Tag Archives: rides

I’m Celebrating (or Healing My Soul At Disneyland)

Like I said in my post about my new monthly challenge, I’m working on reconnecting with myself since my medical miracle. And I think it comes as no surprise that one way I wanted to get back to normal is to go to Disneyland! I was so sad when I was there the last time thinking that it was almost like a goodbye to the parks. So this time I was celebrating coming back to the parks and not having surgery!

Of course, since it was a celebration about my liver, I had to wear my liver shirt. I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll have to wear it, so I have to take advantage of each time that I can.

I went with Michelle and Lauren and all 3 of us were in agreement that we wanted to just have a fun day at Disneyland. There was nothing that we really felt like we had to do, so we decided to take our time and get on one of the Main Street vehicles to get down toward the castle. As we entered the park, the fire truck was getting ready to go so we hopped on board and enjoyed not having to walk through all the crowds.

We heard that the regular Space Mountain is coming back soon we wanted to go on HyperSpace Mountain to enjoy the ride while it was still here. Again, I tried to get my shirt in the photo but I think I just have to accept that this is a tough shirt to read on ride photos.

Right after riding that ride, I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. It took me by surprise, but I realized that being at Disneyland was healing my soul. I’ve been working on getting back to being me and not thinking of the surgery and tumors but it’s been something in the back of my mind for so long now. And when the surgery was cancelled it was so weird that this feeling didn’t go away. I didn’t know what would make me feel like me again and I guess Disneyland was what I needed. When we were done with that ride I turned to Michelle and said that I thought that my soul was just healed. It’s so weird that this is what I needed but I’m so glad that it was! I feel so much better now and I was happy to get on with the rest of my day and enjoy Disneyland!

Our next stop was to get lunch and we had made reservations at one of the sit down restaurants in New Orleans Square. We wanted to be able to relax and enjoy ourselves and it was awesome sitting in the shade (it was a hot and sunny day) and having some good food. I got a steak sandwich which was the special they had and it was delicious!

And since it was so hot out, I was convinced to go on Splash Mountain. I don’t like water rides and I haven’t been on Splash Mountain in a long time, but it seemed like the perfect thing to go on that day. Lauren and Michelle told me that sitting in the back was where I had the lowest chance of getting soaked and I trusted them and hoped for the best.

And they were right! I got a bit wet, but nothing too horrible. And Lauren gave me some great tips on how to keep my shoes from getting soaked (I hate having wet shoes for the rest of the day). We tried to do a “hear no evil, say no evil, see no evil” photo, but itls a bit tough to see us with how we were sitting.

After Splash Mountain we decided to do the other New Orleans Square rides that we love and went on Haunted Mansion and Pirates Of The Caribbean (Johnny Depp was not performing live on the ride that day). And then we headed back to Tomorrowland for another ride on HyperSpace Mountain.

That may be the last time I ride it as HyperSpace Mountain (unless they bring it back again another time), but it was a great ride that time and I was pretty happy knowing it might be the last time on that version of the ride.

And of course, since Michelle and I have a year-long battle on Buzz Lightyear happening right now, we had to go on that. Michelle is catching up to me so I need to work on improving my game!

It was about rush hour then so we decided to do a few more rides before leaving. And then Lauren surprised me with a button that she had gotten from a Cast Member after we went on Buzz Lightyear.

I was so touched that she got that for me! We are new friends and the only other time she was at Disneyland with us was when it was thought to be my last trip before surgery. And when we met up this time she was so excited to be able to celebrate me not having surgery. It’s fun being able to celebrate this (and I keep celebrating since I keep seeing different people) and getting an “I’m Celebrating” button was just awesome!

Our next to last ride was Small World. I don’t usually go on Small World, but the line wasn’t too bad and it is a fun one to go on. I know that many people didn’t like when they added Disney characters into the ride, but I like it and think they blend in pretty nicely. And I love seeing the topiaries in the front of the ride and how pretty it looks on the outside.

And for the final ride of the day, we went on another one that I don’t do too often: The Matterhorn. I think the last time I went on it was with my parents. I love the yeti on the ride, but it’s such a bumpy ride and I always seem to hurt after it.

But we all agreed we would go on it and it would be the last ride of the day so if we hurt too much that we would be able to go home right after. I think that the ride cars have been changed since the last time I went on it because they felt more padded than I’m used to. But I was still worried about how I would feel after the ride was done.

And as I expected, I loved the ride except how bumpy it was. It wasn’t as bad as before, but still not something that I would want to do every time I’m at Disneyland. But I’m glad I rode on it and now I can wait another year or so before doing it again.

Considering that we got to the parks at about 1pm and had a sit down lunch, I think we got so much done in our day! The benefit of being a pass holder is not needing to rush around to do everything and I love that we can just have fun and not stress about getting in too many rides. But somehow we did get in a bunch and that made the day even better!

And having my soul healed by Disneyland (or whatever you want to call it) really was an added bonus. I wasn’t expecting that at all but looking back at it I think it makes sense. While I’ve been working on getting back to normal life to feel normal, Disneyland is a big part of my life and going there does give me a sense of normalcy. I feel like I can move on and focus on doing everything that I was doing before and not thinking about my next MRI and the possibility of needing surgery in the future. I want to have fun now and enjoy life and that’s exactly what my day at Disneyland accomplished!

 

One More Universal Day (or Getting In All My Rides)

It’s almost been one year since I got my Universal Studios annual pass. I’ve totally gotten my money’s worth with my pass since I only had to go 2 times to make it worth it. But I wanted to get in one more day before my pass expired. Also, when I went, I still thought I needed surgery so I wanted to ride all my favorite rides before I couldn’t go on them for a while (like what I did at Disneyland).

I went to Disneyland with my friend David and he and I were both in agreement that we wanted to try to get as many rides done as possible. What we didn’t think about was that the park was going to be a bit more crowded than we expected with it being spring break for a lot of schools. But we managed to really time things out right and I think the we kind of killed it with getting in all of our favorites.

Our first stop was the tram tour. I love the tram and there are also so many fun little theme park elements to the tram that is just fun to experience each time. And this time, I really liked seeing King Kong since David and I had recently gone to see the new King Kong movie. I still miss the old King Kong, but the new one is still awesome. I don’t know if it was because the park was so crowded or if there was something else going on, but there seemed to be a couple of places where the tram was stopped for a pretty long time. Our tour guide tried to keep us entertained with as many facts as he could think of, but you could tell that he was hoping that we would start moving again soon.

And for me, the highlight of the tram tour every time is to go past the Bates Motel where I used to work during Halloween Horror Nights. Even though I don’t want to work there again, I miss the good times that I did have there. And every time the tram goes by my old workplace, I can’t help but smile at the memories of me scaring so many people there.

After the tram tour, we headed down to the lower lot to ride the rides down there. I usually don’t seem to make it down to the lower lot, so I was glad that we did that. We ended up riding the Transformers ride twice and The Mummy roller coaster once. Those are both pretty great rides and it made me wonder why I didn’t make the effort to go on them more often in my visits over the past year. But at least we fit them in this time.

We then headed back up to the upper lot to ride The Simpsons ride (another one that I don’t seem to go on that often) before heading over to the Harry Potter section of the park.

First, we rode the Forbidden Journey ride. That is one of the best rides in the entire park and since the last time I was there they changed the ride from being 3D to 2D. I have to say that the 2D version was much better for me and I felt more into the ride than I had the previous times riding it. I would have gone on it again, but I think we were both feeling a bit tired by that point.

But before we left the park, we had one more stop to make. David also has an annual pass to Universal but he had never tried Butterbeer before. That is one of my favorite treats in the park and I couldn’t end our day without getting one so David could finally try it.

Even though I really enjoyed the hot Butterbeer when I had it, I think the frozen one is really the way to go. And I think David liked it too so I’m glad that we made the stop to get them before we left the park for the day.

When we left, it was pretty much during rush hour so we decided to get some dinner at CityWalk. I’ve had dinner there a few times, but we went to Karl Strauss which I hadn’t been to since I worked at Universal Studios. I used to go there all the time for a late lunch before my shift started because it always has good food and they were always so nice to all of us who worked there. This time, I got a burger that had a blue cheese sauce on the side. That was awesome and I was so full when I was done.

I think that this was the perfect last Universal day with my pass. I’m thinking about getting another annual pass since they are pretty inexpensive (only about $20 more than a 1 day ticket), but I probably won’t do it until after the summer is done since most of the summer is blacked out for the pass level I would get. There aren’t as many rides at Universal as there are at Disneyland, but it’s still a fun park to go to and I love having awesome places to go for a fun day adventure!

I didn’t know at the time that the surgery was going to be canceled, but I still totally consider this a way that I was able to celebrate not needing surgery this week and it really was a great celebration. But how I celebrated only hours after I heard the news will be in tomorrow’s post. And I think it was the perfect nerdy way to celebrate!

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 Universal Adventure (or Lunch And A Tram Tour)

This past Monday I was originally going to go to Disneyland. That didn’t end up happening (and I’m glad I did change my plans), but since I had my afternoon free I decided to make some other plans. I thought about it for a minute and realized that it has been a while since I went to Universal Studios. I’ve got about 2 months left on my pass and wanted to make sure I went at least one more time before it expired. So I called my friend Robert and he was free too so we decided to go to the park to hang out!

Since I was coming after my workout and Robert had to go to work at 4pm, we didn’t have a ton of time at the park. But since we both have passes and didn’t really care too much about what rides we went on, this worked out perfectly. We made plans to meet up at the gate at noon and I rushed to get ready to drive over to meet Robert. We ended up having pretty perfect timing and got to the front gate within minutes of each other.

As soon as we went inside, we went to get some lunch. Robert has been working his way through the menu at the Three Broomsticks restaurant in the Harry Potter section of the park, so I was happy to go there so I could help him get a few more things knocked off the list. Plus, the food is pretty good there and isn’t like traditional theme park food. I was pretty hungry after my workout (and it was lunchtime), so I got the bangers and mash for my lunch. It was a bit more food than I normally would eat, but it was perfect!

It wasn’t too crowded at the restaurant so Robert and I had a nice time just relaxing and catching up. He works for the Oscars so he’s about to get really busy with helping out at the show. So I wanted to take advantage of the time we had to hang out before he gets too busy with work. We had just seen each other recently (he came over to watch the SAG Awards at my house), but we both have had a lot of things happening in our lives lately. So it was nice to catch up.

After our lunch, we were debating about if we were going to go on a ride or just walk around the park. We ended up deciding to go on the tram tour since that’s always fun to do and it was a pretty nice day out. I had told Robert a while ago about how it was interesting to sit in the very front of the tram because of the way some of the theme park elements of the tour work, and it was awesome to find out that we were going to sit in the first row of the front car!

We had a nice time going through the tour. It is silly and gimmicky, but it’s always fun. I like to see what the backlot looks like when they are filming different shows, and I really do love the theme park elements and how cheesy they can be sometimes. When we were getting close to the Jaws part of the tour, the guide told us that Jaws was under refurbishment and we could not go through it. I could see that it was all torn up, but the guide told us not to be sad because we were in for a special treat. And as we got closer to the ride, we saw that one the animatronic Jaws was off to the side getting ready to be used!

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one of the Jaws out of the water so that was a really awesome thing! I do love the Jaws part of the tour so I’m glad they are working on keeping it looking nice so it will be around for a while to come.

One of the last things on the tour that we always see is my old workplace. I love going past the Bates Motel or Bates house. Even though I had some unpleasant experiences with working Halloween there (specifically with guests who decided to hit or attack me or other employees), I do still look back at that time with happy memories and I miss working there. So getting to see where I worked does make me happy.

After the tram tour, Robert had to head home so he could get ready for work. I thought about staying at the park to walk around a bit more, but I decided to head home so I could avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic. We were in the park for a little more than 2 hours, but even though it was a fast visit it was the perfect thing to do that day!

I don’t know if I’ll be back to the park before my pass expires. I am looking at getting another pass for next year if I can find a good deal like I did this time. But if I don’t make it back for a while, I’m glad that I have had a couple of great days at Universal and really got my money’s worth with the pass.

Another Disney Monday (or Fantasyland and Parade Time)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, this week I went back! I usually don’t go to Disneyland 2 weeks in a row, but it was fun to do it. My friend Dani missed going to Disneyland last week and she was jealous that we got to see the parade. So she asked me if I could go to the park this past Monday, and I had some free time so I said yes!

I had a doctor appointment around lunchtime so we didn’t get to head down to Anaheim until almost 3pm. We hit a bit of traffic getting down there, but because we didn’t care too much about riding a ton of rides (I just did a bunch of rides last week and Dani is about to head to Disney World) it didn’t matter too much that we were getting off to a late start. When we got there, it did seem a bit more crowded than it was last week, but nothing too bad.

Again, the main reason we went to Disneyland was to watch the parade. But since I knew what areas were good to be sitting in for it we didn’t feel rushed to get a spot to watch. So in the car ride down, Dani and I discussed any rides that we wanted to go on. I mentioned something about Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (I think I was talking about how the ride has you end up in hell) and Dani mentioned she had never been on it. So I knew we had to go on it!

I think Dani agreed with me that it’s a pretty interesting ride since you do end up in hell, and I mentioned how so many of the kid rides at Disneyland are pretty scary and weird. Dani realized that she hadn’t really been on any other ride in Fantasyland besides Peter Pan, so we made it our mission that day to go on the rides she hadn’t been on!

Most of the crowd was in line for Peter Pan, so we were able to get on Pinocchio and Snow White pretty quickly. Both are good rides that I don’t go on that often since the lines for them can be really bad. But it’s nice to get to go on them and revisit rides that are classics. And when we were done with those rides, we noticed that there was a band playing while riding on the carousel!

Our next stop was to get some dinner and we went over to the bakery with a nice view of Main Street and the castle. And as we were eating, we had a perfect cotton candy sky!

As soon as we were done eating, we headed over to where we were going to watch the parade from. The bench I got to sit on last week was already taken, as were all the benches in that area. But we found a bit of sidewalk between benches that were free and we made ourselves comfortable while we waited for it to be parade time. Fortunately, it was warmer than it was the week before and even though sitting on the ground isn’t fun we had plenty of room to stretch our legs. And after waiting about an hour, the parade started!

I enjoyed it just as much as I had the week before. And this was the first time Dani had ever seen it! And on the bench next to us was a family with a lot of kids so many of the characters were turning our way to wave at the kids. It was nice to see how excited the kids were to see a character and it gave me a slightly different view than last week.

Once the parade was done, we had to go the opposite way that everyone else was walking so we could get back to Fantasyland (we were totally salmon swimming upstream). We had one more Fantasyland ride that Dani had never been on that we wanted to check out: Alice in Wonderland. While I miss how the ride used to have a slightly more fun outdoor section, I like all the upgrades that were made recently to enhance the ride.

After doing those 4 rides (plus dinner and the parade), we were getting close to feeling ready to head back. We did walk around Fantasyland a bit just admiring how pretty everything is lit up at nighttime.

We noticed at the front of the castle there wasn’t that big of a line for photos by the Photo Pass photographers, so we decided to get some fun photos in front of the castle. Sorry for the watermark on the photos, but these are so much better than anything my phone could take at nighttime!

After our photo shoot, we did some window shopping in the various stores on Main Street. There is so much stuff that I want to get, but since I had to renew my annual pass on this trip (and my recycling ink thing doesn’t work for gift cards anymore) my spending money was extremely limited. But there’s a bunch of stuff that if I had the money I would get and would love to maybe save up to get sometime in the future.

I’m not exactly sure when my next Disneyland adventure will be. There’s a chance I’ll go later this month and there’s a chance I’ll go in March. But I do want to get at least one or two more trips there before I have my surgery since I don’t know how long I’ll be restricted on rides after surgery. I’ll be able to probably ride the slow and calm rides as soon as I can walk around enough, but there may be a while before I can go on the roller coasters again after April (it’s on my list of questions to ask my surgeon when I see him again). But also when I have my surgery is when my pass will be blacked out more often so that might work out well for my recovery too! But no matter what, I now have at least another year of Disney outings ahead for me!

Enjoying The Lack Of Rain At Disneyland (or Buzz Lightyear and Electrical Parade)

It hasn’t been that long since I was at Disneyland last, but I went back this week! Going to Disneyland this past Monday was actually in my calendar for a while since I had to go to the dentist that day. I figured that going to the dentist isn’t fun so having Disneyland as my reward after would be perfect! But as the weekend happened, LA had a pretty epic rainstorm. It was so bad that Disneyland actually closed several hours early on Sunday.

With the threat of rain, my friend Michelle and I were cautiously optimistic about going to Disneyland. We figured that worst case, we’d do a few rides, get wet in the rain, and then go to a movie or something. We both watched the weather reports carefully and it seemed like we might manage to miss the rain at Disneyland, but we still both packed rain gear with us and prepared for the worst.

After my dentist appointment (which was one of the most low-key and relaxed dentist appointments I’ve had in years), I went over to Michelle’s house and we were on our way to the park. We had some trouble on our drive with getting stuck behind a police stop, but we weren’t there too late. Originally, our plan was to not go on any rides because we wanted to get the most amazing seats for the Main Street Electrical Parade (which just came back this past weekend). But when we got into the park, we realized that it was so empty that we could do some rides before claiming our seats!

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Disneyland as empty as it was when we arrived! We did have rain for maybe 5 minutes when we arrived, but that was it for the entire day! But the crowds seemed to stay away the entire time. I think both Michelle and I couldn’t stop giggling about how awesome it was to have an empty park. And with the park being so empty, it seemed like every character was out and about that day! We didn’t do any character photos, but we did catch a really cute little show with Chip and Dale doing a dance by the Disneyland fire station (including a kick line).

Since we knew the rain was done (and the Electrical Parade was going to happen), we didn’t want to do a ton of rides since we wanted to claim a good bench seat for the parade. But we still did some of our favorites including going on HyperSpace Mountain where we were showing off our sweaters with thumb holes in the photo.

We also rode Haunted Mansion (which was finally back to normally after the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion) and Big Thunder Railroad. And we went on Star Tours where we could take our usual crazy photo with the 3-D glasses.

And Michelle and I have been very competitive since we met on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We’ve decided to keep an official store tally on our games starting now. For some reason, the photo doesn’t show Michelle’s score for this time, but we were almost tied (and we were both shocked by how awesome our scores were!).

We had a quick dinner break and then we took advantage of the castle being pretty empty for a fun castle photo with the Photopass photographers. They took some photos with their camera, but they are also nice enough to take really nice ones on my phone too.

I think that photo looks so good and it’s so weird to see so few people behind us! After our photo break, we decided to go over to the bench that we picked out for parade viewing. It was on the path next to the castle and because of the space we knew that nobody would be sitting in front of us. We got there over 2 hours before the parade, but since watching the parade was so important to us, it was worth it. We did take turns going on popcorn or Starbucks runs (it was 50 degrees out and we both wanted warm drinks), but as soon as it was parade time we were ready to watch!

I loved where we were for the parade. We had the perfect view, and with the castle in the background of the photos it just is so perfectly Disneyland!

When the parade ended, we had about 15 minutes before the park was going to close for the day and we headed back to Buzz Lightyear to continue our battle for the year. We got onto the ride again and it seemed really weird right away. Michelle was racking up the points and I couldn’t seem to get any. Then the ride stopped briefly (as it does often) and our game stopped. Everyone else was able to keep hitting targets when we were stopped, but we couldn’t do anything. Since we couldn’t keep playing, we did manage to take a funny selfie on the ride plus we could pose for the ride photo.

When we got to the end of the ride, we told the cast members what happened and they let us go right back onto the ride. And that last ride ended up being one of the most epic rides on Buzz Lightyear that either of us had! The ride got stopped in front of the best target on there and we both kept getting it! Our scores were so insanely high and we couldn’t believe it! And at the end, we both got our best scores ever and I ranked 26th place for all riders of the day!

I’ve never placed on Buzz Lightyear before and I’ve only seen someone place once before (when I went with my friend Justin) so I was shocked when it happened to me! It was such an epic end to an epic day! We took our time going through the shops and checking out the new Disney merchandise before heading back home.

I’m so glad that we took the risk with the threat of rain to go to Disneyland. It ended up being such a great day and I know that it will be tough to top this day. I know I say that a lot with my Disney days, but it’s so true that we just keep making our adventures better and better.

 

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!