Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in becoming an American, travel, and my home city of San Francisco. Hope you enjoy!

#18 Go to Disneyland

#18 Go to Disneyland

After the

wedding extravaganza

, my mom and I woke up bright and early to go to Disneyland!!!! I love Disneyland and always have. My mom is also a huge fan so we take our trips pretty seriously. And by pretty seriously I mean that before I even left for LA, I had printed out maps of both parks and highlighted all the rides we wanted to do while we were there...I mean we only had 14 hours!! This is not our first trip- we are seasoned Disneyland go-ers so we do not mess around...get in, hit the major rides and get out. 

We got to the park around 8:30 and ran over (literally) to California Adventures to get


to the new Cars ride Radiator Springs Racers. It wasn't even 9 and the return time on our Fastpasses was already 1:40 so we knew it was going to be a popular ride (it sold out of Fastpasses by 11 AND the wait was 2 hours long- crazy!!). Then in a Disneyland miracle, the line for Toy Story Mania aka the best ride ever was only 7 mins long so we jumped in line. After beating my mom (100,000 points to 96,800 points <--- sucker!) we raced back over to Disneyland since we were taking a tour! Everything was all done up for Halloween so there were pumpkins everywhere - apparently

on main street there are more than 300 and no two are alike


Since we have been to Disneyland many many times, my mom and I decided to do something different and had signed up for the Walking in Walt's footsteps tour. It focused on how the park was built (planning, funding, failures, etc) as well as personal stories about Walt Disney and his family. We kicked off the tour walking down main street and learning about how on

opening/dedication day

they had twice the number of invited guest show up, the asphalt was poured that morning meaning high heeled shoes sank in it, there was a gas leak and had to close part of the park, they ran out of food, it was 101 degrees and due to a plumbers strike they could have working restrooms or working water fountains but not both (W.D. went with restrooms- good call). Yea total chaos...they called it Black Sunday. Thankfully it has improved since then :-)

One of the tour highlights is that you get to go into the lobby of

Club 33

. Club 33 is a 'secret' exclusive club at Disneyland. Its crazy expensive (or so I've heard) and the wait list is years (yes YEARS) long. The only way to get inside is to be a member or a guest of a member so it was pretty cool even if we just got to see the lower lobby. The elevator is replica of one that WD saw in Paris but the Paris owner refused to sell it so WD had people go out to take measurements in order to build an exact working replica. 

Notice those super attractive looking earphones and listening devices? Yea it was an audio tour...since I like to stand out I added some 'flair' to mine in the form of a birthday pin! Technically it was the day before my birthday but they didn't ask so I fully enjoyed having people tell me Happy Birthday all day (I really really enjoy celebrating my birthday).

After a quick ride on the train (which I had actually never been on), we jumped on It's A Small World.  The tour guide was going nuts explaining this one but in my opinion, the ride is pure hell...who wants that song in their head ALL DAY!! Not me. I was a little bummed because we were also supposed to cut the line and get to ride on the Peter Pan ride (my fav ride in Fantasyland) but it was broken..sad face.

We wrapped up the tour with the tour guide fake crying while describing WD's last days. Yup fake crying...it was awkward and uncomfortable for my mom and I but the others in our group seemed to be into it. I personally went outside and took pictures of characters. No need to wait in line! Just take pictures of other people's children...same thing.

Another highlight of the tour was going 'behind the scenes' and touring

Walt's main street apartment

 above the fire department. Cool to see the teeny tiny studio apartment he stayed at when he was visiting Disneyland. The apartment used to have a hole in the floor for a fire pole so his grandkids could side down into the fire hall on main street. However, once WD was sitting in the apartment getting some work done when a kid decided he wanted to check out the apartment and climbed UP the pole...they sealed that up soon after :-) This isn't the only apartment in a Disney resort - there is also the suite at

Cinderella's Castle

in WDW and the

Dream suite

above Pirates of the Caribbean.

After the apartment tour we sat down for our private lunch in the tour gardens. The sandwhich was good but the desert was even better- check out my chocolate caramel tart with white chocolate mickey face:

We quickly ate and then it was time to hit the park! It was 12:30 so we had a lot of moving to do. We quickly got Splash Mountain Fastpasses then did Pirates of the Caribbean,Thunder Mountain Railroad and Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters (where I beat my mom by 100,000 points...nbd just best score ever). My favorite ride Indian Jones was closed for renovation...bummer.

After a quick photo op in front of the castle (I've taken many a picture with that Minnie statue over the years...first they were cute, now slightly awkward but hey its a tradition) we headed back over to California adventures.

We got on Soaring Over California pretty quickly thanks to the single rider line (good way to do it if you can't get a fastpass) then booked it over to Tower of Terror. My mom passed on that one so it was just me screaming my head off. When we went with family a few years ago, my little cousin and I rode that ride at least 5 times...obsessed. Then we put our Fastpass to good use and checked out Cars land...soooo cool! It looks just like the movie. Apparently the mountain peaks are designed to look like the tail fins of classic Cadillac models from 1957-1962,

The ride is awesome...seriously awesome. It starts out with a mellow ride through some impressive looking scenery.

Then you go inside and see the characters from the movies- Mader is my fav. We ended up at Luigi's Casa Della Tires and got some new tires for our race which had us racing another car full of peps. It was awesome!!! Note my mom checking out our competition in the photo rather than the ride...nope she's not competitive AT ALL :-) We both agreed it was a blast...also both agreed we had to get my 4 year old cousin down here STAT since he LOVES the movie.

After the ride we checked out the area a little more and ran into Lightning McQueen...he's all animated so the kids were going nuts. We didn't have time but Mater's Junkyard Jamboree looked fun too.

We did however have time for Ariel's Undersea Adventure. This was my favorite 'princess' movie hands down when I was little for the following reasons: 1. she was a princess and that was my dream career 2. she had red hair 3. she could sing amazingly well 4. she was a MERMAID!! and last but not least...

5. she got to marry Prince Eric. What a stud am I right?? Yea as a kid he was my fav...never could understand my second fav princess Belle's attraction to the beast (before or after transformation). Plus Prince Eric had a totally awesome dog. The ride was boring but considering I wasn't their target market (think pre-school) then they did a great job. And despite being boring I still 'impressed' my mom by being able to sing all the songs.

After Ariel we did the water rides (Grizzly River run and Splash Mountain) back to back. I hate getting wet on rides because the drying off process is just no fun so I always bring a change of clothes so my mom doesn't have to hear me complain...she still has to listen to me scream bloody murder while on the rides and going under the waterfalls but I'm pretty sure she just thinks thats funny. We didn't get too wet on GRR but we got soaked on Splash Mountain. Soaking wet, we ran to House of Blues in Downtown Disney to meet up with my dad and brother for my birthday dinner. Then it was time to run back to catch World of Color. On the way I did one more wardrobe change (yup that would be 3 outfits for one day) into pants and my new Disney sweatshirt <--thanks Mom! We had thought it would be super hot that night but turns out we were both freezing...good excuse for a purchase :-) After World of Color (which is amazing) we headed back into Disneyland for Space mountain and Haunted mansion.

After Haunted Mansion we were done. Soooooo done. I don't casually walk through Disneyland, I haul ass through Disneyland. I treat getting through the crowds like a game so I try and see how many people I can pass on my way places (keeps me from loosing my mind and screaming at people for being stupid and stopping in the middle of busy areas). This means we booked it all day and I managed to give my mom shin splints (sorry!). It also means that in one day we were able to see both parks, do 14 rides, take a 3 hr tour, watch World of Color AND still have a nice sit down dinner with the fam <-- total pros right there.

So yes, we happily checked off another item on my list at the happiest place on earth! Check out my new and very appropriate keychain:

Can't wait to go back!

Pic I took during World of Color- seriously its awesome and you should totally check it out if you go.

Exploring SF: Hayes Valley

Exploring SF: Hayes Valley

Turning the big 2-8

Turning the big 2-8