View Full Version : Adventures in Disneyland: Day One

04-11-2005, 01:36 PM
Sunday, April 3rd, 2005
Day One

After an uneventful morning flight on Alaska Air, we arrived at John Wayne Airport, and picked up our rental car. An easy 15 minutes later we were pulling into the Grand Californian Hotel, our first stay of our journey. At 2:30 we checked in, although our room was not quite ready. We left our bags at the bell desk and made our way to a store to pick up bottled water, snacks, and one “way cool” hot wheel car for Sean. Hey, it was his birthday so had to spoil him!

Once back at the hotel we checked into our room. Since it was Sean's birthday they gave him a birthday button, balloons, and a signed picture of Pooh, Eyore, Piglet, and Tigger. Fun! (see tripadvisor.com for comments on GCH) We then made our way into Disneyland’s California Adventure park. Since it has its own entrance from the GCH we made it our first stop. We headed to Soarin’ over California only to find all fast passes gone and a wait of over an hour! So we went to It’s a Bug’s Life instead. After a short wait of maybe five minutes we entered the theatre. I remembered all too well being “stung” and the stampede of cockroaches, but Sean had forgotten them and I got a kick out of his reaction. We had heard this attraction might be down the rest of the week, although I could find no confirmation. In the end, it was running the whole time we were there. It was fun for all of us, though, and put us into the spirit of Disneyland! After this attraction, we made our way to Disneyland, as there were several rides we were hoping to catch. After making our way down main street by foot, we took in the new paint job on the castle (okay, is it just me or does the new paint make the castle seem smaller???). Anyway, it looked lovely, and everything smelled like Disneyland…pastries and cotton candy and whatever it is that makes it smell like, well, like Disneyland! Since it was Sean’s birthday, we asked him what ride he wanted a fastpass for. He wanted to ride Autopia, so off we went. We got our fast passes and eyed the Buzz Lightyear line but decided to pass on the wait. We meandered over to New Orleans Square, taking in the sights, and getting in line for our first Pirate voyage of the trip. POTC wait was very short, less than 10 minutes, and the ride was great as usual. Although my butt got wet. Really wet. We were all laughing trying to figure out how the back of this boat had gotten so wet. I swear I was sitting in an inch of water, and my dear hubby avoided it all by sitting on our backpack, while Sean just scooted to the forward edge of the seat and avoided all but mild dampness. Hmmmm. Why didn't I think of that???

After POTC, we couldn’t resist the short line to see if any new ghosts had taken up residence in the Haunted Mansion. It seems every time I experience an attraction I see or hear something new, and of course this time was no exception. None of us had been here since Leota’s (?) head “floated”, and I also saw some cool ghostly details in the hall that I hadn’t noticed before. Of course, there were also the ohhhh, yeah, moments of comparing it to the movie. Fun!

It was very much time to eat, so we went down Main Street and ate at the Carnation Café. My son ate an entire chicken pot pie, and hubby and I shared a turkey sandwich. All the food was great. (By the way, if you’re an herbal tea drinker, bring your own tea bags. I soon learned Disney properties served iced tea and black tea, and if there was an exception I didn’t find it. They were happy to serve me hot water with lemon, though, which was great on a cool evening!)

It was time to head to Autopia, where of course Sean had to drive his own car. We shared a car in front of him so hubby could steer and I could snap pictures. I didn’t remember how high the back of the seats were, but got some fun shots as we whizzed around corners at speeds of at least 3 miles per hour…lol…but it was fun to see the smile on his face and the track winds through some really pretty garden areas with plenty of plants that you just don’t see in Washington state!

It was getting late, but I really wanted to see Storybook Land Canal Boats and although the line was long, I knew it would be closed for refurbishments so we waited. And waited. And played the question game (rules: You can only ask a question, and answer with a question. Example, “how long will we be standing in line?” "How long do YOu think we'll be standing in line?" lol…passes the time!)

We finally got onto our boat, with, much to my dismay, a screaming (and I mean screaming!) toddler. It finally became apparent she was terrified of the whale “eating” her, and thankfully quieted down after she realized it wasn’t going to chomp down. By this time it was dark, and it was fun to see the magic of the ride at night…the miniature houses, castles, and landscaping are all so well done! I can’t imagine how much time the gardener’s spend maintaining the tiny landscape. Amazing! I'm glad we waited, because as promised it was closed the next day.

After we disembarked from our voyage (where we were sternly told to keep our hands inside while docking) we headed back to our hotel for warmer (and in my case drier!) clothes. Then we went and staked out a place to watch the Electric Light Parade. Once there, I kicked myself repeatedly because we’d left the cameras (all three!!!) back at the hotel. (Which to me means we need another trip to Disneyland SOON!) The parade was beautiful, magical, and all together enjoyable. One of the best times in the park for me. Sean had staked out a spot back behind us and most of the crowd, sitting on the rail (no, nobody was behind him so we let him sit there.) Even though Sean just turned twelve, I was delighted to see him waving his glow sticks at the princess and other characters as they went by. It’s amazing and wonderful to me to see that he still retains a small piece of his childhood innocence.

As soon as the parade was over we headed back to NOS for our balcony seating of Fantasmic. I was sad that our eldest son was not able to make it (due to plane delay) and believe it or not could not even GIVE away the extra ticket! I could not find one person that was willing to take it, no strings attached. Oh, well, we had a marvelous time and I swear we were in the best seats in the house! The desserts were great, but it was the seating that was most excellent. I think I’d do it again (hey, we only seem to make it down there about every 4 years, so why not?) as the view was just spectacular. It was hard to believe those were REAL people swinging all around the ship. If it had showed again on another night of our stay I would have gladly held our spot for an hour or two to see it again.

By this time our family was beat, so we trekked back to our hotel and settled in for a good nights sleep. It was fun to have the beds turned down and chocolate at the bedside. Just a little extra pixie dust to make a wonderful day even better!

04-11-2005, 01:43 PM
Thanks for taking me on a little "mind journey to DLR" for a few moments. Sounds like a great day!

04-11-2005, 02:12 PM
OH NO ......I've been watching and watching for this trip report and the ambush .....I'm so sorry that things didn't go as hoped for....:(