Posts Tagged With: disney

Sometimes it’s OK to be Addicted

My 2 year old daughter is addicted to Disney. Well that’s not really true, Mom and Dad are addicted to Disney, so “S” really has no choice but to be too. In her short time on this planet this is her fourth visit to the Mouse Kingdom in Anaheim, and she has an upcoming visit to Walt Disney World at the end of September too. To think she’s been to the park more times in two years then I had high school is crazy. I guess that’s what happens when your parents are addicts. Now to be fair, I wasn’t addicted till I was in high school. I worked at a movie theatre, like every other teenager in the 90’s we had our fair share of Disney films, and in between shows I was “lucky” enough to clean the theatres. This meant you got to hear and thusly memorize all of the songs, and during your breaks pop in for a quick listen. There was a point in my life where I could probably recite any line or song lyric from The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin. Just writing this post has me thinning of the songs from Aladdin and singing them in my head. Please make it stop! So by the time college rolled around I was really into movies and took a class on The Short Film at DVC, this was circa 1993. We spent a lot of time discussing Pixar and it’s genius, watching all of the Pixar Short Films to date and a bunch of other crazy stuff too. So when Toy Story came out in 95, I was in hook line and sinker.

Fast forward several more years my girlfriend (soon to be wife) gets a great job opportunity that ends up including annual season passes to all Disney Parks Worldwide. Jackpot!!! Because of this we’ve taken full advantage and have since been to all five parks around the world. And make a few treks to Southern California to visit when we can. Last year I even had a long layover in Hong Kong, so I went to HKDL for the day. Just Crazy. Also for those of you who have enjoyed the amazing corndog they sell on Main Street an Disneyland, will understand when I say this. On many occasions when I’m in Anaheim for work, I’ll drop in just for a corndog for diner and head back out of the park. I know sounds silly huh. As I said we’re just addicts, and enjoy spending time down here.

So what’s the point of this post? Well manly to say we’re here again for the weekend, but this time it’s for a very very cool reason. My amazing wife has really gotten into running and has dedicated a lot of her early mornings training, with the culmination being her second 10k run this month, and her first Disney run, with many more to come I imagine. I’m lazy I don’t have a bone in me that makes me want to run, whatsoever, but seeing how hard my much better half has worked for this special day is pretty cool. She goes for a run three times most weeks and in the month of August has already run over 40 miles. Who does that. She does that’s who.

Well we’re here in Anaheim and we’re “S” and I are getting up early early early tomorrow to root on mommy. I can’t wait to congratulate her at the finish line, and tell her how proud I am of her, this is a huge accomplishment and deserves some quality time at Disneyland to celebrate.

Stay tuned for lots of pictures of our Disney trip, and tips on how to travel with kids here.

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Categories: Americana, Disney, movie, Run Disney, Sports, Travel, Traveling with kids, Trip Report, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disneyland here we come

A few weeks ago on the heels of a weeklong trip to San Antonio, the family and I spent the weekend at Disneyland in Anaheim, Ca. I’ve been a Disney fanatic for a long long time, and enjoy heading down to the parks whenever we can. This was our first trip of the year, to visit the Mouse, and I was excited to take the kid since she’s starting to recognize him from books, toys and TV. Every time she sees him she goes “mouse… mouse…mouse” it’s very cute and I enjoy hearing it. It’s amazing what kids pick up, I have to remind myself to watch what I say and do, because they are just sponges, even when they are still so young.

Well this was a short trip only 1 1/2 days in the park, but two glorious nights at Disney’s Grand California Hotel. We’ve been lucky enough to stay at all three of the Disney properties over the years, and a few of the ones at Walt Disney World, and this is our favorite on property hotel. This hotel is modeled after the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite and has a beautiful massive open lobby with open beam construction and views up to the ceiling. It seems to inspire days old with staff dressing like they were straight out of The Great Gatsby or the roaring 20’s minus the flappers. It’s just a very very warm space even though it’s so massive, it has small alcoves to sit and visit, a large fireplace and even a kids corner to hang out in. It’s always bustling with activity, but I’ve never had trouble finding a spot to sit and relax or just people watch. They even have a well stocked bar, for those nights when the kids go to sleep early and the adults need a “break”, we were there till after midnight one night and the joint was still jumping.

The grand lobby

The grand lobby

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We had a nice room on the fourth floor overlooking a courtyard, the monorail tracks and a side view of Downtown Disney. Overall it was nice and quite. As far as I know all rooms have balconies and if you’re lucky you may get a park view. The design of the rooms are inspired by Mission style furniture, which features beautifully carved wooden furniture. If they wouldn’t notice I’d love to pilfer it for my bedroom at home. Unfortunately I was not able to get many pictures of the room before we messed it up with all of our stuff. So the lobby and pic of the bed will just have to do. We arrived late on Friday, with a kid who was hours past her bedtime, and luggage and kid paraphernalia for bedtime that just exploded across the room. In any event the beds are very comfortable, they have soft pillows, and offer a pack in play in every closet. Plus nice cotton robes to use for your visit. As for toiletries, they have my favorite H2O, I’m always inclined to ask for an extra set before I leave, cause they just smell so great, and are the perfect size for my carry-on bag. And as an added bonus they provide a Redwood tree seed package to take home and plant in your backyard. How cool is that.

Our bed at The Grand Californian

Our bed at The Grand Californian

The view

The view

Even thought we were at the park on a long weekend with lots of kids getting Monday off from school, the rain and colder weather kept the locals and tourists away. So we really never had to wait in long lines. The only two rides with stupidly long lines were Midway Mania w/out a fast pass option with waits close to an hour and Radiator Springs Racers which sold out of fast passes by noon both days, and the standby was well over 75 minutes long. Otherwise most lines were 10 minutes or less or even no waiting. Thank you LA for having locals that go to ball games in the third and skip Disney when the weather is nothing but sunny. Not once that weekend did it rain, nor did I need a jacket, it was 65-70 all day, what more can you ask for.

There were many highlights to the trip, from surprising our friends daughter at the airport when she found out we were going to Disneyland for her birthday or going to Club 33 come to mind. Even one I never expected, my daughter asking to ride a ride numerous times. Even though I missed the birthday’s girls live reaction to her finding out that the trip to the airport was not just to drop off my family, but for both families to head south, I got to see the video and it was awesome. But to be fortunate to visit the uber exclusive and EXPENSIVE Club 33 was definitely fun too. For those non Disneyfiles, Club 33 is in the French Quarter above Blue Bayou, and was to be Walt’s apartment on property, it never was converted to that but became an exclusive restaurant instead. If you’re at street level at Pirates of the Caribbean or Bayou the balcony above where you might see people hanging out and wonder “how did they get there”, well that’s Club 33 . I understand the members waiting list is tens of thousands long, and the annual fee to be a member is too. Definitely something we can’t afford to attempt to become members of. Because of its exclusivity you have to know someone who is a member and in our case my wife does, thank you again for hooking us up. That being said, we try not to use that favor too often, nor do we have the income to support a visit to the club each time we visit Disneyland. But for a special occasion like a 12 year olds birthday, it’ll do just fine.

Mouse mouse mouse

Mouse mouse mouse

The Chew Chew Train

The Chew Chew Train

Smell the watermellon

Smell the watermellon

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I love that Abominable Snowman, hanging out at the Matterhorn

I love that Abominable Snowman, hanging out at the Matterhorn

Getting ready for Fat Tuesday

Getting ready for Fat Tuesday

Check out these great tourists.

Check out these great tourists.

The club offers a price fixe lunch or dinner, we chose lunch, cause it fit our schedule and it didn’t disappoint. You get a complimentary glass of champagne and access to a spectacular buffet spread plus a made to order entree. The buffet included crab claws, shrimp, puff pastry appetizers, three salads and a few meat and cheese options. Plus a mouthwatering desert buffet, with all kinds of cakes, cookies and sweets. Definitely a decadent lunch! Oh yeah did I mention this is the only place in Disneyland you can get an alcoholic drink. Sure all the other parks offer booze, but Disneyland bucks the trend, we’ll see for how much longer.

The Club!!!

The Club!!!

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Is it obvious where I am?

Is it obvious where I am?

The crab and shrimp bar

The crab and shrimp bar

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round one

round one

Sirloin with Bernaise and red wine reduction

Sirloin with Bernaise and red wine reduction

Desert

Desert

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So what were some of the hidden gems of this trip (sorry I’m a bad blogger) I didn’t take any pictures of the new entrance to California Adventure or Carthay Circle, I’ll leave that to others to document. I will say the reimagining of the old Buena Vista lost where Walt came up with Mickey and the franchise is just amazing. I have nothing to compare it too though, I don’t know what Buena Vista looked like back in the 20’s, but compared to how it use to look, it is fabulous. Although I do miss the giant California letters out front that are now gone. What also comes to mind is the AMAZING corn dogs on the pier and on Main Street, by far one of the finest corn dogs on the planet. If you’ve never had one you’ve not lived, oh and now they offer a spicy version, and man was it good.

So even though we had a short trip this time, it was great. We got to spend time with a ton of friends and were able to take our kid on a ton of rides, which made it even more fun. Sure she couldn’t ride the Matterhorn, but she went on Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyears Astro Blaster, both Merry Go Rounds which we’d probably still be on if we were still there (and she kept calling King Triton Santa), plus all the rides in Bugs Land. Even though we couldn’t take her on all the rides, the parent switch option we were able to hit almost of the ones we wanted too. But frankly, just walking around the park seeing her happy face amongst all the fun, was treat enough, and I can’t wait to plan my next trip.

Santa

Santa

Categories: Disney, Food, Hotels, Photography, Review, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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