Disneyland Resort

End of the magic

I booked my return flight from Anaheim for 12:15pm because I didn’t feel like getting up and rushing to the airport super early in the morning. So, of course, I woke up at 6:45am. There was no use in going back to bed as the kids next door were already up.

So I used the time to pack my pajamas and try to cram a cute slightly oversized hat I bought yesterday at the park into my carry-on without damaging either of them.

Then I plugged in my phone and tried making the instant coffee they left in the room for me to use. First it was too strong (and small), so I decided to make a second cup of just to water, which brought me up to half of the cardboard cup they provide, so… screw it, I’ll buy something at the lounge downstairs.

But first, I needed to make myself presentable. And then for the second day in a row, just I was nearly ready for a shower when I heard a knocking on the door. This time I was still dressed, so I opened the door and the 35yo Hispanic woman looked at me like she was shocked – SHOCKED – that someone would still be in their room at 8:30 in the morning before hastily going onto the next room before I could even get a word in edgewise. I’m not sure if that made the situation worse or just more confusing.

I get dressed again and go downstairs to the lobby, pour over their menu for a few seconds and approach the counter. After unsuccessfully trying to explain to the cashier that I wanted a decaf flavored coffee, I was ready to leave empty-handed, but a lucky break in communication meant I got my decaf iced mocha. Unfortunately, it tasted like chocolate flavored water, so I ended up throwing half of it out.

Interestingly enough, the boy cleaning the tables was… the same hot blonde haired boy from PCH last night (whose his badge says his name is “Luke”).

I got the nerve to speak to him and before I could finish the question (which disappointed me since I thought I was doing a decent job keeping my composure), he shrugged and said “yeah, they cross-trained me here as well” (I was GOING to say “I thought you worked evenings”).

I wanted to wish him goodbye, but I didn’t see a point to it as he’s working here and I’m leaving today. Thus, we will never meet again… which makes me sad, but that’s how these things work. Besides, my Lyft driver was outside.

I arrived at Orange County Airport (SNA), and saw a few nice hats and sweatshirts in the CNN Store next to the empty security line…but then I remembered how much trouble I had fitting that silly character hat into my bag this morning so I decided to forgo BOTH of them (the blue/grey “California” beanie for $21.95 would have fit in my regular bag).

Anyway, I passed through the metal detectors and checked the monitors and this old man came up beside me, asked what flight number I was on was and told me what I had already seen “gate 7.”

“So, how far is this ‘gate 7?'”

He pointed to a large rectangular sign directly behind me (which I honestly hadn’t seen yet as I was literally still holding my shoes in my left hand) with a black “7” on it, shrugged and said “you’re standing in it.”

I take a seat, put my shoes and rucksack back on and head to the McDonald’s across from the sign. It wasn’t a great breakfast, but it was better than starving myself all day.

I throw my bag out and return to the gate area. There are no open seats left, and there are no outlets that I could see along the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

There appears to be a charging station at the next gate, but with my phone at 58% power and my flight boarding in 20 minutes. This appears to be a good time to end this post and power down for the day…

Categories: adventures, California, Disneyland Resort, Disneys Resort Hotels, flying, Orange County Airport (SNA), transportation

The most popular attraction of the day

Seriously, there was a surprisingly large crowd around these two for the longest time.

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Labor Day updates

  • You may have noticed, but I posted pictures from Chicago, but not from Disneyland. The reason for that is because objectively, the best photos I took there were taken a) in Cars Land and b) all my non-Cars Land photos were already posted to my Facebook page (seriously, 26 “followers” and only 5 “likes?” Actually, they’re BOTH terrible numbers. 😦 ). I was going to post the pictures from Cars Land today, but..
  • My laptop died on Friday evening (of a holiday weekend no less) so I’m typing this from a back-up laptop which isn’t as nice, fast or as functional (in other words, the computer version of me), but it’s a LOT better than trying to type this from my phone.
  • I was going to post recaps of my disastrous Chicago trip (because that’s kinda my theme here), but frankly I’d rather just let that go and focus on the few good pictures I have.
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Disneyland: Day 1

9:47am – Pass under the famous placard coming out onto the iconic Main Street USA. This is my third time visiting this park, and it’s still exciting.

11:12am – I am on fire here (or at least my thighs are) hitting Jungle Cruise, Indie and Pirates within the hour. Now, I’m looking for lunch, but I’m really wanting to eat in Critter Country or Frontierland or New Orleans Square so I’m forced to backtrack to Adventureland…

11:27am – I have an extremely disappointing chicken skewer at Bengal Bistro before circling back around to Critter Country again where I meet my longtime imaginary boyfriend Jacob who warmly greets me as I enter the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Haunted Mansion was closed and the line for Splash Mountain was too long). His warm smile and friendly tone pretty much made my visit.

12:49pm – Photographed my way through Critter Country and Frontierland before hitting a line wall around Fantasyland with 35 minute waits for Canal Boats, Casey Jr. and Alice in Wonderland (though they were all closer to 20 minutes), but I passed on Matterhorn with its 45-minute wait. Some things aren’t worth it.

1:55pm – Get off Casey Jr., check the time on my phone (watch is broken) and rushed as fast as the 20 families with double strollers in front of me would let me to the Fantasyland Theatre to just to find out they didn’t have shows of Mickey and the Hawt As- I mean “Mickey and the Magic Map” on Tuesdays.

2:21pm – Console myself with some popcorn outside It’s a Small World (45 minutes), passed under the shuttered railroad and got into line for Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin. The wait time was about 35 minutes but the 3 -year behind me wouldn’t stop screaming about the dark and scary lighting in the queue area. So even if it was only 25 minutes, it felt like 2 hours (do kids that age actually breathe?)

3:15pm – Skipped Matterhorn again as I wandered into Tommowland (not to be confused with the shitty film of the same name) where the Finding Nemo submarine ride had a 50-minute wait which doesn’t make sense to me but that might be because it scared the literal shit out of the 50 or so toddlers on board the sub with me (causing their already deafening screams to reverberate throughout the tiny cabin freaking them even more).

4:19pm – As I passed under the famous sign under Main Street station, I realized I didn’t have any reservations for dinner tonight so I walked back to Guest Services and the agent told me that he couldn’t get me any times for 6:30 as “the window has passed.” He was able to get me reservations for breakfast tomorrow at PCH Grill so it wasn’t completely wasted.

4:37pm –  Left park, and passed through the lengthy stretch of green security tents heading back to Downtown Disney… only to find myself in a massive parking lot. The only way out of said parking lot (on foot anyway) was…that’s right, I need to rescreened by people who literally saw me leave 30 seconds ago. Fortunately, unlike that time I got the wrong gate at MCO, the screeners were quite friendly (and dare I say cute), but I wasn’t really in the mood to notice.

4:52pm – Inquire about reservations at the first restaurant I come to past security. It wasn’t exactly my first choice, but they said they could get me in at 6:30pm so I took it.

5:50pm – I spent about 25 minutes in my room, mostly editing photos from earlier today. I can’t connect to hotel Wi-Fi with my laptop so I’ll have to post them when I get back to Orlando. I looked over at the clock next to the bed, grabbed by room key off the desk and dashed out.

6:15pm – Arrived at restaurant on far side of Downtown Disney. I was 20 minutes early, but they seated me immediately. That was the extent of their good service, aside from a bored busser dropping some stale rolls on my table while I was looking at the more limited than I expected menu. The food however wasn’t bad.

7:10pm – I bought some ice cream from the Hagen Daz near the breezeway connecting the district to the Grand Californian Resort. I checked my phone, and considered going back into the park to ride all the rides I skipped earlier just to find out that my park pass was back in the room. Just as well, this recap wasn’t writing itself…

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Photo: Understatement of the year


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A Lack of Love: Part 1

What do you in Disneyland when you’ve already been to both parks and rode (almost) all the rides? You could try for the rest or do as I did and try to fit as many in-park shows\parades as possible before the parks close!

Unfortunately, I had a slight disadvantage In that overslept and missed the “extra magic hour” for Disneyland (slightly overrated anyway since only certain rides are open), but on the plus side I entered just as they “officially” opened the park.

I did however have a few stops to make before heading off to the shows. The first was Jungle Cruise…which hadn’t opened yet so people were milling about outside the entrance until the “almighty announcement” was made allowing guests to enter the queue area.

It was actually kind of cool being the first riders of the day, it would have been even cooler if the guide was a better actor, but that wasn’t my main problem with this ride experience. No, that was when the dock agent reached out for my hand when I tried exiting the boat.

“Thanks, but I don’t like strangers touching me.”

“Sorry,” she said insincerely before clasping my arm, jerking it upwards throwing me off balance and causing me to nearly fall on my face in front of the all of the other guests. “It’s my job,” she then looks me straight in the eye with an obnoxious smirk, “enjoy the rest of your day at the Disneyland Resort.”

Yes, I was the first guest she dealt with today, but I’m sure there is a perfectly reasonable reason for that behavior. Who am I kidding, this is pissing me just writing about it – mostly because she’s correct: if it really is her job than I really CAN’T do anything about it.

If I get mad, I become the bad guy. If I let her go without saying anything she wins by default. Either way, I lose. God only knows what will happen if I ever find myself in a win\win situation.

I dust myself off and remind myself that I’m paying good money to have a good time. Besides, I had to Fantasyland before the rest of the crowds do.

I failed. The lines for both Casey Jr. and the Fantasyland Canal Boats was so long that it extended past their respective queues and into the main walkway obscuring the boundaries of their actual waiting areas. The good news was it made the lines for Mr. Toad, Pinocchio and Snow White seem blissfully short by comparison.

After that brief sojourn, I made my around to Innoventions just to find out I’d just missed the first “ASIMO” show and would have to return in another hour. I went downstairs, crossed the pathway to Tomorrowland Terrace which was still serving breakfast.

I guess I probably should have expected that since it was only 10:38am.

Also, three years as a Drama Critic should have taught me to lower my expectations, but I didn’t. It’s not that the ASIMO show was terrible; it’s just the hokey plot that supposedly glues the show together served as more of an interruption of his slickly polished sales pitch than as a natural part of the show. Being a Drama Critic (even an “unprofessional” one) definitely has its disadvantages sometimes.

I left the park through the main gate, and I was stopped for a hand stamp on the way out. I showed him my 3-day ParkHopper, but the bored teenager said it “didn’t matter” as I couldn’t re-enter the park without it. It didn’t bother me as I wasn’t planning on re-entering the park at that point, but he did seem genuinely disappointed to not stamp my hand.

Honestly, I don’t remember this policy in Florida, but according to Guest Services “it has ALWAYS been our policy at Disney Parks.”

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A Lack of Love: Part 2

I crossed the plaza separating the two parks and got in line for California Adventure. When I got to the front of the line, the gate agent simply scanned my ParkHopper and let me through. The topic of hand stamps never came up.

I make my way Buena Vista Street noting it was essentially a mirror image of Hollywood Blvd at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida (formerly Disney MGM Studios). I stopped into Fiddler, Fifer and Practical on Carthay Circle for lunch (the only restaurant on Disney property to sell Starbucks coffee) and found a table outside just as the “Five and Dime” jalopy pulled into the circle.

I finished my sandwich and coffee and made my way towards Hollywood Land stopping at both the fanastic Monsters Inc. and the disappointing “Minnie’s Fly Girls’ Charter Airlines” and arrived at Paradise Pier just in time for “Instant Concert: Just Add Water” with the only shade in the immediate area coming from a set of umbrellas near the water. The show itself was a short but fun diversion, and walking up the boardwalk a ways further I quickly ended up in the middle of the equally fun “Phineas & Ferb’s Rock and Roll Dance Party.”

I completed the loop around the pier, and ended up back in Carthay Circle just as the afternoon parade was about to begin. I’m not necessarily the biggest Pixar fan, but this little parade was kind of fun in its own way.

That’s enough for the day so I backtrack to the exit through the Grand California so I could plan the rest of my day. I get to the front of the line and show him my ParkHopper, but the middle aged Asian guy at the turnstile says “You CANNOT leave without a hand stamp,” and then grabs my wrist, jerks it back (I literally thought I was going to crash into the family behind me) and practically jabs his stamp through my hand before finally releasing me.

This is when I go to the Guest Services guy I quoted in the previous post who just looks at me blankly and shrugs. “He’s right,” he said apparently missing (or ignoring) the whole point of my complaint. “All guests must get hand stamps unless they are ‘Annual Pass’ holders.”

The man at the desk was nice enough to smile at me, wish me a good day and politely “remind” me that there were other people in line.

Like at Jungle Cruise earlier in the day, there was nothing I could do to solve the situation (I really hate that helpless, invalidated feeling), and getting upset at all about this slight makes me look like a childish, attention-seeking boor.

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A Lack of Love: Part 3

I go upstairs to my room, right the first half of this story and then suddenly remembered that it was Valentine’s Day – meaning if I didn’t get dinner soon I wouldn’t get dinner at all. I open my wallet, put the reserve cash in there and stuff it in my pocket before grabbing my room key and phone off the coffee bar counter and heading out to Downtown Disney.

I will say that I was extremely lucky to be able get a “walk-in” table at my first choice of restaurant. I was even luckier since both the food and service were easily the best I’d encountered during my stay on Disney property.

I was going through the crappy Disney Parks app while waiting for my food, and noticed that there was a show starting in 40 minutes in the main park with the nightly parade shortly thereafter.

I didn’t make the first show, but didn’t feel like sitting idly on Main Street USA until the parade started so I headed over to Jungle Cruise. The line took about 15 minutes and the guide was a lot better than the one I had this morning, her jokes were largely the same but her delivery was much more confident. The dock agent (not the same one as earlier) didn’t even look at me when I exited the boat.

Now, it was time to find somewhere to see the parade. There were very spots along Main Street to do so. I would have preferred Frontierland as it is usually less crowded, but they directing all foot traffic down Main Street USA where there was almost no available space to watch it except for one patch near City Hall behind a garbage can with a view partially blocked by a faux- antique lamppost.

The parade itself probably isn’t that bad on most nights, but this wasn’t one of them. Maybe their performers got sick, maybe the navigation systems in the floats was off or maybe someone in their Central Command wasn’t on their game, but the timing was completely off. It seemed as if all of the floats (which looked quite impressive, btw) were trying to avoid running over some invisible marching band.

That was it, day over. The last float pulled into the “unstaging” area and the so-called “almighty voice” declared the park was officially closed. I went back to my room; I had some sleep to catch up on – especially since I was planning on catching the first shuttle back to the airport…

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Photo: It all started with a Mouse…


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