We really didn’t have any expectations for this trip to Disneyland other than to see the holiday decorations and have lunch at the Carthay Theater Restaurant. Thanks to TouringPlans.com I knew that the weekend after Thanksgiving the parks were going packed, and thus, my expectations were not very high.
Things didn’t get off to a very good start Sunday morning. I had set a goal to be up and running bright and early at 5am in order to leave the house by 6. Well, this goal was blasted out of the water. Somehow, I had put 5pm on my alarm instead of 5am… so 7am rolls around, I wake up, only to find that Rob had been up for an hour or so drinking his morning coffee. Of course, he didn’t wake me up when he got up.
Well, leaving at 8am would still get up there around 1:30-2 – not that bad in the grand scheme of things. Things were starting to go smoother until we went to clean the auto-kitty box. Somehow the scooping arm got jammed and caused the rotating litter tray to backup. We had to take the whole thing apart, wash it, dry it, and put it back together. Ugh! What a mess it was.
Finally 10am rolls around. Bolt the Volt has a full charge and a full tank of gas. We were off like a herd of turtles!
Bolt the Volt all charged and fueled for the trip!
For the first 60miles or so of the trip, the traffic I had dreaded didn’t materialize. I thought that we were in the clear… until I saw this on one of the electronic alert signs.
This was an understatement!
UGH! What the sign should have read was “I-5 = Parking Lot”. It was that bad! I would say a good 15miles of the trip were under 15mph. At this point, I lost all hope of actually getting into the parks that night. Once we got over the Grape Vine, Rob, being the good co-pilot that he is, found a route around most of the I-5/LA traffic. Luckily we were able to make up a little time.
Finally, we made it to our hotel. We like to stay at the Anaheim Plaza Hotel for 2 reasons:
1) The hotel is cheap! $50 bucks a night cheap.
2) The hotel is less than a block from the park entrances.
Now, the downfall is that this hotel is not great. The rooms are not pretty, and are in desperate need of a remodel. The first time we stayed at this hotel, Rob was freaked and scanned it with his special black light and looked for bugs. The room was surprisingly clean, and passed his inspection. Thus, it has become 1 of the 2 hotels we usually stay at.
It ain’t pretty… but it’s home for a few days…
Once we had unpacked and grabbed a bite to eat at the near-by California Pizza Kitchen, it was time to head over to the parks. By this time, it was already dark, and knowing the parks would be packed, we decided to head over to California Adventure first.
The California Adventure Christmas Tree
The first stop was the Mad T-Party. I had only seen the setup once during the day before and was looking forward to seeing it at night in all it’s glory.
The entrance to the Mad T-Party
I really like how the main band stage looked at night with the lamps.
Pretty Stage Lamps!
We found the White Rabbit DJ! I think his DJ booth was supposed to look like a giant hat. I think it might have been better as a giant tea cup.
The White Rabbit DJ
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum… nope… sorry… just plain dumb.
On the way out we saw Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum under the big “house of cards” stage.
Overall, I have to say I’m a little disappointed with the Mad T-Party. While there were a lot of people there, it seemed to be missing an element of interaction and energy. I don’t know how it compares to Glow Fest, but I can say one thing for sure, Electronica was much better.
We then wandered over through Bug’s Land (which is surprisingly dark) and over towards Cars Land… stopping along the way to snap a picture of the baby tractors on one of our favorite rides.
I love the baby tractors… I just want to hug them!
Cars Land was a mess of people. I really didn’t get a chance to stop and take photos without the risk of being run over.
Yup… there were a lot of people.
The sign for Fillmores… The dome is very colorfull at night!
I love the neon work in Flo’s sign.
The Radiator Springs Racer waterfall at night.
After exiting Cars Land through Cannery Row, we decided to wander on over to Disneyland.
The fountain looks so ‘purdy at night!
Like California Adventure, Disneyland was still pretty packed. I really only had one goal for Disneyland that night… to shoot It’s A Small World in all its holiday goodness. Along the way, I snapped a few more photos.
The Disneyland Christmas Tree.
They were getting ready for the parade and fireworks, so the front of the castle was closed off. I figured it was a good time to get a shot.
Lots of LEDs on this castle!
The castle is beautiful at night with all the lights… I have heard there is some sort of light show that they put on at some point in the evening. I have never seen it however. Anybody know if it is any good??
Finally we make our way over to Small World so I can take a few photos. I have always loved Christmas lights so this was pretty amazing for me. I loved basking in the warm glow of the thousands of incandescent colored lights!!
I LOVE all the lights! If I didn’t have to pay for power, I would SO do this to my house!
With that we decided it was time to head back to the hotel room. Both of us were pretty tired and starting to get cranky.
Stay tuned for Part 2… lunch at the Carthay!
First off, I want to warn you, I went a little shutter happy with my
camera. There are a TON of photos. With that, I present you with our
second and only full day at the parks.
The nice thing about going to the parks on a weekday during off
season is that they don’t open until 10am. I love the fact that we can
sleep in and take it easy. The only downside is that we don’t get to eat
breakfast in the parks because Rob needs to eat early.
After Breakfast, we head over to DCA. Figure we would get Radiator
Springs Racers out of the way. This is the first time I had been in DCA
before the rope was dropped, so this was an experience all in itself.
These are the people that we get to plow over on our way to Cars Land.
These are the people that are going to plow through us on their way to Cars Land.
…. (announcement over the loud speakers) ROPE DROP! I kid you not, I
haven’t been in a stamped like this since Wal-Mart had its Black Friday
75” TV for $100. Ok, I have never actually been to a Wal-Mart Black
Friday event, but I can imagine that they are something like this.
You would think that the crowd would quickly disperse into the rest
of the park… NOPE! All of them made that turn into Cars Land. What made
it worse was that now we had to deal with the early entry hotel people
and they were squeezing us onto the road surface.
I hope that they all have small shoes when they trample me.
Booze! Yes, I need a drink! Oh how you tease!
Caught in the current of people and strollers… (UGH! THE
STROLLERS!!!) we made that last turn in front of the Court House and
into the queue for Radiator Springs Racers. I honestly don’t think we
would have been able to exit the swarm if we tried.
The back side of a sign!
So into the queue we go. Luckily things calm down a bit so we are all able to catch our breath. We survived!
Where were you when we were on the I-5!?!?
I love all the details… especially this one. This image reminds me of my uncle who built hydro dams up north in Washington.
The spring that started it all!
You get all of this for one low price of FREE!
Looking from the queue towards the waterfall.
45 short minutes later we are on the ride and ready to start our adventure!
About to enter the first short tunnel that leads to a wonderful view of the waterfall.
All of a sudden I’m flushed with fear as I get flash-backs of Rob driving!
We survived. I smack Rob for causing my traumatic flash back due to
his insane style of driving. He quickly fired back with a “what was that
for” look of death.
EEEK! The cops! I wasn’t speeding officer, I swear! Honestly, I’m on a
track, in a car that has a weird 6 person seating configuration… um…
you’ve got the wrong car!
Good thing Mater showed up. I love the next part of the ride with the
baby tractors, but the photo turned out to be a blur of light… shucks.
Into town we go. Shouldn’t Fillmore be the one blurry and not Sarge?
Sweet! First time I get to experience the Luigi tire change… and it’s
a good thing… the current tires are feeling a little lumpy.
Looks like Doc is here to give us a pep-talk. Don’t need one with Rob
driving… he has 2 modes… mash the gas, or mash the brake… There is no
Looks like we have some fans! Love the fro going on there!
And we are off! It’s neck and neck into the steeply bank turn!
First time taking the inside line on this corner. Man I wish the
roads around my place were banked like this! It’s still neck and neck
when we start to fall behind. At the last moment we surge ahead and win
We scrub off some speed and head into the tail light caverns. Someday I will get to see this at night. I hear it really shines!
As we come to the end of the ride, we get to listen to a little bantering between Lightning and Mater.
And with that, we exit the queue. Looking back we now see that wait
time at almost 2 hrs. Good thing we survived the crowds and got on the
ride when we did.
Deciding it was time to leave Cars Land and explore the rest of
California Adventure, I snap a quick shot of the Cars Land Snow…Car…
Where do we go now? Rob and I both hate making decisions… so, it
usually ends up that while at the parks I make all the decisions.
Otherwise, we just walk around in circles… and that’s no fun!
Frustrated, Rob and I make a deal… He will make ALL the decisions for
the day as long as I don’t countermand them. The moment I do, I have to
then take over all decision making. This is going to take some will
power on my part.
So, Rob makes the decision to go ride California Screamin. There was
only a 20min wait in the standby line so it wasn’t that bad. We are just
about to climb the stairs when over the loud speaker they tell us to
please exit the queue and that the ride is closed.
It looks like something pretty major broke because it still wasn’t running when we lined up for World of Color.
Not a problem, we can hit Midway Mania… the only video type thing
where I can actually beat Rob. Wait… nope… not going to happen… it is
also closed. UGH!
Rob then decrees that we shall ride Silly Swings Symphony. Last time I was on this ride, it was still a giant Orange.
Don’t let Rob know, but I have never been a huge fan of this ride. I
just picture the chains breaking and getting flung into the lake.
Next it’s over to Goofy’s Flight School. Nope… it’s also down at the
moment, but they expect it to open again soon if we want to wait with
the rest of the people in line. We both looked at each other and decided
to pass on it. If we REALLY wanted to ride it, we could come back to
That takes us over to the Little Mermaid. At this point I’m guessing
you can figure out the route we are taking through the park. I love the
Little Mermaid because it always has a short wait and is a nice rest for
the feet. I just wish they ran it a little slower so we can soak in all
Me, trying to sing “Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat… don’t you think my collections complete…” As Rob prays I lose my voice.
It’s time to PARTY!! I of course start to sing along again… ”Life under the sea is better than anything they have up there!”
“Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter take it from me!”
“Do here all the fish is happy… da fish on d’land ain’t happy… their
sad ‘cause their in the bowl… Under the sea! Under the Sea…”
At this point Rob is trying to take his shoe off so he can gag me
with his sock. Lucky for me the restraint bars help prevent this! I get
the hint… for now.
I have to admit, Ursula is one of my all time favorite villains. Get
rid of all the evil magic stuff, and I think she might make a great hag.
OOOP! Time to sing again… “Sha la la la la la, float along, listen to
the song, and kiss the girl… You wanna kiss the girl” What could Ariel
be thinking about in this photo? “Did I leave the iron on?” “Why does
his breath smell like crab cakes?” “Man there is a lot of fish spit in
But fret not my fellow readers, I have stopped singing… oh and Ariel gets the hunky Prince in the end.
So, off the ride we jump, I beg Rob to ride it again, but nope, he’s
not having any of it… or he couldn’t hear me because his ears are
bleeding. Either way, we continue onto the next attraction…
Next up on the list is Grizzly River Run. Rob, knowing what is best
for him, suggests that we skip the ride. To set the record straight, I
don’t dislike this ride at all. What I don’t like about the ride is the
fact that no matter what, I will get SOAKED and everyone else will be
bone dry. Even the ponchos that you can buy don’t help. I’m like a
sponge and the water just finds a way to me. There is nothing worse the
walking around the parks in wet shoes and pants.
Heading towards Soarin’ to grab a fast pass we see these lovely ladies singing.
We don’t usually watch these little side shows, but we found this one really cute!
With that, we decide it’s time to head back to the hotel room to relax a bit and get ready for our late lunch…
Do be do be do be dooooo, do be do be do…do – do do do do do
And were back! I told you that this was going to be a long trip
report. Maybe I should have broken it down into more parts… oh well…
I do have to apologize for the next few photos. They were taken in
low light with my iPhone. My normal camera was stashed in my backpack
under the table, and I thought it would be rude to the other dinners to
try and get it out.
So, it’s 3:30 and we are racing back to California Adventure for our late lunch at the Carthay Theater Restaurant.
This place is fancy! Not as fancy as Club 33, which I would LOVE to
go again someday… but still fancier then most the dining establishments
in the Parks.
Along with the many, MANY cocktails Rob and I consumed, I had their
hamburger as my main entrée and Rob, wanting to try something new… and
ethically questionable, had the Veal. I tried my best not to give him
too much grief. Both meals were very good and filling.
In order to get our special World Of Color seats, we had to both
order an entrée and either a appetizer or desert. Rob ordered these
cheesy puff backed ball things for the appetizer. For the desert, I
ordered this amazing lemon blue berry thing. Needless to say, we both
felt like intoxicated pigs leaving that place!
Rob then make the decision to waddle over to Disneyland to ride Space
Mountain. Nothing says fun like riding a rollercoaster while buzzed and
stuffed to the gills with copious amounts of food.
Ah, that magical time of day when the sun has set, the sky is blue, and the lights have just come on.
Onwards we march towards the mountain!
Who doesn’t like phallic looking objects!
You know, I wish they would just bring back some form of the people
mover. I hate this thing… but thought it was interesting with the moon
in the background. Yes, that white spot thing is the moon.
Still feeling that we needed time to let the food digest, we came to
the conclusion that it would be a bad idea to ride Space Mountain at
that time. So, since we were there, Rob decided that Captain EO was to
be next on the list…. Since they were just about the start the show
anyways and cast members were out front begging people to watch it.
Rob and I had to fight our way through the throngs of people to make
it to the doors. Actually there were like 10 other suckers… I mean
people there in the theater with us. Now, I’m not saying the show is bad
per say… but it’s not… good. Actually strike that, it is pretty bad. I
mean, at some point it might have been good… but that point in time has
long passed. As Rob stated, “This is time I’ll never get back.”
After that, we head over to the Matterhorn.
Man, they took all the fun out of the ride with the new cars. Not to
mention, it seems much, much rougher. I use to love this ride… not so
The parade is going on at this point, so we figured it would be a
great time to ride It’s A Small World, if we can find a way across the
I can hear the little children singing already… Rob, I’m scared!
Man, that is one chilly cloud!
Ok, can someone please explain to me what is going on in this
picture? There seems to be something fuzzy in a boat… and what the heck
is that in the window? I mean, I have some ideas… but none of them
should be on a “family” ride!
Oh you naughty holiday Cancan girls! You show off those bloomers!
And kick turn kick turn kick turn kick turn… I’m dizzy.
Shouldn’t this psychedelic Zebra be over with the Woozles?
Like most cats, this one is also sleeping on the job, surrounded by his servents.
Oh stop Miss Hippo. Stop flirting with those bedroom eyes of yours!
Look! It’s the Little Mermaid… Shelly! No wait, that’s not right… oh yeah, Ariel.
Ok, I have to admit that this is my favorite scene in the entire ride. I love Lilo and Stitch!
Hula Girls – Shaken, not stirred… as it should be. I’m craving a Martini now.
We can’t forget the Alligator. From his pose, I would say he’s much
more of a “singing in the rain” gator then It’s A Small World.
Time for the grand finally… bring it on home kids!
At this point, we look at our watches… er cell phones… and see that
it’s time to head back over to California Adventure to catch World of
To say I like this show is an understatement. I could watch it over
and over and over again, and still not be tired of it. I just go nuts
for water shows, and this one takes the cake.
As soon as the show ends, over the speakers they announce that DCA
has closed. WE CLOSED A PARK!! I haven’t done that in years! It sucks
Stay tuned for Part 3… it won’t be nearly as long as part 2, I promise!