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Trip Report 2018-2019 A Year in the Land (Disneyland)...a multi-trip report


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Original Poster
Saturday June 22, 2019

We finally made it to Palm Springs and our first stop was a tiki bar, it was time for dinner and drinks! The tiki bar was called the Tonga Hut. The drinks were good and the food was tasty, it was dark but it was fun.

I got a drink called a Dr. Funk, it was sweet and sour. Brad got a mai tai

Teriyaki steak skewers and Polynesian ribs

I got the locco mocco, it was good, and when I put some of the leftover teriyaki sauce on it that really bumped it up.

Brad got the Kahlua pork

Inside the Hut





After the Tonga Hut we checked into our hotel, it was a Best Western but it was in a nice location. Check in was a bit of a bummer, we found out that we were on the 3rd floor and the elevator was out. So we had to lug our bags up all the stairs and it was hot out. Then we just unpacked a few things and relaxed for the rest of the night. I think Brad was happy to have tv again.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Whew, I just read the first 26 pages. It looked like a really fun solo trip! I was wondering about the lack of crowds at disneyland???? Honestly, where are all the people? Some of those pictures look empty or with very few people. It looks perfect.

Now to start on the next chapter:)
Hi thanks for reading! It was a fun solo trip, I was just amazed at the lack of crowds in April that was was nothing compared to June!


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Original Poster
Sunday June 23, 2019

Today we were headed to Joshua Tree park. The plan was to get to the park early and so some trails and see some sights before it got too unreasonably hot. The visitor's center didn't open until 8am so when we got there we had about a 20 minute wait, we could have gone into the park but to be honest we didn't know much about the park. So we wanted to talk to a ranger and get an idea of which trails would be good for us and that was a great plan. The ranger marked the maps, gave approximate times on the how long it would take to hike the trails and warned us of areas that were currently having bee infestations. There was one area that the ranger said they would have to close off soon because the bees were getting so bad. He said to be careful if we went in that area because bees would get into the car's vents and start circulating in the car! Yikes! Brad and I both agreed to avoid that area.

At the visitors center we saw this sign, it was very serious but it also struck us as funny. The park also sold things with the DO NOT DIE TODAY logo on them.


We started our first hike after driving about 10 minutes into the park. The trail was to Hidden Valley that had been used for cattle grazing, so yes I guess we went to Hidden Valley Ranch.






Me and a Joshua Tree


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Sunday June 23 2019

While hiking the trail, we came across a cheese plant! WHAT?! Cheese doesn't grow on plants, I wish though. I guess it just smelled like cheese, supposedly. It didn't seem to smell like it to me. Near the end of the trail there were some petroglyphs we came across a few of them, I guess there was more by B wanted to head to the next trail area..

This is the cheese plant.



A cool lizard just hanging out upside down on a rock. The trail for Hidden Valley took us about 35 minutes, the ranger had said 40. We were feeling really good about ourselves, the trail had a lot of rocks to climb over and up. It wasn't too hot yet, low/mid 80's so we were ready for more.

The next trail we went to was Barker's Dam. There was a small water area, not as much as we expected.






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Original Poster
Sunday June 23, 2019 Joshua Tree National Park

The Barker Dam trail was supposed to take 40 minutes but this trail took us about 50 minutes, we stopped a lot more on this trail. By the time we were done it was getting hotter, higher 80's to low 90's now. The next trail, I can't remember the name, was a short one that took us past a lot of Joshua Trees. This trail was also very flat, the trail was supposed to take about 10 minutes and that's about what we spent on it. There were a lot of interesting views with the Joshua Trees.





There were some benches on this trail, we like to enjoy a good bench. We could not enjoy these as they were blazing hot. Who's idea was it to put benches in the blazing sun in the desert? No shade, no sit.

After this trail we drove to the big rocks trail. We were planning to hike it until we came upon the Skull Rock formation. The Skull Rock formation was right along the road side so we walked up to it and did a few pictures. We asked each other if we wanted to hike any more of the trail, by now it was hot.





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Original Poster
Sunday June 23, 2019

We drove through the lower valley area of the desert park, there are actually two deserts there. The two deserts are the Colorado and the Mojave. It was barren but beautiful. We mostly just drove through down to the south exit/visitor's center and then drove back to the North Entrance that led to 29 Palms. One stop we made was at the Cholla Cactus Garden.

This was remnants of a silver mine


At the Cactus Garden. The cactus garden was cool, but none of the informational signs there were. There were posts for them but nothing. There were, however, a lot of bees. At the entrance to the garden there was a first aid kid, I'm assuming it had supplies for stings or if someone was stupid enough to touch the sharp cactus.





Continuing through the desert




Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Sunday June 23, 2019

It was around 1pm when we headed out of the park. We drove down to the north entrance visitor center in 29 Palms and looked around at the gift shop. I bought a Joshua Tree seed set for both me and my niece. I don't think either of us have tried to grow it yet, someday soon..

Well, actually we just exited.


After the visitor center we needed some food and we were hangry. I had packed some small snacks of almonds but that didn't seem to hold us over. We have seen so many Del Tacos around and we actually had been though thought of going to one for lunch. Seeing a Del Taco before this and even after this became a joke to us, there were just so many around.

We really enjoyed our lunch.... A LOT. We didn't know if it was because we were so hungry or it was so good. I'll go with it was so good. The cheese is shredded in house which is cool, there were even decent sized chunks of it in the tacos.


Nom nom nom nom!

After lunch we had planned to just head back to Palm Springs and go swimming at the pool. On the way we devised a different plan. Walt Disney fans will recall that Walt had a residence in Palm Springs at Smoke Tree Ranch. It turns out our hotel was a five minute drive from Smoke Tree Ranch. We didn't go (or try to go) past the gates, a picture out front was enough.

Some of you might remember from other reports that Brad sometimes likes to golf when we are at Walt Disney World, he really enjoys golf. So in the spirit of making Disney connections he pointed out that we weren't that far from PGA West which is featured in the original Soarin'. And since Soarin' Over California was back in DCA (at least for the summer) I was game for checking it out. It turns out it was about a 20 minute drive from our hotel/Smoke Tree Ranch. But that was fine we enjoyed seeing more of the area. When we got there Brad said he was okay with just a picture of the sign. I encouraged him to keep driving through the complex I knew he wanted to see some of the course, and we got to see some of the greens. There was even a club house that was open to the public. I tried to get him to go in for a drink but he pointed out how dirty we were from hiking and he didn't feel comfortable going in there like that. But he was happy to see such a famous golf course.



After that we drove back to the hotel and by then we were ready to do some laundry and hit the pool. Turns out we didn't do laundry, the washing machine and dryer were both $7.50! That seemed crazy to us. We had enough clean stuff to get us through the rest of the vacation. So off to the pool it was, some was in shade and some was in sun but it was all very refreshing.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Sunday June 23, 2019

After our pool time we got cleaned up and headed out to dinner. As we looked to see what was around for dinner we saw another Tiki Bar was close by. Tiki bar sounded good to both of us. The drinks weren't as good but we both enjoyed our food more than at the Tonga Hut. The food menu was limited and I was tempted to get the pasta dish but I couldn't bring myself to order an Italian dish at a Tiki Bar so I went with loco moco again. Our server had told us they had a super wild weekend and were out of some stuff but when I asked for soy sauce for my loco I was a little shocked when she said they were out. I expected some booze or something to be out of stock not soy sauce!

There were some interesting patrons in there, a few looked somewhat local and the rest tourists. There was a couple behind us and both guys had Disney Trader Sam's shirts on which was pretty cool to us. And a group of 20 somethings sat nearby and had some interesting loud (but not annoying) conversations including a long discussion of their recent experience at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge.





I got the Palm Spring's Punch (it was really sweet) and B got the Mai Tai.

loco moco

After dinner we went down to the main area downtown of Palm Springs and walked around a bit. They have their own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

There was a branch of a tee-shirt store we liked in Hawaii called Crazy Shirts, so we checked it out. Fun fact, a guy that worked for Disney (I think in animation or something like that) has a hand in Crazy Shirts and designs.

We went for ice cream too. I thought about getting the Dole Whip but regular ice cream sounded good, it was Lapperts ice cream which we have had in Hawaii too. It hit the spot. We both got kids size. B got chocolate peanut butter and I got the Hana Road (their version of Rocky Road).



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Original Poster
Monday June 24, 2019 Tour of Palm Springs

We started today with breakfast down by the pool. It was a basic hotel breakfast but we enjoyed the view.

I had booked us a tour of Palm Springs. The tour was billed as a bit of everything, we would take a nature walk, see celeb homes, and the windmill farm.

We met our tour guide in an IHOP parking lot downtown. It sounds sketchy but it was a reputable company and the tour turned out Awesome! The tour also turned out to be private, no one else was on our tour! Score! This time of year is Palm Spring's slow season, probably because of the weather it had gotten to around 109 the day before. Slow season was fine with us. Our guide took us to Indian Canyon which is a fantastic nature area and we had a short nature hike (mostly in the shade) to start.






Our guide told us that according to legend this rock formation was the inspiration for Pride Rock in the Lion King. He said apparently the animators were having a hard time figuring out what the rock was supposed to look like when someone found a picture of Walt Disney on a horse (from Smoke Tree Ranch) in front of this and voila! So if the story is true super cool, if not it does bear a resemblance.

looking toward Palm Springs


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Monday June 24, 2019

A look at a replication of a Native dwelling.


My Lion King pose, I guess I should have stood the other way...

Our nature walk was really good. Our guide, Richard was really knowledgeable for the whole tour actually. In the van he also had a lot of pictures and nature guide books too. He said he really liked to increase his knowledge to make the tours better. It showed!

Next we toured through the Movie Colony area of Palm Springs and we saw a lot of interesting celeb homes and just cool examples of Mid-Century Modern architecture. Richard told us that people in the area work really hard to preserve the architecture and the history of homes and buildings. That was cool, I hope that continues. We saw homes that had belonged to Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra. I thought it was really cool that Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorthory Lamour lived on the same street (same block) especially because of the Road to...movies they were in together. Richard also told us that so many Hollywood celebs had come to Palm Springs for a few reasons and one being that in most of their contracts with the Studios it limited how far they could live from the Studio and Palm Springs was at that furthest point.


One of Sinatra's homes


I think this was Dorothy Lamour's House Richard gave us a list of all the homes we saw in order, really nice, but that is upstairs and I'm feeling too lazy to get it. But it is right next to my picture of Bing Crosby's house on my camera roll and I remember that they lived next door to each other.



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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Monday June 24, 2019

Bing Crosby's House

Then we went out to the wind farm, we had driven past this quite a few times. This was really the only disappointment in the tour, I thought we'd be getting out of the van and getting up close to them, but we didn't we just stayed in the van. Richard blabbered on about these too which was interesting at first but then I started to zone.

There was a large solar farm there too. Richard mentioned that a downside of the solar panels is that some scientists believe that birds think that it looks like a large body of water from up high and that can cause danger to the birds. I don't know if that is true but later when we saw them from up high I could see how it looked like water.

We continued to another famous home area. One of Liberace's homes.


I think this house was used in the movie Ocean Eleven

The house Elvis planned to get married in but his purpose for renting the house was leaked, probably by the gossip columnist that lived next door. So he had to escape the press outside and go to Vegas. Who did he call to help him escape....Frank Sinatra.

I don't remember if this was a celeb home or not. I think I just found it cool looking.

This used to be Clark Gable & Carole Lombard's home, it now belongs to Catherine Zeta Jones & Michael Douglas. Our guide said they are often in residence and had seen them, I guess they kept the original name Gable used for the home too. (Maybe even the color scheme)

I think I just liked this house


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Original Poster
Monday June 24, 2019 Palm Springs

The tour was shortly after noon and we were dropped off in the IHOP parking lot. So we went to lunch at a place called Lulu's. It was a very modern looking restaurant, the decor was just fun. They offered a lunch prix-fixe menu. We both got the Caesar salad. I had chicken alfredo and a chocolate mousse type cake. B got meatloaf and a scoop of ice cream. The food was delicious!






After lunch we headed to the Palm Springs tram and on the way we passed the Palm Springs welcome center. It totally reminded us of something from the Incredibles and when we went back to DCA a few days later and saw the "new" Incredicoaster load area all we could see was this building.

I had pre-bought our tram tickets a few weeks ago so we didn't have to wait in the long line and soon we were on our way. The floor of the tram rotates which is cool. We didn't get a spot next to the window and actually I was next to a couple that thought I was something to lean on when the tram swung (as it passed posts). It was super annoying that they used me for support. It was an interesting ride and soon we were at the top.

View of Palm Springs


Coming up: More from the top, a "wild" night out in Palm Springs, and return to Disneyland


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Original Poster
If you ever come out my way, I’ll take you to Del Taco. There is one ten minutes from my house.

Enjoyed the tour of Palm Springs. Such a different environment from places I’ve lived or visited.
Lucky girl to have Del Taco so close! HA! I was trying to talk B into drive to Florida this coming summer which would take us through your state but he is not into it. He said he wants to just get in a plane and have Disney drive him around. Maybe one day though.

A colleague of mine likes to go to Palm Springs during summer break and I thought he was a little crazy but I am so glad we went. I was actually very impressed with that area, the desert was pretty but the town itself was easy to get around and there were so many things to see and eat. A regional airline here has specials to Palm Springs so it might be a quick winter getaway sometime.


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Original Poster
OMG!!! What an unbelievable vacation you two had!!! :jawdrop: You saw so many interesting places, that I wouldn't even know where to start with my comments.

Suffice to say: WOW!!!! :joyfull:
Thanks, looking back on it is really bringing it into perspective. We were able to do so many different things and see a lot of different environments, it was really a lucky thing.


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Original Poster
Monday June 24, 2019 Palm Springs Tram

So in my last post I showed you the view from the top and that was mostly desert but the view behind us reminded us of being in Sequoia again. We had gone from a temperature of about 106 at the bottom and now it was in the mid-60's. It felt nice though. The area at the top had a lot of trails. We thought about hiking a few but we were really just there for the ride and the views. We did walk around a little and just sat on some benches and enjoyed the view.






On the way down we got a spot right next to one of the windows. And no one used me as their support post, so it was a much better trip on the way down.




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Original Poster
Monday June 24, 2019

A few more pictures of the trip down. It is certainly not a trip for someone that is really afraid of heights, but I thought it was fun when the gondola would swing past the big posts. I wonder if the Disney Skyliner will do that!

Passing another gondola.


And a look back up the mountain.


An old gondola now used as decoration.



The spot in front actually had a "selfie spot" logo on the pavement. So we decided to be hip with the selfie.

After the tram we checked out a few of the gift shops but nothing appealed to us so we drove back to the hotel. We wanted some relaxing pool time. Well, we got pool time. There were more people down there today than yesterday. There were a few couples and a group of guys who had decided to make the pool area their private party. It was a group of guys maybe in their early 30's-late 20's and they looked like a rough bunch. They were playing dominoes, drinking out of glass beer bottles (at a pool!), and had their music loud. And what music it was, it was some rap junk with lyrics so vile and offensive using terrible language towards women and racial offensive. I'm not a prude but that's just rude stuff. Everyone else looked annoyed at them but no one did anything. I wanted to complain but like I said they looked rough and a little scary, so I knew this wasn't going to be a time when I could play its a small world over it and get them to stop. I thought about going back to the room and calling the front desk but in the end we just put up with it too and chatted to each other as far away as possible. After about 20 minutes we had enough of them and we were ready to get out when a lady arrived with her young daughter and as soon as the kiddo arrived the volume on the music went down and a few minutes later the guys packed up and left. I'd never been so happy to see a kid in my life, I just wish she would have arrived earlier! It was a redeeming quality in the guys that at least they knew enough not to play that kind of music around kids.

Anyway, we were then able to relax a little at the pool for awhile longer. Then we had thought about going out for a nice dinner but neither of us wanted to get dressed up nicely again. We had been on the go so much we thought it might be nice to just relax for the night in the hotel room. So we showered, packed up (we were leaving the next day), and went to pick up dinner. We had chips in the room so we just needed sandwiches or something, but we ended up going through Del Taco drive-thru and picked up some more tacos to bring back to the room. So we hung out in the room, watched tv, and had a nice taco dinner. It was a relaxing night.

Coming up: Leaving Palm Springs and back to Disneyland for the last leg of our California tour.


Well-Known Member
Saturday June 22, 2019

Upon exiting the park we passes a large lake/reservoir. We noticed a few boats on it.
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Passed by some orange groves again.
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The drive took us on a huge stretch that was really boring and nowhere to really stop. We saw a lot of oil stuff.
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Eventually we found a place to stop for lunch, at a Jack in the Box, and get gas. The drive got a little more interesting sometimes.
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Finally we were close to Palm Springs, it had been a long drive. We stopped at the Cabazon Outlet Mall and visited the Disney Outlet there. I came away with 3 tee-shirts I had seen in the parks and basically got 3 for the price of one. Less than a mile down the road were the Cabazon Dinosaurs, an old style road stop. There was a mini-museum and we thought about going but in the end we just took a few pictures of the big dinos and kept heading towards Palm Springs which was the next town!
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I think that is where Pee Wee's Big Adventure was...LOL!!
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