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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cali 5: Disneyland Magical Rest of Day!

Our Disneyland morning didn't start off too magical...but lunch was FANTASTIC and it put us both in a much better place to continue the day! Our plan was to ride Pirate's since it was connected to the restaurant but when we walked out Pirates was closed. We didn't let it phase us and instead headed over to The Haunted Mansion. The outside of the ride is WAY different at land than world. But the ride itself was exactly the same. We knew that going in but still wanted to ride it because we don't ever get to ride it at home! Kye's done it once and didn't really like it and we're pretty sure Britt would be afraid of it (although she claims she's going to ride it next visit...we'll see!). 






All the creepy stuff inside the mansion while we waited to ride!


We lucked out and Pirates had opened back up :) Positive outlook for the win!





The restaurant from view of the boats on the ride!



It was neat how the end of the ride took us through the people waiting in line to ride it! Overall it was pretty similar to the one at home but the drop was a little worse in my opinion! 


I read up on Disneyland a bit prior to our trip (I didn't have much time since everything was so last minute but I wanted to have some knowledge) and it's actually a year that a lot of Disney people recommend not visiting. A TON of stuff was closed but it didn't bother us much. I would have enjoyed Jungle Cruise though!


One of my favorites at MK is Enchanted Tiki Room. It's just CLASSIC. And it's kinda become more of a favorite for me b/c no one else likes it so I feel fiercely defensive about it ;) Britt loves it too and it's become "our thing" (we may or may not have a secret "Tiki Room Club" that we created...). I LOVED the way it's set up at Disneyland! The beloved Dole Whips (which personally I don't like?) are sold at the entrance to Tiki Room and the waiting area is a huge, beautiful, sitting area to enjoy your treat! Such great planning and they even had bathrooms which made for a great potty break while we waited :)





The Tiki Room experience was exactly the same however I appreciated the California crowd WAY more. Everyone was CRUNK for some TIKI! My kind of people :) They were clapping and singing along and just into it. At MK everyone is half asleep ;)



I miss the days of more "dark rides" at MK. I have no memory of Pinocchio's Daring Journey...I'm not sure if MK ever had it or not? I don't remember it from my previous Disneyland visit either! It was cute though!




One thing I do remember vividly from my visit to Disneyland as a child is Indiana Jones. I do NOT do fast rides. I do NOT do roller coasters. I do NOT do big drops. I do NOT do lots of spinning. Basically I'm a ride wuss and not afraid to admit it. I remember standing in line for Indiana Jones and my dad saying "it's not a roller coaster" UM. I remember vividly FREAKING OUT the entire ride. 

So fast forward about 20ish years and here we are at Disneyland again and Zach tells me since I've gone on the ride before that surely I can do it again with him. For the experience! The fun! The memory together! 


You know how time passes and memories change? Often bad experiences seem less bad in hindsight? That is what happened with this ride.


I was pretty nervous. I have actually attempted to ride "big rides" before and chickened out at the last second (Splash Mountain). I WANTED to chicken out but was brave ;) If 9 year old Emily can do it then surely 31 year old Emily can!




I screamed the ENTIRE time. It was awful. And I don't care if we take the kids back I'm NOT experiencing that AGAIN. No. Thank. You. Zach said the ride with me was his favorite part of the day so I mean it was worth it. And I was proud of myself for doing it. But once was plenty and twice was def beyond enough for me! 


I snapped a picture of this spot from memory of an old photo I have of Dad and I there! I got home and realized it's pretty dang close to the same place!



The story goes that Walt gave this petrified tree to his wife as an anniversary present and it was "too big for the mantle" so she donated it to the park!


I wish we'd had the time to walk into every store, every restaurant, every area of the park and just take it all in but I did run into Aladdin's Oasis to check it out! SO. Awesome! Britt would have loved it!





So I'm part of a couple Disney World groups on Facebook. They are super helpful in planning and it's fun to see other people enjoying the parks. One of the common posters in the group (Samantha Spayer) happened to be at Disneyland the same days we were. Kinda a neat coincidence. We saw her and her boyfriend at Disneyland but then saw them multiple times at Disney California Adventure a couple days later. Looking back I should have spoken to her. Ever so often I have someone who knows me from the blog and it's always a nice feeling to have someone say hey ya know? Not that I'm some "fan" of hers or something but I did recognize her and it would have probably made her feel good! 


Wanted a couple closer pics in front of the castle!




I was excited to get to go into Sleeping Beauty's Castle to look around! You can go up inside and follow the story of Sleeping Beauty. It took under 5 min and was super cute and just neat to be able to know I was in her castle ;)




Another ride I remember from childhood is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I thought what they have done at Disneyland with it was awesome! They changed it into a Nemo ride! At MK it's now where 7 Dwarfs Mine Train is located. We had a pretty long wait but it was a "must do" for us :) We were able to watch the Jedi Training from where we stood and I'm hoping we're able to get Kye in for it at Hollywood Studios next visit...it looked awesome! We also called the kids and checked in. We were in line beside a group of adults with some disabilities. They were there as a group and it was a moment where my love for Disney grew even larger. Disney is SUCH a happy place for EVERYONE and I love that about it and I love seeing the joy it brings! This group was all men and a couple of them were very chatty with us, but me especially. As in never looked at Zach once. We talked to them throughout the line but a couple times one of the men gave me that feeling like I needed to distance myself some from him. Sometimes I'm guilty of being too nice ya know? So when we sat down I had Zach switch places with me so he was beside him. The man they were with (who was clearly a caregiver) had taken one of the group to the bathroom and missed the ride completely! I was a little nervous that the group with us may have gotten upset (as the submarines are a tight fit and they do have that feeling of going under water ya know?) but luckily it was smooth sailing!

Loved the seagulls saying "Mine! Mine! Mine!"




I hadn't thought much about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea over the years but man sitting in that seat I was instantly taken back and it was basically the SAME exact ride just with Nemo additions!
(Can I officially say they need to do a similar remake at MK of the Tomorrowland Speedway into Cars themed?)


Snack time!


Disneyland has BOTH Mr Toad's Wild Ride and Snow White's Scary Adventures. With the wait times being pretty long all day for us (we waited close to an hour for Nemo) we decided to just do one of them. I chatted up a TON of people throughout the day while in line ;) I couldn't get over all the moms there by themselves with their kids. Like it's just a day out for them because they live so close. Um. JEALOUS. Multiple people said Mr. Toad's far surpassed Snow White's so we went for that one. 

I remember both rides vaguely from childhood. I remember crying from both. And hating both. And not caring one bit when they both left Disney World. I've always built up my fear for Snow White's and envisioned that as being the scarier of the two. I remember staring up into the ceiling during part of the ride where a train is heading towards you. I'd focus on trying to find the connector to the light so I'd remember it was just pretend ;) I was totes down to skip it as I didn't need more childhood fears coming back up ;)







OMG y'all it wasn't until the train light was coming at me that I realized I've been WRONG for ALL THESE YEARS. Which, duh, why did I always think that Snow White ride had a train? That makes ZERO sense. I'm super mega glad we picked Mr. Toad's as it was a creepy bonus surprise that it was the train one and it totally freaked me out but nothing close to Indiana Jones ;) I'd def ride it again and I loved it! I think one of the reasons I really loved our Disneyland day was getting to ride all these rides from when I was a kid. It's not something Zach could really experience with me as they aren't his memories, ya know? But gah I'd LOVE to take the kids out there and let them experience it too!!!



All the big rides ran out of fast passes pretty early in the day. I was bummed because I heard Space Mountain was so different from the one at home and I wanted Zach to get to experience it. He was super sweet and was all about us just staying together but I know he loves "adult" rides and wanted him to get to have that fun! He went to do Star Tours, which I suggested not doing. We have the same one at Hollywood Studios! But he really wanted to try it out so he'd know what to expect when riding it with Kye and he LOVED it!






Photo bomber :)


Only my husband would find this super hilarious?!?! 


I really enjoyed my time solo while Zach was at Star Tours. It was a good hour or so for me just to walk around the park and truly take it all in. When I think back to this day, this alone time is what I first think of. I know it sounds lame but I actually think I'd enjoy a solo day at MK. I've always wanted to just slowly walk around the park and LOOK. So much of the time we are in such a HURRY that I feel like there are so many details I've never even noticed. I LOVED this chance to walk and LOOK around Disneyland. 

I made friends with several cast members (which I took it as a total compliment that they kept thinking I was a cast member myself at Disney World!) and loved getting their insider knowledge to the park and loved their suggestions of things to make sure we saw while visiting. People who work at Disney truly LOVE Disney and love talking about it! I've never had a bad experience with a cast member (well maybe the handler for Gaston...) and they only enhance my personal experiences at the parks. 

My first stop was to a store to redeem our coupons for free pins! They gave me two free special Disneyland 60th celebration pins and lanyards! They asked me how many in my party and I totally should have said three so each of our kids could have one but "Honest Emily" just said 2. I couldn't believe they were free! It was a good lesson to ALWAYS read through any coupons or special offers! 


I talked to a couple of cast members for a LONG time. They hooked me up with every pin they have at Disneyland and gave me three of each of them for the kids. They told me that if I had the time (I didn't! boo!) that a great thing to do is go to City Hall. There they have a TON of interesting info including several print outs about the history of the park. Good to know for another visit!


I took my time and walked around the castle. I'm not a person who enjoys being alone. I especially get freaked out in public by myself but I didn't feel weird or out of place or anything! 








I loved the Snow White area to the side of the castle. It was such a beautiful, quiet spot! Supposedly the wishing well sings but I think Snow White lost her voice b/c there was no singing for me!

I took some photos for others who were in the area (Another fun thing about being solo...I always love to offer to take pics for people! No joke, #lifelongdream is to work as a photo pass person at Disney World in retirement!)




I liked the area so much I wanted Zach to see it and he took a pic of me ;) 











When Zach finished up I had a solid game plan for the rest of our day! I had talked to enough Cast Members to have a good idea of things we needed to see and even where to grab some dinner :) 

How cool would it be to be there when this is opened? Gotta mark that calendar!


This marked what was originally the very center of the park (it's in the flooring of Sleeping Beauty's Castle)


Disney must: attempt to get sword out of stone :)



The kids and I always try to ride on Cinderella's Horse at Magic Kingdom and I assumed there was also a special horse at Disneyland. I asked around and learned about Jingles who is the official lead horse of the carousel. He is decorated in tons of bells and was decorated to honor Julie Andrews for her role in Mary Poppins.


Only one Dumbo! Not two like MK!



If you watch carefully in from of Snow White's Scary Adventures the queen opens the shade and pokes her head out!


Also near the ride entrance is a magic apple and when you touch it you can hear the queen's wicked cackle. 


For dinner we ate at Pinocchio's! We looked and looked for the hidden mickey we were told was there but didn't have any luck with it!



Flatbread was AMAZING!



I got a Disney World Visa a year or so ago. We don't ever put anything on it (the rewards are pretty terrible and you're better off using a higher point earning card) but by being a cardholder we're able to take advantage of some perks...including special meet and greets! We went to another Star Wars area and got to check out a ton of Star Wars stuff as well as partake in the special meet and greet!





OMG. Kylo Ren FREAKED. ME. OUT. It was so hardcore. The cast members and photo pass guy were all in on it and took is super mega seriously. There were no jokes or anything lighthearted. I mean I know it's not the real Kylo Ren but whew it sure did feel like it. It was a HILARIOUS memory and I'm so glad we met him! We both were CRACKING UP after we left. I'm not sure if our kids will be able to handle it though...unless he's less hardcore when kids are there?







We had a little time before the parade and fireworks so we did some shopping! I LOVE Disney house stuff. It's fun and it's not Disney overkill. We've gotten Mrs. Charlotte a couple things over the years for her house from Disney and Zach was super sweet in wanting to pick out a thank you gift for her. He was so thoughtful and knew she could use a new dinner tray! 



My present for myself! Alex and Ani of the Disneyland Castle (Mrs. Charlotte got me one with Cinderella's castle for Christmas!). 


I think I've made it pretty clear that I'm a big fan of old school stuff. I love reliving childhood memories and I love reliving them with my kids. I always thought Zach enjoyed the electrical parade at MK. But I think I assumed that he did b/c I DO. He and I were both blown AWAY by the Paint the Night parade at Disneyland! I've heard rumor that we will be getting it at MK and, while I'll be sad to see the traditional one go, it'll be AWESOME. It's a VERY updated parade with TONS of new characters from more recent movies! 




I took several videos to show kids...here's the Monsters Inc float and Cars








All the main princesses were featured (of course including Elsa and Anna)



After the parade we moved in closer to be able to see the fireworks better over the castle. Def a disadvantage of a smaller castle! The show was great though and it was super cool how they incorporate Main Street into it. Very smart since the castle is smaller!!! We loved it! Had to take a video for Britt of Step in Time and Tess of Nemo :)




Show down Main Street!



We took our time walking back to the room! It was such a cool experience to be walking and to be in our room within 15 min of leaving the park rather than the typical trek to the monorail then drive to hotel!


I really feel like the day was two separate days...the rather disappointing morning and the rest of the day :) We had a BLAST together and really that's what it's all about. This trip was about US and we truly made the most of it. We each had different ways we enjoyed the park but we both equally enjoyed each other :) I'm so thankful for the opportunity to walk where Walt walked and to step foot in the ORIGINAL park. I truly hope we're able to go back again soon with the kids (Britt constantly talks about California and seeing Sleeping Beauty's Castle!). 




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