Disneyland: September 2012 Edition

I probably have mentioned before how blessed I am to have several Disney BFFs, or BDFs (best Disney friends).  So when I was chatting over email with my BDF Jana that I had been given the okay by my doctor to basically resume my life, we ended up with a plan to visit Disneyland.  Within an hour, we had plane tickets and hotel reservations booked.  I was seriously impressed with our spontaneity.  It didn’t hurt that the last day of this trip would coincide with the expiration date on my annual pass.  That’s right, I currently do not have an up to date annual pass for Disney.

Because this trip was planned so last-minute, our normal go-to hotel was booked.  Personally, I like to stay at hotels I’ve stayed at before because I feel like I know what I’m getting.  It might also have to do with the fact I am a creature of habit.  But it is good to branch out.  We branched out to the hotel next door, the Ramada Main Gate.  It had its pluses (location, better sealed, and a fan in the bathroom!) and minuses (slightly farther, not great WiFi, and something else that escapes me now…).

I arrived at John Wayne airport and did not have to wait long for the Super Shuttle.  As I gave my bag to the driver, I thought he looked familiar.  When he started driving, I knew he had driven me before as he started asking trivia questions.  It did make the drive go fast and I was the first one dropped off!  Yay!

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny and we headed off to California Adventures to see if we could snag an elusive fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers.  Wouldn’t you know it, they were all out!  Since we were already in the park, we decided to eat breakfast there (instead of hitting up our fave La Brea).   We ate at Flo’s V-8 cafe (I love their sign at night!!) and it was good.  The biscuits were delicious!!  And we could watch the racers through the window.

Hanging out by Radiator Springs

After breakfast we headed over to Paradise Pier for some old favorites (Little Mermaid, Jumping Jellyfish, Golden Zephyr).  While waiting for the Golden Zephyr to start, we were treated to the sight of the shape shuttle, Endeavor, flying overhead.  How cool!!

Spot the shuttle!

With me still basically recovering from surgery, I wasn’t sure how I would do on the “big rides” and used Goofy’s Sky School as a test.  I did fine on that, but knew I probably wouldn’t be doing any of the “bigger” rides.  Which, to be honest, is fine with me.  I can ride the kid rides all day long.

We had lunch at Corn Dog Castle (have I mentioned I am a creature of habit?) before Mickey’s Fun Wheel (the non-wheel of death swinging side).  Toy Story was broke (boo!) so back over to A Bug’s Land for more little kid rides before taking a break and watching Aladdin.

Trying to do something different, we had dinner at Napa Rose, inside the Grand Californian.  Delicious!!  I really enjoyed the decor, the atmosphere and the FOOD!  Mac & cheese?  Yum!  Sea bass?  Yum!  Chocolate s’mores dessert?  Oh my YUM!  I think you could say we enjoyed it. 🙂

Yummy dessert!!

Normally I would be shutting down the park, but I could feel myself fading so we hopped in the Radiator Springs single rider line.  Seriously, I am so impressed with this ride.  The concept/story and the details are fantastic.  And then it was time to head home as the fireworks were going off over at Disneyland.

Love Cars Land at night

Saturday morning we were able to score Radiator Springs racer fast passes!!  Sweet!!  And then it was La Brea time.  I kid you not, sometimes I think my favorite part of going to Disneyland is eating at La Brea.  Our waiter remembered us from last time (and the time before, and probably the time before that even).

Trio of La Brea drinks

We finished up breakfast and headed into Disneyland.  I really do enjoy all the fall/Halloween decorations!!  After starting in Fantastyland, we headed towards Holiday Haunted Mansion.  I love Haunted Mansion all by itself, but when Jack Skellington redecorates, it is AMAZING.  My favorite part is the ballroom where you can smell the gingerbread cake!  And the fact that Holiday Haunted Mansion was open was definitely a factor in this spontaneous trip.

Holiday Haunted Mansion

Inside Holiday Haunted Mansion


We wandered by Big Thunder, where I was seriously tempted to try out the ride, but unfortunately (or probably fortunately) it was broken.  So we instead explored the Halloween Jamboree area.

Finally it was time to leave Disneyland behind to so we could use our Radiator Springs fast passes and I was extremely excited to finally when our car went “on the other side” so now I’ve been on both routes for the race.

Radiator Springs Racers

Our special treat of the day was Fantasmic.  I think Disneyland’s version of Fantasmic is my favorite – I will take Peter Pan any day over Pocahontas, however Disneyland’s version is generally chaotic and I can’t tell you the last time I actually sat and watched it without having to peer through trees and people.  On previous trips we had seen the reserved seating for Fantastmic.  I did some research on the internet, asked around and heard differing opinions – yes it was worth it, no it wasn’t.  But taking into account how tired I would be and the fact we would have reserved seats and that it was Jana’s birthday not too long ago, I decided it would be a fun birthday surprise.  The dessert trays were amazing!!  And the seats were great.  I don’t know that I would do this every time, but I would definitely do it every now and again.

Fantasmic dessert tray

The problem with weekend trips is they are over far too fast.  Sunday morning we had breakfast at La Brea before heading to the parks one last time for some shopping.  And then it was time to say goodbye.  Until next time of course.

See ya real soon!!

Emily & the Giant Pumpkin

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6 Responses to Disneyland: September 2012 Edition

  1. Jana says:

    Lumpy pillows! And I do LOVE your Mickey Mouse Club shirt!

  2. Abby says:

    I’m so glad you got to plan a spontaneous YaY! I’m better trip. With all this traveling to Disney, I’ve been hearing a lot about an annual pass. . what are your thoughts?

    • Emily says:

      I love my annual pass and it is really weird not having an active one. I am also a nerd and did a spreadsheet to make sure it was worth it. I think what I ended up figuring is the WDW annual pass is generally worth it if you go at least 2 or 3 times (between the hotel discounts, merch discounts, and food discounts). The last two years I’ve gotten the WDW/DL combined pass (but now they raised price but I think it’ll still be worth it). The combined pass is super pricey but then you get 20% off merchandise. I think the combined pass is generally worth it if you go at least twice to WDW and once to DL but I might have to go check my spreadsheet. Okay, so super long answer!! 🙂

  3. dnardi710 says:

    I love that you can pop down to Disneyland for a weekend! I just went to DL for the first time the beginning of September for the Half Marathon and I LOVED it! I was disappointed I didn’t get to see the Haunted Mansion though since it was closed for them to put up the overlay. And how amazing was Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racers! I really can’t wait to go back!

    • Emily says:

      Bummer you didn’t get to see Haunted Mansion – it is the best during Halloween / Christmas!! I really want to do the DL Half next year.

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