heading over to the Red Rose Tavern.

We had heard about the insane crowds there since everyone wants to experience it before it goes away (but there is no end date yet). We were prepared for the worst, but when we walked up it was pretty empty! And it was so cute inside. They decorated it to look like Gaston’s Tavern from the movie and there was a lot of stained glass all over.

We took a look at the menu when we walked inside, but since there was no line to order we just stood off to the side to look at the options. And once we knew what we wanted we were able to walk right up to place our orders.

Since we weren’t sure if either of us would be able to be back before this pop up ended, so we decided to order a few things and share them. From friends who have been there already, I heard that the chicken sandwich and poutine were really good so we ordered those plus the two desserts (lemon cake and “gray stuff”) that they had to split between us.

And it was all awesome! This was so much better than regular theme park food and we were both saying how we think they need to keep this permanently at Disneyland! It was a lot of food and we were both feeling pretty full after eating. But that was ok because we had a quick stop before going on any more rides that day.

Earlier in the day I saw that one of my Orangetheory coaches, Whitney, was at Disneyland that day too! She and I were texting and finally we were able to coordinate meeting up when we were done eating. We were on our way to the meeting spot, but while we were walking we happened to see the Gaston character walking around. He’s a character you don’t see that often and he wasn’t stopping for photos. So I ran in front of him and did a quick selfie as he was walking.

After that quick photo, we walked over to Indiana Jones where Whitney was waiting for us. We just hung out for a little bit while she was eating and it was a nice catch up!

Whitney was there with her family so she went off with them and Michelle and I went on a few more rides. We went to Indiana Jones (another one that will not be ok to ride after surgery) and Haunted Mansion before doing our last ride in that park.

Michelle and I have a year-long competition going with Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We have set rules for ourselves, but mainly we have to ride together and we are adding up all the points we get to see who has the most points at the end of the year. I’m winning right now, but that can change so quickly! For some reason, our ride photo left out Michelle’s score, but she got more than double the points I got.

We originally weren’t going to go over to California Adventure, but we ended up wanting to ride on Soarin’ so we headed over there after Buzz Lightyear. But on the way, we did some shopping. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but I always like to see what is for sale at Disneyland. And about a year ago, I saw a set of dog bow ties that I loved but only came in small dog sizes. But this time, they had them in a large dog size!

I called my mom quickly and she confirmed Tucker’s neck size (these will either just fit perfectly or we will add a little extra velcro to make them fit) so I got them for him! Tucker doesn’t dress up too often, but I figured these could be cute for Halloween for him or just for fun outings.  Plus, I love Disney stuff so I want the dog to have some too!

Our ride on Soarin’ was awesome (as always) and by the time we were done with the ride we were both pretty exhausted. I had a big workout before meeting Michelle and she had been working hard. And even though we were only at Disneyland for about 6 hours, it felt like a full day for us!

I’ve had a couple of back to back weeks with Disneyland days. I have another day planned for the beginning of April and that might be my last trip there before surgery. I’m glad that I’ve been able to go so much lately because I know I will miss it when I can’t be there. But for now, I’m just maximizing each day I have there!

Disney Afternoon (or Beauty And The Beast And Rides)

I’m going to write about my Monday this week a bit backwards. I had stuff in the morning that I’ll be writing about next week, but I wanted to write about my afternoon first!

I seem to be getting in a ton of Disney days lately and that’s awesome with me! I know that I’ll have a huge gap of time where I won’t be able to go (I have the summer that my pass isn’t good for and there’s a chance I can’t go between having surgery and summer). So whenever I have a chance to go to Disneyland, I’m going to go!

My friend Erin asked me if I wanted to join her and her daughter Olive at Disneyland when they were there for a girls day on Monday. I let them know that I could join them for the afternoon and I was so excited! I hadn’t been to Disneyland with Erin and Olive in 6 years (almost exactly 6 years to the day!) so I was looking forward to going with them and having a fun afternoon.

I didn’t end up making it to Disneyland until about 3:30 and I rushed into the park to meet up with Erin and Olive. They had been doing a ton of rides, so they were ready to take things a bit easier for a little bit. So our first stop was Toy Story Mania where Olive and I tried to battle each other in the games. I might have gotten a higher score, but Olive had better accuracy so I considered it a tied game.

After that ride, we ended up walking around a bit trying to figure out what to ride next and we went passed the old Tower of Terror. I’m excited that a new ride will be opening up there soon, but because of the timing of it I might not get to ride it until the fall. But it still made me happy to see the sign in front promoting the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride!

That might be the closest I get to riding that ride for a long time, so I have to take advantage of that! After the quick photo stop, we made another quick photo stop for Erin and Olive to take a cute photo together! I love how adorable they look together and was happy to play photographer for them!

Next, we headed over to the Monsters Inc ride. Olive really wanted to ride that, and it’s been a while since I had been on it so I was happy to check it out again. It’s just as cute as I remember it and Olive was laughing at so many scenes in the ride. Sometimes it’s nice to go to Disneyland with a kid who really just loves everything there!

Our next stop was another Olive request. There was a preview for the new Beauty and the Beast movie. In the lobby area, they had a couple of props to check out and that got us all really excited for the preview.

The preview was pretty awesome! I already knew that I wanted to go and see the movie since I usually love all Disney movies. But this got me even more hyped up for the movie! I know a few friends are trying to make plans to go on opening weekend, and I really hope that we can make that work.

Next Erin and Olive went on Soarin’. They had gotten Fastpasses before I joined them at the park so they went on that ride on their own. But it was ok with me because while they were on the ride I got to watch the amazing sunset!

Erin and Olive were back pretty quickly from their ride (the perks of Fastpass!) and we were all pretty hungry by that time. So we headed over to Cars Land to have some dinner at Flo’s Cafe and then ride our last ride for the night. It was another Olive request, but I was more than happy to go on Radiator Springs Racers! We all got to be in the front row of the car and Olive was loving roller coasters so much that she was riding with her hands up. I really love this photo of us all (even if I have some crazy eyes going on).

The park was getting close to closing time after we finished our ride, but Olive wanted to go back into the Beast Library in the Animation Academy. She loves the magic quiz that says what princess you are like. Since it was almost closing time and not a lot of people seem to go back to the Beast Library, the 3 of us pretty much had the place to ourselves!

Olive was having fun doing the quiz as many times as she could and Erin and I enjoyed having some time to catch up. Erin and I usually only get to hang out when she’s doing my hair or I’m babysitting her kids, so it was nice to have a bit of catch up time while Olive was having so much fun.

But before we knew it, a cast member came in to tell us the park was closed and we had to leave. We all walked out to the gates and then we said goodbye (we parked in different parking lots so we weren’t all taking the tram back to the main parking lot together). I was only in the park for a little more than 4 hours, but I think I got a lot of stuff done in that time!

I’m so glad Erin and Olive invited me to join them for their girls day at Disneyland! We had been saying we wanted to do this for a while but schedules never seemed to match up. So it was perfect that it worked this time! Hopefully I can meet up with them again soon and it won’t take another 6 years before we repeat this hangout!

A Calm Disney Day (or Enjoying An Empty Park)

Since I average going to Disneyland almost once a month (except in the summer when my pass is blacked out), it seemed perfect timing to go to Disneyland this week! And not only had it been almost a month since the last time I was there, it seemed like a lot of other things were saying it was the perfect time to go. It was supposed to rain on Monday, which usually means the parks aren’t that crowded. And, this past Monday was the first day of school for many schools in the area which also usually means the parks might be on the empty side.

I went with Michelle and Dani (as usual) and we took my new car. Dani was with me when I bought the car, but Michelle really wanted to see it. Plus, I need to drive more so I get used to the car! Usually Michelle or Dani drive, so it was my turn to be the driver for the day. And since we went down around lunchtime, there wasn’t too much traffic that we had to deal with.

When we got to Disneyland, we were very happy to see that the parks were empty! It was exactly what we wanted and the rain had already stopped so we were pretty excited to have a great day! We didn’t have a bunch of rides that we wanted to get done, so we decided to take things easy and just go on whatever seems fun to us at the time.

We went into California Adventure and our first stop was Toy Story Mania, where I’m hoping that I can get back to having great scores on the game. I’m not that good at it anymore so I need to remember to read up on the tricks to the various games on the ride to hopefully get the high score in my car. Next, we went right next to Toy Story Mania to ride on California Screamin. All of us were going to go on the ride, but Dani got a phone call she needed to take so she had to skip out on the ride. Michelle and I were able to sit in the front of the roller coaster and even though we didn’t plan our photo together, we had similar poses.

I wish we could have gotten a better photo, but there was a ton of glare on the screens and we didn’t want to spend $39 on the photo. So I used the photo I could access from my phone and that has the writing on it.

After that ride, Dani was off the phone and we headed over to Soarin’ Around the World and realized when we were done it was the perfect time to check out the Frozen show. I hadn’t seen it yet and when it opened you had to get a Fastpass for the show as soon as the gates opened. But now, you could walk in and get into the show. So we decided to take a show break in our day.

We wanted to sit in the orchestra section because I don’t like to do stairs, and we were toward the back of the line. But it ended up being perfect because even though we were in the back of the theater, we were in the center and it was a great view of the stage.

The Frozen show was pretty good! I’m still sad that the Aladdin show is gone (and I loved getting to see my friend in it), but this is a fun show too. The cast was very good and while the sets were almost all digital ones they helped to transform the space. The show is a bit long (over an hour), but it was a nice break for us in our day.

Continuing on with our leisurely pace in a pretty empty park, we had dinner in Cars Land before heading over to Radiator Springs Racers. Since the cars seat 3, we fit perfectly in the front row of our car. The sun had set right before we rode and that’s my favorite time to ride the ride. The outside portion of the ride is so beautiful and we had so much fun.

We walked over to Disneyland after that to ride a few more rides for the night. HyperSpace Mountain is still one of the best roller coasters and we were able to get on the ride quickly. We were trying to think of a good pose for the photo, and we decided on Michelle doing the Darth Vader death grip trying to kill me and Dani. I’m not sure if that’s what the picture ended up looking like, but I love the ride photo either way!

We went over to the Tiki Room for some Dole Whips for dessert and we were just in so much shock about how empty the park was! We could have walked down Main Street with our arms out and not hit anyone! It was a nice change over the past few visits where it was so crowded that I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I know that having it so empty is a rare treat, so I was just trying to enjoy it.

We got our Dole Whips quickly (no line!) and went into the Tiki Room to eat them.

The last ride for the night for us was Indiana Jones and we were all just being really silly during the ride and jokingly yelling at Dani since she was in the driver’s seat. Fortunately, the other people on the ride with us didn’t mind that and we just had a fun time being weird.

On our way out of the park, we went through the stores just to see what they had in stock. We all have different things we have been looking for at Disneyland and Michelle was able to find the mug that she had been wanting. And after our shopping, it was time to get back into my car to head home.

We didn’t get a ton of rides done, but it was the perfect Disney day. My next Disney adventure might be later this month and there’s a chance that there will be no rides that day. But I’ll write about that if that ends up happening!

Happy Birthday Dani (or Another Awesome Disney Day!)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, I went back again this week! But this time, it wasn’t just a regular Disney day. We were going to celebrate my friend Dani’s birthday! Since Michelle and I knew last week we’d be coming this week for the birthday adventure, we did some planning while we were waiting for the rides!

The first thing we did last week was pick up a birthday button. Even though we knew we could get one when we came back, we wanted to have it in advance. This way, not only did we have it to give to Dani when we all met up to drive together, but Michelle was able to jazz it up with some rhinestones to make it even more special!

I think it looked amazing and Dani loved it! Also part of our pre-planning was making a fancy lunch reservation for our group, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

It was 4 of us for the day (Michelle, Dani, Dani’s boyfriend, and me) and we got to the park around 1pm. We had our lunch reservations at 2, so that gave us just enough time to ride the first ride Dani requested to go on: Toy Story Mania. I’m not that great at the shooting part of the game (I don’t go on this ride that often), but it was fun and I tried my best. And as soon as we were done with the ride it was time to head over to lunch.

I hadn’t had the opportunity to eat at Carthay Circle yet (I did go once to eat at the bar, but that’s different), so when Michelle and I were figuring out where we should make lunch reservations this was the first place we thought of! When we checked in for lunch, there was some time before our table was ready so we relaxed in the lounge area. We ordered some drinks and toasted to Dani and her fabulous birthday! And soon enough we were led upstairs to our table.

I had checked out the menu online earlier, so I was pretty sure what I wanted to get. We ordered the biscuits for the table (I heard those were a must-have) and a couple of appetizers to share among us. I tried the chili relleno that had duck in it. The pepper was a bit too spicy for me (I think it had spicy breading on it), but the filling was delicious!

And for my main course, I got the tri-tip with blue cheese risotto. It was very filling and rich, but I had planned for a meal like this. It was so good and I would totally order it again!

And of course, we needed some dessert! Dani chose the monkey bread and the servers put a candle in it for her to blow out.

It was a very relaxing lunch and I’m so glad that we splurged on doing this. We probably spent almost 2 hours eating, but it was worth it! Cathay Circle is a gorgeous space and I feel very lucky that I got to check it out. And while we were getting ready to leave, I noticed some floor length mirrors and decided to do a mirror selfie in there.

Our next stop was Tower of Terror (yes, right after we ate a big meal). This was possibly my lat chance to ride Tower of Terror because it will be closing in the beginning of January. I might make it to the parks next week, but it’s not for sure. So we all wanted to ride the ride once the original way and once at nighttime. It had been a while since I had been on the ride during the day, but it was just how I remembered it. And we tried to take a ride photo with us all doing clock faces, but I think there was a bit of miscommunication because I just look like a goober in our photo.

After the ride, we did a bit of walking around the park and noticed the nice sunset that was happening. I think we were all feeling a bit goofy because all the photos we took there were pretty funny. While I tried to take a nice photo, Michelle decided it was time for a funny face behind me.

And I didn’t realize that we were taking a funny group photo so while Michelle and Dani have silly faces I just have a ridiculous grin.

Our next ride was on the carousel right next to Toy Story Mania (since that was going to be our next ride). We all sat in a row and tried to get a group photo, but that wasn’t happening since we were all up and down out of sync. But Dani got this fun picture of me and her boyfriend.

Just as we were able to ride Toy Story again, the ride broke down. It was sad that we couldn’t go on it, but we were given a pass to ride any other ride in either park as an apology. We saved those for later and went on our next ride which was California Screamin’. I couldn’t wear my Minnie ears on the ride since I knew they’d fly off, but I held them so that I could get them back on my head for the photo.

And then it was back to Tower of Terror to ride it in the dark for possibly the very last time. Dani and her boyfriend didn’t know what they were in for with the ride and Michelle and I wanted it to be a surprise. They figured it out when we were in line since there were signs advertising that this was a chance to ride the ride in total darkness. I was a bit sad that this might be my last ride on this before it’s closed and changed into another ride, and I think everyone else agreed. So we decided our ride photo should be a sad one.

After that ride, we headed over to Disneyland for the rest of the night. The first stop was Space Mountain and it was awesome as always. It does feel a bit slower when you aren’t seated in the very front, but we wanted the birthday girl to have the best seat on the ride.

Then we walked across the way to ride Buzz Lightyear. I had told Michelle about the point values for the targets last week, and it turned out she had no clue that the targets had different values! That was a huge mistake because she ended up kicking my butt on the ride!

And we knew we wanted to watch the fireworks and it would be less crowded over by Small World, so we headed back that way in the park. We rode on Small World before claiming our spots to watch the fireworks, and it looked so festival with all the lights in front.

We found some steps to sit on for fireworks and Michelle and Dani went on a food run to get us all some corndogs to have for dinner. And while the view of the fireworks were partially obstructed by a tree for me, they still looked nice. And since it was less crowded back there, I think that I’m going to try to watch fireworks back there from now on.

At the end of the fireworks, they have “snow” falling. It was pretty magical to see and even though the soap in the snow made my hair so gross, I couldn’t help but go out and get a picture of me in the middle of it.

We ended our night with a going on a few more rides. We made it on the Storybook Canal Boats, Peter Pan, and the Jingle Cruise. And even though we all said that we didn’t want to stay at Disneyland super late that night, it was close to midnight by the time we got back to the car!

This may have been my last Disneyland adventure until 2017 (if I make it there next Monday it will probably be a very short day). I’m so glad I got to spend it with amazing friends and being able to celebrate someone’s birthday!

Disneyland At Christmastime (or An Evening Of Rides)

When I knew I’d be meeting with the liver surgeon on Monday last week, my first thought was that I should do something fun after the appointment. I went to Universal Studios with Michelle after my first appointment (when I found out it was actually a tumor), so it seemed fitting to do something like that again. I asked Michelle if she was free, and she was. So we planned an afternoon at Disneyland to celebrate whatever news I got.

I knew most of the news going into the appointment (thanks to my OB/GYN giving me an update and sending me the MRI report), so I wasn’t feeling that odd going to Disneyland. I knew surgery would be happening next year and that there is no reason to stress. I did double check with the surgeon that I was cleared to ride rides at Disneyland since I’m aware there are risks of the tumors rupturing. Thankfully he gave me the all clear.

Michelle and I didn’t have a ton of stuff on our Disneyland list. We knew we’d be coming back the next Monday (yes, I went again yesterday) so we were taking things pretty slow. When we got to the parks, it was almost time for sunset so we decided to head over to the giant ferris wheel to try to view the sunset from high above the parks.

sunset

It was a pretty amazing view and we managed to time it out really well!

Our next stop was a quick dinner (soup in bread bowls again since it was so cold out!) and then off to ride Radiator Springs Racers. Walking through Cars Land during the holidays is so fun with all the cute decorations and every year it makes me smile.

cars-land-tree cars-land

I love Radiator Springs Racers at night since the outdoor part of the ride looks so beautiful then. And I tried to get a fun picture on the ride, but I forgot when you sit in the back your arms may get cut off in the photo.

radiator-springs-racers

Before our next ride, we made a quick shopping stop. I had been looking for some cute Disney ears for a long time. I had some I loved and ended up losing them about 12 years ago when I moved from one apartment to another. But I found some that weren’t too expensive (and the headband part didn’t hurt) so I decided to treat myself! And right by where I got them, they had a really cute photo backdrop setup!

new-ears

Our last stop before going into the other park was Tower of Terror. They are doing a really fun thing at nighttime where they don’t have the effects or sound happening. That makes the ride so much fun! And while we were in line, we noticed a man who was getting a bunch of hugs from various employees. Turns out, he had just done his 200th ride on Tower of Terror! I told him how cool that was and he let me know he was actually known for riding Radiator Springs Racers over 8,000 times! Everyone on the ride thought that was amazing.

tower-of-terror

When we walked into Disneyland, I was just so happy with how beautiful the park looked with all the lights on the trees and buildings. But Michelle commented how the castle didn’t look that nice. She said that it usually has more lights for the holidays. Then, as if someone in the park heard her, we heard an announcement to please stay where we were because they were going to dim all the lights so they could properly light up the castle for the night! I had never seen that before and it was a lot of fun to watch.

castle

Next on our adventure was to ride Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster. Michelle and I have forgotten who is in the lead with wins on that ride, so we decided that we are going to start a new count since we have no clue who is ahead of not (so this ride didn’t count toward the new tally).

And of course, we had to go to Space Mountain. I wanted to make sure my new ears were in the photo, but I knew I couldn’t wear them during the ride because they would fly off my head. I held the ears by my legs for the ride and then grabbed them and held on just before the photo. I put them on backwards, but they still look cute!

hyperspace-mountain

As we were leaving Space Mountain, it was about time for the fireworks to start. We knew we’d probably be watching them again in a week, so we watched a bit with an obstructed view and left to try to get in at least one more ride.

fireworks

Our original plan was to go on Indiana Jones, but just as we walked up to the line they announced it was closed due to technical difficulties. So we ended up going on Jungle Cruise which is all decked out for the holidays. The jokes were as corny as ever, but I love seeing the lights around the ride. And at nighttime it really is beautiful.

The fireworks were done by the time we got off the ride and there wasn’t a huge crowd by the castle. So we decided to wait a bit so we could get some photos in front of the castle with nobody else in the photo. That was something I don’t get to do that often.

nighttime-castle with-the-castle

By that time, the park had been closed for a bit and we didn’t want to miss the tram back to the parking lot. So we headed out and waited for a tram to take us back.

We ended up doing some planning at Disneyland for our adventure we did there this Monday. This week, we went to celebrate our friend Dani’s birthday! And that post will come later this week!

Recovering At Disneyland (or A Never-Done List)

After going the hospital last week, I spent several days not really doing much. I worked from bed, I rarely left my house, and I tried to make myself get better. I wasn’t getting better as quickly as I wanted to, but I was finally noticing some improvement toward the end of the weekend (during the headshot day). And it’s a good thing that I was getting better because I had a Disneyland day scheduled for Monday and I didn’t want to cancel it!

My friend Michelle knew that I was at the hospital last week and what was going on with me. She was checking in with me to make sure that I still wanted to go to Disneyland. I knew she’d be ok with me if I had to cancel it, but I was feeling like I could do an easy day there (no crazy roller coasters) by Monday and around lunchtime we headed down to Anaheim.

On the way, we picked up one of Michelle’s friends who also has a pass for Disneyland and has Mondays off like we do and we were at the park by about 1:30 to have a low-key day. I’m glad all of us have passes because there was no pressure to get a ton of stuff done and I didn’t feel too guilty about being limited in what rides I was ok with going on.

Since I am on a soft food diet right now, I knew my food options at Disneyland would be limited but there was plenty that would be ok. And one of the first things we did in the park was to go get a Dole Whip!

dole-whip

It turns out that Michelle’s friend had never had a Dole Whip before, and as soon as I found that out I decided we needed to figure out what else she hasn’t done at Disneyland before so we could check things off of her list of never-done things! We ate our Dole Whips during the Tiki Room show and then were off to our next ride!

I was limited in what Halloween things I could do, but the Haunted Mansion is a smooth enough ride that I was totally ok riding it! I love how it is decorated for the holiday season and every time I ride it I notice more and more stuff. And it was a gloomy day outside with lots of clouds so it seemed like the sky matched the ride.

haunted-mansion

Our next stop was the Jungle Cruise (another smooth ride) and we had a pretty fun skipper on the ride. Lots of good cheesy jokes and there were a couple of jokes that he said that I had never heard on the ride before! We were trying to figure out what other rides would be easy smooth ones, and we saw Buzz Lightyear and headed over to that. Michelle and I have been battling each other on that ride since we started going to the parks together. This time, I was beat but I have a feeling I’ll have a comeback soon.

buzz-lightyear

Next was another never-done thing for Michelle’s friend: the Nemo Submarines! None of us are huge fans of going in the submarines (they are a bit tight inside and sometimes they don’t smell very fresh), so we watched the video in the alternative viewing room. The video is just as good as the ride, plus since it was a grey day outside I knew that the stuff in the water wouldn’t have been as nice and bright as it is in the video.

We then tried to ride the monorail (riding in the front of it with the driver was another thing on the list), but the monorail ended up breaking down in the station while we sat on it. It was unfortunate, but we figured we could walk over to California Adventure to continue our day. But right when we were ready to ride the monorail, it started to rain pretty hard! None of us were prepared with umbrellas, so we just tried to walk as quickly as we could across to the other park.

We wanted to ride Radiator Springs Racers, but it was closed before of the rain and possible threat of lighting. And by that time, we were all feeling a bit hungry (Dole Whips aren’t that filling). And all I really wanted to get to eat was soup in a bread bowl. I hadn’t had one in a while and was really craving it. Plus, it was a soft food that I could eat and I knew it would fill me up! We found a table out of the rain near the bread bowl place and sat down to enjoy our dinner.

By this time, my stomach was starting to hurt a bit again. It may have been due to hunger or walking more than I was used to, but our dinner break really helped to get me feeling almost normal again. After dinner we were headed over to the Little Mermaid ride (another thing on the never-done list) and realized that after the rain stopped there was a gorgeous sunset right behind the ferris wheel!

mickey-sunset sunset

The last 2 rides of the day were going on Little Mermaid and then Soarin’ Around The World, but we weren’t done yet! We were getting ready to head over to the Animation Academy to draw a bit (another never-done thing) and we decided to look around the stores a bit to see what they had. Sometimes there are some really cute things and even though my budget didn’t really have extra money, I was happy to check out what was in stock.

One of the things I love checking out are the Dooney and Burke Disney purses. They are limited edition collections that are released from time to time. There have been a few patterns that I love, but I never have been able to get it because all the purses were sold out. So we were totally surprised to discover a new pattern in the store that was Disney villain themed that we had never seen!

birthday-purse

It turned out that pattern was released that day and there were still a few purses left in stock! Michelle was celebrating her birthday the next day (which is why in that picture you see the birthday button) and decided that the purse was going to be her birthday present to herself! It’s such a cute purse so I’m super excited for her! And to know that we happened to be in the park during the first day of the pattern release made us say that it must have been fate for her to get that purse!

Our final stop of the night was one more thing from the never-done list for Michelle’s friend: the Animation Academy. We ended up doing the last 2 classes before park closing. The first one was drawing Sally from “Nightmare Before Christmas” and the second one was Winnie The Pooh. I think that my Sally looks much better than last time and my Winnie The Pooh wasn’t too bad!

sally winnie-the-pooh

My Sally is the big one on the right and my Winnie the Pooh is the one in the middle.

After drawing, California Adventure was closed (Disneyland had one of the separately ticketed Halloween parties so we couldn’t go back) and we went to the trams to get back to the car.

I’m so glad that I didn’t skip going to Disneyland. I think knowing I had this coming up helped me get better and kept me motivated. And I was able to push myself to see what my body was able to handle and realized that while I’m still not 100% I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I’m glad that I had done the earlier trip to ride all the Halloween rides since I only got to do 1 of them this time. But even with doing the easy low-key rides, I still had an amazing time with awesome friends!