Tag Archives: theme parks

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.

 

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!

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

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

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

Belle

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

Goofy

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

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

Dole Whip

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

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

HyperSpace Mountain

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

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

Lilly Belle

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

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

Inside Lilly Belle

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

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

Food and Wine Fest

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

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

Baymax

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

CA Screamin

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

Radiator Springs Racers

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

Tower of Terror

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

Animation Academy

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

World Of Color

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

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

An Epic Disneyland Day (or VIP Status and Mini High School Reunion)

I’ve had some pretty awesome Disneyland adventures over the years, but I have to say that my Disneyland trip this past Sunday was pretty amazing! This Disneyland outing had been planned for a while because I knew my schedule was crazy, but I had no idea how great it was going to be until it was closer to the date.

I went with my friend June again (it’s very easy to plan a trip together since she lives 2 blocks from me). We had a couple of things we wanted to do because so many things will be closing either for a long time or permanently soon, but we actually didn’t end up doing most of them.

The first thing we wanted to do was see the Aladdin show again. I love this show and it will be closing permanently in the new year. We had known for a while that we would be seeing the show no matter what on Sunday, but I found out that my friend was playing Aladdin in the first show of the day! So we decided to do that first!

Because my friend was in the show, he was able to get us VIP seating. That meant that we could go into the theater first and get whatever seats we wanted. I typically like to sit toward the middle, but since my friend was Aladdin I wanted to be in the first row to be able to see him. When we sat down, I got to see the entire audience from the front and I never realized how huge it is in there!

Aladdin Theater

I’ve seen the Aladdin show dozens of times, but this was such a special experience. It was a bit weird seeing my friend in the show, but he was the perfect Aladdin!

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At one point in the show, Aladdin comes by in an elephant. June and I tried to get a selfie with him as he was behind us, but it wasn’t the most successful photo.

Selfie with Aladdin

As my friend came right in front of us in the elephant, he winked at us so we knew that he knew we were there. When he winked, the girls sitting behind us thought it was for them and they were all so excited and giggly that Aladdin wanted them and thought they were cute.

After the show ended, my friend arranged for us to be able to be a part of the post-show meet and greet. We got a picture with a lot of the cast and I got a quick photo with my friend before he had to go backstage again to get ready for his next show.

Aladdin Cast With Aladdin

After Aladdin, June and I rode on Tower of Terror. We tried to do a pose inspired by my friend in Aladdin (doing a pose that he did when he was impressing Jasmine with the flying carpet), but the people in front of us kind of blocked us with their hands in the air.

Tower of Terror

After Tower of Terror, we headed over to the Disneyland park to ride some of the rides over there. Our first stop was the Haunted Mansion. We got stopped a couple of times in the ride, but it gave us a chance to look around and check out all the little details that they put into the ride.

Next was something pretty cool. I saw on Facebook that a girl I went to high school with, Amy, was going to be at Disneyland with her family that day. I hadn’t seen her since I graduated high school in 2001, but it worked out pretty well to meet up! So June and I met up with Amy, her husband, and her kid for the last couple of rides of the day.

First as a group was Small World. I love seeing it at the holidays and they make the inside so beautiful (and the songs are better too).

Small World

After Small World we headed to Tomorrowland to go on Space Mountain. The ride is themed for Star Wars as Hyperspace Mountain and I hadn’t had a chance to check out the themed ride yet.

Since Amy’s son is too small to ride, we did the child swap for the ride. So June and I both got to ride twice (Amy and her husband each got to ride once).

Space Mountain Space Mountain Photo

Again, we tried to go with Aladdin themed poses, but it wasn’t the biggest success.

Hyperspace Mountain was pretty incredible! I’m not always a fan of ride overlays, but this one was so great and I’m so grateful that I got to ride it twice! The projections and lasers that they added to the ride made it super exciting and the music fit perfectly! I know that the next time I’m in the parks I’ll be riding it again and hopefully will get a chance to ride it several more times before they change it back to regular Space Mountain.

After those two rides on Hyperspace Mountain, we got some dinner at the Plaza Inn. Even though they are famous for their fried chicken, I’m not a huge fried chicken fan. So I got pot roast and it was very yummy.

Disneyland Dinner

By that time, Amy and her family needed to get over to Fantasmic because they had Fastpasses for the show and June and I were ready to head back to LA. I had to get one more photo with Amy before saying goodbye.

With Amy

I didn’t go to my high school reunion and I’m rarely at my parents’ house, so it’s pretty rare for me to see people from high school. I seem to always see people from high school at Disneyland and I’m happy to keep up that tradition.

Even though this wasn’t a day full of rides, it was a day full of amazing experiences and is definitely one of my favorite Disneyland days ever! I might be back in the parks next week and for sure one more time before so many rides and experiences close down in the new year. I love that Disneyland keeps getting better and better, but I’m also getting sad to say goodbye to so many things I love in the parks.

My Return To Disneyland (or Being Lazy And Enjoying Air Conditioning)

It’s been a long summer blackout for my annual pass at Disneyland, but I was finally able to return to the parks this week! I had this on my calendar since my last Disneyland day, so I’ve been looking forward to it for a while.

I went again with my friend June (who went with me for the last day before our blackout). June lives 2 blocks from my house, so it’s pretty convenient to go to the parks together. And since I have parking on my pass and she doesn’t, we like to carpool.

Just like our last day in the parks, it was another super hot day. We got there at about noon (I had my workout early in the morning) and we were off and running as soon as we parked. First on the list was to get our favorite treat: Dole Whips!

Dole Whip

Last time, we enjoyed our Dole Whips in the shade outside of the Enchanted Tiki Room, but since it was so ridiculously hot out we decided to go inside. I usually don’t go into the Enchanted Tiki Room, but the air conditioning was totally worth it!

Tiki Room

Next on our list was something we had both been waiting on for a while. The Peter Pan ride had a pretty big refurbishment and had opened over the summer when we were blacked out. So we wanted to go on and see how the refurbishment looked. I’ve seen several videos on what they worked on so I knew to look for particular things in the ride. Overall, it looks pretty cool. I’m not too happy with the scene where you are flying over London. To me, it looks too bright and not as three dimensional as it looked before.

Next on the list was another ride that we knew would have some air conditioning: Indiana Jones. This is definitely one of my favorite rides and it didn’t disappoint. There was a weird technical glitch where things weren’t syncing up properly with the ride vehicle (the boulder scene was delayed and the Indiana Jones animatronic at the end didn’t come alive until we were driving away), but I actually thought those technical issues were pretty cool. I go on the rides enough that when I get to see things not show perfect, I’m pretty exciting. It doesn’t top when I rode the Finding Nemo submarines and all the computer imagining failed, but this was a pretty fun glitch to watch.

After Indiana Jones, we were feeling pretty overheated and a little hungry so we rode the Monorail into Downtown Disney for a late lunch/early dinner. We went to Tortilla Jo’s because we both were craving ice-cold margaritas (mine was a virgin since I am still on painkillers for my torn calf).

Tortilla Joes Margaritas

I had a pretty amazing steak burrito for my meal. While there are some good food options inside the parks, I have to remember to go to Downtown Disney too because they have a lot of variety for meals.

After the food, drinks, and air conditioning, we were ready to go back on some more rides. Next on the list (after riding the Monorail back into Tomorrowland) was Space Mountain. We waited for the ride and just as it was our turn the ride broke down. There was no set time for when it would re-open, but we decided to wait it out a bit. Just as we were getting close to the time deadline we had set for our wait, the ride started back up. We got to ride in the front of the car and it felt so much faster than it ever has. I’m not sure if I just forgot how fast it feels or after it’s shut down for a while somehow the ride gets faster. But it was perfect!

Space Mountain

The last ride in Disneyland was Star Tours. That was a relatively uneventful ride. Except the guy sitting next to me was grabbing the outsides of the armrests so he was almost holding onto my leg instead of the seat and I wasn’t able to hold on on one side.

We headed over to California Adventure next where we had hoped to get some Fastpasses for World Of Color. Sadly, those had gone pretty quickly that day so there was no way for us to see the show. We were a little disappointed, but decided to just ride a few more rides before heading home. We rode Soarin’ (one of my favorite and the music from it is the ringtone on my phone). That ride will been changing the movie in the future so we want to get as many rides on it as we can.

Then it was time for another cool down break inside of Starbucks where I got a strawberry smoothie. After that, we were feeling pretty lazy and didn’t want to walk over to our next ride, Tower of Terror. Honestly, it isn’t that far away but we just didn’t want to walk it. And California Adventure has a little trolley that goes through a couple of parts of the park. So we waited longer than it would have taken us to walk to ride the trolley to what was going to be our final ride of the night.

Tower Of Terror

After Tower Of Terror, the trolley happened to be right in front so we hopped back on and rode it to the exit gate of the park. But before we left, I wanted to make one more quick stop.

I never get the buttons at Disneyland, but I wanted to get an “I’m Celebrating” button to celebrate my SAG-AFTRA convention delegate win!

Celebrating At Disneyland

And after that, both June and I were ready to go home. The drive home was pretty quick and we’ve already made plans to go in a month to see the Halloween decorations.

Overall, I think it was a pretty great day at Disneyland. We were much lazier than usual, but that’s one of the perks of being an annual pass holder. We felt no need to rush around all the rides and we took advantage of whatever air conditioning we could find. Hopefully when we return next month, it will be a bit cooler.

I can’t wait to see what the Halloween decorations will look like! I know that that Disneyland day will be another great memory!

Not The Happiest Place on Earth (or My Solo Trip to Disneyland)

I used to go to Disneyland all the time by myself. When I was at my old day job, I only worked 3 days a week. And if I didn’t get a substitute teaching job on a day off, I’d be free to do whatever I’d like. Also, I paid for the parking pass on my old Disneyland pass so I could come for a few hours and not have to spend a cent.

This past Monday I had a completely free calendar. So I decided to take advantage of my new Disneyland pass and go to the park for a bit. I checked around to see if any of my friends wanted to come with me, but the ones who did don’t have an annual pass and didn’t want to spend over $100 for a few hours, and all my friends with passes were busy.

I got to Disneyland around noon and decided to start my time in California Adventure. It was such a gorgeous day that I spent almost a full hour just walking around the park and looking at the sights.

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I decided to go and ride Radiator Springs Racers since my mom, my aunt, and I had so much fun riding it last month. I went in the single rider line which saved me so much time! I got in a car with a family of 5, we left the loading area, and we stopped.

We ended up being stuck there for a little over 20 minutes. So what do you do when you are stuck on a ride alone in a car filled with a family you don’t know? I made some phone calls, tweeted, and took some self-portraits with the forward facing camera on my iPhone.

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You can see how close we were to the loading station in that picture.

We finally rode the ride (but got stuck two more times in the process but for only a few minutes each time). After that ride, another hour had passed in my day. I was starting to get a little hungry, so I headed over to the pier area of the park and enjoyed a fajita salad.

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Not the healthiest option, but not a horrible one either.

I then tried to go on The Little Mermaid ride. When I was at Disneyland last month, the ride was broken so we couldn’t go on it. And it’s one of the only rides that I’ve never been on before. So I walked over the ride, and it was broken again!

After that disappointment, I looked at my watch and realized that since it was almost 4pm I either needed to leave the park soon or wait until about 7pm when the traffic died down. I decided to cut my losses and leave the park then.

As I was leaving California Adventure, I noticed this dress in the window of one of the stores.

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I know that dress well, because I had it as a kid.

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And I’m pretty sure that somewhere in my closet at my parents’ house, it’s still hanging up in there.

As I was leaving, all the after-school crowd was heading into the park, so I was glad to be leaving before it got too crowded.

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Overall, this might have been my worst day at Disneyland. But my worst day at Disneyland is still better than my best day at my day job, so it’s a win in my book. And I still have about 11 months left on my annual pass so there’s plenty of time left to have great trips!

Plus, I got a workout in with all the walking I did so there’s always that!