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The Happiest Place on Earth

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At last, we have internet in The Apartment! Our complex has a strange, fly-by-night internet provider (well, we could choose another if we had a landline phone, which we don’t because we’d never use it…) that uses more legitimate lines and funnels it to us, which means that when his line goes down, so do all of ours. Therefore…no internet, at all, for the last week. It was like 1995 around here.

So. Before we got back to The Land of No Internet, we were in Anaheim, enjoying a most magical three days of Disneyland. This has become something of an annual occurrence, in that it has happened at the same time for two years in a row– it’s our post-Christmas present to each other, and even better because the crowds aren’t as dense in the first few weeks of January. Since it’s Southern California, the weather is benign at worst and downright pleasant at best, so I really feel like we’ve discovered some crazy Disneyland secret. We drove down on Friday after a grueling half-day at work, and made it in time to watch the fireworks from our hotel’s exterior corridors.

We decided to do our Early Entry on the first morning, mostly because we were too excited to sleep in very much the first morning, so we headed to the entry gates after grabbing a quick breakfast from the cafeteria in the hotel. Because Disney is wonderful and organized, we ended up being first in one of the entry lines, getting a front-row seat to a mini-ceremony involving a woman who had “had a tough holiday season,” and who was being given a Magical Day at Disneyland, complete with front-of-line privileges, shopping, and a nice dinner. She cried, and I got a little misty, too, because I was so taken by Disney– of course they can afford to do this, it’s “nothing” to them, but really, they chose to do this, and it was great to see it firsthand. (And, for the record, I have experienced it firsthand…but that’s another blog. Seriously.) At any rate, we walked into the park as it was empty, and were led straight to the new(ish) Finding Nemo ride, which generally has lines upward of 90 minutes, so it was really a treat to get to walk onto it. We ran to, in quick succession, Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and most of Fantasyland (although we somehow managed to skip/forget Alice in Wonderland). Passes the rest of the day in near-breathless joy, and then headed over to California Adventure, the adjacent park that proves to the rest of the world just how self-centered Californians are (very, but we’re better than pretty much everywhere else, so really…it’s justified). Delicious dinner in bread bowls (Boudin! A little piece of San Francisco in Disney), followed by the (Main Street) Electrical Parade, which was just as magical as he and I remembered. We rushed back over to Disneyland to catch the fireworks (for real, with music this time), and then over to Fantasmic, which was more fireworks, as well as projections onto walls of mist, and general Disney awesomeness. Exhausted but not ready to really head back to the hotel, we gave Pirates of the Caribbean one more go before we retired for the day.

Day two allowed us to sleep in for about an hour, but we were no less motivated to sprint over to the park for our “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” tour, which was fun. Because we’re both Disney nerds who would really prefer a park ops tour to a “Did you know…”-type tour, we had high hopes, and it was definitely a fun tour. There was a lot of revisiting things we already knew, like forced perspective throughout the park, but we did get to go into the lobby of Club 33 and ride in the caboose of the train that runs around the park, so it was pretty fun. We headed over to CA Adventure after the tour, in order to go on Tower of Terror and Soarin’ Over California a couple times, and even got to sit in the front row of California Screamin’– totally worth it if you can stand to wait a couple cycles (which, because it’s Disney, don’t take that long). Back to Disneyland for dinner at the Blue Bayou, the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean, where we had a large amount of delicious food: crab cakes, salmon, beef short ribs, and a mountain of chocolate-mint doubloons. Because of winds, the fireworks and Fantasmic were cancelled, so we were able to squeeze in a few more rides on Space Mountain, Nemo, and Star Tours.

Our third day was begun in CA Adventure, where it was almost a ghost town– usually the less-popular park, it was also empty because it was a Monday, so we were able to walk on to all the rides we wanted to go on, which took about an hour. It was close to lunch time, so we headed to the Wine Country Trattoria for lunch. Here’s something that CA Adventure offers that Disneyland doesn’t: wine! Our lunch was eaten outdoors, starting with sparkling wine, then some crispy whites to go with our paninis…yum! After hitting the Aladdin show and Tower of Terror, we meandered back to Disneyland, to go on Alice in Wonderland, Small World (which I love unabashedly), and all of the other things we knew we’d miss like crazy once we were back home.

We packed, pouting, on the fourth morning, and headed up to Glendale to have lunch with Candice for her birthday, and make the looooong drive home up I-5. The consolation at the end of the five-and-a-half hour drive is that we only have about six more months until our next Disneyland experience…in Paris!

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About Megan

I read, I write, I drink wine while watching way too much tv. Let's be friends.

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