We've just completed six trips in six months! I know for a lot of you this is nothing, but its a pretty big deal for this family. I never got around to reporting on Mays trip, so I'll just do May & June now. We stayed at the Castle Inn both trips. We paid $57 in May, and $112 in June. Their newly remodeled rooms are very nice, and you simply cant beat the price within that proximity to the park. I cant explain it, but theres a much better "vibe" there than at our old usual hotel, the Desert Inn. Plus, they let us leave our car in the parking lot before and after check in/out. Im pretty sure this is our new favorite place to stay. Everything was brand new too! New paint & wallpaper, updated furniture, we felt like royalty - pun totally intended.
At this point, we have relaxed into our visits. We have seen and done everything several times over, so theres no longer an urgent need to see and do it all again. We have been soaking in the ambiance and seeking out hidden details and experiences. This is how Disneyland is meant to be enjoyed. We usually take 1-3 trips a year, always in the autumn and winter, so these warmer months have been new to us. During our May trip, Anaheim hit triple digits (103)! So we spent a lot of time indoors, exploring the galleries & shops. The June trip was not as hot, but the crowds were definitely heavier. And you know what? It wasnt so bad! We havent been to DL during the summer since my first trip in 1994, but I dont think we'll be as timid about it in the future. It was comedic how many rides were shut down right as we reached the line, but they all opened back up quickly, and we were completely distracted by the Compass Quest anyway. Disneyland in the summer, especially Main Street in all it's red, white, & blue glory, fills me with nostalgia. Im happy we confronted that fear of summer crowds.
We got to view the Aladdin show from the balcony, and I was super excited to see the carpet flying again. The CM/usher standing behind us was also very excited. She laughed, sighed, and sang louder than any of us who hadnt already seen it three times that day. I still havent decided if that was adorable or annoying, but it was definitely interesting.
We played Fix-It Felix! And we saw the Iron Man exhibit. Im not a big Marvel person, but the display is quite impressive. We watched Beauty & the Beast in the new Fantasy Faire Theater, an outstanding performance, as usual. We met princesses in their new meet & greet area. Man, I wish this place had existed while my daughter was in her princess phase. Fighting princess lines left such a bad taste in my mouth back then, I almost lost my magic. But this set up is MUCH easier to manage, and I love how personalized the experience feels.
Something surprising to me has been how much Ive enjoyed the flora & fauna in the parks. Each season, Im excited to find the new changes and photograph all the new wild colors. I would love to take the horticulture tour sometime, but its a little too expensive and no one in my group has any interest in joining me. So they just have to stand by while I examine & take pictures.
In June, we got to see Mickey & the Magical Map. I know this is getting negative reviews, but I thought it was a spectacular production! Yes, it is princess oriented, but c'mon! Princesses are a huge part of the Disney legacy, they should be spotlighted. I laughed, I cried, I got that magical feeling. I thought it was great. And we really enjoyed the Compass Quest Scavenger Hunt too! We had three maps, and intentionally missed so many on each map so we would have three levels of success (in case there were different prizes). Nope, we all got the same prize, a sticker. But the real prize was in the hunt and the moments shared with other guest in the park. Disney has a way of bringing people together in a way that they wouldnt on the "outside." I spotted several props & set pieces from the old Snow White production. Im wondering if this was a nod to the old, or just recycling.
I encountered a Mulan who was suddenly abandoned by her handler. Of course, people began to flock and overwhelm her, but this girl handled it better than any character Ive ever seen. She took control and asserted herself over the crowd. She organized a line and kept all of these people under control, all while exhibiting class and charm, just as one would expect from Mulan. I was so impressed with her.
Ive enjoyed watching the progression of construction with both Fantasy Faire & Thunder Mtn. Frontierland may be my favorite land, and I was so happy to have the walkway re-opened. We even managed to watch the running of the goats, which will be a tradition from now on. Maybe its just me, but the CMs who work with the animals seem to be a class all their own. I like them. Theyre my kind of people.
Another tradition that we've established is stalking the tables at Riverbelle Terrace, and grabbing what I think is the best view of Fantasmic (within our price range). But my absolute favorite part of any trip is always the fireworks! The new display isnt as cool as the tour of DL display, or the holiday displays, but its still very very nice. I cant help but sit there, face transfixed into a stupid grin. They just make me feel so happy! Nothing in the world compares to Disney fireworks, nothing!
I also love overcast days. The whole park could use a little new paint, but on overcast days the colors pop and you can remember how they looked in the beginning. This is especially true in Toowtown.
The food! I cannot post about DL without talking about the food. My new favorite thing is Maurices Boysenberry/Apple Freeze. I crave these daily now. They are heaven in a neat little stein. Another craving I have now is the cheese stick/dog from Corndog Castle. I bet it could clog an artery, no problem, and Im willing to take that risk. We ate at Cafe Orleans, and I dont get the hype. It was definitely nice, but I thought it was overpriced. The Pomme Frites are good, if only they were sold somewhere other than a sit-down restaurant. The Monte Crisco was not as good as I thought it would be. The carne asada at Rancho Del Zocalo is my husbands favorite. In Tomorrowland, I am not a fan of the bland & messy chicken sandwich with avocado salsa, but their french toast is to die for, and I dont even like french toast! We tried the broccoli & cheese potato at Harbor Galley, and it was delicious! We're going to have to try the other potatoes on future trips, because that was really good!
And so we're back and facing down an entire summer without Disneyland. I feel less afraid of the summer crowds, but Im still pretty afraid of Anaheim summer heat. So until our next trip in September, Im just going to have to find other ways to entertain my Disney obsession. Ive been adding POVs to my youtube playlist, and planning our costumes for Halloween. I have thousands of pictures to organize, and copycat recipes to try. And who knows, we may end up in southern California and drop by for a small fix anyway. These past few months have been incredible! I dont know how we ever survived without our super awesome wonderful APs, or how we're going to survive without them since we couldnt really afford them before the price increase, and have no intention to renew at this price. But this has been the best six months of my life, and I am so looking forward to the next six!
I love Disneyland!!
A few pics....
Main Street USA
Running of the Goats
You can see my entire "Crappy Camera Tours" here ...
Disneyland 2013 Photos by Dandelion_Girl | Photobucket