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September 27, 2016
Huntington Beach & Anaheim CA
Waking up we once again headed back to the beach. Huntington was familiar so we headed there for beach time. I did hang out in the pool that morning. Huntington was just as nice during the day and there were again plenty of surfers. Also, there were birds for Isaac (an avid birder). I acclimated to the water quite nicely, but he was kind of on and off with it. The surf was up and fun, and we spent a nice morning playing in the water and laying out on the beach.
We had lunch reservations at 2:50 at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland, and thanks to a good friend, got hooked up with tickets for 2 days while in the area. Because of poor planning and GPS usage on my part, we were a little late meeting our contact, but we did get there not long after we’d planned to meet at the Grand Californian Hotel. Unfortunately, once we parked and got to the resort, another GPS mistake had us walking all thru Downtown Disney and going to the hotel the long way. But once we got in, we met up with our new friend and headed into California Adventure first before heading directly over to Disneyland proper.
My last visit to the Disneyland Resort was in 2005, just before they started the 50th celebration. I hadn’t been to Walt Disney World at that point, but now I’d been to the Florida parks a couple times. So it was nice to compare with the original with a fresh perspective. I love Disneyland, and the last time my group only had a 1 day park hopper pass so we tried to cram too much into one day and didn’t spend nearly enough time at Disneyland. I loved California Adventure even then, before the changes, but I really needed more Disneyland time.
Heading in to California Adventure first we walked from the Grand Californian and up to the front gate plaza. After entering Disneyland we walked thru the park and to the left. I’d never bene in the tree house, so we went up into that, which was interesting. We looked at Haunted Mansion next, but the line wasn’t conducive to us getting to Blue Bayou on time. We walked to Splash Mountain instead, which was down on my last visit. It ended up the longest line of the day, so we got a FastPass instead. Oh, and I remembered to download the Disney app for wait times and photos. We did catch a quick spin on Winnie the Pooh’s Honey Hunt. I love Disney dark rides.
Lunch (or, I guess, more specifically, Supper) at Blue Bayou was outstanding. The atmosphere can’t be beaten (even if there were no boat view tables available). The service was spectacular, and the food? Really great. I had Gumbo as a starter and it was good. Isaac had Shrimp Boil Cocktail, and he said it was very good as well. After a bit, the server came over and said there was another Shrimp in the kitchen and wanted to know if Isaac wanted it, but he wanted to save room for the main course, so she asked me, and I gladly obliged. And it was very good. As was the bread.
I had a mint julep (no alcohol) to drink with water and steak mid-rare with au gratin potatoes and veggies. Supper was really special. We both enjoyed it. And our server was beyond amazing. I will eat here again next time. After eating we headed to Haunted Mansion before remembering our Fast Pass was for Splash Mountain instead. The logs on this one have inline seating. And it’s a bit different than the WDW version. There are a couple of extra scenes in Florida, but both are a lot of fun.
Then we got in line for Haunted Mansion. This would be the first time seeing the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. I’m glad I got to do this ride the last time as it originally stands, but seeing this with a different theme was interesting and not bad at all. Then we got in line for Pirates of the Caribbean. I actually like that both queues for this (east coast and west coast) are so different. But aside from that, the west coast version of the ride wins hands down in every other category. More drops, longer ride time, less Jack Sparrow (I like him, but not as much as he appears in Florida), and just an overall better ride that floats right by Blue Bayou and Club 33 dining.
Isaac needed caffeine, so we headed to Main Street Starbucks for a drink. He wanted to ride the carousel, something I’vd never actually done at a Disney park (and I do love a good carousel), so we went to King Arthur’s Carousel, after which I played with the sword in the stone. Then we walked back and got in line for Matterhorn (right).
Matterhorn Bobsleds–I like the new animatronics on the ride. That was new for the last time. It is still an interesting ride, though a bit jarring, but I guess that’s okay since it is the first tubular steel coaster. I’ll ride it every time. I like going thru the mountain, racing with the other side, and splashing down in the water.
We’d gotten Fast Passes for Space Mountain and that was coming up. I didn’t get to ride the original as it was being rebuilt during my last visit. And this time the ride was also showing the Ghost Galaxy overlay.
Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy–I love Space Mountain east, both sides, with Alpha having the slight advantage with the one drop that goes under Omega and gives a nice pop of airtime. Space Mountain at Disneyland was just as fun and aggressive in California. I wasn’t used to two by two seating, but I liked it. And the way they load handicapped riders was really neat. I really like the projections used for the Ghost Galaxy overlay. It made a mostly in the dark coaster more interesting. It was a lot of fun, and the ride was surprisingly aggressive.
When we exited Space Mountain the park was getting dark. We headed over to the Star Wars Launch Bay to check it out and get our pictures taken with Chewbacca. I was Disneybounding as a Storm Trooper, but the host said I should be okay since I’d gotten a BB88 set of mouse ears over by Space Mountain.
Time was starting to get short. I missed an opportunity to ride the Disneyland Monorail yet again (Gah!) but at least I got to see it running. We headed over and rode ndiana Jones. I still think it’s much better than Dinosaur (though I love that ride) but this time we had two regulars in the seat beside us that apparently ride it way too much and they had to narrate and comment on the entire ride and voice track. It was annoying. Please, don’t do this. You look like a major idiot.
I wanted to do Jungle Cruise, but the wait was too long. Instead we headed over to the last big coaster in the park, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad–I love these rides and think they are the ultimate mine train rides. They’re fast, fun, so well themed. I hadn’t ridden this one in a while, but it was running well and night rides are always more fun.
We toyed with a ride on the left side of Matterhorn but they’d cut operation down to only that side and the line was kind of long. Matterhorn served as both my 99th and 100th coaster so I’m not too upset about not riding both sides this time since I have ridden them. I would have liked to have ridden it but there’s always next time. We headed back towards the back of the park because I remembered how much I loved Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. We went thru the massive queue and ended up being the only people back there to ride, which was a nice surprise.
This was when we tried to get over to the Monorail, but it was a one way trip outside of the park and I wanted to take night time photos from Main Street, so we headed back thru Tomorrowland and towards the front instead. I wish they’d had a fireworks show or something that nite, but no luck. There was a Star Wars fan event, but I think only for the Disney fan club members. I just know we weren’t invited. And I’m going to force choke whatever Jedi left us off the list.
We headed back to the house and spent more time outside at nite, and actually got used to being in the pool this time for a good while before getting out. My one complaint was not enough time spent in the pool on this trip, but the darn thing was rather cool in the evenings and Isaac didn’t find the light switch that would have helped to warm the water until our last nite there. Bummer. I definitely would stay there next time if it is available though. For the same price that it would cost to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, we got a 4 bedroom AirBnB house with a private pool, so I’m not complaining.