Like most of our travels lately, our original plan was not to go to Disneyland. Our plan was to go to San Diego, but when we realized that the Welk Resort was only an hour and a half from Anaheim, things progressed from should we?
To, we must!
So we left our resort on Monday morning, and set out for the trip within the trip, to Disneyland.
We left Escondido at 6:00 am. We thought that if we left early enough, we would avoid most of the rush hour work traffic. Silly us. An immigration stop, and heavy traffic in general started to slow us down.
Then we discovered it, the carpool lane. Since we had two people in our car, we shifted over to the hardly used lanes, swishing by all of the disgruntled rat racers. Even better, the car pool lane had its own exit to Disneyland, so we weren't stressed or burdened by having to merge over several lanes to get to an exit. We arrived in Anaheim over an hour before the parks opened.
We drove back to Escondido late Tuesday night, and encountered no traffic issues.
We swayed back and forth during our planning over the decision to drive two days in a row from Escondido to Anaheim, or to spend the night at a hotel in Anaheim. Once we discovered that we could use points from our credit card to procure a free night's stay at the Anabella Hotel, staying in Anaheim became the best option.
It's a good tip for everyone. Check up on what your credit card points can get you, you might be surprised.
The 60th, Grad Night, and Kelly and Michael
As we were booking our trip, we learned that the Friday of the week we were visiting California was the official kick-off of Disneyland's year long 60th Anniversary Celebration. A Celebration that was kicking off with Disneyland being opened for 24 hours straight.
We thought about it. We even looked at how we could move around our itinerary so we would be in Disneyland Friday, but in the end we decided against it. Since we've never been to Disneyland, we surmised that the 24 hour event would be crowded mass chaos, and we wouldn't get a true, authentic Disneyland experience. We probably wouldn't get to ride all of the attractions we wanted or eat at the places we wanted to eat at. Going at the beginning of the week still seemed the best option.
We kept with our original plan, and ventured to Disneyland on Monday. To our delight, everything was already decked out in preparation for Friday, so although we didn't get any of the special 60th treats, merchandise, or shows/parades, we still got to see the decorations.
|We took a moment in front of Walt's apartment to thank him for being imaginative and creating the places we love|
It wasn't until after everything was booked that I learned that Monday night was high school grad night. It was too late to switch days, so our strategy was to spend Monday at California Adventure and Tuesday at Disneyland Park.
California Adventure was where the big party for the grads was going to be held from 10 pm-2 am. Given that the kids had passes for both parks for the whole day, it seemed logical that they would spend the day a Disneyland Park, then meander to California Adventure at night. I guessed right. Grad night ended up not being as big of a deal as we thought it might be.
I did feel a twinge of jealously as we watched everything being set up for the grads. It looked like it was going to be an awesome time. I imagined that my senior year friends and I would have had a blast hanging out at a Disney Park until 2 am. As it was, we didn't even get to go to Disney for our senior trip, we had to settle for Busch Gardens.
In conjunction with the 60th Anniversary kick-off, Kelly and Micheal were taping their show at Disneyland that week. You could sign up on the show's website for a chance to get tickets. It worked like a raffle. I threw our names in the hat just for the heck of it, and received an e-mail a few weeks later that we weren't chosen, but were on the list in case anyone canceled. In hindsight, it was for the best. Sitting through the taping would have cost us precious park time. It was still cool seeing everything being set up for the show, and I did get to see Kelly up close for a brief moment (more on that in another post).
We fell in love with Disneyland.
As Shannon put it, it felt charming and intimate, and because we wore our 1st time visitor buttons, all of the friendly locals chatted with us. They wanted to make sure we were having an excellent time at their park.
Our only regret was that two days was not enough time to adequately enjoy both parks, which only leaves one question,
When can we go back?