Our Disneyland trip started early. And with some unexpected drama.
We began the day before the day even really began. What is it about us and pre-dawn flights? I don’t know, but it sets the tone for the rest of the day, when you’re up and ready to go at 4am. We made our way to the airport, through the airport, and onto our flight to Los Angeles. We’ve been out that way a few times, but we’ve never flown into LAX, never rented a car out there, and have certainly never driven across the city. We were anticipating all these things and preparing ourselves to get to Anaheim in time for the RunDisney Expo that afternoon when Wes went to use one of the airplane’s restrooms… and came out a minute later looking decidedly freaked out.
“I dropped my wedding ring.”
I didn’t have to guess WHERE he dropped it based on the look on his face. He told our flight attendant all about his plight, and they shut down the restroom for the rest of the trip, as they both attempted by any means necessary to get the ring out. When nothing seemed to be working, the flight attendant (who was super, y’all) called ahead to LAX to arrange for a mechanic to come out to the plane. Once we landed and everyone else made their way into the terminal, the mechanic came out and explained to us that once something gets dropped into the toilet, the suction system takes it back to a place ominously called “the tank” which no one was volunteering to check out on our behalf. We counted the ring as lost for good, and boy, what a way to go!
That said, as sad as we were about this (I bought that ring from a Tiffany & Co in Beirut, which would make it hard to go out and replace), one lost ring wasn’t going to ruin our trip. We shook it off (no pun intended) and made our way down to the baggage claim and out to the shuttles. Let me tell you, LAX is a whole lot bigger than any airport I’ve been to recently, and it was no small feat getting these things done or figuring out where in the world we were. We took the shuttle to the car rental place, where there were no economy cars (which is what we paid for) left — only SUVs. So, we got one of those for the small roller skate car price. Was this a great day or what? (Well, minus the whole flushed wedding ring.)
We quickly zipped our way over many freeways and through lots of traffic (it was rush hour in LA — great planning, Wes and Jenn!) and ended up in Anaheim on none other than Disney Way. How cool is that? I’ll try my best not to constantly make comparisons between Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but it’s hard NOT to notice the difference when you pull up to Disneyland and can actually SEE the rides before you get on the property. Because I’m a Disney freak who has spent way too much time reading up on these things, I can see how Walt Disney was immensely frustrated with what little control he had over Disneyland’s perimeter because of space constraints and why he bought up so much land in Florida so that he wouldn’t have the same problem there. Across from the main gate were tons of hotels, and we had reservations at one of them.
The hotel? Wasn’t worth writing home about. So, I won’t write about it here. (I will say that the value hotels on WDW property are probably the same quality, but because they’re themed so well and are a part of the big Disney machine, they feel much different. There wasn’t much magical about this place, except maybe the air conditioner’s inability to cool a room after three whole days. Takes a special kind of unit to do that!)
I was ready to hit the ground running as we made our way over to the parks. We went past the front gates for the parks since we didn’t have tickets until the next day. So sad, so sad. However, just being on property and being able to walk over to Downtown Disney and their HUGE World of Disney store made it better. We hit the shops, explored the two hotels on property, and had lunch poolside at Tangaroa Terrace, which is a Disneyland Hotel restaurant. It was nice to soak up some vintage Disney and settle in for a bit.
By the time we were done eating, the Expo was starting. We waited in some crazy, loud lines to get our bibs, our drop bags, our Coast to Coast wristbands (woo-hoo!), our park tickets for Sunday, and our shirts. The man who put on my wristband said, “Wow, your rings are gorgeous! I’d hold onto this guy!,” indicating Wes. I almost told him that “this guy” had flushed his own wedding ring down the toilet earlier that very same day, but I refrained. It still wasn’t funny, y’all. (Oh, I kid. It was hilarious from the moment it happened!)
We hit all the exhibits at the Expo, and I may have elbowed several shrieking women out of the way to get myself a good look at the 20th anniversary WDW marathon medal. (What? They were just standing there, shrieking and yelling and not even looking at the medal. They NEEDED me to help move them along, y’all!) The medal is AWESOME and will totally be worth all the miles we put on our legs during marathon weekend. Looking forward to January!
After a quick trip through the souvenir shop and a wait in the checkout line that rivals the wait for Radiator Springs Racers (I kid not), we took all of our stuff back to the hotel where we were going to rest up for the next day… and where we quickly began to lament the fact that we were at our decidedly non-magical hotel when just across the street was DISNEYLAND! Just right there — soooo close! So, out we went again, past the parks (so sad, so sad) and into Downtown Disney, where we got the girls these awesome Minnie Mouse shoe slippers. (They love them, by the way.) I convinced Wes that we needed to go back to the Expo for this hat I had seen. They had it set up on a mannequin and were pouring water onto it, and NONE of the water got in the mannequin’s eyes. Since I spend the majority of my runs here in Houston wiping sweat out of my eyes, I thought this was worth a try. I can verify that it works on a 13.1 mile run in California… we’ll see what I’m saying after a three mile run in Houston. (Yes, the heat is that different!)
While we were there, we saw that Jeff Galloway, RunDisney’s running expert, was giving autographs and taking pictures. Because Ana loves nothing more than to “Do the Galloway,” we took a picture with him and told him all about her running skills. (We left out the part where she starts shrieking, “Oh, I feel just AWFUL!” after a quarter mile run.) We were excited to meet a track and field Olympian!
We stopped for dinner at Tangaroa Terrace (yes, again – it was really good!) and then made our way back to the hotel. By that time, we were actually getting tired, even though the sun was still shining in Los Angeles. That’s what happens when you wake up before dawn in another time zone, though. I woke up later that night, convinced that a bunch of kids were slamming doors all over the hotel. I even got up out of bed to go all Old Lady Faulk on them, only to realize that those noises were FIREWORKS from the park. That made it all okay.
Up next… Disneyland makes me cry but still doesn’t lose my business! Because they’re DISNEY, y’all!