Well I have not yet quite finished writing the trip report yet, so I'm going to post it as I put it up. I have a couple days written now, but in order the keep it to some sort of schedule to start, I'm going to try to do a day a week. That will hopefully change after this week though since I'm getting ready to get my finals done and then I won't have anymore excuses! Hopefully, since there was some time between me starting and (eventually) finishing, I won't repeat myself too much. Anyway, I hope you enjoy so I can make this the first of many trip reports to come!


---------- Post added 04-29-2012 at 06:40 PM ----------

Day 1

My girlfriend, Morgan, and I have been wanting to write a trip report for quite some time now, so this is going to be my second-first attempt at this. Originally, I wrote about 4 pages of our Walt Disney World trip last July, but never got the time to follow through with completing it. Hopefully, if this one is a success, I will have to turn back the clock and get around to finishing that one - it is never too late, but Iíll leave that up to those of you that actually end up reading this! In the meantime, here goes:

As any vacation to Disney goes, the journey ďstartsĒ at the airport, and with waking up somewhere around 3:30am, this journey itself feels like a long one. This was our first time flying out of OíHare, but no worries, it has a McDonaldís just like just about every airport Iíve ever been in. Because after all, what is a trip anywhere without starting the day off right with a sausage McMuffin and hash brown? The wait to get on the plane after that was not very long, but still very boring nonetheless. This was also our first time flying Virgin America. Besides not getting free snacks along the fairly long (4.5 hour flight), the flight was overall a good one. It was nice to be able to watch TV or follow along with the flight on the gps they have with their RED system. But in the realm of Disney trip reports, that is the boring stuff so weíll skip ahead to the good stuff.

Okay, I lied - not off to a good start - but I still think the layover in SFO was interesting stuff. After all, we were able to get our favorite California airport snack - Pinkberry! It is a must whenever we see it since we fell in love with it the first time we went to California.

NOW letís skip ahead, we landed, and shuttled to our ďhotel,Ē which was terrible, but more on that boring stuff later. It was a quick walk to the ticket office - only about 15 minutes or so. Morgan still had to pick up her tickets that she bought online, and I was ready to get my first ever annual pass. I went with the premier annual pass since we are planning an August trip to Walt Disney World, so it should pay for itself over the course of the two trips.

As it turns out, the weather back home in Chicago was much nicer than Anaheim on this particular St. Patrickís Day. It rained just about the entire day and night. We got to the park right around 4pm and the rain picked up a bit as we walked the short walk from the ticket booths to the Disneyland (park) entrance so we decided to bite the bullet and get a poncho. We knew from our last trip to the World that rain does not make for a great photo taking day (and I love taking photos) but we were just glad to be on vacation. We werenít going to let a little rain and cold get the better of us!

We didnít get many attractions done this day. We started by getting fastpasses for our favorite Disneyland specific ride - Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. We then decided we were too hungry to be able to brave the cold so soon, and made our way over to Redd Rocketís Pizza Port since we had not yet eaten there on a previous trip, thinking that they only had pizza, and we had since heard good things about the Chicken fusilli. Fortunately for us, the good things we heard happened to be true and I would gladly make my way over there again - maybe to split the dish and something else. Have to diversify the eating!

Since we were already right there and it was time again for us to be able to get a fastpass, we grabbed one for Space Mountain and then headed over to see what the wait was at our overall favorite ride - Pirates of the Caribbean. Since the weather was not good at all, there was absolutely no line there and we were able to walk on. I have always loved the version at Magic Kingdom, but this one blows the MK version out of the water. The start in the bayou with Blue Bayou overlooking and then extended skeleton scenes all make this version - in my opinion - so much better.

No need to expose your superstructure. by BretJMiller, on Flickr

After that, we headed over to another favorite (I guess just about every ride is a favorite in some way or another) Haunted Mansion. After that, we used our Indy fastpasses, took some pictures, used the Space Fastpass, grabbed another for Indy and then headed over to Winnie the Pooh since it always seems to be a walk on at Disneyland. (I know I ran through quite a bit of rides there, but Iím sure most of you have experience them all and know exactly what they are like, and donít worry, we rode them a lot so Iíll have plenty more opportunities to bore you all with my opinions of them.)

It was right about this time when we decided we needed to start heading out of the park because we were supposed to meet our friends Missy and Joey for dinner. This happened to be a perfect day for it since it kept us busy a couple hours and the fireworks had been canceled because of the rain. Now for the life of me, I donít know why I didnít take any pictures of them, with them or of the food we all ate, but we did have a good time chatting. We went to Ralph Brennanís Jazz Kitchen, but we didnít really get meals, it was more of a couple appetizers. The group appetizer was pretty good, with some shrimp, ribs, calamari and something else. If it didnít stick out, it must not have been fantastic. It was at this time, where we met our suave server whose name escapes me right now. Iíll try to ask Morgan later and see if she remembers. Then as our meal, we had a trio of their soups - none of which were impressive. The cornbread, however, was my favorite thing there. It was a cajun cornbread that had some flavor to it that I still cannot pinpoint what it was, but overall, it was good.

We had a good time, and then they had to leave, so we decided we would head back into the park for a little while. We headed over to grab another fastpass for Space and then decided we would go ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It is always a way better experience at night even though we knew it would be a very cold ride. The whole thing went well, as expected then all of a sudden we were wondering why we were, yet again, getting wet. Of course I had my camera out at the time and had to rush that back into my bag and we threw our ponchos on ran into some gift shops. Luckily, most of the rain held off until we got the ponchos on. It would have been nice if it would have at least waited until we got off Big Thunder. At that point, I was too fed up with the rain to do anything else and all I wanted to do was eat.

We saw the cupcakes earlier and decided we would have to head back to try them. There was a special one for St. Patrickís Day that I had my eye one even though I donít usually like chocolate cake. Turns out, it was a thick buttercream - MINT - frosting. It made the entire thing amazing. If only I could have one right now. The lemon strawberry cupcake was much more disappointing at the frosting was thin and the cupcake itself was nothing special. The best part of that one was the delicious strawberry ...jam? center. The chocolate mint cupcake was easily the winner of this battle, and it turns out Ö of the trip.

I was still starving so I went over to the refreshment corner and bought myself a jalapeno cheese filled pretzel and ate it across the street as we wandered through the gift shops to stay dry. Morgan was uncomfortably cold at this point so she rather enjoyed being sheltered from the cold. I noticed that the rain had let up so I let her stay warm and decided to get a few shots of the park for a little while. For as few photos as I was able and willing to take this day, I did end up with one of my favorite that I have taken to date in this castle photo. I think it is more of an achievement in post processing than a great photo, but I love it.

Rainy Day at Disneyland by BretJMiller, on Flickr

Morgan came and got me from taking pictures around the hub and we decided to ride Indy one last time before we called it a night and made our way back to our hotel. After a nice short walk back, I uploaded my pictures and passed out for the night, eagerly awaiting my breakfast the next morning at La Brea, and a full day at Disney California Adventure.