After 3 weeks of waiting and discussing plans, Colorado Sister and I were up and at ‘em early on Friday morning to make our 8am flight from Denver to Orange County. A quick stop at Starbucks ensured that we were fueled for the day and our trip to, and through, the airport was an easy one.
Our flight into Orange County was about 10 minutes early and we didn’t have any baggage to pickup, so we were quickly on our way to the resort. I’ll mention here that 98% of the time we go to Disneyland, we hire a town car to take us to/from the resort. It’s basically the same price as a taxi and Colorado Dad found a great driver when he was out for work one time so we’ve used the same guy ever since. He’s almost part of the family now and has met everyone in our family except my Dad The drive usually takes 20-30 minutes, but it never seems that long. We were soon pulling into the familiar drive of the Disneyland Hotel.
We arrived at the hotel before 10am, which meant we could check-in, but our room wasn’t ready. After getting our paperwork (but no room keys, which seemed weird), we dropped our bags with bell services and headed into our first park – Disney’s California Adventure!
Colorado Sister wanted to do as many attractions as possible on our trip, so I used the personalized touring plans on TouringPlans.com to come up with the most efficient way to get things done. If you aren’t familiar with the TouringPlans site, I highly recommend it – for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Their crowd calendars and wait time estimates are the most accurate I’ve seen, and that makes for very efficient touring plans.
Our first stop was Grizzly River Run. It had a pretty short wait – about 15 minutes. I haven’t done this ride in ages, so forgot how totally soaked you can get. Neither of us was in the “lucky seat” in our raft, but we both ended up with some damp clothes – a nice start to what was turning into a very warm day.
From there we headed over toward the Hollywood Land section of the park to do Monsters Inc. and to look at a few things in the Animation building, like the Toy Story Zoetrope. BUT, before we could make it over there, we HAD to stop for a churro. My sister has an addiction to churros. Seriously…it’s a problem.
After finding a hard-to-spot Hidden Mickey in Monsters, Inc., we were getting hungry, so decided to grab a bite at Paradise Garden Grill. Even though we were on the other side of the park, the Grill is my favorite counter service restaurant, so it was a must for me. They serve Mediterranean-style skewers that are always tasty, but it’s really the atmosphere that I love. With all the trees and a bandstand where the Ellis Island Boys play 20s and 30s style jazz, it’s a great place to sit and relax away from the hustle and bustle of the park. As a matter of fact, it’s always SO relaxing that I NEVER remember to take pictures.
We planned to meet a couple of my friends for the afternoon Aladdin show, so after finishing lunch, we headed toward the Hyperion theatre, checking out It’s Tough To Be a Bug (Colorado Sister thought this was hysterical), Flik’s Flyers (cute, but definitely a “kid” ride) and grabbing a FastPass for Tower of Terror.
Our timing was perfect, as we got to the Hyperion Theatre and found my friends with just a few minutes left to wait until the show started. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I’ve never seen the Aladdin show. I’ve always heard great things about it, so I was excited to finally see it. The show did not disappoint and, as expected, the Genie was fantastic!
The show ended just at the start of our return time for Tower of Terror (thank you TouringPlans!), so we said goodbye to my friends and headed over to our date with the Hollywood Tower Hotel’s service elevator.
Our time in the Twilight Zone left a lasting impression on Colorado Sister…enough that she was…different…for the rest of the day. But, that will be a story for the next post as this one is already getting long.
Next up: The rest of Day 1 including Carthay Circle, World of Color and…Cars!