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Disneyland, CA: My Very First Visit Trip Report :) (Links to photo albums included)

Disney_Belle

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
On Monday, March 28th, Pam surprised a few of us Kingdom Konsultant agents - Tammy (Disneyfalcon), Danielle and myself (Jessica) - with the wonderful news to start packing our bags because on Thursday, April 7th, we would be on our way to an Agent Education Program to the place where it all began… DISNEYLAND!!! I was ecstatic, nervous, anxious… but mostly thrilled! I had never been to Disneyland before, let alone anywhere west of Pennsylvania, so this was a huge deal for me. I couldn’t believe I was going to finally see where it all began. I would be able to walk where Walt walked, see the original Disney park and experience all that Disneyland had to offer. Please feel free to take a break from reading... it is quite lengthy for a 3 1/2 day trip!

Thursday, April 7th - I woke up at 3:00am here in Massachusetts. Took my shower, got dressed, hugged and kiss my husband and pups and was off! I arrived at TF Green Airport in Providence, checked my bags and was at the gate in no time. There was a line in front of me at the baggage check and I was almost envious of the amount of DME tags I spotted on bags… but then I quickly reminded myself - I’m going to Disneyland! Ha! Not going to lie, I was a nervous wreck. This was the furthest I had ever been from home, to a place I had never been and was the first time being away from my husband in the almost 4 years we had been married. But I was determined to overcome my fears and embark on this new journey. My first flight left Providence at 6:45am, and arrived in a VERY foggy Chicago/Midway at 8:15am Central Time (about a 2 ½ hour duration). The plane stopped, I walked up and down the aisles 4 or 5 times, took my seat, and waited for the next group of passengers to board. The visibility was really not good, so everyone loaded up, sat down and buckled up as quickly as possible. If we waited too long there could have been some flight delays due to the poor visibility, and that just couldn’t happen, Disneyland was waiting! We departed Chicago and had a smooth 5 hour ride to Orange County (John Wayne Airport). We arrived about an hour late due to head winds, but other than that Southwest provided a wonderful flight (sun roof free)!
Finding my way through SNA airport was a breeze, I hopped the escalator downstairs, grabbed my bag and sat outside in some California sunshine under some palm trees while I waited for Danielle’s flight to arrive from Newark. Around 1:00, she arrived. We walked out of the airport to the Disneyland Express kiosk. As soon as we sat down, the bus pulled up – great timing!
We arrived to Paradise Pier about 25 minutes later. The excitement level was through the roof! We stopped at the Grand Californian resort first to drop off some guests, then went across the street to PP. We were greeted in the lobby by surfer Goofy (the same Goofy which stands with the corvette at Pop Century) and more importantly – Tammy! Tammy had been there since earlier in the day and let us know the room wasn’t ready yet. We figured we would ask again when Danielle and I checked in, but it wasn’t ready yet. We checked our bags with bell service and headed across the street to the Grand Californian. We ate at White Water Snacks which was a great little quick service area. Tammy pointed out the window to all the people walking by and said that those people were actually guests walking around Disney’s California Adventure. I was amazed at how close the park was. Not only being able to walk across the street to the Grand Californian was great, but to have park access that close! Talk about convenient! We finished our lunch, headed back to PP before our first training session was to begin at 3:30. At 3:15 we found out our room was ready. But more importantly… it was a THEME PARK VIEW!!! We walked through the doors of our room and were stunned at the view of DCA! Being able to watch (and hear!) as guests rode California Screamin’, watching Mickey’s Fun Wheel slowly moving and the elevators go up and down on ToT – it was such a great view… but I don’t think we realized just how great it really was yet.
We spent the next several hours doing activities on our AEP. We got to tour the 3 Disneyland Resort Hotels. We toured the remaining parts of Paradise Pier which we had not seen yet, then walked across the street to Disney’s Grand Californian… stunning! GC shows designs of Peter Dominick (who also helped design WL and AKL). The lobby definitely had the same “wow” factor as both WL and AKL. It was stunning. Dark woods and rich tones throughout the resort made for a very cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The warm colors continued into the guest rooms and were so comfy feeling. We saw some great views of the monorail passing through. The resort overall was just beautiful. GC scores big points for the convenience factor. I mean, everything in DL is convenient in terms of closeness (I REALLY loved the fact of being able to walk to everything instead of waiting for buses), but GC was super convenient. We went back down to the first floor, walked a little longer and boom – we were in Downtown Disney! Craziness! Well , to me anyways lol. We did some touring of DTD, which I have to admit, I prefer to WDW. Maybe it was because it was new to me, I don’t know, but I really liked it.
We walked through DTD, past the monorail station, to the Disneyland Hotel. Disneyland Hotel is under a huge refurbishment, not only in the rooms, but the pool area as well. The new rooms are fantastic and any Disney fanatics’ dream come true! Mickey hands hold the lamps in the bathroom, the carpet is decorated with gold swirls and hidden Mickey’s, pictures of Walt and Disneyland icons decorate the walls and most noticeably – the huge headboard that hangs above the beds. It has a silhouette of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and fireworks (some, of course, shaped like Mickey). With the flick of a switch the headboard lights up and the fireworks shine and twinkle and a lovely little music box accompanies the light show on the headboard. One bed has a pillow saying “A dream is a wish your heart makes…” and the next bed has the remainder of the beloved verse scrolled upon its pillow “…when you’re fast asleep”. It was such a beautiful room and a must see for any Disney fan! I cannot wait to return for a stay once it is completed!
After the resort tours we headed back to PP for more training activities and a trade show.
Around 8:00 that evening the activities wrapped up and we had the rest of the night to do what we wanted. We returned to our room and that is when the view hit us… Paradise Pier was all lit up at DCA, and was nothing less than stunning. We walked into our room and in unison let out a big “oooooohhhhh!” . It was too funny. I wish I had my camera rolling for that moment! It was a breathtaking view!
Naturally, my first night had to be spent in Disneyland Park! Danielle (who, may I mention, is also Pam’s daughter!) and I headed out for the park and Tammy stayed behind and rested up for the eventful next day (not only did we have a lot of site inspections the next day, but Tammy, being the cruise connoisseur of the group, was also resting up for the release of new itineraries the following day). She is so dedicated – and I have photo proof of that! Tammy, we love you :)
I know I keep repeating how amazed I was at the close proximity of everything, but I really was. We walked across the street to GC, to DTD, which spilled us out to the main entrances at both Disneyland and California Adventure. Two park entrances in view! This was nuts! I loved it!
There was a big display in the center saying “Let the Memories Begin”. On top were photos of people. The photos turned, and spelled out “Disneyland”. It was that moment it had hit me. I couldn’t believe I was FINALLY here. I was finally going to walk through the gate of the original park. It was huge for me. I kept telling Dani “I’m so nervous, I’m so nervous”. I felt like I was going to meet a long lost relative for the first time. It was surreal. I remembered how it felt to be 4 on my first trip to WDW, walking through the gates of MK for the very first time. Only now I was 27, and on the opposite side of the country. After we went through the turnstiles I was putting my ticket back into my wallet, hands shaking, holding back tears. Yes, I was holding back tears. We walked under the train station and onto Main Street… the music was familiar, the setup was familiar, but everything was different. My first stop was walking over to the Fire Station to take a picture of Walt’s light shining through the window of his apartment. It was something I had always wanted to see. Knowing he spent time up there with his family, overlooking Main Street and the guests enjoying what he dreamed up, I got goosebumps!
Okay, okay, enough of my sappiness (sorry about that lol!). We walked down Main Street and stopped and stared at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I had heard so much about it being so small and so tiny and Cinderella’s is so much better. I have to say I was so charmed by it. Yes, it was much smaller than Cinderella’s Castle, but it worked. I loved it! I thought it was beautiful and fit perfectly where it was! Dani and I walked over to Frontierland and noticed it was really dark lol. We were being guided down the walkways by CM’s with lights because Fantasmic! was showing on the Rivers of America. We found our way to PoC which made me happy. It is always my first ride of every trip, so it was nice to start off this one the same way! I loved it! I actually prefer DL’s version to WDW. I loved the Bayou theme, the extra drop, the length, I really enjoyed it. After PoC, we walked over to HM and walked right on. HM is one of my favorites, but I really missed the staircase scene. I found the exterior to be really nice and fits in very well with NOS. After that we found our way to Fantasyland. We did the walking tour of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, very cute! We walked up to “it’s a small world” to take a ride on the happiest cruise that ever sailed and the lights went out. We were just in time to see “The Magic, the Memories and You!”. I was so happy! I had gotten to see the show at MK in January, and was really curious to see how it looked on the face of IASW. I really enjoyed it and do I dare say prefer to see watch it on IASW. There is something magical about watching it on Cinderella’s Castle, but I felt it showed better on IASW. After the show was over we took a ride on IASW. I had heard mixed reviews on how people felt about adding Disney characters into the scenes. I really thought it was cute. They weren’t tacky or over the top. They were very subtle and I found it fun looking for them. I also loved that the ride began outside. The animal topiaries and the gardens were adorable.
After IASW we decided to call it a night. It was about 12:00 when I finally got to sleep, which was 3:00 my normal time. I had been up for 24 hours and was exhausted!

Friday, April 8th – The day started off with the Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey & Friends at the PCH Grill at Paradise Pier Hotel. We got to see Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Stitch. Pluto was there too, but we didn’t get to see him. There are photographers there who take your picture with Mickey and bring the package to you if you want to buy it during your meal. The 3 of us missed Mickey when we walked in, so on the way out we snapped a picture with him on our cameras. He also signed our Disneyland bags we were given through our AEP. Love that mouse!
After breakfast we headed out for site inspection tours of some Good Neighbor Hotels. I think we got back around 3:00 to Paradise Pier and had the remainder of the day, until that evening, to ourselves. We were lucky enough to get FP for Soarin’ over California, ToT and California Screamin’. I would only ride SoC. I’m not really a dropping or coaster girl. I love RnRC, but I attribute it to the fact that I can’t see where I am going lol. We hopped on SoC for a relaxing flight over the Golden State. The ride was the same, but the queue area was designed differently. However, no interactive games like at Epcot. As always, the ride was enjoyable  We then made our way to Hollywood Pictures Backlot for a ride on Monsters, Inc., Mike and Sulley to the Rescue! . Really cute ride  Dani and Tammy used their FP for a ride on ToT. I sat in the sunshine and enjoyed what I could. It was cloudy the day before and they were calling for rain that day too. Not to mention, chilly. (I thought California was supposed to be warm?). After ToT we headed back to Disneyland Park for our 6:30 reservation at the Blue Bayou. But first – we stopped and found some Mickey gloves which were much needed! It was getting COLD! Then off to Blue Bayou - what a great restaurant! Loved the theming and the atmosphere. The food was delicious (we each ordered the filet mignon). Definitely would eat there again. I love that it is built into the beginning Bayou scenes of PoC and you can see people go by on the boats (from most seats, ours weren’t that close). After dinner we went back to DCA (but first we all bought Mickey scarves – yes, it was THAT cold) and headed to Paradise Pier so Dani and Tammy could ride California Screamin’. Unfortunately the rides on the pier were shutting down for the first showing of World of Color. We decided it was getting a bit chilly and went to the Grand Californian. We were to meet up with the rest of the agents and our leaders of the AEP for the next viewing of WoC (YAY!). I bought a sweatshirt at GC and we relaxed in the lobby until it was time to head back to DCA. We each got our wristbands and were brought to a preferred viewing location for World of Color. I think this was one of the things I most anticipated about visiting Disneyland. I can truthfully say I was blown away. It was so much more than I expected. So beautifully done – the colors, the music, the water. It was all just amazing. Well done Disney, this show is AMAZING. After WoC we headed back to PPH for the night.

Saturday, April 9 – We woke up extra early Saturday. Grabbed some breakfast and headed to Disneyland Park for Magic Morning Early Entry. We made a bee line for the Matterhorn. It was classic, we had to ride! Loved it! Then Dani and I rode Alice in Wonderland. After that, Tammy, Dani and I visited our old friend Mr. Toad who took us on a wild ride  Was so nice to see him again! Oh how we miss you here on the east coast! And then we got to ride the Storybook Land Canal Boats. For the longest time I have always wanted to ride this. It was really cute. I loved all the small scale houses and castles. When we passed by the London Park scene where Peter Pan and the Darling children flew over, there was a little duckling who decided that would make a great sot to soak up some sun. Kind of made me laugh how much bigger than the benches and statues he was lol!
After SLCB, we headed over to Mickey’s Toontown (awesome by the way!) for Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness with the rest of the AEP group. Really fun show, great way to start a day at the park. After the show, we got our Honorary Citizens of Toontown button and we did our field seminar on Disneyland Park. We headed back to PPH for a seminar and some lunch and then made our way over to DCA. We were treated to a wonderful show of Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular. I was so impressed by this show! It was wonderful! The genie was hilarious and the actors were great. After the show we did some touring of DCA (which has a TON of walls up right now, lots of construction going on!). After we finished up our DCA field seminar, we enjoyed some Mickey bars. While we were enjoying them a nice young lady gave us some FP for California Screamin’. We made our way over to the ride and Dani and Tammy went on. I took lots of pictures, watched about a dozen launches and made some phone calls back east to check on everyone. While I was doing this I noticed a VIP tour guide making their way down the pier with a family but paid no attention to them and just kept talking lol. Dani and Tammy came off the ride and we were on our way toward the Silly Symphony Swings (Dani really wanted to ride them lol!). On our way over there, the VIP guide came walking back with the family and this 6’2 guy almost bowled right into us lol. We moved out of the way and Tammy turns around and says “THAT’S FOREST WHITAKER!”. Sure enough, it was him! And he almost ran us all down lol. We turned around and he was posing in front of California Screamin’ with his family. After our near celebrity run in, Dani took a spin on SSS and then we headed back to our resort. We were supposed to have dinner at Napa Rose that evening, but we were all tired. We ended up going to the PCH Grill for dinner (non character). The food was good. Tammy and Dani headed out to Disneyland Park to use fastpasses we had for BTMRR, Indiana Jones and Space Mountain. I hadn’t felt right since the day I arrived (I blame it on time change, travel time and just the stress of everything going smoothly) so sadly, I decided to stay behind. I was exhausted. I had to pack anyways because I had to leave the next morning. I did some shopping in the hotel store (Mickey in Paradise) and then headed up to the room. As I was packing I heard the announcement for WoC from DCA outside of our window. I put my packing duties aside for the time being, shut off all the lights in the room, turned on channel 46 on the TV and pulled a chair up to the window. Channel 46 at the resort plays the soundtrack of World of Color while it is playing, in sync with the show. I felt like I had the entire show to myself!!! It was amazing! Tammy and Dani returned to the room shortly after. The second showing of WoC began, and even though I was so comfy in my bed, I got up one more time to watch it. It really is just amazing. I would fly back to California just for that show. I loved it!

Sunday, April 10th – I woke up, took my shower and headed down to the meeting room one last time. We had breakfast and started working on our last seminar. Unfortunately, due to limited flight availabilities, I had to leave earlier than everyone. So I hugged Dani and Tammy, headed down to the pickup area and boarded the Disneyland Express back to John Wayne Airport. I was excited to go home and see my husband and pups. I missed them a lot. But I was also sad to leave Disneyland (and having the long day in the airports!). My flight left Orange County at 11:45 am and landed in Phoenix about an hour later. I left Phoenix at 3:25pm and landed in Providence at 11:10pm. Long day!


So - here I am, 3 days after returning and I think I have FINALLY conquered the jet lag lol! I came back with somewhere around 600 pictures and lots of memories. Even though we had limited time and I didn’t get to do all that Disneyland has to offer, I did enough to completely fall in love with DL. A lot of people have asked me to compare it to WDW since I have been home. And yes, while there are some things to be compared (rides, shows, etc.) there really is no comparison. They are quite different. I was happy to get there and see that it wasn’t just like WDW. I really loved being able to walk to everything. It was so nice. But the main thing is the feeling in Disneyland. It is different. There was a magic and charm about Disneyland that was different from WDW. Maybe because it is original, maybe it is because it is smaller and has less parks and hotels. Whatever it was, it was wonderful. The attention to detail in Disneyland Park especially was impeccable. The landscaping, the winding paths, the fountains – I loved it. There was almost a presence felt that Walt was still there walking amongst the guests. You can really appreciate the history and nostalgia of DL. I love WDW and magic it shares so much, but I have also fallen in love with DL. Both have so much to offer. I am so lucky and blessed beyond words to have been able to experience both of them. Even though I had never been before, I felt like I had been a thousand times (despite getting lost a couple of times – who needs a map lol!). I hope you enjoyed my long trip report and more importantly, I hope everyone gets a chance to experience Disneyland… it is wonderful!
I didn’t have patience to post all of my pictures, so here are links to my 3 FB albums with my Disneyland pictures (and please feel free to send friend requests – I love having WDWMagic FB Friends!!). Enjoy!

Album 1
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=100001357061887&aid=44939

Album 2
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=100001357061887&aid=45280

Album 3
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=100001357061887&aid=45290
 

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This was excellent Jess! Thank you for putting this up!

Pam
 

Disneyfalcon

Well-Known Member
That was great!

I'm so glad you remembered Forest Whitaker!!!:D I'm still excited about that one!:lol:

It was all so fun!! It's great to remember!
 

Disney_Belle

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
How could I forget Tammy! He won an OSCAR! lol!

It was a wonderful time, thank you for being the official Disneyland guide for us :)
 

Delly

Member
Just wanted to say thanks for this trip report- I loved reading it.
Myself and my DH were lucky enough to pay a visit to DL and DCA as part of our honeymoon last October and I have to say I totally fell in love with the place too. I also so agree with you when you say you felt privaliged to have been to both DL and WDW.
I had the most wonderful time there and hopefully one day I will get to go back and see World of Color again as the show is just spectacular,
:wave:
 

Disney_Belle

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just wanted to say thanks for this trip report- I loved reading it.
Myself and my DH were lucky enough to pay a visit to DL and DCA as part of our honeymoon last October and I have to say I totally fell in love with the place too. I also so agree with you when you say you felt privaliged to have been to both DL and WDW.
I had the most wonderful time there and hopefully one day I will get to go back and see World of Color again as the show is just spectacular,
:wave:
Glad you enjoyed my report, and even better that you were able to enjoy your honeymoon there!
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
I read every word waiting for DH to get called back at the doctor's office and then finished in x-ray. Loved it! It's fantastic to hear about Disneyland from the perspective of someone like me who's been to WDW tons but never DL. I want to see it so bad! Folks tell me all the time that I'll be disappointed but I don't think I will be. I don't want it to be like WDW. After reading your impressions September 2012 can't get here fast enough! I'm one of those Tammy rested up for. :D We'll be seeing Walt's park after a 6-day voyage from Vancouver.

I can't see the pics since I don't FB but that's okay. Your descriptions were so wonderful. The pictures you painted were good enough for me.

Thanks so so much for sharing with us! I thoroughly enjoyed it! :sohappy:
 

Disneybird

Member
I'm making my second trip to Disneyland this summer and staying at Paradise Pier with my brother and sister-in-law on his DVC points. I would really like to know what you ladies think of the hotel.
 

Disney_Belle

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I read every word waiting for DH to get called back at the doctor's office and then finished in x-ray. Loved it! It's fantastic to hear about Disneyland from the perspective of someone like me who's been to WDW tons but never DL. I want to see it so bad! Folks tell me all the time that I'll be disappointed but I don't think I will be. I don't want it to be like WDW. After reading your impressions September 2012 can't get here fast enough! I'm one of those Tammy rested up for. :D We'll be seeing Walt's park after a 6-day voyage from Vancouver.

I can't see the pics since I don't FB but that's okay. Your descriptions were so wonderful. The pictures you painted were good enough for me.

Thanks so so much for sharing with us! I thoroughly enjoyed it! :sohappy:

Glad you enjoyed it! Maybe this weekend I can get some pictures up on flickr and send you that album instead. You won't be disappointed. Yes, it is smaller, it is different, but that's what I loved about it. I didn't want it to be the same. It was so beautiful!

I know Sandy (your Cabbage Patch buddy you refered to us a long time ago) had mentioned she wants to visit DL as well. She got bit by the Disney bug, too :) (it's hard not to!) I look forward to hearing all about your trip!
 

Disney_Belle

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm making my second trip to Disneyland this summer and staying at Paradise Pier with my brother and sister-in-law on his DVC points. I would really like to know what you ladies think of the hotel.
I thought the hotel was nice. The rooms were very spacious, clean and comfortable. There were 3 of us in one room. Tammy and Dani each got a bed, and I took the sofa which converted to a bed (and was comfortable!). PCH Grill had good food too. I would probably stay at the Grand Californian the next time (more my style) but PPH was nice too!
 
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