So, I'm back from my first trip to California and Disneyland. Granted, the Post Disney Depression is still pretty high, so much so that I still can't even look at the pictures in detail yet, but I'll get around to them eventually. But I did promise a trip report, so here we go, in all it's good and bad glory! I've decided to divide this into three sections, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
First up, the Good:
As much as I dread dealing with airport security, I have never really had any problems with it. I work myself up into a frenzy in my mind, and it always ends up being just fine or with minimal upset. This was one of my best flying experiences ever and the views from the plane were amazing! I did get some really good pictures from the window (or at least I hope I did) of places I've always wanted to visit...mountains, deserts, plains, just general terra gorgeousness! I did briefly fall asleep during the period while we were too high in the clouds to enjoy the view anyway (the side effect of too much Xanax), but I don't think I missed too much. We did hit a lot of turbulence on the way back, but again, I kind of didn't even notice it too much.
So many people warned me that I would be disappointed in Disneyland since I was a seasoned Disney World vet, but I found that I actually enjoyed Disneyland, maybe more so than Disney World. Granted, there were issues I'll discuss later in the bad, but I found the parks to be quaint and comfortable, steeped in far more history and charm than my parks could ever be. Pirates of the Caribbean, arguably tied for my favorite Disney ride ever (with Haunted Mansion) was FAR superior at DL and I found myself riding it six times and felt like I could have easily ridden it even more! Considering all the blank spaces at WDW's version, there is no reason why the extra scenes couldn't be added to Florida.
I will also say that where Disney World's Space Mountain is a kidney crusher, Disneyland's was smooth and relaxing. It was nice to ride Space Mountain and actually enjoy it! The Matterhorn, on the other hand, more than made up for the bumpy ride and my kidney's still kind of hurt from the one time we managed it. Big Thunder Mountain seemed smaller at Disneyland, but I liked that most of it was outdoors and there seemed to be more scenery in the ride. Same for the train...the dioramas, although weird and unrelated to one another, still were quite enjoyable.
Cars Land at California Adventure is quite possibly my new favorite land in any Disney park. The level of detail to the movies and the large quantity of Mater-ness easily made it the place I found myself always going back to. Granted, riding Radiator Springs Racers was a feat and virtually impossible without a FastPass (something I've gotten out of the habit of at Disney World), but the two times we managed to ride it were both quite pleasant experiences considering the wait times, even for FastPass riders.
The fact that we could easily walk from The Grand Californian into both parks was definitely a bonus and I was quickly spoiled to the afternoon breaks that I had avoided so much in my Disney World past. There was really no need to ship purchases back to the resort, just take ten minutes and walk them back! Even our stay at the Contemporary at WDW wasn't as convenient as the GCH was. And it's similarities to Wilderness Lodge (my favorite WDW resort) made me feel at "home" and considering how much out of my element I was, it was quite a welcome feeling.
I'll discuss the LA Tour we took more in the bad and the ugly, but there was a glimmer of goodness in it, that being Santa Monica. I could literally live there! It was gorgeous and had that calm vibe that I always look for when I'm travelling. I walked along the beach, along the pier, along the cliffs, some of the time by myself, and I enjoyed every single minute of it. About the only thing that stressed me out a bit was the homeless. They were sleeping on the beach, digging in the trash for food, even grunting loudly at us as we walked by. I'm never sure how to react in those situations because we don't have visibly homeless here, but I chose the non-responsive response. I watched how everyone else reacted to them and they seemed to do the same, so hopefully I made the right decision.
I was so afraid that my apple-shaped body would be out of place in California, but I was surprised to see that the skinny to fat ratio was a lot smaller than I expected. I guess I've always associated Cali people as skinny beautiful people and I really didn't see a lot of either, it was more just the "real world" type of guest, so I felt more comfortable than I was expecting to. I will say though, some of the outfits shocked me because most all were not "size appropriate". I saw more butt cheeks than I cared to (well, I never care to see butt cheeks, especially in public, but you know what I mean).
And the two-hour commute I was expecting from the airport to the resort only took 52 minutes there (including a grocery stop) and 37 minutes back. Although L.A. traffic was terrifying to look at from the car-pool lane, I was so grateful I went the car service route and decided against renting a vehicle...I would have been in physical conniptions by the time we got there and back!
The best thing though was that my new camera performed beautifully (or at least I hope it did)! I have looked at a couple of individual pictures from various streams while loading them and they look ah-maz-ing! Best purchase ever even if the rude woman at Rancho del Zocalo rammed me with her tray and completely soaked one of my lenses in beans.
Overall, despite the problems and issues I had on this trip, I really did enjoy the parks, enough so that I would be willing to go back someday. I wouldn't mind taking an LA Tour that was more hands-on and that took us places that were actually worth seeing or places we wanted to go versus the general dump areas and I'd love to do a whole PCH driving tour, maybe as far north as San Francisco and the Disney Museum. And now that I'm familiar with both the park layouts and Disneyland planning, I would be willing to give it another go...but that's a trip for a far off time, I need some good 'ole Disney World time with my sissy now, so 2016 planning has already begun!
Next up will be the bad. The bad does outweigh the good (and don't get me started on the ugly), but I still feel like I should reiterate that overall, I did have a good time and I did thoroughly enjoy Disneyland.