Disneyland California and West Coast Trip Reports Trip Reports

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Old 17 Mar 24, 05:17 PM  
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Travelling From Coast To Coast August 2023 - Day 10: Disneyland and California Adventure

Day 10: Wednesday 16th August 2023

Warning: Today’s report is long even by my standards and is filled with even more waffling than usual.

Today we were driving down to Anaheim for a few days at Disneyland. The plan was to have a proper breakfast in West Hollywood and then set off after rush hour. I had done some calculations on google maps before the trip and apparently if we set off after 9 am, it would take an hour to 90 minutes to drive there as opposed to 90 minutes to two hours if we left before 9. Looking back, I kind of wish we had just gone earlier. Firstly because we never experienced the longer estimated driving time on any of our journeys so I expect it would have only taken 90 minutes or so. Secondly, Disneyland was incredibly busy during our time there and we feel like we barely scratched the surface so could have done with today being more of a full day than a half day in the parks. Our Disneyland trip didn’t exactly go smoothly due to an event that would take place later on today (spoiler in Highs and Lows) which really slowed us down. We all feel a bit like our two and a half days at Disneyland went past in the blink of an eye. And unfortunately we ended up setting off for Anaheim even later than originally planned this morning because we were about to run into an issue with breakfast.

Before we left, Mat polished off the strawberry croissant we got her yesterday from Chaumont Vegan:

We were all packed up and ready to head out of the door at 7.45 am. I think this was possibly my first hotel room door photo of the trip. I usually do this when we leave for the parks in the morning to document what time we actually dragged ourselves out.

The restaurant we were heading to for breakfast opened at 8 am. We had enough time to walk up to Sunset Boulevard and along to Sunset Plaza where the restaurant was to arrive for opening. Perfect.

Once we were on Sunset, I took some daylight photos of some of the places Jon had pointed out and told us about on the tour a few days before. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember many of the interesting stories he told us about them. But he definitely pointed out Justin Queso’s:

Rock & Reilly’s was where we had gone for a drink before the show at The Whisky:

My beloved Whisky A Go Go:

The Viper Room:

We had also visited Mystery Pier Books with Jon as detailed in day 8 of the report:

Book Soup is on the list for this year:

We went into Dialog on the tour and I’m pretty sure Jon said the food was good there:

This one I do remember. State Social House. Jon said they still allow indoor smoking there and he mentioned some celebrities that have hung out there including Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and an actor I’ve forgotten. I know Justin Bieber hung out there like ten years ago:

Eveleigh is another restaurant Jon recommended:

We got to The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker a few minutes after 8 am but as we approached we could see something was wrong. The tables and chairs were all piled up and staff were mopping and cleaning up. They told us they’d had a leak and wouldn’t be opening this morning.

We needed a Plan B as everyone was moaning they were hungry. The problem was there are very few restaurants that open for breakfast in West Hollywood on weekdays. I actually found that to be an issue across Los Angeles and I think it’s to do with staffing and is as a result of the pandemic. A lot of places I looked at when planning the trip opened at 8 on Saturdays and Sundays but not until 11 on weekdays which was no good to us now. The only place I could think of or find was Zinc Cafe & Market (we’d been to the Downtown LA one earlier in the trip) but it was in the other direction, another 15 minutes past the hotel. None of the others were up for that.

So as we walked back to the hotel we made the decision to drive to Beachwood Cafe (Harry Styles Cafe) as we’d had our favourite breakfast of the trip there two days before, excluding Nic’s On Beverly which only opens for breakfast at weekends (well, brunch.)

We passed the Viper Room on the walk back. The Viper Room is another venue that’s been in my consciousness since I was a teenager and obviously it’s well known as the place River Phoenix died back in 1993. While the entrance to the Viper Room is actually around the side of the building, where Jon had taken us on the tour…

…River collapsed on the sidewalk here on Sunset. Very sad.

Back at The Montrose, we requested the car from the valet and set off for Beachwood Canyon.

Last time driving up here with this stunning view:

We arrived just before 9 am and were shown to a corner table by a staff member. Seren was all ready to go to Disneyland:

Mat had a double espresso and an orange juice, Seren had an iced oat latte and I had a strawberry mimosa because it was so good last time.

We pretty much ordered what we’d had a couple of days before apart from Mat wanted to try one of the scramblettes instead of quinoa muesli because Seren and I had raved about them so much. So Mat and Seren had the Weid: seasoned tofu scramble, button mushrooms, baby spinach, fire roasted peppers, grilled corn, spanish onions and vegan mozzarella served with breakfast potatoes and sourdough toast.

Seren took an unintentionally arty photo of hers:

I had the Runyon scramblette made vegan again as I enjoyed it so much the first time. Seasoned tofu scramble, button mushrooms, baby spinach, fire roasted peppers, grilled corn, spanish onions, homemade pico de gallo and guacamole (so scrambled tofu and vegan cheese instead of egg and cheddar jack cheese and with no sour cream.) Again served with breakfast potatoes and sourdough toast.

Freya had chocolate chip pancakes again. Shown here blurry:

Everything was as good as it had been two days before and we left at 10 am, $125.66 lighter but with full tummies. We will absolutely be going back to Beachwood Cafe on this year’s trip multiple times as one of our AirBnbs is less than a five minute walk from the cafe and I can’t wait.

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Old 17 Mar 24, 05:20 PM  
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On the way back, I finally got some photos of Chateau Marmont having been obsessed with the place for decades. I’d not been quick enough with the camera every other time we’d driven past and we hadn’t walked up Sunset this far east while we'd been in West Hollywood. One day I’ll stay there or at least visit for a meal or drinks:

The sushi place at the top right of the strip mall in this terrible car photo is apparently where Beyonce gets her sushi:

The panels on this huge billboard on Sunset were being switched out again. And yikes that is an extremely edited photo of one of my absolute faves, Seth Meyers, on the right:

Goodbye Whisky:

Back at The Montrose we grabbed our luggage and checked out after the girls and I took a selfie in the lovely big bathroom.

I was sad to be leaving the hotel, West Hollywood and Los Angeles overall, but we were all excited to go to Disneyland. We set off for Anaheim at 11 ish and it was a bit traffic-y:

Eventually we were almost there:

It took pretty much an hour to get to our hotel at Disneyland which was SunCoast Park, so definitely not too bad traffic-wise.

Trying to find decent accommodation at Disneyland for a good price definitely has its challenges. When we were supposed to do a California road trip a few years before the pandemic, I had booked a room at the Anaheim Country Inn and Suites which was a pretty new hotel with good reviews and decent rates. We postponed the road trip to 2020 and when I went to rebook the hotel for that trip, I found it had been rebranded as SunCoast Park Anaheim, a Tapestry by Hilton hotel. It still had good reviews and rates so I went ahead with booking the hotel again. Obviously that trip never happened because pandemic. And just like every other hotel under the sun it seems, after the pandemic the rates went up.

I had booked a king studio suite with a sofa bed directly with Hilton. Those rooms are 439 square feet, so a pretty big room. When I had booked, the website offered me an ‘e-standby upgrade’ which was basically authorising paying for an upgrade to a bigger room, in this case at $16 per night. We’d find out at check-in whether we’d got the upgrade which was to a two queen studio suite. Those rooms have two queen beds plus a sofa / sitting area and are 495 square feet. Looking at the website now, the difference in price per night for the two room categories is about $45 per night so getting it for $16 would be a good deal, particularly as we were staying for three nights. And the girls having a ‘proper’ bed plus getting that extra living space would be worth it (but evidently not worth paying the $45 upcharge per night as I had chosen not to do that ha ha.)

We parked up in the car park (parking was $30 per night. Flipping parking charges at hotels especially when it’s not in a busy city centre really annoy me.) We walked inside to check in. The woman who checked us in barely said anything to us and was cold to the point of rudeness. Delightful. On the upside, our room was ready despite it only being 12 pm. When we got to the room, it was apparent we had got the upgrade. Our not-very-welcoming check-in agent had of course not mentioned that.

Trying to take a photo of the sitting area and getting photo-bombed by two people very excited to head to Disneyland (and my husband) :

There we go:

We sorted ourselves out but didn’t unpack as this was precious park time.

Hotel lobby:

We set off on foot and it took 16 minutes to get to the Disneyland entrance.

Ooh Space Mountain:

We had no idea where we were going and it was weird that it was so unfamiliar. We were such noobs and didn’t have a clue about anything. I had been to Disneyland as part of both of my California holidays with my family as a teen in the nineties. Mat and the girls had never been. I have very few memories of Disneyland but I do remember a couple of snapshots from inside the park, and that I loved the Indiana Jones Adventure. I also remember we stayed in a hotel both times that overlooked what used to be the flat parking lot but I believe now is California Adventure. I guess where we stayed must have been one of the hotels on S Harbor Boulevard, where the Castle Inn and Suites is. I feel like I can remember that particular hotel being there back then, next door to where we were staying or something, but that could be my teenage brain playing tricks on me.

As we approached security we were surprised that so many people were entering the park in the middle of the day. This was our first indicator that Disneyland was going to be busy. As we walked up towards security, a CM said to Seren ‘You have a little Pooh on your head’, referring to her Winnie The Pooh ears, which we all thought was amusing.

One thing I did not love about Disneyland is that they still manually inspect your bags here unlike at WDW where they have the super speedy electronic scanners. Apparently it’s due to it being a unionised role in California so they cannot reduce staffing to replace staff with machines. After bag check, we did have to walk through an electronic archway.

Seren had her Peter Pan loungefly and the security CM who inspected it said ‘Have you got pixie dust in your bag? Am I going to fly away?’ and proceeded to make the Pooh head joke again.

Continued below...

Edited at 04:56 PM.
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Old 17 Mar 24, 05:21 PM  
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After security, we took a right to Disneyland after going towards DCA by accident like the noobs we were.

We had to scan all the tickets on my phone and they took photos of us rather than our fingerprints. Going to a new Disney park is always interesting because so much is similar and yet there are still big differences.

As we went under the archway to enter Town Square (is that what they call it here?), the train arrived above us and the first thing we saw when we entered Town Square was Goofy, Chip and Dale, and Mickey meeting in their Disney 100 outfits.

We then bumped into this guy:

Pretty decent welcome to Disneyland.

Main Street and of course the castle are so different to Magic Kingdom but at the same time so familiar.

Our plan was to go into The Emporium to get MagicBand+s.

Old MagicBands don’t work at Disneyland, they have to be +s so I had decided we would get those and use them this trip both at Disneyland and Disney World where we were heading later in the trip. Plain ones were $34.95 and Mat, Freya and I were all happy to get plain ones. Seren of course wanted a character one. Her Disney 100 one was $44.95. A CM had to take them off the shelf as they were attached by security tags. She took them to the cashier for us. Mat asked if we could use them in Orlando and she confirmed we could (which I already knew to be the case.)

We decided to get a drink and set up the bands and it was weird trying to find our bearings. We chose Jolly Holiday and Freya and I grabbed one of the few available shady tables while Mat and Seren got drinks. It was going to be a 15 minute wait for a mobile order slot so they went to the counter. They got two large Diet Cokes and they were huge plus three tap waters (they were small). Seren got a Minute Maid apple juice which was on tap. Mat got a double espresso ($20.32 for the four drinks.)

We set up the MagicBand+s and finished our drinks.

We were all feeling very happy and excited for the adventures ahead. Everything around us was so beautiful and the atmosphere was great despite the park feeling very busy.

I went onto the app to look at wait times which varied from about 15 to 55 minutes. We decided to do The Matterhorn which was posted at a 35 minute wait and was very close to where we were.

We got in line at 1.45 pm and got on at 2.26 pm so pretty much exactly 35 minutes. We had decided to prioritise things we couldn’t do in Orlando and then if we got to ride duplicates later in the trip that would be a bonus. We were also treating today as more of a get-our-bearings situation with the next two days being more full-on as our full park days.

I quite liked The Matterhorn. It’s definitely a bit rickety but good fun and it’s always exciting to ride something you haven’t ridden for decades or haven’t ridden at all. The beginning part is pitch black which was a bit scary and very fun. Everyone else liked the ride even more than I did.

After The Matterhorn, we restroomed. We struggled to find some restrooms as obviously this was all new to us. It was a little disorienting not knowing where anything was and I did get a little bit stressed at times while we were at Disneyland because of that. Just things like not knowing where a ride or restaurant was, or where the nearest restrooms were threw me off a bit. I didn’t find it easy to go with the flow under the circumstances and I think that was because at Disney World I’m in my comfort zone because I know where everything is etc. I hadn’t really expected to find that a challenge, and I kind of wish I’d done a bit more (or any really) research before we went to Disneyland.

We then decided to get a snack as we were peckish. This was also a challenge as we didn’t know where anything was. Mat got Freya a churro from Frontierland and she said it was really good.

I had heard the churros are better at Disneyland than Disney World as they are fresher. She said it was the best churro she’s ever had.

The rest of us wanted Dole Whip but the small kiosk (Tiki Juice Bar) was mobile order only and the next available time wasn’t for a while (ugh I dislike mobile order immensely. I just find it completely inefficient. I think it’s a decent idea badly implemented.) Tropical Hideaway had a huge line. I got in the line there for about five minutes but as it wasn’t moving I gave up. Seren decided to get some good old Disney popcorn from a popcorn cart and we also got some bottles of water. It was super hot and as we all know, one of the golden rules of going to Disney is to stay hydrated.

We decided to go to DCA thinking it would be quieter. We exited Disneyland just after 3 pm. We had been in the park for a few minutes under two hours and had managed one ride, a restroom break and a couple of snack and drink purchases. Not ideal, but I think not having our bearings at Disneyland definitely slowed us down, as did the heat and most certainly, the crowds. As I said, it was much busier than I had anticipated. I think I had listened to the old advice that Disneyland is a locals’ park so weekends and evenings will be busier than weekdays. It was the middle of the day on a Wednesday and it seemed as busy to us as we would have found it in Magic Kingdom with it being an August afternoon. I think annual pass blackout dates and tourists on summer vacation from out of state and different countries, plus the park reservation system, have meant the old advice is outdated now.

We walked across the way to Disney California Adventure.

Once we got inside the park, straight away we felt it had a more chilled out feel than Disneyland park and it definitely felt a bit quieter. I think struggling with navigation and the huge number of people in Disneyland park had meant I didn’t really have a chance to take it all in on this first visit. Magic Kingdom is by far my least favourite WDW park primarily because of how busy it is. That makes it more difficult for me to chill out there than the other three, and my first impression today at Disneyland was that it was the same story here in Anaheim. I’m slightly embarrassed to say I didn’t ‘get’ Disneyland at this point. I had heard so much ‘It’s better than Disney World’ (overall) and ‘better than Magic Kingdom’ (Disneyland park) and I was worried that it had been overhyped. I could see that it was a beautiful park and it reminded me of Disneyland Paris (park) in that respect. Both Disneylands are beautifully designed with so much stunning detail that means they ‘look better’ than Magic Kingdom in my eyes, but the stresses of Magic Kingdom were definitely still an issue here.

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Old 17 Mar 24, 05:23 PM  
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In contrast, at California Adventure, I immediately fell in love with the park, and at least a big chunk of that was because of its chilled out vibes. I think also, with it being a completely new park to us and being completely unique I didn’t get stressed with feeling like I should know my way around like I had over the road. It being totally new felt exciting here whereas for some reason at Disneyland (possibly because of the crowds), that felt stressful.

We were still on the hunt for Dole Whip so searched out the Adorable Snowman kiosk.

There was a line but nothing like the one at Tropical Hideway. We queued for just over 10 minutes.

The CMs were pretty good with Seren’s allergy. They checked the ingredients in the allergy binder and showed us she was good to go with her choice which was It’s Mango (in a cup), Mat had It’s Lemon in a cup and I had the Chile Lime Mango Margarita which was pretty bad. Initially there didn't appear to be any alcohol in it, just loads of the Dole Whip. Eventually it just kind of curdled which indicated there was some alcohol in it after all. So I left half. Would not recommend.

We checked the wait times. They were lower than in Disneyland so the girls went off to do Incredicoaster which was posted at 25 minutes. When they got in the line it went up to 30 and there was an announcement that the wait would be longer than anticipated (good old Genie+).

There was no shade on the wall seating outside the ride besides one umbrella that had people under it. It felt a bit like Disney were unprepared for the high temperatures Southern California was experiencing. It was really hot. In the mid 30s if I recall correctly. I feel like at Disney World, more shade is readily available. This one umbrella here was not really cutting it. I sat against a high wall on the floor in a patch of shade and Mat sat beside me. Another woman was sitting on the other side of him. I was doing notes and then I suddenly felt this horrible pain in my foot and screamed. A woman in an ECV had reversed into my foot and the wheel and metal inner guide wheel were stuck pressing against it. Mat jumped up to try and move the ECV off my ankle while the woman tried to move the vehicle forward and her adult daughter tried helping her. It probably took less than 20 seconds for them to move it but it felt like an age. It was incredibly painful.

The situation got a little heated as the woman kept saying ‘I don’t know what happened to my cart! It went out of control!’ and Mat got quite defensive. I think the woman was panicking that we were going to sue her or something, because as well as repeating that the ECV had gotten out of control, she stated that I ‘wasn’t hurt’, which I most definitely was. Without getting too graphic, there were layers of skin missing from two areas of my foot; a circle on my inner ankle and another on the inside edge of my foot. And honestly it was as painful as when I’d broken my (other) foot a couple of years before.

The daughter went over to a CM at IncrediCoaster to explain that I needed medical attention. He came over to find out what happened. He gave me a bottle of water, gave Mat and I both an Experience Redemption pass on my MDE and called First Aid. He then told me a nurse was on the way. He also gave the two women an Experience Redemption. They kept saying the cart had gone out of control. It hadn’t made a reversing beeping sound like I would have expected it to do while moving backwards so it had really come out of nowhere. When I shared my experience on the Disneyland Reddit in a discussion about ECV accidents in the park, someone said it’s not possible for them to get out of control and it had to have been driver error. I know nothing about them (except that after the incident I now have a fear of them) so I don’t know whether that was the case. But the woman was certainly behaving weird and I’m not sure if it was guilt or embarrassment or both. Her daughter quietly apologised to both of us out of earshot of her mother.

When the CM came over, he asked if it was a Disney issued ECV which it wasn’t. I guess they have to approach things differently if there’s a potential liability issue. He radioed for backup and a couple of other CMs came over. They informally shut down the area around me using themselves as a barrier. If someone tried to walk through them they were sent around the area. It all felt a bit surreal being the centre of the incident and people were looking over at what was going on.

A security CM arrived and asked what had happened so we went over the details again. He was very sweet and friendly but it was also apparent that he was no nonsense which would be fitting for his role. He apologised for the delay with the nurse arriving and explained that they only have one nurse in each park and that she would be making her way over from the front of the park. He assured me she was on her way.

While we were waiting for her, the girls came back from riding IncrediCoaster. I had been thinking as much about whether they were going to be able to find us and whether they would be worried as I was thinking about my ankle hanging off. I’m exaggerating, but I was being a typical mother, thinking of them more than myself as always. As they approached, they looked pretty worried. Turns out that they thought I’d either fallen over or got in a fight with someone. Thanks girls. Not long after they got there, the nurse arrived.

The nurse was called Nosh and she was absolutely lovely. In the 20 minutes or so since the incident, it had crossed my mind that we might have to go to Urgent Care and how difficult and expensive that might be. I was hoping that Nosh would be able to give me the treatment I needed and just reassurance really, which is exactly what she did. She basically said something like ‘That’s got to hurt as it’s got you pretty good’ (Uh huh!). But she said she didn’t think I needed to go to hospital, it just needed cleaning up and dressing and would heal by itself. Which it did. It was very painful and it hurt to walk, especially going up and down stairs. For the first few days I would get shooting pains around the area which really sucked. I had to keep a dressing on it because of how raw it was until we got back to England, so another 16 days. And I couldn’t wear proper shoes until the flight home, only sandals.

Anyway, first she gave me some ibuprofen and an ice pack. Then she poured some liquid antiseptic stuff on it after making sure I was ready as it was going to sting (it did). Then she put some Neosporin cream on and dressed both injuries. She gave us some antiseptic wipes, some little sachets of Neosporin and some more large dressings and said we could keep replenishing our stocks at either park’s First Aid office during our time here. She was so sweet. I was wearing plastic Birkenstock sandals as I always do in the parks when it’s hot and it had crossed my mind that had I been wearing trainers, my foot and ankle would have been better protected. I asked her whether I should try wearing sneakers while it healed and she said if I had low enough ones to not rub against the ankle injury, that would be a good idea. This turned out to be terrible advice but we’ll get to that in tomorrow’s report. For now though, I felt very reassured that I wouldn’t need to go to hospital and that it would just take a while to heal and would need treatment daily for a while. Mat was about to step up as my doctor which unfortunately for him was an unpaid role despite me being a very squeamish patient. I couldn’t even look at the injury once it was dressed this first time.

Once I was all patched up, we thanked Nosh profusely and she left. The women left shortly after (the ECV driver had wanted medical attention for her hand from trying to get the ECV to move in the other direction when it was stuck.) As they left, the ECV driver-woman said something to me like ‘I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive’ or something equally as odd.

The security CM had one last chat with us and said ‘Have you got a Lightning Lane for all of you now?’ and we said we hadn’t, and that we had just got them for the two of us. He said to go over to the original CM to get two more. To be honest, riding rides wasn’t my first priority right now but I had a feeling the injury was going to slow me down (it did) so with the parks already so busy, I thought it might be a good idea to get whatever help we could. If we all wanted to ride something together, we’d need two more Experience Redemptions to do so. Amusingly enough, two of them disappeared from MDE before we could use them, so the girls got to use the other two later on.

We went over to the first CM to thank him for his help and he said ‘Oh do you want to ride the ride before you go?’ I told him that if I had been brave enough to ride the ride in the first place, I wouldn’t have ended up injured. I explained what the security CM had said and he added the other two Experience Redemptions to the account.

We had a Lamplight Lounge dinner reservation at 4.40 pm and as luck would have it, we were leaving the IncrediCoaster area about five minutes before that. Even luckier is that Lamplight Lounge is just over the bridge from where we were, which was good as I certainly wasn’t going to be going anywhere fast right now.

We checked in at Lamplight Lounge and only waited a few minutes to be called to our table. We were taken downstairs to the restaurant. This was one of those occasions where I wished I hadn’t seen the restaurant in Mammoth Club YouTube videos because it lessened the impact of the theming for me. I still thought the details were impressive and I loved the look of the restaurant, but the others were wowed a bit more because it was all new to them.

We were taken to our table and our server Christy introduced herself. We ordered drinks. I got a (medicinal) glass of prosecco to help me get over the shock of what had just happened, Seren had apple juice, Freya had Diet Coke and Mat got a cocktail. He chose the Sunrise Spectacular which was bourbon, tropical juices, agave nectar and Angostura bitters. He liked it.

There was a bit of faffing over the vegan options and what could be modified, plus going over the allergens. In the end the three of us vegans all went with the vegan-as-is menu option which was a burger. At the time it was a pastrami-smoked Impossible burger with a slice of grilled pineapple but it is now just a more traditional style Impossible burger with vegan cheese, onions, lettuce and tomato. We also got the Brussels Caesar, which is the plant-based appetiser, for Mat and I to share. It was brussels sprouts, house made dressing, toasted pine nuts and garlic croutons with roasted red pepper and tomato sauce. I don’t remember it being as amazing as the description makes it sound but I do remember thinking it was good. Just maybe not $14 for an appetiser good.

I’m not sure if Mat asked for lettuce and tomato in his burger or I asked for none. Mine:


Seren’s burger complete with allergy marker:

The burgers were nice enough but I do think Lamplight Lounge is maybe a bit overrated and absolutely overpriced (although that’s to be expected at Disney.) I definitely think the look and atmosphere of the restaurant, the drinks and the service we received today was better than the food. Mat wasn’t wowed by it either. I will say we came back on Friday for brunch and I thought the brunch food was better than dinner, although Mat still wasn’t wowed. I do think he couldn’t see past the hefty price tags. I also think spending a couple of weeks eating some excellent food in Los Angeles then moving to Disney and eating less good food for the same / slightly higher prices meant we were judging it more harshly than if we had only been visiting Disney.

Freya just had fries.

The meal was quite slow which gave Mat and I a chance to have a second drink. He had another Sunrise Spectacular so it must have been good. I had a Teaser from the cocktail menu which was gin, hibiscus liqueur, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and topped with tonic water. I can’t stand overly sweet cocktails so this was ideal for me as it wasn’t too sweet.

The total check was $202.75 including 20% tip which absolutely made it our most expensive meal of the trip to date. It should be noted that this included four alcoholic drinks, but that also Freya didn’t have an entree. Mat was not over the moon about having to pay Disney prices for the next three days, but I did remind him that we were only having two table service meals during the three days we were here (both at Lamplight Lounge) and would mostly be snacking besides those so hopefully it would all even out when compared with how many restaurant meals we were eating in Los Angeles.

We restroomed at Lamplight Lounge and admired the artwork before leaving the restaurant.

We then decided to ride Under The Sea as it was posted as a five minute wait which was pretty much accurate.

I think the ride was more or less exactly the same as Disney World’s. It was nice for Mat and I to finally get on our second ride of the day nonetheless.

From The Little Mermaid we walked to Cars Land.

Obviously I’d seen videos of Cars Land and have heard people talk about how impressive it is, but it actually exceeded my expectations. It is gorgeous and the theming is so good. I remember Molly from Mammoth Club saying you don’t have to particularly care about the Cars franchise to be impressed by Cars Land, just like with Pandora, and I think that is the case for sure. We do have a bit of history with Cars because Seren absolutely loved the films and characters when she was little but all of us thought the land was brilliant either way. It’s beautiful and the details are just so special.

It was just after 6.30 pm by this point. We had bought a Lightning Lane for Radiator Springs Racers that was good now so we got in line. We only waited a few minutes with our Lightning Lanes which was a lot better than the posted standby wait of 55 minutes.

Wow. Just wow. Any comparisons I’ve seen to Test Track (I know it’s the same ride system) really sell Racers short. It is a million times better than that extremely meh ride. Seren and I cried. At the end of the holiday, over dinner in Raglan Road, we had a discussion about our favourite rides of the holiday. Seren and I both had Radiator Springs Racers as our favourite Disneyland rides and Mat had it as number two behind Space Mountain. If Cosmic Rewind and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure didn’t exist it would have been my favourite ride of the trip overall. RSR only made number four for Freya in California as she’s weird and just prefers thrills over top notch theming so that’s not a slight on the quality of the ride.

Next up was Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters which was a posted 15 minute wait. It was very cute and made us laugh so much. We all loved it.

My lack of notes and photos let me down here as I’m not 100% on what we did next. I think the girls went back to IncrediCoaster and used the two Experience Redemptions that worked to ride again. They very much loved the ride and said it was even better in the dark. Like Velocicoaster, this is another one I would love to ride but my phobia of drops won’t allow me to. I wish both coasters didn’t have a huge drop in them as I know I’d love the rest of the rides, but I can’t ride anything with a drop bigger than Everest (80 ft) so they’re unfortunately both a no-go for me.

I think while they did that, we took a walk to Avengers Campus and the plan was for us to meet them there. I think we may have gone to Starbucks first to see if they had the DCA You Are Here mug but no luck. I assume if we went to Starbucks, Mat would have got himself a double espresso, especially after two cocktails as he’s a bit of a lightweight and would have wanted coffee to sober up.

It was very busy in Avengers Campus. There was just a constant stream of people walking by and the walls throughout the area were full with people sitting on them. We found a spot on the wall by Web Slingers and waited for the girls.

When Seren and Freya got over to Avengers Campus, they went off to ride Mission Breakout which I think was posted at about 20 or 25 minutes. They loved it and Freya immediately declared it her favourite ride of the trip where it remained for the entire holiday. She thought it was so much better than original Tower of Terror. I I think she has always found original ToT a bit too spooky after riding it in Paris for the first time when she was about five and hating it. It’s taken her a long time to actually love it. I think with Mission Breakout being more fun than scary it just suited her better (and the sight of Chris Pratt didn’t hurt either.) I can’t ride drop towers because of my fear of drops and my stomach turning unfortunately but the girls told Mat he had to ride it with them the following day because it was so good.

I’d been watching the Web Slingers posted wait while we had been sitting there with the plan that we could all ride it together when the girls got back. It was about 8.35 pm when we entered the line with a posted wait of 30 minutes.

I think it took a little less than that. I actually really liked Web Slingers after going in with low expectations having seen mixed reviews and well, the fact that I couldn’t care less about anything Marvel. I thought it was hilarious that it’s actually really hard work on your arms. So you have to balance your competitiveness against the achiness. Seren was not a fan of this extreme arm workout so gave up spinning webs halfway through.

California Adventure was closing earlier than Disneyland and I think when we came out of Web Slingers there was just under an hour left before it closed. We decided to go over to Disneyland at this point, and arrived in the park around 9.20 pm while the fireworks were taking place. We had to fight our way through the fireworks crowds but once we did so we were rewarded with a much shorter than earlier posted wait time at Space Mountain. The posted wait was 25 minutes and we waited for about 20.

Disneyland’s Space Mountain is excellent. First of all it’s a lot smoother as the track is newer. Secondly, sitting beside someone makes it more fun than sitting single file. And the ride in general just seems better. The music is better and I’m sure the lighting is dimmer which makes it feel faster and more exciting. We all absolutely loved it.

When we came off the ride, Freya was complaining she was hungry so she got some popcorn from a nearby popcorn cart. Mat and I went into Alien Pizza Planet to get some Diet Cokes and waters for us all. I was definitely enjoying Disneyland park more on our second visit of the day. I do love a castle park at night when it’s all lit up and the weather is cooler, and especially when the crowds are lower. I think at this point I had decided I preferred Disneyland park to Magic Kingdom (which really isn’t a high bar for me) but so far I still hadn’t really ‘got’ Disneyland whereas I had already ‘got’ and fallen in love with DCA (despite my injury taking place in that park.)

Continued below...
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Old 17 Mar 24, 05:25 PM  
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After our little rest outside Alien Pizza Planet, we went on Pinocchio. We only waited five or ten minutes.

I know we didn’t ride Big Thunder Mountain despite me also taking a photo of the wait time there.

We did, however, ride Pirates of the Caribbean. The posted wait was 5 minutes and I think we did walk on.

I’m not the biggest fan of Magic Kingdom’s rides generally so this is said with a pinch of salt, but Disneyland’s version is certainly superior to Magic Kingdom’s, just like Disneyland Paris’ also is. Both of the Disneylands’ versions are longer than MK’s and both have two drops which puts them ahead of Magic Kingdom’s in my book (I like small drops). I think Disneyland Anaheim just edges it over Paris for me with it being the original. I love how the boats pass the queue. It just has a classic feel to it.

Our plan was to ride Indiana Jones Adventure last and then call it a night. The park closed at 12 am and we got in line about 11.15 am.

The posted wait was unfortunately still 70 minutes with 45 minutes until park close. I wondered if Disney were maybe inflating the wait time a little to put people off getting in line so they wouldn’t still have a long queue after closing time as I’ve heard speculation that they do that sometimes. There were still a good few people entering the Lightning Lane so either Genie+ return times were still being distributed during the last hour of the park and the ride hadn’t sold out of Genie+ for the day, or it had had some downtime earlier and everyone was coming back now to ride. I know Indiana Jones is quite temperamental so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the latter. The number of people still entering through the Lightning Lane did not bode well for our wait time being lower than posted.

The line was moving pretty slowly. We were all really tired by this point after almost 11 hours in the parks. It had been quite a while since we had that end-of-night-park tiredness where your eyes feel like they’re closing despite the fact you’re standing up, your head feels foggy and when you take steps, your aching legs and feet feel like you're wading through treacle.

It felt like we were in the outside switchbacks for an age. Besides the number of people arriving through the Lightning Lane and therefore slowing down standby before official park close, there were also a steady stream of guests entering the Lightning Lane line after midnight. I’m pretty sure there is no Lightning Lane entry after park closure. There were therefore no CMs manning the Lightning Lane entrance or the second LL checkpoint after 12 am. Besides people just rocking up in the Lightning Lane, we saw several parties get out of the line we were in and go around to the Lightning Lane entrance to cut ahead. The LL takes guests straight along the rope bridge past the standby line switchbacks and up to the doorway to the indoor queue. It was extremely frustrating standing in that line and watching people blatantly queue jump, but once the Lightning Lane entrance is closed at this ride and therefore not staffed, it’s pretty open to abuse. I’m not sure I would get in line again last thing at night at Indiana Jones if there’s much of a queue for this reason. Once we got into the inside queue, the line certainly moved quicker and I’m pretty sure it was the line jumpers that kept us stuck outside for so long.

We ended up waiting for around the total posted wait time of 70 minutes for Indiana Jones Adventure. And I have to be honest, it was totally worth it. What a fantastic ride. I visited Disneyland as a teenager when Indiana Jones had first opened and instantly fell in love with it, so I knew it was great. It had been my favourite Disneyland ride back then. But having not ridden it for at least 25 years, I couldn’t remember much about it at all. I’m a huge Dinosaur fan and still prefer the WDW version of this ride system. I will definitely cry when they close it at Animal Kingdom as it’s been one of my favourites since 2001 when I first rode it. As a family, we all love the ride and quote the iconic Dr Grant Seeker whenever possible (‘We’re not gonna make it! We’re not gonna make it’, ‘Heeelllloooo there’, ‘Not our dino’, ‘Left…right…left…right’ etc.). Anyway, one of the big differences I hadn’t remembered between Indiana Jones Adventure and Dinosaur is that Indiana Jones has big, well lit sets so some of the rooms feel massive whereas in Dinosaur everything is close to the vehicle (plants, Dinosaurs etc) and it’s much darker. So Indiana Jones is more impressive visually I guess, but Dinosaur is more scary. And of course they both throw you around a lot.

It’s been a while since we got off our last ride of the night after park close and it was fun to walk back to the exit with Disneyland emptying out. It was nice and quiet but I didn’t take any photos as we can see above the quality of my nighttime iphone photos, plus we were all tired and very much ready to get into our beds.

When we got out onto Harbor Boulevard it was surprising how busy and bustling it was, but I suppose there were lots of people going back to their hotels or homes after finishing up at the park. One thing that surprised me was the number of homeless people around Disneyland. Granted we only saw three or four maximum on each walk to and from Disneyland but I just hadn’t expected them to live around Disneyland rather than downtown Anaheim. Tonight there were a few sleeping in the wasteland areas on our 16 minute walk back. It’s well documented that Los Angeles and California in general has a serious homeless problem but I found it interesting that of all the areas we visited or stayed in, we (anecdotally) saw the second highest number of homeless people while at Disneyland, behind only Santa Monica. It was unexpected.

We didn’t leave Disneyland until around 12.30 am so can’t have been in bed before 1 am. Oh the joys of full-on park days, where you crash after midnight and know you have to be up in about five hours to do it all again. But it’s all completely worth it.

I’m going to add my little mini review of the hotel at the end of today’s report. My overriding impression of SunCoast Park was that it was ‘fine.’ The large room was a bonus. The hotel overall was average. It felt a little far away from Disneyland which wouldn’t usually be an issue for us as we’re happy to walk and would choose the quieter location over the noise right outside Disneyland. However, my accident meant the distance did become a bit of an issue as it wasn’t ideal for me having to walk further than necessary. The following day Mat needed to go back to the hotel to get me a change of footwear and some medical supplies which took a big chunk of time with the hotel being just over 15 minutes’ walk away. Because of that, I’ve chosen a closer hotel for this year just in case, although we’d be extremely unlucky to have a similar issue two years running. I personally felt the room at SunCoast Park was a bit shabby but I was the only one who thought that (and I am a hotel snob so take it with a pinch of salt.) I definitely wouldn’t rule out staying there again but the idea of going back doesn’t excite me. I do think it’s probably smarter and less shabby than some of the older, similar priced hotels located closer to Disneyland though.
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Old 17 Mar 24, 08:04 PM  
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Sorry to hear about your injury but you still spent quite a long time in the parks!
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Old 17 Mar 24, 08:16 PM  
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That was such a shame about your ankle, awful thing to happen especially at the start of a disney trip

I can totally relate to the 5 hour sleep bit, we went to Disneyland in 2019 for my 50th and i looked like I had aged a decade by the last day breakfast photo lol

We were all in one room and i was last to bed and first up and because it was only a few days we were first in the parks and there for all the nightime shows, we were exhausted but it was so worth it especially with what was to come the following year!

Looking forward to reading the rest of your trip!
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Old 17 Mar 24, 10:24 PM  
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What a busy day and how annoying with the ECV accident. I hope this time you get to enjoy your Disney trip without incident.
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