Tag Archives: theme parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dating And Disneyland (or Not My Post-It Day)

If you watched “Sex and the City”, you probably remember the episode where Carrie was broken up with via post-it note. If you didn’t watch the show, here’s a brief summary. One of the main characters (Carrie) is broken up with via post-it that says “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.”. In the rest of the episode, Carrie is doing awesome things so it doesn’t have to be the date she was broken up with via post-it. In the end, she almost gets arrested for smoking pot, so it then becomes the day she’s almost arrested.

This is my version of the post-it day.

I hate that I’ve been writing about online dating so much, but it seems like the craziness just continues. And this past Thursday takes the cake. The short version of a very long story is that I met a guy on Bumble and we were going to meet up on Thursday. He said some things that were a bit odd, but when I googled him I couldn’t find anything on him at all. He had given me his last name since I give that to a friend for safety, but after he said a few other odd and a few raunchy things I thought that maybe he gave me a fake last name and I wanted to figure out who he was.

I ended up doing some internet searching, found his last name, found his Facebook profile, and found out that he’s engaged. He had previously told him he was married but his wife passed away and when I asked him if he was engaged he said the photo was his late wife. But I had already looked at her profile and it was still active. He eventually admitted to being engaged and begged me not to tell his fiancée. I did message her on Facebook (she hasn’t seen the message yet) because I felt she needed to know and he got upset with me and claimed that I just ruined his entire life.

I knew that I was not the one who ruined his life. He pursued me as much as I pursued him and his fiancée should know what he was doing behind her back. But I still felt pretty bad about the entire thing and a bit guilty as well. I knew I did nothing wrong, but I can’t help feeling the way I do.

My friend Dani had been talking to me when I figured out the entire thing, and I was venting to her on the phone after. She agreed that I did the right thing and was trying to make me feel better. We decided to meet up for dinner so I could get my mind off of my crazy day. We met at my house and walked over to Rush St. The walk over did help me feel a bit better, and having an awesome meal with an amazing friend helped even more.

And while we were eating, I was talking about how this could not just be the day I almost went out with an engaged guy. I was glad we were out to dinner, but I wanted to make the day even better. So we decided to go to Disneyland! By the time we were done with dinner it was about 8pm and we drove over to pick up our friend Michelle who was down for a random Disney night. Since it was late enough, there wasn’t too much traffic and by 9pm we were already in California Adventure and planning on what we were going to ride.

We wanted to ride the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride, but there was a 3 hour line. We didn’t want to spend our entire night in line, so we decided to head over to Disneyland to make a new plan. We walked over just as the fireworks were starting and thought about watching them. But we couldn’t really find a good spot so we decided to skip it. But as we were walking we decided to get corn dogs (yes, after I had dinner) and went over to the corn dog cart. And we discovered that the corn dog line had a pretty decent view of the fireworks!

The corn dog line was shorter than normal, but it still took a bit of time. But we all got our corn dogs, sat down, and decided to cheers to making this a better day than how it had been going.

The first ride we went on was Space Mountain. The Hyperspace Mountain overlay had just ended and it was our first chance to ride the original ride in a long time. We were all so excited to be on the ride and it was just as good as I remembered it. It was a bit weird since we were so used to the Hyperspace Mountain version, but I’m hopeful that they will change up the overlays more often so we can ride all the versions of the ride.

Next was continuing on the year-long challenge that Michelle and I have going for Buzz Lightyear. This was the first time in a while that I got a higher score than Michelle, but I have a feeling that soon she will be ahead of me in our challenge.

By this time, it was already almost 11:30pm and the park was going to close at midnight. So we took a look at the wait times for rides and decided to go on the Jungle Cruise. I think the Jungle Cruise is so much better and more realistic at nighttime. And Dani had never been on that ride at night so we were excited to ride. We walked right onto the ride and the boat wasn’t even half full. It felt like a semi-private cruise for us!

And it was just as awesome as I remembered it being at night. The animals all looked real and a bit creepier than they do in the daytime.

And the jokes the skipper was making were pretty funny and a bunch of them were jokes that I hadn’t heard before.

By the time the we were done with the ride, the park was about to close so we made our way out. Even though we were in the park for about 3 hours, we got a lot done! We had corn dogs and went on 3 rides. Plus we did a bit of shopping and seeing what fun new Disney stuff the stores had.

Going to Disneyland was the perfect way to remedy the crazy day I had. This made everything feel right in my world again and I’m so grateful that Dani and Michelle were up for a random Disney night to make me feel better. I’m so lucky that I have amazing friends who are willing to be crazy with me to cheer me up. This made it totally not my post-it day but instead my crazy night at Disneyland day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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!

Disneyland Adjacent (or Downtown Disney)

This past weekend was a bit of a weird one for me. I ended up being in a bad mood on Sunday (for reasons I’m not sure about) and was planning on spending most of the day moping around and feeling a bit sorry for myself. But my plans changed when my friend Michelle texted me to see if I wanted to go to Disneyland for a few hours that evening!

I’m always down to go to Disneyland and even if we could only spend a few hours there I knew it would make my day amazing! I got my stuff together and got into the car to drive to Michelle’s house. But on the drive to her house, she called me to let me know that our passes were blacked out because of the holiday weekend (since we both have Mondays off we sometimes forget about 3 day weekends). We thought about going to Universal Studios instead, but we were blacked out there too.

I got to Michelle’s house and we were trying to figure out what to do. We both wanted to go do something and were torn on figuring out what to do. Finally, we decided that we should go to Disneyland anyway but instead of going to the parks we would get some dinner at Downtown Disney and try to watch the fireworks from between the parks (so we don’t have to pay to get in). And since there is 4 hours free parking at Downtown Disney (a long as you get dinner), we wouldn’t have to pay to park!

We headed down and got to Downtown Disney pretty quickly. We headed over to Tortilla Joe’s (which I love!) and put our names on the list. It was going to be over an hour for a table, but we had time to kill before the fireworks and were happy to walk around Downtown Disney do shop. There are so many things that I would love to buy, I just don’t have the money for it. But it’s always fun to look and there are some ideas of things I want to put on my wish list for the future and maybe to put on a list for my birthday.

We were done window shopping and it was finally time for us to get dinner. As much as I want to drink alcohol right now (and my surgeon said I could as long as I didn’t drink too much), I’m trying to be good and not drink. I really wanted a margarita, but I had to settle for a virgin strawberry one.

It wasn’t as good as a real margarita, but it was a nice change from just drinking water and made dinner feel a bit more special. And as always, the food there was awesome. Michelle and I might have eaten too many chips because we were both so hungry for dinner, but the chips were really good! And I had a tostada salad that I’ve had before there and it was the perfect dinner for me.

And besides just having a good dinner, it was so nice to get out of the house. I’m usually such a planner and having a spur of the moment adventure was a great way to get out of a rut. Plus, Michelle and I wanted to work on planning our next Disney day (which will be in a few weeks) so hanging out at dinner was nice.

After we were done with dinner, we walked over to the esplanade between Disneyland and California Adventure so we could watch the fireworks. I’ve watched the fireworks from there before so I knew while it was a slightly obstructed view it would still be fun. It was a bit weird to be at Disneyland but not to be at Disneyland, but it was still nice to feel like we there that night. We thought about taking a funny photo at the gates of the park trying to reach through, but we ended up just doing a selfie by the gates and were very happy with how our photo turned out (not bad for the selfie camera on my iPhone!).

We were waiting around and knew it was about the time that fireworks were going to start, but nothing was happening. We checked the website to see if we got the fireworks time wrong, but then we just thought that maybe they were a bit delayed. Since we weren’t in the park and couldn’t hear the announcements, we weren’t exactly sure what was happening. But about 10 minutes after the fireworks should have started, someone who was just inside the park walked by and said that the fireworks were cancelled that night.

It’s a bit sad when the fireworks were cancelled, but I understand why they have to do it. Sometimes it’s super windy higher up where the fireworks go and they can’t have the show happening with the wind like that. Or the clouds are too low and they know that nobody will be able to see much. I’m glad that someone told us all because we probably would have waited out there a bit longer to see what was going to happen.

So after that, we walked back to the car and made the drive back to LA. Even though we didn’t get to go into the park or see the fireworks, it was still a fun Disney adventure. It was the perfect thing to do when I needed something to boost my mood. I felt so much better being out at Downtown Disney than I would have if I stayed home. I got a nice dinner with an awesome friend, and I got a lot of walking in that I probably wouldn’t have done.

It really helped to make my Sunday a great day and I’m so glad that Michelle texted me to go on yet another adventure with her!

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.