Not too much exciting during the travel portion of our second day. We got up, had a nice breakfast, drove to SEA-TAC, yada yada yada.
It actually took us longer to find a parking spot than it did to get through security.
Flight was fine. We are used to great service and food when we fly Alaska in First Class. The service was still excellent, but the food has been “COVID-ED” down to cold plated. I had pre-ordered a Pho plate, not realizing it would be cold. It was still fine, but I would have preferred it warm. Tracey’s cheese plate was really good. High quality cheese and delicious crackers.
4:00 PM – We’ve landed, got our bags, and one quick shuttle later, arrived at the Disneyland Hotel! And we are really overdressed, as we are dressed for Seattle cold and rain – not the 91F we have landed to. The first three days of our trip are forecasted to be crazy hot for mid-November. We are at the DLH just for one night, as tomorrow we transition to the Grand Californian for the balance of our stay.
After check-in we head up to our room, a perfectly comfortable Standard room overlooking Tangeroa Terrace Restaurant and Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar. We try to check those out but they are just crazy busy. Today is “Dapper Day’, when guests are encouraged to dress in their best “Dapper” outfits. We see a lot of people dressed like that, having a lot of fun. Good for them pushing through with those outfits in this heat.
5:00 PM – After a little shopping (Tracey has already purchased two sets of ears), we wait in line to get on the walk-up list for Naples Pizzeria. This is the only night of our trip that we don’t have dinner reservations. The lineup only takes us 4-5 minutes to get to the front, where they take our name and phone number and tell us they will text us when our table is ready. They say it will be around 35 minutes.
We head to World of Disney to do a little more shopping, and they are pretty close on their estimation as it’s about a half hour before we get that text. They are testing out a new ‘Shop in Store’ system where guests can use the Disneyland app to scan their own goods, pay securely online, and then go to a desk to have your items bagged up. No lineups! We use it and absolutely love it, as this place is busy and the lineups not insignificant. Anything they can do to keep people out of lineups and enjoying the resort (ie spending more money) is a positive thing.
We get a very comfortable ‘high-top’ table outside and enjoy a very nice meal. Our server, Hannah, is top-notch. We order a couple glasses of wine, one white (Sauvignon Blanc) which is very good, one red (Nero d’Avola) which is awful. With dinner we have a nice bottle of Barolo. Full details on the meal can be found on the vlog which you can see here.
After dinner we meander back to the room, taking in some of the live entertainment and just enjoying the evening. Downtown Disney is hopping tonight. We notice that the Xmas decorations have not yet arrived at DD (they have in the parks). Hopefully that changes very soon.
10:00 PM – After editing the vlog and trying to upload it (not sure why it is taking so long), I join the wife in bed. We are going to be up early tomorrow to do something we’ve never done here before: open the park! Rope drop! Stay tuned…..
5:30 AM – Well that’s a little earlier than planned but whatever. I think Tracey has her alarm set for 6ish. I have lots to do, even though we didn’t really unpack for our one-night stay in this hotel, I have to get all of our new purchases into our suitcases and re-pack all the electronics as we will have to check out before we head to the park. The Bell desk will take all of our luggage and transport it to the Grand Californian so it will be waiting for us when we return later this afternoon
I’ll tell ya, there is no denying that rooms at the Disneyland Resort are pricey. But one of the things you get for your money? A good night’s sleep. The beds at the Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando are the most comfortable we have EVER slept in, in our entire lives. And we’re really old, so that’s a lot of nights of comparison!! IIRC, the Grand Californian beds are just as good or really close, and this bed at the Disneyland Hotel was just a tiny notch down. SO comfortable, and I feel really rested. Even the wife seems rested, and the last time she got up at 6 AM was during the Nixon Administration.
I’m going to pay for that comment. Chances are when she reads it we are going to see the emergence of Grouchy Bear, fresh from hibernation and full of piss and vinegar.
7:00 AM – Gotta be on the ball to get into a ‘Boarding Group” for the Rise of the Resistance ride. You get two chances: 7 AM and Noon. I am on the ball, but apparently not enough so, as it starts at 7 AM and was sold out before it got to 7:01. Oh well, I would imagine today, being Sunday, is the busiest day we are going to experience while we are here, so we will try again later.
7:30 AM – Our bellman arrives and we explain to him we need them to take our bags and move them over to the Grand Californian, where we will be checking in later this afternoon. He understands and agrees to do so, no problem, as you’d expect Disney is very accommodating to this sort of thing.
We’re off to the park! Through security and into the park, and we both have goosebumps. It’s been around 3 years since we’ve been here, but given the state of the world in the recent past, it feels like 3 decades.
First things first, we talk to a cast member about their Disability program. We used this at Walt Disney World last year but have never used it here. It’s a different program, basically it amounts to the same as a Fastpass, where we get a return time to certain attractions so that Tracey doesn’t have to stand in long lines. Another bonus is that we can use our ‘waiting’ time to do anything we want, including other attractions with shorter lines.
Getting to the park for rope drop is the way to go! I mean, who needs sleep? Or breakfast??
We start our vacation as we normally do, on Pirates of the Caribbean. We also ride Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Indiana Jones….all before 10 AM!! We tested out the ‘return time’ system on Indiana Jones, only to save not that much time at all. Just like with Fastpasses, you end up joining the regular queue at some point, and it varies ride to ride. On Indiana, you join the line at the point you enter the building, leaving a lot of queue left before you get to ride. It’s not that busy now (the posted 30 minute wait time was high), so no big deal, we don’t have to wait that long anyway.
We also use the service at Space Mountain, to avoid the 45-minute wait time. We get our return time (there is about an hour’s grace, so we can return anytime from 35-minutes to one hour and 35 minutes from now) and while we are waiting do a little shopping and also hop on Buzz Lightyear, where Tracey beats me again. I am shaking my head, because I even watched a YouTube video on how to beat that damn ride and I STILL CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT!! It’s like I know which targets to hit, but still can’t manage to hit ’em. Epic fail!
10:10 AM – We arrive at the French Market to pick up our food, which we had Mobile Ordered from the app. Tracey has a corn chowder sourdough bowl which she describes as very much like creamed corn. My beef po’ boy is really, really tasty. In addition, we pick up our first Holiday themed treat of the trip: This monstrous (in more ways than one) cookie.
It’s really good, but really sweet. Probably too sweet for a lot of people. My sweet tooth loves it, but only in moderation. It’s so huge we can only eat about 3/4 of it between us.
2:00 PM – We are tired and it’s time to head out for now, we are going to take the Monorail out of the park and head to the hotel and see if we get lucky and get into our room a little before the 4 PM check-in time. Well, that WAS the plan. How hot is it today? So hot that the Monorail is shut down due to the heat. In November. The cast members say they can’t remember it ever being shut down in November before.
So, we leave the park the old-fashioned way, with our feet. It’s already been a great day, a great trip, and there is so much more to see and do.
I hop into the check-in line but a cast member notices I have already done the ‘online check-in’ so he pulls me out of the line and finishes the check-in details with me in just a minute or two. Our room isn’t quite ready yet, so we sit in the lobby to relax and enjoy the live piano player for a little while. After an hour and a half, we get our room number via the app and head up to our room! They have just implemented a new system where you can access your room via the app on your phone, which we used on our last trip to Florida. It works great.
Well, it worked great in Florida.
This is where things start to go off the rails a bit…..
Doesn’t work here, for us, at all. Luckily there is a kindly maid in the area who lets us into the room so we can drop off the stuff we are carrying. We’ll have to go back to the front desk later to get that sorted out so that we can get back into the room!
4:00 PM – We call down to Bell to get our bags brought up, only to be told it will be about a half hour. Since we have dinner reservations at 4:30, and we have to be in the room to accept the bags, we decide to leave them there and call back later.
4:30 PM – We arrive at Splitsville, the new (to us) sports bar/bowling alley in Downtown Disney. We figure if dinner takes longer than normal, we’ll watch the start of the Chiefs/Raiders Sunday Night Football game here. Not necessary, though, as we are done so quickly that we are able to get back to the hotel around kickoff time.
Tracey has a pretty pedestrian burger. I have “macho nachos” which are really quite good. What makes them “macho”? Well, they have the normal stuff on them, plus black beans and corn, and they are covered in an avocado ranch crema. It’s a big odd, but really good!
5:15 PM – Tracey heads to a shop to pick something up while I go to the front desk to try to get some physical keys to the room. I have to stand in line again, but it doesn’t take too long until a nice cast member helps me out and gets me some keys. I get up to the room shortly after kickoff and Tracey arrives shortly thereafter. Remember my comment about things going “off the rails a bit”? Not over yet.
We call down to Bell and are told that it will be 30-40 minutes for our bags to arrive. The lineup at the bell desk was very long, they are obviously having quite a day. No big deal, we are just going to relax in the room for the rest of the evening anyway.
About an hour later, our bellman arrives…..with someone else’s luggage. Hmm. He has our tag, our name, our room, but not our luggage. He seems totally perplexed. I describe our luggage to him, and he heads down to solve the issue.
About 40 minutes after he leaves, he calls us to tell us that they found our luggage, and that it was never moved over from the Disneyland Hotel! Good grief. Anyway, they are having it rushed over and will bring it up ASAP.
8:00 PM – Our luggage finally arrives. Our bellman is very apologetic (not that HE had anything to do with this screwup). By this time we are pretty exhausted from a very long day, so it’s nice to be able to finally unpack for our 6-night stay and get to bed. We are sleeping in tomorrow (well, ONE of us is sleeping in..more on that in tomorrow’s entry) before hitting Disney’s California Adventure for some rides, a couple of meals, and general merriment.
9:00 PM – BANG. BANG. BANG.
FIREWORKS!! And we have the best room in the place to watch them from our patio. This was unscheduled although we had heard rumors they might happen. It is their “Believe in Holiday Magic” show, which I am pretty sure had not yet returned since the park closed for the pandemic. Very exiting.
For a full viewing, check out the vlog, volume 42 (as I post this blog, that vlog is not yet up).
That’s it for tonight. That was a big, long day, and it’s time for some sleep. Five more big days to come!