Disneyland

We had a three day pass to the Disneyland parks. The pass was allowed access for Disneyland and California Adventure. There is also a third Downtown Disney which only has restaurants and shops. We went there on Saturday night and had dinner in a New Orleans themed restaurant.

The Disney pass included one early morning pass when you can get in an hour earlier than the normal ticket holders. But the early mornings are not available every day. We were going to the parks Sunday – Tuesday and would use the early pass on Tuesday. The hotel free shuttle was available to the park except on Tuesday morning we caught a taxi ($8) so we could get to the park by 7am for the early start (before the shuttle service started). LA was in a bit of a heatwave with temperatures around 35 degrees celcius. Very hot walking around in the sunshine. We used lots of sunscreen and drank lots of water. I also bought an Indiana Jones hat as it provided more protection from the sun. On Sunday the crowds were big. We spent the entire day at the Disneyland park.  We tried to go on the shorter lines but that wasn’t always available.  The average lines were 30 minutes. And the lines were deceiving to look at from the outside. For example the Jungle Boat Cruise seemed fairly short, but was signed as being 30 minutes. But once you get inside the line went into one building, zig zagged around for a bit. Then went into another building. Then went upstairs, zig zagged some more, before going back downstairs. Some more zigging and zagging and finally reached the start of the lines.  We thought that on Monday the lines would be shorter being a weekday but that wasn’t the case, they were longer. However on Tuesday the crowds were less. The longest lines we saw was 3 hours (yes 3 hours!) in the sun for the new cars ride in the California park. We didn’t go at that time.

There are a couple of tricks for making the wait in lines shorter. For Disney they have a FastPass service for the more popular rides. You go to the rides and register for a future time, usually 2-3 hours in advance, when you come back to ride. When you come back at your allocated time you get to skip the main line. But you can only register for one Fastpass at a time. And you have to wait several hours for the next allocated time. And sometimes they even run out. For example the new cars ride the FastPass for the entire day had run out by 9.30am in the morning.
The other way to get onto ride quicker is to use the single ride line. In this line they put individuals on the rides when they have spare spots left over by groups. It means you probably won’t ride with people you are at the park with. But with rides only taking 2-3 minutes you just meet up afterwards. Using single rider we got onto a Condor flats ride in just a few minutes when the normal ride was 70 minutes. On the new cars line we got through the single rider line in 45 minutes when the main line was 100 minutes. In my opinion the rides just don’t justify the line wait times. There is no way I would think a 3 hour wait would be worth a 4 minute ride.

Disneyland was great fun, but the lines can get you down.  Food is definely more expensive in the Disneypark. Every staff person we spoke to was very helpful and happy. It really made an impression. 

Downtown Disney where we had dinner one night:
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DisneyLand Park

This was the line to enter Disneyland park. Note that people had already lined up to buy tickets, and this was just the line to get in.
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Julia and I in front of the Walt & Mickey statue:
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How cool do we look wearing the special 3D glasses for one of the attractions:
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Taking an important phone call in Toon Town:
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The temperature was mid 30’s so I took advantage of the misting coolers when I could:
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Standing in front of the Castle that appears in most Disney images:
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There can be only one! Well I wasn’t him, because I couldn’t pull the sword out of the stone:
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Even the pretzels are Mickey Mouse shaped:
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Waiting for the park train (wearing my awesome new Indiana Jones hat):
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The Disneyland train which goes around the park:
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One of the lines get onto a ride. This was for the Peter Pan ride:
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Standing in front of the ‘Its a Small World’ ride:
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View of the Adventure land area while we were waiting in line for the Jungle Cruise ride:
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On the Finding Nemo ride, looking at underwater models and animations:
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California Adventure park

Standing in front of the rollercoaster/ferris wheel rides. We went on the ferris wheel where each carriage is on its own loop. So as well as going around the main circle, it also slides around on its own track. Think ‘extreme’ ferris wheel ride, where its still tamer than every other ride in the park, because its a ferris wheel:
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Look carefully and you’ll see the lovely blue sky and some of the buildings at the end are actually fake:
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On this hot day the line for the water rides was long. This one was 70 minutes. But we went on the ‘single rider’ line and got on in about 10 minutes.
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This man made mountain is supposed to be a bear. I think it looks more like a wolf:
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Julia with the wolf/bear mountain in the background:
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The most popular ride in the park, the new cars ride. At 9.30am in the morning the line was 3 hour long! And the ride only goes for a few minutes:
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Earthquake

On Tuesday at about 9.30pm we were in our hotel room when suddenly the room started to shake. It only lasted a few seconds. I called reception and the lady said it had just been a small quake and nothing to worry about. The next day we heard it had been 4.5 scale earthquake. All part of the California experience 🙂

Medieval Nights

Last night we went to a Medieval Nights event. When we arrived at the event we were allocated to different ‘knights colours.  In the centre was where the action occued with horse riding displays, knights fighting, and jousting. Each section of guests around the outside cheered for their knight and of booed the other knights. The meal was served without cutlery which added to the medieval theme. It was a fun evening. Even if our knight was killed in single combat.

Hurray the red and yellow knight!
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The King and Mrs King 🙂
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Travel to USA

Finally the day came when our holiday/honeymoon to USA arrived. We caught a taxi to the airport mid morning. The flight was fully booked so no chance for an upgrade. We were flying with United Airlines and departing at boarding 1.00pm. When we boarded the plane we discovered that unfortunately the only entertainment was ‘overhead video screens. No separate media units for each seat. And the audio socket in Julia’s seat didn’t work properly. Luckily Julia had some videos on her iPad that she could watch. They showed a mix of movies and television shows (2 hours between movies). The movies showed were ‘Lucky One’, ‘3 Stooges (I didn’t watch it), ‘Salmon fishing in the Yemen’, and ‘Wrath of the Titans’. Between the movies, a few videos on my tablet, and a short sleep the flight passed pretty well. There was something wrong with the lights in the cabin as they kept coming on, making it hard to sleep. So the gave everyone in our section a First Class pack which included an eye cover to make sleep slightly more possible. The food served on the flight was pretty good (for airline food). For dinner we had chicken with a chocolate mousse for dessert, another time we had a sandwich, and near the end of the flight we had a hot breakfast or fruit.

When we landed we had to go through immigration. The line was long, and moved painfully slow. We waited in line for an hour before one of the three officers working processed our entry request. The guy was definitely not friendly and made me feel like he was accusing us of lying to him about our trip. But we mustn’t have been too dangerous looking because he finally let us through immigration.

We called the shuttle company after collecting our bags and waited outside to be collected. 15 minutes later the shuttle drove up, kept driving, and drove on by. I called them again. Apparently the driver didn’t see us. I guess he didn’t seeing he was driving at 60km an hour and not looking at the sidewalk. The next time the shuttle drove around I stood on the rode waving so he saw us and stopped.

We were staying at the Crowne Plaza Anaheim Resort. When we arrived at noon the hotel told us checking wasn’t until 4pm. Given we’d flown from Australia and were dead tired we just wanted a shower and a rest, but it wasn’t meant to be. So we went for a walk to a restaurant called Cocos where I got a burger too big to fit into my mouth to bite.

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We went for a walk and one amusing sight was a bank with drive through ATMs. And they were popular with people driving up all the time. When we returned to the hotel it was only 2.30pm bit our room was ready. Yay!

Arrived in Anaheim:
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