Trip Reports

May 2014 Disneyland Trip Report – Part 5

Last May, Melissa (my wife) and I headed south to Disneyland to celebrate our anniversary. We were joined by some friends, while we spent 5 days in the parks. Over the next few Saturdays, I’ll be recapping that trip and trying to add a few opinions into the posts, as well. Enjoy! You can find part 1, 2 3 and 4 on our Trip Reports page.  This last portion of the trip report will start from where part 4 left off.  

After breakfast and parking, we headed over to California Adventure.  This was the last day with our friends in the parks (Melissa and I would spend one extra day there) so we were making sure that we got everything in.  Having a 5-day ticket made it pretty easy to get everything in but I could go 10 days in a row and not be tired of being there.  What we were tired of was the heat.  It was in the high 90’s the whole time that we were there.  Darin and I tried to cool off by some of the water features in a Bug’s Land but there was a drought in Southern California so not much water was being let out.  Also, being the two mid-twenty year-old guys in the middle of five year-olds really makes you question the decisions you have made in your life to get to this point.  We got cooled off a lot and got many stares from parents as we giggled next to this pole that had water trickling down it.  Yikes.  M&F

One of the best meet-and-greets of the trip we had was in A Bug’s Land with Flik.  He was interactive and a lot of fun.  We took one more trip to Cars Land after that.  One last ride on Radiator Springs Racers was necessary.  An attraction review of Radiator Springs Racers is coming in the next few weeks but I just want to reiterate how great the single-rider line is for this attraction.  We used it every time but once and never waited more than 25 minutes in it even during peak-hours.  RSR Waterfall

After that we headed back over to Disneyland for the rest of the day.  Most of the time was spent on meet-and-greets and attractions that our friends wanted to go on for one last time.  That evening we split up for a while and did some of our own things.  A few of us watched the fireworks from Frontierland, getting close to the Fantasmic! line while we halfway watched.  Side fireworks

After the fireworks were finished I went to find some dinner, on my own.  I don’t think I’ll ever go to a Disney Park alone, but once in while it’s nice to have a little time to yourself in the park.  I’m an introvert by nature so I was happy to grab some jambalaya from The French Market and watch as people hurried to the Rivers of America to watch Fantasmic.  A review of the counter-service restaurant is coming but the location of the restaurant is great, being in one of my favorite parts of the park with a relaxing New Orleans feel to it.  FMAfter I ate, I hurried to grab a seat with Melissa right before the show started.  If you’ve been following this blog then you already know that Fantasmic! in Disneyland is one of my favorite nighttime shows in any park.  MTFAfter that, it was time to go around and hit all of the rides we could before closing.  The parks tend to clear out after all of the shows are over and, on this night, everything was open late.  We made it to quite a few rides before the park closed, taking pictures along the way.
Matterhorn at night

After the rides and a decent amount of picture-taking we headed home.  The next day we took our friends to the airport and then spent some time driving around Southern California before returning for our last day in the parks.

On this last day, Melissa and I decided to splurge for our anniversary and stay at the Paradise Pier Hotel which is on-site at Disneyland.  Neither of us had stayed at this hotel before and we thought it’d be a relaxing way to finish our trip.  After an easy-going morning, we checked in to the hotel a little before noon and left our bags with guest services in the lobby.  Once in the park we immediately went to the last attraction on my ‘to-do list’ for the trip – Tom Sawyer Island.  

For some reason, Tom Sawyer Island is really easy for me to forget about and skip.  It shouldn’t be, as it’s filled with detail from side to side.  There is a ton of history on this island.  As you duck and climb through the island, it’s hard not to feel like a kid again.  There are also great photo opportunities here.  Melissa and I spent close to an hour there just soaking everything in.  I could have stayed there most of the day, honestly.

Boat from TSI

Stream in TSI

Wheel in TSI

Splash Mtn

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing a few attractions and wandering around parts of the two parks we hadn’t spent much time in.  Then it was time to head back to the hotel to check if our room was ready and to take a quick dip in the pool.

We checked in at the hotel desk to make sure our room was ready and they sent us on our way.  They gave us a room on the 3rd level.  We got off the elevator and headed down the hall toward our room.  To my eyes, the level appeared to have conference rooms in it (they had those double doors often seen at the bottom floor of hotels) but after I had passed those rooms Melissa called me back and asked, “Isn’t this our room number?”  Much to our surprise, the hotel had upgraded us to a suite for our anniversary!  The suite was huge and had a deck that led straight out to the pool.  It was by far the nicest hotel room we’ve ever stayed in and made for quite a memory and surprise!

Obviously, I have a bit of a biased opinion of the hotel, due to that room.  If I take the room out of the equation, the pool seemed pretty nice with a slide, a medium-sized pool and a hot tub (I believe there was also a play area for the kids).  It also had a decent view of California Adventure.

pool view

View from the pool

The Paradise Pier Pool

The Paradise Pier Pool


Our gigantic deck that led straight out to the pool.

After a quick dip in the pool, it was time for our anniversary dinner at Napa Rose.  We got dressed up and headed down to the restaurant which was across the street from our hotel in the Grand Californian Hotel.  A review is coming (I’m sure you get tired of hearing that in trip reports) but the place was incredible.  After dinner we took a few pictures and then got set for the fireworks.

Napa Rose


FW Colors

Cascade fw

It was nice to be staying close by so that I didn’t have lug around the tripod with us all day.  We were a little farther away than I’d like for the fireworks.  I have a hard time finding the perfect spot for Disneyland fireworks.  Do you think as close to the castle as possible is the way to go?  It’s something that I’ll have to keep on investigating.

After the fireworks, we tried to ignore the blisters on our feet and make the most of the rest of our time.  We rode a few easy-going attractions and then lingered on Main Street, taking pictures and soaking it all in until next time.  It was a great trip and one that we’ll look back at fondly.  Lightsaber

I had set up for this photo with my tripod behind the Partners Statue and right as I snapped it a child with a green lightsaber came running through.  But, it worked out weirdly well.  Goofy


That does it for our first ever trip report here on Wandering in Disney.  What more would you like to see from these?  Feedback would be appreciated.  We hope you enjoyed it and thank you for reading!

– Andrew

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