From the better late than never category, I thought I had better type down a few words while they were still in my head. Plus, this is the first opportunity in two weeks I've had to sit down and relax a bit. I'm on holiday, so naturally I've done nothing but be on the go for two solid weeks. This is by no means a comprehensive trip report, but more of a reflections/impressions for the interested. I've also got a few photos linked below, but I didn't take as many this time out.
This was my first trip back to the US from Sydney in almost two and a half years. As such, I was pretty excited to be getting back to Disneyland, as there had been a number of changes since my last visit, and a couple of things left unfinished.
We elected to stay at the Grand Californian this time out, largely due to the quick walk-through we'd had on the last trip. Let me tell you, after travelling for the better part of a day (a 13 hour flight, plus airport waiting times and transfers) - and because of the time difference being on my second Monday of the week - we were very pleased with the sight of such a magnificent hotel and such wonderful service. Even though we arrived before check-in time, the staff were very accommodating and even gave us a minor upgrade to a park-view corner room (well, we could see the park; the pool and the ongoing construction, but it was nice). A quick cat-nap and a trip to the gym later, we felt like new people and set off for our evening's reservations at the Napa Rose. After airline food for a day, anything would have tasted good, but this was worth every penny. The excellent server/sommelier catered to our every need, and I was even presented with a custom 'Vegetarian Tower' by the Chef, which burst with flavour in every bite. Coupled with some excellent Californian wines (including a delicious Tantara Pinot Noir), I finished the meal off with a decadent dessert and accompanying Bonny Doon wine.
Nemo Subs were the first order of the day in our park visit, as they were constructed since my last visit. Despite the earlier start to the day, it took us well over an hour to get from line to ride, and I must say that it wasn't my favourite. Still, as the subs were one of my favourite memories from my 1987 visit; it was nice to revisit such a fun childhood experience. From there, we kind of just went about the day doing all those little things we wanted to do again, and things that had changed since our last visit. POTC and HM followed in quick succession, and several goes on Indy filled parts of the first day. We naturally rode the mountain ranges over the course of our two days spent in DLR (split with a Day 2 visit to DCA), but I rode Splash Mountain - as always - alone. (Still can't convince the girlfriend to go on that again). After several more rides that slip my mind (I feel fairly certain we did a bunch of dark rides), a much-craved sundae on Main Street and a character greet with Mickey later, we made our way to Frontierland for a meal at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. What a lovely spot to have a burrito! We left the park a little early, and probably still half jet-lagged, to return to those lovely GCH pillows.
In DCA, I also made a point of riding those things I didn't get to last time or have cropped up since. Monsters Inc was a classic dark ride that I think has made a fine addition to the park, and the Food and Wine Festival in full swing is a good concept, as what is more fun than food? That said, whoever though of the Bakery Tour as a concept is either a mad genius or just stoned. Couldn't drag my better half onto California Screamin', but I loved every second of it (and did it again the next day). It was, in fact, closed on my last visit, and my thrill ride addiction has intensified since then...this of course led me back to the source of my addiction, The Tower of Terror (another solo ride).
This has become far more involved than I originally planned, but it was nice to reflect on the holiday so far. After living out of a suitcase for several weeks (and I'm not even half way yet), it's nice to have this reflection time. I enjoyed my revisit to DLR, especially given the hotel, and as I sit here in the Contemporary Resort in Florida planning my next few days of theme park, I wonder if I will ever grow tired of the whole 'Disney' thing. With Hong Kong two stops after this, I surely hope not! That said, it may be quite some time before I get back to the US, but thanks for having me folks! Hope I wasn't too painful