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June 2008 Archives

June 1, 2008

Disney Magic Cruise - Port of Los Angeles and Disneyland - Panama Canal Trip - Day 16

May 25, 2008
Port of Call: Los Angeles -- Disneyland Resort

Much as we wanted to sleep in, Linda had to disembark by 7:30am so we were up early. While she got ready, I went up on Deck 10 to watch the Disney Magic come into Port.

The sun was just coming up which made for a pretty sky. It was a beautiful sunrise on the starboard side.


Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

We were escorted in by a boat shooting water fountains.
And greeted by a group of folks waving Mickey Hands and a Welcome Back banner.

Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles

Back in the cabin I looked at the report from the bridge and wowed at where we traveled the last 2 weeks. Follow the white line from north of Miami Florida to LA California.

Panama Canal Cruise

It was quickly time for Linda to head to customs and Los Angeles Airport. She had a 1pm flight home. I was heading to Disneyland.

Breakfast on Disembarkation morning is at the restaurant you dined at the night before. So, minus Linda and Sharon, the rest of us gathered. For some, it was hugs and teary goodbyes (until we meet again), for others we were headed to Disneyland.

As we were getting our belongings ready to depart, I received quite an amazing surprise! Disney Magic Captain Thord, who I had not met, came up to me and called me by name! WOW! That was an incredible magical moment and I was very honored.

Disney Magic Captain and Deb

Clearing customs was a lengthy process, but we were ready for that. It is quite different from Port Canaveral, so those used to that process will need to adjust. You leave the ship by group (character stickers are provided) and then clear customs withOUT your luggage. Once you are passed customs, you go down to the luggage area. A porter will be available to take your bags outside.

Although this photo doesn't show it, the outside area is small and conjested so keep your group together.

Port of Los Angeles

Before long we were on our van and our way to Disneyland!

Ann, George and I got off first at the Paradise Pier, Beci and Chris went onto the Disneyland Hotel. I had quite a difference experience this time at the Paradise Pier. It was packed in the lobby, the check in area is small, luggage service was SO backed up and the room was not ready. Ok, I wasn't expecting the room to be ready but....

I was staying concierge and the experience is QUITE different than concierge at a WDW resort. For those of you contimplating a concierge stay at Paradise Pier, I would advise you to think again.

First, there was no pre-arrival contact from the resort. At WDW, you either receive a phone call or a letter from the itinerary planning department to assist in pre-arrival dining reservations etc.

Next, there was no separate concierge check in. At WDW, you tell Bell Services you are concierge and are escorted to the club lounge to check in and get some refreshments. Also, if your room is not ready you then have a quieter place to wait and decide what to do next.

At Paradise Pier, there was no such experience and the Cast Member at the front desk actually seemed put out when I asked questions.

Ann and George's room was not ready either, so we decided to head over to the parks. While we didn't plan to go inside, I wanted to show them just how close the hotel was to Downtown Disney as well as the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park.

Tired as we were, we meandered to the park entrance. It was neat to see their expressions as it was their very first vist. Here they are near the mural of California Adventure. From what I understand, the mural will be going away as part of the extensive rehab scheduled for the park.

California Adventure

When we returned to the Grand Californian, we wandered over to Napa Rose. Dinner tonight was here to celebrate friend's anniversary.

Soon it was time for lunch at Storyteller's Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel. This is perhaps my favorite sit down restaurant at Disneyland for all 3 meals.

We met back up with Beci and Chris and AllEars team member Linda Mac (who arrived in town several days earlier).

LindaMac and Deb at Storyteller's Cafe in Disneyland's Grand Californian

Also at lunch, the table next to us had 2 AllEars Fans, Walt and Liz, who also happened to be on the Panama Canal cruise!

Walt, Liz and Deb at Storyteller's Cafe in Disneyland's Grand Californian

We hung out more after lunch and then about 3:20 our rooms were ready! YEA!

Paradise Pier Room

It was supposed to be an upgraded room. Ann and George thought it looked the same size as their room, but mine had a make up mirror in the bathroom. It was on the third floor (335) but a patio room. It would have been very convenient for a family who used the pool. My preference is not to have a room on the ground level as I like to keep the curtains open for light and the door open at night for fresh air. If I wasn't so tired, I would have asked to move.

I took a quick 20 minute power nap, showered and was met my friends at the Grand Californian Lobby: Mari, Raleigh, Allison and Lauren. Linda and I had met Raleigh and Mari in 2005 on the Mexican Riveria Disney Magic Cruise. Last year, all four of them were our tablemates for the 11 night Mediterrean Disney Magic Cruise.

Gary and Karen were also part of dinner (as well as Ann, George, Beci and Chris) and also were on the cruise last year.

Allison, Lauren and Mari

Gary and Karen


Our experience at the Napa Rose was VERY disappointing. The food was spectacular the service bordered on horrible. I'll be writing a separate review on our dinner.

After dinner, everyone went their separate ways. We'd be enjoying Disneyland in the morning!

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise and Disneyland Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Deb

June 3, 2008

Disneyland Resort - Panama Canal Trip - Day 17

May 26, 2008
Disneyland Resort
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 60s.

The alarm went off bright and early. As I reached for my glasses, they weren't there. Huh? I hesitated for a moment and then I realized I wasn't on the ship anymore. 15 nights in one place will do that to you. I opened my eyes and found my glasses, LOL.

I showered and found my way to the Paradise Pier concierge lounge for some early morning coffee. The lounge is huge, very spacious and inviting. I found some "Hidden Mickeys" on part of the floor in the lounge too! There was a nice selection of fresh fruit and pastries along with cereal and bagels. The strawberries were outstanding!

Paradise Pier Concierge Lounge

Hidden Mickey Paradise Pier Concierge Lounge


Ann, George, Linda Mac and I all had a fun time at the Lilo and Stitch Character Breakfast at the PCH Grill in Paradise Pier. Since it was fairly early, the restaurant was pretty empty and the characters spent lots of time with us. We probably saw each one twice. On the other hand, the service was mediocre at best. We were in the process of actually sitting in the chairs the first time when the server came over to find out if we were doing buffet or menu. Umm.. can we sit down first and see the menu and buffet? Also, refills were slow as was the clearing of plates. In addition, we noticed lots of folks with Hawaiian leis and Lilo and Stitch buttons, we received neither.

Food is buffet style and very good. Made to order eggs, all kinds of fresh fruits, pastries, breakfast items and more.

This first one of Goofy is for Masayo.

Lilo and Stitch Character Breakfast Paradise Pier

Lilo, LindaMac, Deb, Stitch, and Ann at the Lilo and Stitch Character Breakfast Paradise Pier


Next port of call -- Disneyland! One of the things I planned to do was search for Hidden Mickeys. My good friend Steve Barrett has published several editions of a WDW Hidden Mickey Hunt Book and also one for Disneyland.

Deb and  Hidden Mickeys at Disneyland

We oogled at the Main Street Vehicles and made our way to Adventureland to get FastPasses for the Indiana Jones Adventure.

Adventureland at Disneyland


While waiting for the Fast Pass time we took in two great classic attractions - first the Enchanted Tiki Birds.

Tiki Birds in Adventureland at Disneyland


Tiki Birds in Adventureland at Disneyland

-- then the Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise in Adventureland at Disneyland

There was a huge promo going on regarding the new Indiana Jones movie. It includes many fun thing to do and see including Random Acts of Indy. Laura blogged about it.
While I didn't see any random acts of Indy, I was part of a very quick, hmmm "Act of Jack Attack" LOL.

We found Jane at her meet and greet just on the other side of Tarzans' Treehouse. As I began talking with her, Jack Sparrow snuck up behind and startled her. It all happened so fast, not one of us got a photo. Special Kudos to LindaMac for trying.

Jane in Adventureland at Disneyland

Then it was time for Indiana Jones!!

Indiana Jones in Adventureland at Disneyland

For lunch we'd be joining Laura Gilbreath (All Ears Disneyland Reporter) and her husband Lee, along with Beci and Chris at Blue Bayou.

While we waited for the place to open, Ann and George had a Magical Moment and received First Time Visitor Buttons!

Ann and George getting First Time Buttons at Disneyland

LindaMac, Laura and I posed on the New Orleans Square steps for a photo op.

Laura, LindaMac and Deb in New Orleans Square at Disneyland

Next up Pirates of the Caribbean (much better than MK counterpart).

Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland at Disneyland


At this point, Laura and Lee left us and went over to tour the DVC exhibit at Paradise Pier.

Next stop, Haunted Mansion . The recent enhancements in the Florida Attraction really give that one the edge in terms of our favorite.

Haunted Mansion  at Disneyland

Haunted Mansion  at Disneyland

Haunted Mansion  at Disneyland

Everyone enjoyed Winnie the Pooh. Unlike WDW, the DL version begins outside.

The Canoes still operate in Disneyland and I love the nostalgic feeling of them.

Canoes at Disneyland

Over to Tomorrowland for Buzz AstroBlasters. Again, enjoyed this much better than WDW especially since you can remove the laser gun to maneuver it easier. Another cool feature is that you can email yourself the photo taken during the ride!

Buzz AstroBlasters at Disneyland

Buzz AstroBlasters at Disneyland

Buzz Astroblaster E-PostCard  at Disneyland

On the way to ToonTown we saw Narnia's Prince Caspian riding by. The "construction" covering behind him is at Its a Small World.


Prince Caspian at Disneyland


I had never been to Disneyland's ToonTown and it was a most pleasant surprise. We all LOVED the theming and spent a great deal of time wandering around. We rode Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin and Beci did a good job keeping the taxi from spinning! We then spent time touring Mickey and Minnie's home. Goofy even has a place here too! Lots of fun scenery, lots of gadget to play with.

Toon Town at Disneyland

Toon Town at Disneyland

Toon Town at Disneyland

Toon Town at Disneyland

I was starting to get really tired and needed to go back to the room for a short rest. Linda Mac and I left the park and ended up stopping at the La Brea Bakery for a late lunch. It was quite good and helped to recharge our batteries!

After my rest, I met Linda Mac and attended the special DVC Member Gathering! Linda has reported on it already. I met some great Cast Members and learned a few things in the process. Linda has already blogged about the event.

I also forgot to mention in yesterday's blog, that I got a tour of the new Grand Californian Studio and One-bedroom villas. No photos allowed, but I really like the new layout. The dining table is larger than current one bedrooms, there are 2 full bathrooms, and the living area has a floor to ceiling window for more light. The balcony is accessible via a side door or from the master bedrooms.

A full and delightful day has come to an end. Tomorrow my last day in California so we plan to spend time at both parks.

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise and Disneyland Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Deb


June 9, 2008

Disneyland Resort - Panama Canal Trip - Day 18 Part 1

May 27, 2008
Disneyland Resort
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 70s

My last day of the trip. I can't believe how quickly time has gone by. A week ago the Disney Magic was in Puerto Vallarta and I was horseback riding. Now, I have one final day at Disneyland before heading home in the morning.

Many of you who have sent blog emails to me have asked for even MORE photos. So, for my last day in Disneyland, I'll be filing several blogs. I hope you enjoy the photos!

It was Magic Morning at Disneyland which meant resort guests could enter 1 hour early. As we neared the entrance to the parks, we noticed California Adventure was very empty (not opening until 10am). So we took the opportunity for photos! This entrance will be totally changed with the new expansion project!

California Adventure Park Entrance

Deb at the California Adventure Park Entrance

California Adventure Park Entrance

We thought our resort room key was all we needed to get into the park but we were wrong. Turned out we also needed our resort charge card. Now, for those of you WDW folks, you know one plastic key does it all, tickets, room key, etc. But in Disneyland, you have one plastic key for your door lock and then a paper card for charging privledges. I don't care for that system, but what can you do.

Fortunately, I had my charge card with me and the Cast Member let us all in. Thing was, I intentionally went to Guest Services at Paradise Pier before leaving for the park and specifically asked what we needed to get into Magic Morning. I was told our Resort Room Key. So, a word to the wise, bring the charge card paper!

We strolled down a fairly empty Main Street.

Main Street Disneyland

Main Street Disneyland

Our original plan had us getting to the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, but when we arrived there was already a one hour wait. We decided to not stand in line. LindaMac went to check out the line for the Matterhorn Bobsleds and I went to Space Mountain. While not a real coaster fan, I had read great things about the Space Mountain version at Disneyland and wanted to try it out.

Two Thumbs Up from me!!!!

Deb Loves Space Mountain Disneyland

The priority this morning was to see attractions that were not at Walt Disney World. Later, our friends Mari and Raleigh were going to join us for a day at the parks.

First up, Storybook Land Canal Boats. A very gentle boat ride with lots of storybook villages to look at. Simple yet very enjoyable.

Storybook Land Canal Boats Disneyland

Storybook Land Canal Boats Disneyland

Storybook Land Canal Boats Disneyland

Our next attraction was Casey Junior Circus Train. The train circled the same area as the Storybook boats just from a different view point. It was cute and we had a great time.

Casey Junior Circus Train Disneyland

Casey Junior Circus Train Disneyland

We even spotted our friends Gary and Karen down below taking photos of us.

Casey Junior Circus Train Disneyland


Gary and Karen were heading to the airport in a few hours, but they wanted to say "goodbye" and maybe get a couple attractions in. We decided to visit Mr. Toad's WIld Ride!


Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Disneyland

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Disneyland

Next up, Pinocchio's Daring Adventure.

About this time I was getting text message from Mari letting me know they are on Disney property and would be meeting us at California Adventure. I asked her to pick out a good counter service place and we'd meet there.

We slowly made our way out of the park. In the Hub we stopped for a photo of Ann, George and LindaMac.

Ann, George and LindaMac at the Castle in Disneyland


The Barbershop Quartet bicycled by as we strolled down Main Street:

Barbershop Quartet in Disneyland

As we headed out of the park we window shopped down Main Street. Lo and behold, I found my good friend Steve Barrett's Hidden Mickeys Disneyland book in a Main Street Shop window!

Steve's Hidden Mickey book on Main Street in Disneyland


Next blog, Part 2 of my last day - on to Disney's California Adventure.

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise and Disneyland Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Deb


June 12, 2008

Disneyland Resort - Day 18 Part 2

May 27, 2008
Disneyland Resort
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 70s

Part 2

When I left you last blog, we were headed out of Disneyland down Main Street and found my good friend Steve Barrett's Hidden Mickeys Disneyland book in a Main Street Shop window!

Steve's Hidden Mickey book on Main Street in Disneyland

I'll pick it up from there.....

Mari and Raliegh had texted to say they were over at Disney's California Adventure. They found a good counter service place, Pacific Wharf Cafe, that was still serving breakfast. None of us really ate that morning as we were in the park for Magic Morning so.....off we went.

We hadn't seen Mari and Raleigh since, well, 2 nights earlier...that mediocre dinner at Napa Rose where we attempted to celebrate their anniversary (I know, I still need to write the review).

Anyway...Raleigh wasn't too interested in having his photo taken, so here is Mari :)

Mari in California Adventure

Here is the YUMMY breakfast croissant I had from the Pacific Wharf Cafe. I only ate a small piece of the pastry but I can tell you this was better than any breakfast sandwich I've had from WDW counter service. YUMMMMMM

Breakfast Sandwich - Pacific Wharf Cafe

We all quickly rediscovered our Childish Delight and had just a wonderful day. Here is our first photo op. Somehow our curiosity got us captured in a large fish net!

Fish Net

 in Disney's California Adventure


Someone suggested we stroll by Toy Story Mania in case of a soft opening..but alas, no Cast Members in sight...

Toy Story Mania

We approached Golden Dreams, a movie about the history of California, with a little Disney imagineering included. Most of us had never seen it before. LindaMac had a couple days earlier and decided to pass on this showing. Mari told us it was probably going to close soon, so we decided to do it.

The movie was good and I learned a few things. There is a great montage at the end (think American Adventure in Epcot) but I didn't recognize a lot of the folks. We also had a special visit from Whoopi, in the true spirit of Disney imagineering.


Golden Dreams in Disney's California Adventure

Golden Dreams in Disney's California Adventure

Somewhere along the way, we returned to the Pacific Wharf Cafe for lunch. Again, the food was realy really good. There was plenty of it even if you didn't eat the bread bowl!!

Next, another new experience for us East Coaster's -- A Bugs Land! We loved this land and took our time exploring all the nooks and crannys!

A Bug's Land Signage in Disney's California Adventure

While we were checking out the Hopper figure.....

Hopper in A Bug's Land in Disney's California Adventure

.... who should appear, but Flick!!! We enjoyed a few minutes playing with him.


Flick in A Bug's Land in Disney's California Adventure

A Bug's Land is really designed for the little ones and it was really cute to see some of the seating along the paths. That said, our merry band of adults really had a great time.


A Bug's Land in Disney's California Adventure

If we had the luxury of time, we would have gone on more of the attractions here. But, we opted to enjoy Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. What fun we had!!!!!!

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train in A Bug's Land in Disney's California Adventure

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train in A Bug's Land in Disney's California Adventure


We continued to wander, kind of aimlessly and found ourselves at the Boudin Bakery Tour. Short, informative and we got a small slice of Sourdough Bread too!

Boudin Bakery Tour in Disney's California Adventure


Then we really started getting silly!!!

Group photo in Disney's California Adventure

Whew... ok, that's it for today.

Stay tuned!!!!

I'll finish my trip blog next time!!


Follow my Panama Canal Cruise and Disneyland Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Deb


June 18, 2008

Disneyland - Day 18 Trip Conclusion

I ended my last blog with a photo of us being silly!

Group photo in Disney's California Adventure

Ok, where was I?

We composed ourselves and headed over to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot area. It's time to go see Monster's Inc! It was one of the few "must sees" I had on my list for California Adventure.

I loved everything about this attraction. The themeing at the entrance was awesome!

Monster's Inc in Disney's California Adventure


Ann decided to do her impersonation of Roz... what do you think?

Monster's Inc in Disney's California Adventure

Plus, there was a great photo op there as well!

Monster's Inc in Disney's California Adventure

I think there is something to say about not reading much about attractions before you go on them. I honestly don't know if or what I had read about Monsters, Inc, but let me say it was awesome! The themeing was SO well done, kudos to the Imagineers who worked on this attraction. The attention to detail was ever present, the ride followed the storyline fairly well an it was one of my favorite parts of my Disneyland Resort experience!

Monster's Inc. in Disney's California Adventure

After our ride with Mike, Sully, and Boo, LindaMac wanted to ride California Screaming! It had been down earlier in the day but she spotted it running. So off she went!

LindaMac California Screaming  in Disney's California Adventure

She was SO excited when she got off the ride. We gave her a huge round of applause for being... er braver.. yea, that's it, braver than the rest of us!


LindaMac California Screaming in Disney's California Adventure

We walked past the Golden Vine Winery and well, had to relax with good friends and a glass of wine.

Golden Vine Winery  in Disney's California Adventure

Golden Vine Winery in Disney's California Adventure

After a brief rest, we soon found ourselves at the west coast Tower of Terror.

Tower of Terror in Disney's California Adventure

Since we were in the Hollywood Section and the park would be closing in about an hour, we decided to revist the friendly monsters....

 Monsters Inc in Disney's California Adventure

We had two fantastic rides and really turned into children. The attraction was pretty empty so we quickly exited and got right back on the ride.

We were headed out of the park and found ourselves inside the amazing Disney Animation Building. We had missed the final showing of the day of Turtle Talk but found plenty to amuse ourselves with. We practically had the whole place to ourselves.

I couldn't really get a good photo of the main area that you walk into....but there are several very large movie screens with Disney animated features playing.

Soon, we were face to face with the Mirror!!!

 Disney Animation Building in Disney's California Adventure

Next Beast's Library where Lumiere helped us discover what Disney character LindaMac is!

Beast's Library  Disney Animation Building in Disney's California Adventure

Beast's Library Disney Animation Building in Disney's California Adventure

One final glimpse of Disney's Calfornia Adventure!

 Disney's California Adventure


Across the way, Disneyland was still open. Being my last night, I wanted to see everything I could so in we went. We rode Indiana Jones one last time...a favorite of all of us. And soon, Disneyland was going to close too.

Walt and Mickey said "See You Real Soon"

Walt and Mickey in Disneyland

As we headed back to the Grand Californian, we all knew this wonderful day was coming to a close. Raleigh and I recalled some of the days highlights.

Deb and Raliegh

All good things must come to an end and my trip was quickly coming to a close.

I said goodbye to my dear friends Mari and Raleigh and hoped I'd see them again soon.

My ride to the airport was picking me up at 9:30, so LindaMac, George, Ann and I decided to have one last breakfast together - the character meal at Storytellers!

Characters were fun and there were lots of them. Chip and Dale, Timon, Terk, Brother Bear, Meeko.

We had barely sat down when Meeko came running over to me with an Autograph Book. I wasn't sure at first what was going on and then realized he, umm, borrowed it from a young girl at a nearby table! Soon as I realized what he had done, I got right into the fun and gave him a hard time for taking away her shiney book!

Storytellers Character Breakfast in Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort

The food was super..best omelet of my whole vacation I think!!!!

Storytellers Character Breakfast in Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort

 Storytellers Character Breakfast in Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort

Storytellers Character Breakfast in Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort

Storytellers Character Breakfast in Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort

We had an incredible server who was always at the table getting something or refilling something. She was great fun too!

Overall a great experience! I highly recommend!


Storytellers Character Breakfast in Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort

As I rode to the airport I reflected back on the last 3 weeks. A trip that began by flying out of Maryland and into Orlando. I visited several countries, crossed the Panama Canal, and docked in Los Angeles. What an amazing amazing experience. How fortunate I am to experience so many incredible adventures. I never dreamed, even 10 years ago, I would travel to the places I have visited.

To all of you who have followed my blog of this journey through the Panama Canal. Thank you. I hope that you enjoyed my narration and the photos. I enjoyed sharing it with you!

To all the people I met along the way, including those I traveled with, thank you for making this another amazing journey of discovery, imagination, wonder and friendship. I look forward to future adventures.

Til next time.....

Follow my Panama Canal Cruise and Disneyland Blogs. Beginning entries at the top, for most recent entries scroll down.

Deb


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About June 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2008 is the previous archive.

July 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.