Firstly, I hear you ask, you live in the UK, why was this just a one day trip? Well, I flew to Northern California to spend time with friends and I couldn't imagine a trip to California without visiting Disneyland, so I asked one of my friends, Jesse Stephenson (author of the blog Quest For Vault Disney), whether he could be persuaded to spend a day and a half in Anaheim. Luckily, as an avid Disney fan, he said yes and we made plans. We had a simple remit of go and see the parade, fireworks and stand in awe of the 60th bling that Disney had installed (ok we did also want to see the Hatbox Ghost and the upgraded Abominable Snowman aka 'Harold' in the Matterhorn Bobsleds too). Now to the downside, to enable us to get to Disneyland as early as possible, we had to get a 5.30am flight but thankfully, this went to plan and indeed we were at City Hall for just after 9am.
First port of call, for me is always the Mickey floral and I wasn't disappointed. The train station behind was bedecked in drapery and even the lampposts had been spruced up and adorned with the diamond logo and 60th celebration colours of blues and white.
As we were in the hub, a decision had to be made on the attractions we wanted to ride. By this time it was 9.45am and we knew Fantasyland queues would be growing longer (the park was busy!). Therefore, we took the decision to go to Tomorrowland first and grab a Space Mountain fast pass and then queue for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I had only ridden this once before and was thrilled with the short line. Additionally, I got some great audio that I will be sharing in an upcoming podcast. From Nemo, we had a twenty minute wait for Star Tours. I loved it. Again, my last experience was Paris and as that was an older incarnation, this re-visit was most welcome. I know, you will all be yelling "You don't do Star Wars, Michelle!" I know. I'm sorry. But I do enjoy the attraction. Prior to handing over our Fastpasses for Space Mountain, we had some Astro Blasting fun with Buzz. I never ever get higher than level 2 so I guess I'm a poor shot! Jesse took great delight with his victory... however the scores show a different story!
By this time, I had been awake nine hours and I needed food! What better than a hop, skip and a jump to Jolly Holiday Bakery. I was ravenous and I eagerly began eyeing up the beef sandwich but then I read the salad menus and was intrigued by the mash up of grilled chicken, strawberry and goat cheese spinach salad. I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone; as it was delicious. The strawberry balsamic dressing was sublime and the picked red onions and candied pecans really made it a filling lunch. Of course, there is no trip to Jolly Holiday without dessert and the Mickey-shaped raspberry French Macaron did not fail me. This is a stunning dessert, so much so, when I offered a slither Jesse he uttered WOW and was amazed how tasty it was. He then took my plate and proceeded to clear it of crumbs! (sorry Jesse but just had to share that!)
With full tummies, we grabbed fast passes for Indiana Jones, which luckily were due just before our dinner reservation, and then sped to the Mansion. Whilst we weren't fortunate enough for a ride slowing or stoppage in front of Hattie himself, it was at a pleasing enough speed to take in the full effect and marvel at those clever imagineers for enabling him to reappear. Post Hattie, it was off for Swashbuckling fun on Pirates. Whilst in line, the couple in front turned round and introduced themselves - they were only podcast listeners! Oh my... apart from organised meets this had never happened to me before, so it was a fun first! Final stop in New Orleans Square, and was the most dangerous attraction of the day... the Pandora charm shop and I'm afraid my purse got badly damaged!
Following my financial exertions, we went to Fantasyland and went to say hi to Harold, the infamous abominable snowman. Now, I have ridden the Matterhorn twice and both times found it too brutal and rickety on my back but I had to ride it to report back the changes... The suffering I go through for my listeners! Anyway, single rider line was going down quickly and within ten minutes, I was ushered to a front sled seat. Oh my word! What a smooth ride and I loved the new effect. I actually enjoyed it! So from now on, I will always ride the front seat. At this point, I met my good friend and fellow podcaster Thomas Allison (he hosts a fabulous podcast about cruises) and we just had to ride its a Small World. With Jesse and I whizzing then to Big Thunder and Indy, we left Tommy to shop for some 60th merchandise and then met up with him later for our evening meal.
Our evening meal was at Carnation Cafe. I have never had a bad meal here and today was no different. Now, those of you who listen closely to the show, will know my aversion to Disneyland pickles (well most green food!). However, I had heard such amazing things about them from Ashley Kennedy-Turner I had to try the appetiser; which sees them coated in a covering of Panco and parmesan breadcrumbs. Yum yum! They were delicious so I urge you all to give them a try! My entree was the Main Street Cheeseburger and whilst it was tasty, I had had better.
By this time, time had ticked to 6pm and Main Street was pretty crowded already with blankets and towels. No this wasn't a protest or an organised nap but prepared Disneylanders sitting out waiting for the first parade to pass through, in around three hours time! Already, the curb spaces had gone so we decided, as this was a major reason for the trip, that we had best go and grab a spot and prepare for a long wait. However, it wasn't too bad as we got a pre-parade of podcasting friends as Paul Barrie (from Window to the Magic), with his friend Wendy Cooper, and Richard and Sarah Woloski (from Skywalking Through Neverland) popped by to say hi (as you do!)
I appreciate many of you will not have seen the parade and fireworks, therefore I have decided not to spoil it for you. And all I will say is that it was well worth the wait and I recommend you plan in at least two nights to view the fireworks from different locations.
Can you do Disneyland in a day? Yes... well nearly all of it anyways. I am so thankful for my fourteen hours of Disney fun and I think I managed to cram quite a lot in the day. However, I believe that every now and again doing a one day trip is fun however, for my next trip (a whopping sixteen days) the pace will be much much slower!
For an audio version, where Jayne and I chat through the day, please listen to our podcast via iTunes by clicking this link - iTunes podcast player.
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