Tag Archives: disney trip report

Day 5, Part 2- Hollywood Studios, and Epcot Ending

Ok so last post we left off at just getting to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We were both exhausted by the time we got there so we decided we were just going to do things that were must sees/dos on our list and we both decided we wanted our last few hours at Disney World to be in Epcot.


Elsa and Anna topiaries.


We wanted to cool off for a second so we headed over to The Trolley Car Café which is the Starbucks located on Hollywood Blvd in the park.


We got a couple of smart waters which we realized helped us feel much better with the excess heat and humidity (of course we learn that at the end of the trip but oh well!) I had to grab a Jabba the Hut cupcake too. It was quite good.  The Jabba on top of the cupcake is white chocolate, which isn’t my favorite thing in the world so I think I took a bite and tossed the rest. I’d rather just have the cake part of a cupcake. I’m that weird person!


We decided there were really only a couple of things we wanted to do, the Great Movie Ride, and the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream show and they were both at the end of the street so we headed to The Great Movie Ride first.


Having seen the outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in LA, the building looks the same.  Just different signatures in the cement!


The inside was lovely.


We enjoyed the ride very much.


Then off to see One Man’s Dream.  I was really glad we got to see this because apparently we are closing it.


There is a small museum in the lobby area for the show.


I know ours is smaller but I love our castle better.


IMG_1218 I would have loved to have been able to see the Tower of the Four Winds.  It looks so cool! Unfortunately they tossed the parts into the Hudson River (don’t quote me on that… it also could have been the Atlantic Ocean too) after the 1964 World’s Fair…


Cinderella Castle.


Another bucket list item for me is to go to Disneyland Paris.


Explorer’s Landing Fortress in Tokyo Disney Sea. That would be an amazing to see!


After getting a cool break in both attractions we made our way back (I know we missed out on a lot but we were tired and really wanted to end our trip in Epcot). We stopped quick in the Disney & Co store to get a pin and take a quick look.




We were smart this time around and went back on the boat.  Much much quicker!


With beautiful views of the Boardwalk.

My aunt and I both love Chinese food and we wanted to have a nice sit down dinner so we decided to check out the China Pavilion.


There wasn’t a wait at the Nine Dragons Restaurant so we gave it a shot.

I definitely need to come back to Disney World because there is so much we missed!


We shared the pot stickers.

Don’t ask me why but I opted for the sweet and sour pork.  It was very good but I should have been a little more adventurous.


My aunt got the Honey chicken which was A-MAZ-ING! I think we both wanted to try a couple of things so that’s why we chose these two. Luckily the honey chicken is in one of the recipe books I got.  Definitely going to try it one time and I’ll post about it when I do.


The ambiance was lovely too.


After dinner we went and got a couple of sweets at the caramel shop in the German Pavilion before heading back to our hotel.


Not sure if I mentioned already but Werther’s Original totally reminds me of my grandmother.  She loved their hard candies.


By the time we left Germany, the park was officially closed and we had to head back to our room.


The only thing that kept me from being totally depressed was that we were headed to the cruise the next morning so we had something to look forward to.


Well that ends our Disney World portion of the vacation and 1/2 of the trip down.  I hope these are easier to read now that I’m splitting them out a little more.  Let me know if you have any tips or if there’s anything you’d like to see that maybe I got to but missed posting about!


Day 4- Magic Kingdom

Well I was doing really well there on getting the trip report out!!! At least I’m almost 1/2 way done with the trip! I have been really busy with a lot of life complications that I’ll explain on my other blog but for now, lets get into day 4 of our trip!

We decided to grab a quick breakfast at the lounge area of our hotel.


The lounge area was really neat and had a vintage library room feel.


I loved the old toys and games they displayed on the bookshelves along with the books.


Not that I want to keep complaining about the weather, but this gives you an idea of how humid it was… And us Californians with our dry heat are not used to this much moisture in the air! I know… We’re wimps!


After our quick breakfast (which consisted of another bagel…), we walked through Epcot to get to the Monorail to head over to the Magic Kingdom. We had a friendly little hello from a squirrel.  He was pretty cute.


So, apparently we can’t swim into Epcot from the Boardwalk… Bummer…


Even the Manhole covers have hidden Mickeys on them.


Ah, beautiful World Showcase.


There’s the monorail!


The Imagination Pavilion.


Fountain by Spaceship Earth.


Leave a Legacy at the entrance in Epcot.  They don’t let you add your picture anymore but it’s pretty cool to see who has.


My cousins were bummed they couldn’t add anything…


The big Spaceship Earth Ball.  That thing is so freaking huge!!!


Made our way out of Epcot to head towards the Monorail.


Scooter brigade following their leader! They look like three big kids!


Had to take advantage of the great view of the ball.


Got on the Monorail almost immediately.


There is so much more room than Disneyland’s monorail!  We fit my aunt’s scooter in the middle of our space and our cousins’ were in another car on the same monorail.


Pretty views of the resort.


It took maybe 5 minutes to get to the Magic Kingdom.


My only glimpse of The Grand Floridian (no joke, I wrote Californian… Oops!) and I definitely plan on making a stop there next time I visit to take a look around.


There’s the castle!


I know it’s blurry, but I was excited to see the inside of the Contemporary Resort! Besides, we were moving fast and my photo taking skills aren’t amazing…


Outside of the Contemporary. I would love to stay here sometime! I’d love to stay anywhere who am I kidding but with a view of the Magic Kingdom and easy access to both Magic Kingdom and Epcot via the Monorail?! Who could ask for more?!


The best view I got of Space Mountain.


We made it!!!


The front of the Main Street Train Station looks like a bigger version of the Disneyland one.


Seeing this sign at Disneyland always turns me into a kid, and it was no different at the Magic Kingdom!


Everything is so much bigger here!


Definitely similar in looks but a lot bigger.





Taking a casual stroll down Main Street.


We stopped to take a picture with Walt and Mickey.



This nice family offered to take our picture together.



We had a fastpass that morning for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train so we made our way to Fantasyland. They were working on the front of the castle so we had to make a detour through the side entrance by Liberty Square.



So pretty!!!


Magic Kingdom marker.


La Fontain de Cendrillon.


See, that’s what it says…


Backside of the castle.


Hi Minnie!


I was a doofus and forgot to put sunscreen on my pale body so we had to stop and get some so I didn’t become one giant red blister…


Love the beanstalk vines climbing up Sir Mickey’s shop.


Seven Dwarves Mine Train was shut down for a bit so we had to put off our fast pass and we decided to hit some of the other rides in Fantasyland while we waited.  Our first attraction was Mickey’s PhilharMagic which I was really excited to see and I loved it!


We sat in the handicap section.


The ride was up and running after PhilharMagic so we headed over to Seven Dwarves Mine Train!


I love that there is more representation of the princesses such as Rapunzel’s tower.



Of course you can dine with Belle and the Beast too which we would have loved to do but it’s next to impossible to make reservations there as it’s so popular… Next time though!


Finally off to the Mine Train!


I love the queue!!!


We were right in the front row.  It’s like Big Thunder where really being in the back is more fun but I am glad we got the front for our first time.


Yay! This by far is my favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom!


I had to get these pictures from the ride as I have never seen happier faces!!! Four of the biggest kids!



You end the ride seeing Snow White dancing with the dwarves.


Ooo… Be careful, Snow… Don’t take any of her apples! Especially the red one.


Our cousins wanted a little break so my aunt and I headed for it’s a small world.


This is the first ride of our trip I was truly able to compare to Disneyland and I have to say I love Disneyland’s way better… Not only the façade but also the ride itself.  I still love the ride though.


Selfie time! I do feel guilty for not taking more people pictures on our trip…











Au Revoir Small World!


I hope Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum aren’t harassing that poor little girl.  She doesn’t look too happy.  I wouldn’t be either especially with the Queen of Hearts standing behind me!


Around lunch time we decided to head over to Liberty Square and had lunch at the Columbia Harbour House.




The Fish and Chips were amazing! Super crunchy! I got the combo with the nuggets in case I didn’t like them (and because I’m 5 apparently) but there were so good!


Our cousins had a hankering for a funnel cake after lunch and the Sleepy Hollow restaurant nearby sold them so I walked through some of the shops while they sat and had their dessert.


Couldn’t miss out on the Christmas Shoppe!


I got stuck on the other side of where there while the Festival of Fantasy parade went on so I figured I might as well enjoy it.


Hi Ariel!


I loved the Peter Pan float!


And what’s a Disney parade without miss Tinker Bell! My absolute favorite!


Merida’s float was pretty cool too.


I got this picture totally by accident!


The Fantasia Float.


Of course Mickey and Minnie are the stars of the parade!


The end. I am not really a parade person as I don’t like wasting several hours to wait while I could be going on rides or doing something better with my time but this was an amazing parade and I’m very happy I got to see it.


We took advantage of being nearby the Haunted Mansion.


I will admit they have better queue, but I like our mansion and ride overall better.


The Queue was interactive.  If you put your hand on one of the instruments of this mausoleum, it would play that instrument.



I love the nod to Thurl Ravenscroft. Not only did he voice the narrator for the Haunted Mansion, he voiced many other characters for Disney.



This one was my favorite.


Oh so THAT’S where Madame Leota is buried…


It’s beautiful, and probably goes along better with the Liberty Square theme, but I like our mansion much better.


I took a quick walk through Memento Mori which is the only all Haunted Mansion store (we don’t even have one in Disneyland). I didn’t get anything as I’m not a huge Mansion fan… (Don’t hurt me, I’m just a big chicken!)


The liberty bell.


We were all looking forward to seeing the Hall of Presidents.


Lobby area.


We sat in the back again which is nice because it’s high up enough so no heads are in your way. It was really cool to see all of the presidents together.


After that, we walked through Fantasyland to get to Tomorrowland and saw Tigger and Pooh off to do something important.


Now was my turn to get a sweet.  I was looking forward to getting one of the layered cake cups at the Cheshire Café and man it did NOT disappoint!


Look at all of that sugary/cakey goodness! It was sooooo good! I wish they had these in Disneyland!


We wanted to get out of the heat so we went in and saw Carousel of Progress which I was looking forward to seeing. It left Disneyland several years before I was born.


It was neat to see the different new inventions in each decade they showcased.


After Carousel of Progress, we split off from our cousins because they were pretty tired and they were going to park their scooters early to rest and wait to see the parade and fireworks.  So my aunt and I went off to go on the Peoplemover and even though it’s different, I never thought I’d have the chance to go on the Peoplemover ever again in my life since it left Disneyland in the early nineties and it was also one of my favorites as a child.


They even have the escalating walkway like the Disneyland one had.


So excited! We got a front car too so after taking this picture, my aunt and I sat on her side and had a great view from the attraction.


The ride brings you all around Tomorrowland.



After Peoplemover, we went through a couple shops in the area.



Then we made our way back to the castle.


So we could walk through to see the beautiful mosaics of Cinderella’s story.


So pretty!



It was getting into early evening and we wanted a good spot to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade so we headed over to walk through the rest of the park.


The Diamond Horseshoe (I didn’t know they had one…) looks just like the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland just a little bigger.


Another thing that I was super excited to do and never thought I’d be able to see again is the Country Bear Jamboree.  My dad and I LOVED this show!


Glad to see Max, Buff, and Melvin again. If you’re in Disneyland and go on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Critter Country, once you enter the Hunny Heaven room, turn around and you’ll see them hanging on the back of the wall.




We were getting pretty tired and wanted to get a good spot on Main Street for the parade so we headed for a quick walk through Adventureland.



Pirates was closed for a refurb so we couldn’t go on it anyway.


I’m not sure if the Tiki Room Under New Management is still running but we skipped this attraction just in case because I heard it was awful and I didn’t want to taint my love of The Tiki Room.


I love the look of the shops though. Has an outdoorsy market vibe.

Watch out, he spits… No really, he does.  It’s a good way to cool off I guess.  The kids were enjoying it.


The Magic Kingdom still has the original Swiss Family Robinson too.  I love the Swiss Family Robinson movie and was bummed to see it replaced in Disneyland but Tarzan’s Treehouse is neat too and they have a nod to the old treehouse by playing Swisskapolka on the gramophone at the bottom of the treehouse.


My aunt wasn’t feeling all that well and decided to skip dinner. I just grabbed some corndog bites at Casey’s Corner and they were just okay.

We parked her scooter and I sat on the sidewalk in front of it and we had a little big of time to rest.  Here’s Roe E Disney’s window.


My aunt wanted to go into a couple of shops quickly so I had a quick facetime with my mom and my cousin who she was visiting down in LA for a couple of days so it was good to talk with them.  And I had to get in a selfie with my ears on.

Before we knew it, the sun set and we were getting close to seeing the parade. This cute little girl and her parents were sitting next to us on the sidewalk and almost immediately, she comes up to me and told me that she was four and she loves Minnie (I was decked out in Minnie gear) and she talked to me for close to an hour. She was so cute.


It was finally getting to be time for the parade. So many memories of things I loved as a child. It was great to relive them!

IMG_0822 IMG_1001

IMG_1052 IMG_1054


A couple of minutes after the parade they had, Celebrate the Magic, a projected show on the castle.


It was kind of hard to see some of the projections from the pictures but mainly showed some of the more popular animated movies such as Frozen, Alice in Wonderland, Wreck it Ralph, Rapunzel, and some others.



Shortly after, they performed the fireworks, Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.


No one does fireworks better than Disney.


We were super tired after the fireworks so we did a little bit of shopping on Main Street and decided to head back to the hotel.  We had to take the bus back because the Monorail drops you off at the other entrance to Epcot and it was closed by then.  We did take the monorail to the parking drop off because that’s where we were told we had to go for the busses but it turns out they pick up right outside of the entrance to the park… Oops…


Instead of taking the Monorail back, we thought it would be fun to take the Ferryboat.



We finally found where we were supposed to go.


Finally on our way back to our hotel room.


We had an amazing day at the Magic Kingdom and it was very nostalgic for me and I can’t wait to go back.  Up next will be our last day at Disney World and since these seem to run really long, I’m going to start splitting up the days into parts with my trip reports so they are easier to read. Maybe easier to get out as well!  I hope you’re enjoying my trip reports and I will start working more on these once things die down a bit in a couple of weeks.

Day Trip to Disneyland!

As I mentioned in my last very quick post, I spent a day at Disneyland when I went to visit my cousin in LA.  We had a great time and I am seriously crossing my fingers right now that we get the opportunity to go back next year for the 60th Anniversary, also because I’m having withdrawals right now.  It’s really hard to only go one day to Disneyland when you don’t live close by and you love it as much as us fellow Disney Addicts do!

So onto the trip report!

It took us about an hour to actually get to Anaheim from Santa Monica and another 30 to get through the line to pay to park in the parking structure.  If you haven’t seen Disneyland’s parking structure, it’s huge!  I want to say the biggest in the world and at the very least, biggest in the US. Anyway I haven’t had to park at Disneyland since I was a kid (we’ve done it maybe 2 or 3 times in my life since we always stay somewhere with a shuttle) so this was a new experience for me.


FYI- Not that I want to dwell on the negative of the day, but the Suburban in the bottom right corner is a big fat jerk.  Just sayin’.


We parked on the second level which is Daisy’s level (each level is named after a Disney character so it’s easier to remember where you parked (remember, HUGE).  I took a picture of our section so we could remember where we were.  It’s a good thing too because we were practically on the opposite side of the escalators that go down to the loading area for the trams. The structure is pretty cool and very well organized which Disney obviously has to be.  They have one escalator for each level so you don’t have to hit each floor if you are parked several stories up.


We managed to get on the second tram when we were in line so the wait wasn’t too long.


The tram drops you off at the Esplanade end of Downtown Disney.


We got into one of the entrance lines to get into Disneyland.  All of them were pretty long which is typical for the morning.  I did manage to find a Hidden Mickey in the roses climbing up the poles for the Monorail while we were in line.  Not sure if they do this on purpose but I would be surprised if it was an accident.


Finally, we got inside.  After the long drive, some of us needed to use the restroom so we went in the right side (which is my tradition anyway) so we could stop at the restroom down the alley by the Disney Gallery.


After the potty break, my cousin, Erin, wanted to get some ears.  She, like me, doesn’t like the hats so she went with one of the headbands.  I have the green and red Christmas version of the ones she picked out but since I was Disneybounding, I figured it wouldn’t work with the outfit.  Can you figure out below what I’m Disneybounding as below? I’ll answer later in the post.  It’s pretty obvious when you see the colors and the stripes on my shirt…

After getting Erin’s ears, we went into Tomorrowland to look at the line times for Space Mountain and Star Tours (Erin’s last visit to Disneyland was when we went in 2008 so she hadn’t seen the upgrade yet) and since both were long ( and my motion sickness would have gotten the better of me without food in my stomach) we decided to get fast passes for Star Tours then get fastpasses for Space Mountain later when we could get more.  Since we didn’t eat breakfast and we were in the area.  We decided a Churro was a good choice! And yes, this is me photo bombing Erin!


After our healthy breakfast, we decided to hop on the Matterhorn Bobsleds.  I’m really sad that it’s just such an uncomfortable ride! They should have made the seats softer… I did sit in the middle seat this time and it was a little more comfortable because it was a tighter fit so I wasnt’ bouncing around as much.  And I do want to say, I’m 5′ 4″ and it had a hard time with fitting into the seat so I can’t imagine how hard it is for someone with longer legs than me!


While waiting in line I noticed this wooden railing which I didn’t recognize before. I wonder if it’s new… I definitely like it though!


“Remain seated please. Permanecer sentados por favor.”


I’ve always loved the style of this ride.  I like the ambiance of it.  Of course, I am 1/4 Swiss Italian so I wonder if that has something to do with it.


We had to get a selfie in at some point!


Here’s a closer picture of that railing, and the little pathway I didn’t notice in line, or the lanterns.  Super cute! I would love to have that kind of ambiance in my non-existent back yard in my non-existent house…


Up next since we were in the area was It’s a Small World.  This is definitely my favorite Holiday overlay in Disneyland.  I really love this ride.


We had to get my beautiful mom in there at some point! Are you getting warmer on what I Disneybounded as? As I said, it should be pretty obvious.









Santa’s checking his naughty and nice list. Untitled


I can’t get over the smell of candles in this area.  I don’t think I’d be able to handle it very long as I get a big fat headache with synthetic scents but this one didnt’ bother me.Untitled


Italy another part of my heritage.Untitled


Africa.  I love this scene.  It’s always been one of my favorites.  I love that happy hippo! Untitled

Pretty sure this is a new addition to the Mexico scene.Untitled

I love that Ariel decorates with bubbles!  Untitled

In the Hawaiian scene, at least at Christmas, I’ll have to look next time I go during the regular season, there is an Elivs bobblehead doll on the end of Lilo and Stitch’s surfboard.  It’s really hard to get a picture of as it moves up and down fast like it’s riding the wave but you can just make out something right infront of Stitch… Can you see it?



I, like many Disney fans, am slightly disappointed in the US scene.  It just feels a little rushed to me…Untitled

Woody, Jessy, and Bullseye make an appearance.Untitled

There goes Santa and his reindeer. Untitled

Lastly you enter the big room with all of the countries.  It’s like Christmas threw up in here and I LOVE it! Untitled




I would totally buy an ornament that looked like this Peace on Earth sign.  Get on it, Disney!Untitled



By the time we got off of It’s a Small World, it was time to head back to use our Fastpasses at Star Tours, but first I stopped to get some ears and just happened to find some to match my outfit, then we got Fastpasses for Space Mountain so we didnt’ have to hit that too late. I was also sad because they took Captain EO out of that theatre and put a temporary preview of Big Hero 6 in there… Which I saw by the way and it was amazing!


C3PO reminds me of myself. I worry over everything! Oh and totally off topic, I saw the teaser trailer for the new Star Wars movie and although I’m not a HUGE fan of Star Wars (I enjoy it) I am really excited to see it!


We miss you, Rex! Untitled


After our ride, we decided we were all hungry and after looking at the choices and we all settled on the Stage Door Cafe which I have never eaten at before so it was a new experience or me. We did have to stop and snap some pictures of the castle since we were walking by it. Untitled

Okay, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m Disneybounding as the Cheshire Cat.  I got that top in the clearance section of my local Torrid store and knew I had to get it.  It is perfect for the Cheshire Cat! And the ears I got after we rode Small World.



After lunch, we needed another potty break and the closest one I could think of was in Adventureland so we hightailed it over there.Untitled


While waiting outside, I took advantage of taking a couple of pictures of the details. I love the details.  Everywhere you go, everything fits together so well.



Okay, now since we were close by and it was closed for a refurb last time we were there, we had to go on Big Thunder. The line was about the length it always is but luckily it moves pretty fast so we got through fairly quickly.


The train went right over our heads. Untitled

My dad always seemed to favor Frontierland.  Maybe since he was a child of the 50s and the western cowboy stuff was popular then.





Every time I’m in line I try to get a picture of the train going across the tracks at this spot and usually I’m too late.  This time I was a hair too early. At least I was closer!



Finally on the ride!Untitled


I managed to get the turtles but not without my mom’s elbow in the picture too! Oh well.Untitled

It was a perfectly sunny day so I got some great pictures on this ride!


And I finally got a picture of the goat! You’re moving pretty fast here, especially from the back so you have to get lucky, and I did.


They added some red flaming lanterns to the last climb on the ride.  And where they used to have just rocks moving back and forth, they actually make it look like an explosion is happening.  Pretty cool addition to the ride. Untitled

It’s better in video but as you can see there’s more to it now.


My dad loved that they kept the little town.


We were just about at a point when we could get new fast passes so we headed over to Adventureland to get fastpasses for Indiana Jones.  It wasn’t quite time yet so we decided to go on the Jingle Cruise while we waited.


I really want to frame this and hang it.  I love the colors.


Like last year, they had the queue decorated for the holidays.


They did add to the ride though and I heard this opinion from someone else too, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I mean here it looks okay but maybe we didn’t like it because our Skipper sucked… I mean, it was bad.  And too many jokes about fruitcake…


See, here’s a gist of why there’s a bunch of Christmas stuff thrown all over the jungle.  Untitled

I do like this candle “tree”. Untitled

The line was long enough to have to go upstairs but it just seemed slower than normal.  It was definitely longer than we expected.







I was “lucky” enough to have to sit in the middle so I didn’t get a lot of great pictures but I wanted to give you a gist of what they added to the ride from last year. So, the elephants got into the ornaments apparently.Untitled

I know, it’s blurry, but he’s so happy and festive! Untitled

The chimps got into the baking supplies.Untitled

More ornaments. Untitled

These guys are trying to decorate the pole. Untitled

The natives got into the Christmas sweaters.


It was a very unimpressive ride on the Jingle Cruise.  I mean, it was probably the worse we’ve been on.  Our skipper was 0% funny.  I laugh a lot and I didn’t laugh at this one… I felt bad for her… Anyway, after that ride, we got our fastpasses for Indiana Jones, then did a little shopping in New Orleans Square before getting in line for Pirates of the Carribean.




The line was super long but it moved fast. I was able to get some pictures of New Orleans Square at least.  I love their Christmas Decorations.




Close up of my ears.  They didn’t Cheshire Cat ears but these worked and I would wear them again at the parks anyway.


Finally got on the ride.  I really need a good camera for nighttime photos so I can get some better pictures on the darker rides.  Still, my phone didn’t do so bad!  Better than my point and shoot does.



The skull and cross bones on the headboard above the skeleton in the bed are real human bones… Yea… Creepy…




These are probably some of the best pictures I’ve gotten on this ride.  To be fair, we were stopped at this point waiting for the boats ahead of us to go up to the ground level. Untitled



We were in need of a rest so we headed to our favorite place to do so.  The Tiki Room!  My parents always took a nap in there to get them through the day.  How they slept through the noise, I’ll never know but it was just enough time for them.  We would rush to the booths in along the walls (which never get filled anyway) so we can lay back and rest.

UntitledUntitledUntitledI love the waiting area for the Tiki Room and the little show they put on to keep people occupied.







After our rest, it was time to go on Space Mountain because we had to take the Monorail over to Downtown Disney for our reservations at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.




Then we got in line for the Monorail to get to the Jazz Kitchen.Untitled



I love this view of Tomorrowland from our seat on the Monorail.




If you want to splurge at a restaurant in Downtown Disney, I highly recommend Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.  The food is SOOOOO good!UntitledThey also have an express next door to get Beniets and a few other dishes.  They have the best snow cones there too.  Softest ice I’ve ever had!




I ordered their salad (not pictured because I was starving!) and the steak medallions with crawfish mashed potatoes and green beans.  AMAZING!Untitled


We got their chocolate bread pudding soufflé again not pictured but you HAVE to get it! When we were done with dinner, we decided to walk off some of the over eating we did and walked back to the main entrance to Disneyland.



Night time is the best thing about Disneyland at Christmas!Untitled



I love the castle at night!  Especially at Christmas!

It was time for our fast passes for Indy.Untitled

Our final ride of the night was The Haunted Mansion overlay.






As I said last year, it smells like gingerbread in this part of the ride. Untitled

The doors open and close for the house.




Can you tell what this is? It’s obvious to me since I took the picture but it’s Erin’s glow in the dark nail polish she had painted over her nails.  Anything like that will glow in these rides.


It’s not a trip without stopping by to see my dad’s stone.




I managed to squeeze in a little shopping before we left and I will share what I got at the end of this series of my trip.  I’m always sad to leave Disneyland whether I’m there 1 day or 10.  (I’ve never done 10 but I wouldn’t have a problem doing that one bit!) Overall, it was a great day with perfect weather at Disneyland.

Up next will be our visit to the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a little bit of the rest of what we did in LA.

Disneyland Trip Report Part 1- Santa Monica

Okay, so I wasn’t sure if I should just do the Disneyland leg of the trip or the whole thing, but I figured, why not do the whole thing… I will go in saying this won’t be a very well-organized trip report as I’m not great at them.  I read a couple of trip reports of other people and it looks like most people go day-to-day and as I have a HORRIBLE short-term memory, that will be a bit of a challenge, but I will do my best.

We didn’t do a whole lot in LA but it was a nice trip spent at my cousin’s home with her two kitties.

We got on the road around 9:30 after getting coffee at Peet’s and filling the tires up with a little more air. We made really good time and stopped once to use the restroom, fill up on gas, and get Subway for lunch.  Well… I got Subway and my mom got a disgusting chicken McWrap at McDonalds that she took two bites of and tossed the rest because it was truly gross… 

Back on the road.


Before we knew it, we were heading into the grapevine.


We got to my cousin’s in 5 hours and 45 minutes and only hit traffic about a mile from her home.  I think that’s pretty good coming from Sacramento.

When we got there we took our stuff upstairs and settled in a bit before going out to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Mace was not amused at the intruders in his home… Emmie was nowhere to be found. She’s quite skittish… She’d pop up here and there but wasn’t too keen on us either. 🙂


The has a really cute courtyard.


We walked all the way to the end to have dinner at PF Changs.

They had a lot of dinosaur topiary throughout the Promenade. I fiddled around with a photo editing app my cousin showed me as the pictures didn’t come out that great with my iPhone.


They had a beautiful Christmas Tree set up at one end.


This Mexican restaurant had some interesting holiday decorations going on.


This vendor was selling a device that creates a laser show on the ground.


After dinner, we walked back to the other end of the Promenade and went for a little look-see in Nordstrom.


Not sure what, but HGTV had something going on at this end.


After a walk through Nordstrom, we headed back and watched a pretty disturbing Dateline about a terrorist attack on a mall in Kenya.  THAT’s what I need before going to bed! I can’t watch those shows!

The next morning we took our time getting out the door and went to a restaurant called California Chicken Cafe. The food was SO good! We even saw Giuliana Ransic and my cousin spotted George Newburn (from Scandal and Father of the Bride among other things) while we were there. I am so not used to seeing celebrities and I just prefer to not bring attention to myself  because I dont’ know who to act in that kind of situation…

Bad picture, but my cousin was trying to be discrete!


Anyway, I ordered the 1/4 chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetable soup. It was SO good!!!


After lunch, we just ran around doing some errands at Michael’s, Marshall’s and Macy’s.

The mall where Macy’s is located is HUGE and really nice.


They had a nice view of LA from the 3rd floor of the mall.


After running around, we went back and rested a bit before heading out to dinner at an Italian restaurant where they serve olive oil with a TON of garlic that comes out with the bread. I was burping up garlic for the rest of the night but it was SOOO good!


I couldn’t decide on what to get so I just ordered spaghetti with meatballs and holy cow was it a big dish! It was easily 3 or 4 servings for me! It was very good though!


After dinner, Erin and I went and got Frozen yogurt for dessert and we went back to her place for the night.

Sunday morning, we went out for a walk along the beach near Santa Monica Pier. We walked from the parking lot where we parked to the Pier and back. I think we walked at least 2 miles but my walking app crapped out on me so I never could figure out what we did…

It was a beautiful day for a walk. It must have been in the mid 60s and not too breezy.


They have a couple of really nice (and expensive) hotels right along the walkway.


The Shutters



We walked to the beach on the other side of the Pier and walked to the end of this little path that led to the water.




What I wouldn’t give to live in one of those apartments looking over the water…


After our walk, we went back and got ready for the day, ate left overs for lunch, then packed up to head off to Anaheim.

We stayed at the Marriott Suites Hotel in Garden Grove.  It’s right on Harbor Boulevard two miles down the street from the entrance to the park.  They had a shuttle that only went there and the hotel next door which was nice because we never had problems with it being too full.

We got a king suite on hotwire for $80 per night.  They charge for internet and parking and since we weren’t spending much more time than sleeping and getting ready in the room, we didn’t bother.  I hate it when hotels charge for internet… I think that’s really in bad taste and it’s usually the bigger hotel corporations that do it… Don’t they get enough money from everything else? And why do we have to pay for parking?! It’s ridiculous and it’s not like we have a choice to park somewhere else… 

At the very least it was a nice hotel with a comfortable bed that was actually king sized.


The living room even had two pictures of Space Mountain and the Astro Orbiters from Tomorrowland above the bed. I love that they had a touch of Disney in their room.


After a quick check of the room, we headed back out to the mall in Santa Ana that my mom likes for a minute, and had the traditional chicken dinner at Knott’s Berry Farm. 

It was great as usual. I don’t think they’ve changed a thing as long as I’ve been alive at the very least.

These are amazing biscuits.  They aren’t nearly as large as this picture looks but they give you plenty and you can always ask for more.  They come with butter and plenty of Knott’s jam to choose from.  I always go with Boysenberry (when in Rome) as they invented it after all.


It comes with a TON of food. I was going to get this smaller plate that they had for a couple of years but they took it off the menu! 😦

It was SOOOO good!!!  Luckily I only eat fried chicken here and it’s not even once a year.


It comes with soup or rhubarb and salad too but I didn’t eat much of it and it was away before I remembered to take a picture. It’s not like you’ll die without a picture of soup and salad anyway…

So I am going to stop here for the first part of my trip report as all we did after that was go back to the hotel, unpack a little and get to bed so we could get up early to get into the park.