Tag Archives: California Adventure

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!

Epic Disney Evening (or 8 Rides In 3 Hours)

After my dentist appointment was over, I had something fun scheduled. A few days before the appointment, my Disneyland friend June asked me what I was doing on the day of my appointment. I told her that I should be free after 4pm and she asked if I wanted to go to Disneyland for a few hours to check out the Halloween stuff.

I said yes right away since I wasn’t sure if I’d be at the parks anytime while the Halloween stuff was up (now it looks like I’ll make it there next month), and even though it was going to be a long drive in rush hour to get there I was super excited! I needed something positive to focus on during the dentist appointment, and I think knowing I had a Disneyland adventure after really did help keep the panic away (June and I have already said that we will have to go to Disneyland after my next appointment).

The drive down was a bit longer than usual, but fortunately there were carpool lanes on a few freeways we used. It was just over an hour to get to the parking lot but it took quite a while to get through the parking booths and parked (lots of people going into the parks for some after-work fun). By the time we got into Disneyland, it was 6pm and we were on a mission to check out all the Halloween themed stuff.

Our first stop was the Tower of Terror. This ride will be closing in a few months, but before it closes they are doing a special totally dark version of the ride at night. Instead of seeing the various scenes before the elevator drops, it’s totally dark and you only hear the voiceover. There are some tricks that they do that make the ride feel very different, but I don’t want to give away the fun! But I have to say that riding it was really awesome and I was laughing so hard I was crying.

tot-total-darkness

They also have a really awesome photo spot in front of the ride and we took advantage of that. I’m glad we did that because I’m hearing now that the Hollywood Tower sign was taken down that night and I don’t know if it will be put back up before the ride closes.

tower-of-terror tot-photo-spot

After Tower of Terror, we actually decided to leave California Adventure and go over to Disneyland where the other 2 Halloween rides were. We really only had a plan to ride those 3 so we were on a mission to get them done! Our next stop was going to be Space Mountain, but as we passed Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters with almost no line so we made a quick detour and battled each other on the ride. I ended up hitting one of the secret targets that gets you a ton of points, so I did beat June. But I’m guessing if I hadn’t hit it that June would have beat me.

Then it was time to ride Space Mountain. I’ve loved the Hyperspace Mountain overlay, but for Halloween they do a Ghost Galaxy overlay. It’s fun to ride the ride with different theming and it does make it feel like a totally different ride even though it is the same track. It felt super fast and while we did pose for a photo during the ride, the photos weren’t working so we didn’t get an official ride photo.

The last Halloween themed ride we wanted to go on was Haunted Mansion Holiday. This technical lasts through Christmas, but we wanted to go on it for Halloween too. They have added some stuff to the ride each year and it was very fun spotting what was new and different while riding it. It was just as good as I remembered it from last year, and while I love the regular Haunted Mansion too the Holiday one is fun too!

haunted-mansion-holiday

After accomplishing all of our Halloween rides, we realized we had about an hour before the park closed. We were impressed with riding 4 rides in 2 hours, but we wanted to see what else we could do!

Our next stop was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We noticed it while walking back from Haunted Mansion because it looked so beautiful in the dark!

nighttime-at-disney

It had been a while since I had been on the ride and it was more intense than I remembered. I wanted to keep my hands up in the air (how I ride roller coasters), but I kept sliding on the seat so I had to ride with one arm up and one holding on.

We decided to continue on with our crazy ride count and went to Fantasyland where several rides had almost no line at that point in the night! We almost walked onto Snow White right away! We figured this ride fit into the Halloween theme of the day since it is one of the scarier kid rides (which is probably why there was no line). Then we ran next to Snow White to ride Pinocchio which also had almost no line.

With about 5 minutes until the park closed, we decided to do one final ride which would bring us to 8 rides between 6 and 9pm (which is insane since on a normal full day we don’t always get 8 rides done!). Our final ride of the night was the Carousel which was also a walk-on. It was a nice calm ride to end our evening with and it felt like we really had the perfect Disneyland outing.

Since our first 2 rides (Tower of Terror and Buzz Lightyear) both had ride photos, we decided we needed to do a ride photo or a selfie on each ride that we went on. Some of them are in the dark so it’s not as easy to see, but we did get our 8 ride photos in that night.

disneyland-rides

As we were walking out, it was pretty crowded since the park was now closed for the night and everyone was heading home. But I did manage to get a picture of the big Mickey pumpkin in Main Street with no people in it! I don’t know how that timing happened, but I thought it was pretty cool!

mickey-pumpkin

Overall, this was the perfect thing to do after a dentist appointment. It kept me positive, gave me something else to focus on, and I got to walk off all the nerves I had while walking from ride to ride. We had no idea that our 3 hours at Disneyland were going to be so amazing, but I’m so grateful that June had the idea to do this because it really was one of the best Disney adventures!

A Disney Morning (or Dealing With The Heat For One Ride)

My Disneyland pass is about to be blacked out for the summer. I don’t mind that I can’t go during the summer since it’s usually more crowded than plus the heat can be pretty bad. Sometimes I wish I could be there when some of my friends go, but I don’t want to have a more expensive annual pass just for an occasional summer day in the parks.

I had gone last week with my friend June to the parks to ride all of my favorite rides and to say goodbye to Soarin’ Over California. That was a great way to spend one more Disney day before being blacked out for 2 months, but I ended up going back for about an hour this past Sunday.

With Soarin’ Over California closing, Soarin’ Around The World was opening. The opening day was on Friday and I had some free time on Sunday to ride it so I decided to head down for a quick park visit.

Even though I got there around 9am, the heat was already pretty bad. I didn’t think to wear a hat since I was only going to be there for a quick stop, so I was trying to stay in the shade as much as possible. But even with the heat, nothing could take away my excitement to check out the new ride!

Soarin

The line was pretty short, which I was surprised by. I figured with it being a new ride and it being a Sunday, the lines would have been out of control. But it was only about a 25 minute wait when I got there.

My quick review of the new ride is that I really liked it! I thought I wouldn’t since I loved the original so much. This new version has some elements of the music from the original but I like that they didn’t keep it exactly the same. And while I liked the movie a bit more in the original (and the scents that they have), the movement of the ride is better in the new one and it was a bit more exciting to ride.

I actually enjoyed it so much that I rode it twice back to back! I figured I should maximize the short amount of time I had in the parks and there weren’t any other rides I wanted to go on (or have to walk in the sun to get to). The only other thing that I did at the park was take some time to cool down inside of Starbucks because I needed some air conditioning time. But I got a seat at the window so I could enjoy the cool air with a view.

California Adventure

The park was pretty empty while I was there and I’m guessing people wanted to stay away because of the heat. A lot of people in the park seemed pretty overheated and I think people were surprised at how bad it was that early in the morning.

When I got to the tram to get back to the parking structure, I was the only person in line to get onto it to ride back.

Empty Tram

But after I sat down, I saw tons of people coming over that wanted to leave the park. We ended up being about half full on the ride back and at the parking lot there was almost nobody there to ride the tram to the park. If I had a full day to be there (and had been prepared to be there all day), I would have stayed because all the rides had pretty short wait times and I think I could have gotten a lot done. But that wasn’t in the cards for me that day and I’m just happy that I was able to go for the short time that I did.

My car was parked on the top of the parking structure that day. While it was annoying because I had to let my car cool down before I could try to sit inside of it, I did get a pretty fun view of the Star Wars Land construction that is going on right now.

Disney Construction

The construction changed even between my visit on Monday and my visit on Sunday. I’m excited to see how much things will change by the time I go back to the parks at the end of August or beginning of September. I know that the construction will still be taking a long time, but I find it fun to see the work in progress and seeing how Disneyland changes throughout the years.

Even though my Monday visit was really my goodbye to Disneyland for the summer, I’m glad I had this bonus short trip to say hello to what will surely be one of my new favorite rides.

A Full Summer Day At Disneyland (or Seeing Favorites And Seeing New Stuff)

My Disneyland pass is about to be blacked out for the summer. As much as I’d like to go to Disneyland in the summer, it’s so much more crowded then plus the heat can be pretty unbearable at times. I may do a quick Disneyland trip next week (a new ride is opening), but my day in the parks this past Monday is basically my last trip until the end of August or beginning of September.

I went with my usual Disneyland buddy, June. She is really one of my favorite Disneyland buddies because we enjoy the same rides and since we both have a pass we never feel too rushed to do stuff. When I drove over to her house on Monday, I realized that we were looking a little matchy-matchy. It was pretty funny and we took advantage of our look with a quick photo in the park that afternoon.

Matchy Matchy

When we first got to the parks, we focused on California Adventure to start. Our first ride of the day was the Tower of Terror, but we had a funny experience on the way over there. We were walking down toward the ride when there was a toddler playing with a water bottle. She kicked it over toward us and started walking over to where we were. She looked up at us and had the most intense serious look I’ve ever seen. We joked that it was like the Terminator was coming over to get us! The baby was really sweet, but she looked like she wanted to kill us! After that moment, we were inspired for our photo for the Tower of Terror.

Tower Of Terror

June pretended to want to kill me and I was pretending to be terrified of her. We both got a good laugh out of seeing our photo and decided that we would keep that photo idea going for any other ride photos we did that day.

Our next stop was the Animation Academy. We saw that they were drawing Captain Hook and June really wanted to do it. I’ve never been too successful at drawing anything there, but I’m always happy to try. I really don’t know if my drawing looks like Captain Hook, but I think it’s one of the better ones I’ve done. Mine is on the right and June’s is on the left.

Captain Hook

We were enjoying the relaxing vibe inside the building where the Animation Academy is, so we decided to do some more exploring around there. We made a stop at the Beast Library (I was matched as Belle and June was matched as the Evil Queen) and then enjoyed watching the Turtle Talk with Crush show.

Beast Library Turtle Talk

Our last stop in California Adventure was the Soarin Over California ride. This ride is closing down this week (it might actually be closing today) and will be reopening at the end of the week as Soarin Around The World. While I’m excited to see a new movie with the ride, I’m really sad to see this go. The Soarin Over California music was the ringtone of my phone for several years and this was one of the rides that has been a favorite for my entire family. We said our goodbye to the ride and I’m hoping I might be able to go to the park for a quick stop next week to see the new movie.

Soarin Over California

As soon as we got into Disneyland, we saw Belle in her blue dress right in the entry area of the park. There wasn’t that long of a line for photos, so we figured why not stop and get another fun character photo!

With Belle

When I was taking June’s photo for her, this random guy came up to me and was asking if that was Snow White. I kept saying that it’s Belle, but I think the guy was pretty convinced that she wasn’t. It was a bit odd, but June and I got a good laugh out of it.

Disneyland was pretty crowded on Main Street, so we tried to wander through the stores to stay out of the crowds. We ended up being where the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show is, and they have the most amazing map of the original Disneyland park in their lobby.

Disneyland Map

We decided to watch the show. I know they redid the animatronics a few years ago and I hadn’t seen it since the update. It’s a little odd how realistic his face is, but it was a nice little show and it was pretty empty in the room so I could forget for a bit that the parks were super crowded.

We continued around the park and went to Hyperspace Mountain next. This time, I got to pretend to want to kill June and she was scared of me for the photo.

Hyperspace Mountain

I seriously love how our photos came out! It’s so much fun thinking of funny ideas for the photos and I’m so grateful that June is ok going along with whatever crazy idea we come up with!

We hit up a couple of rides back to back after that. We went on the Haunted Mansion (it’s a treat to see it not dressed for Halloween/Christmas so that was awesome), the Jungle Cruise (they recently updated the ride and it looked amazing!), and then got in line for Indiana Jones. Sadly, Indiana Jones broke down while we were in line. We tried to wait it out to see if it would be up and running again soon, but after waiting 15 minutes we decided to leave and go on something else.

Our last ride of the night was Star Tours. Neither June nor I was chosen as the rebel spy for the ride, but I was seated right next to the person that was chosen so that was fun. And because the 3-D glasses for the ride look so cool for photos, we decided to both put on a Terminator look for a quick selfie.

Star Tours

We were heading out of the park then, but we realized that the Paint The Night parade was going to start in about 10 minutes. We walked toward the Main Street Railroad station (so we’d be close to the exit) and actually found a pretty great spot to watch the parade. This was the first time I had really gotten to see it (I had seen it from a distance before so I only saw the tops of the floats), so it was nice to be right by where the floats went by to see the details and fun things they put on them.

Paint The Night

It was a bit crazy trying to exit the park right after the parade, but we managed to get out quickly and got onto the second tram that went by. As we were on the tram back to the parking structure, we could see a bit of the fireworks. So when we got to the parking structure, we got to our level quickly and watched the grand finale of the fireworks from the side of the park.

Fireworks

It was actually a pretty good view of the fireworks and even though we couldn’t see the projections or hear the music, fireworks are still fun.

We were in the parks for about 8 hours that day, and I think we accomplished a lot! I was pretty exhausted after that full of a day and I feel pretty happy that I got my Disneyland fix in before I can’t go for a while. If I go next week to see the new Soarin Around The World, I’ll totally write about it. But this was really my last real Disney day until the summer is over.

A Full Disney Day! (or Character Photos, Ride Photos, And Only Being A Group Of 2)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, I was back there on Monday! This was the day that was my friend June and I originally scheduled for a Disneyland adventure, and I’m glad we went. When we went last week, it was pretty crowded and very hot. We didn’t do a ton of rides, and the rides we did do were on the calmer side. So this trip was much more of an adventure!

We got to Disneyland at lunchtime and started things off with some awesome character photos! As soon as we got inside the gates, we saw Belle with no line for photos! So of course we had to take advantage of that and we both got our photos with her.

Belle

Then as soon as we went under the train tracks, we saw Goofy (in his 60th anniversary finest) with almost no line as well. Since people lined up behind us, we took our photo together.

Goofy

After that photo, we looked around and saw so many characters out doing photos. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Daisy Duck, and Pluto all out at once. It was crazy! We started lining up for each one, but every time we got in line we were told the line was closed. So that was it for character photos for us.

Our next stop was something we didn’t do last time (and we probably should have): getting Dole Whips!

Dole Whip

It doesn’t feel like a Disney day to me without a Dole Whip, and it made a great treat since we were going to do a later lunch. It was too crowded to eat them by the Tiki Room, but we found a table nearby to sit at and enjoy them.

Our first ride of the day was Space Mountain. It’s still in the Hyperspace Mountain overlay and I still think this overlay is the best one and I wouldn’t mind it staying this way forever. June and I both said that somehow (even though we know it’s not possible) the ride felt faster to us and we were both smiling so much after the ride. We didn’t do that crazy of a ride photo, but it’s still a good one.

HyperSpace Mountain

After that, we headed over to Star Tours. When we were in line close to the front (but not that close) we heard the cast member asking if there were any groups of 2 in line. I joked to June that we were a group of 2, and somehow that made it up the chain and we were told to go in front of maybe 40 people since we were the first group of 2 to speak up! It felt weird to go in front of that many people, but if nobody else was in a group of 2 I’m glad we got to get on the ride!

After those 2 rides we were ready to head over to California Adventure, but we made a quick stop at the Disneyland train station. The trains are running now because of the Star Wars Land construction, but they have some of the trains out at the stations and you can get up close to them to check them out (and the conductors are out there too). At the Main Street Station, not only did the have the engine to check out but they had the Lilly Belle too!

Lilly Belle

The Lilly Belle was originally designed to be a train car for Walt’s VIPs. More recently, you’ve been allowed to try to sign up for a time to ride in the car. They had to stop doing that because some people would get there early and sign up for all the spaces before anyone else could. So they stopped allowing guests in the cars.

Since none of the train cars are running right now, they have the Lilly Belle out and while you can’t go inside, you can peek through the windows and through the open door to see the inside.

Inside Lilly Belle

This was the closest that either June or I had ever been to the Lilly Belle, and this was such an awesome moment. Also, the conductor who was out there was very informed on the Disneyland railroad (and the park in general) and he was talking to us about what the future plans for the railroad seem to be and that hopefully the trains will be up and running again by next summer! I was so happy to hear that since I love the trains and I do miss being able to ride them as a way to relax between rides.

After admiring the Lilly Belle for a while, June and I headed over to California Adventure. Even though the presentations for the Food and Wine Festival are on the weekends only, the food booths are open during the weekdays and we were able to try some more of the other foods that we didn’t get to try last time.

Food and Wine Fest

This time we each got a shrimp taco and beef slider and we split a lemon macaroon and a blueberry tart. These are all really good, but I think that the pork taco that I had the week before was my absolute favorite thing. But both the shrimp taco and slider were delicious and they were the perfect lunch that day!

After lunch, we headed over to the Animation Academy to see what character they were drawing then. Turned out to be Baymax and I figured that he couldn’t be too tough to draw. Of course, again I couldn’t properly draw circles and ovals and my Baymax looked close but not quite right.

Baymax

Our next stop was California Screamin’. This is always one of my favorite roller coasters and I loved when my mom and I went on it a couple of years ago because it was the first time she had gone without her wig in public (it would be horrible to lose a wig on that ride). June and I were able to ride in the front of the ride and I loved getting a great view from the top of the big hills without anyone in front of us.

CA Screamin

We continued with the fast rides by riding Radiator Springs Racers next. The car we were in won, and somehow there was an empty seat in our row so June and I both got to take the side seats.

Radiator Springs Racers

Our final ride of the day was the Tower Of Terror. And we had a similar experience there as we did at Star Tours. We were in line with maybe 20 people in front of us when the cast member asked if there was a group of 3 that wouldn’t mind sitting one behind the other in a row (instead of next to each other in a row). Nobody volunteered so he asked if there was a group of two and June and I raised our hands so fast! We got to go in front of the other groups and I think that our ride photo looked pretty cool with me behind her (I was trying to be an evil witch and she was pretending to be scared of me).

Tower of Terror

After the rides, we made one more stop at the Animation Academy to see what they were drawing then. It was Scrooge McDuck, and that sounded pretty fun so we went back to draw again. This time, my drawing really looks off but I had fun trying.

Animation Academy

One of the last stops of the day was Food and Wine food booths again to get the cheddar bacon soup in a bread bowl (I forgot to take a picture but it was really good and perfect because I was feeling cold). After getting our soups we headed over to watch World Of Color. We ended up being allowed to sit on some steps to wait for the show which ended up being pretty great since we were trying to eat while waiting. We had about an hour to wait from when we got to the steps until the show started, but even though we had a slightly obstructed view it was still pretty.

World Of Color

After World Of Color was done, the park was closed so we all headed out and June and I headed back to the car to drive back to LA. We have a little bit of time before our passes are blacked out for the summer and a couple of things will be opening before we are blacked out. So I’m sure we’ll have at least one more Disney adventure before a few months where we can’t go to the parks.

We ended up being at Disneyland this time for about 9 hours and I think we got so much done! It was the perfect day to have after we were there the week before because it filled in the gaps of things we didn’t get to do before.