May 18, Part 7: Disneyland
By the time we headed out again, it was probably close to 6 p.m. We were getting hungry and not wanting to repeat last night’s search for food in the park, we decided to stop off at Downtown Disney for a quick bite.
Have we mentioned how impressed we were with Downtown Disney at Disneyland? When we first heard about it, we didn’t have very high expectations. I pictured the few shops that used to be in the area before the DCA expansion and I never dreamed I could love it more than the Downtown Disney at WDW. But there’s a vibe that even the locals are drawn to. Disneyland has always been a bigger locals draw that WDW – “Date Night at Disneyland,” started in Walt’s Day, is alive and well at Disneyland – especially in Downtown Disney and the hotels – today.
Catal, with its open-air Uva bar smack dab in the middle of Downtown Disney, is especially adult-friendly. Although we were tempted to stop in for a glass of wine and some tapas on numerous occasions, we just couldn’t fit it in on this trip. Next time, for sure.
Instead, when we walked past Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express, we couldn’t resist getting a bowl of Jambalaya and a bowl of Red Beans and Rice, which we shared. We sat outside and people-watched and the headed for the Monorail Station nearby.
BTW, while I received many “Happy Birthday” wishes when I wore my birthday button that morning at DCA, I decided that was enough. The monorail gave us a tour of Disneyland Park and then dropped us off at Tomorrowland station, where the people disembarking ran into the people waiting in the submarine line.
We walked past Matterhorn and were tempted to get in line, but just as we were about to jump in line ourselves, a huge horde of people got in line and we decided to wait until later. Besides, we prefer this ride at night. We then got in line at Alice in Wonderland and were so excited to ride this because the MK at WDW doesn’t have this. But not long after we got in line, we heard that Alice was down. Deciding not to wait, we walked back out to Main Street to Adventureland and got a Fast Pass for Indy. The we headed straight for Pirates. As most people know, Pirates at Disneyland is a much nicer ride – longer, two drops and a restaurant inside. While at WDW, the ride and Casa de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot became our substitute.
It was great riding Pirates at Disneyland once again and then we headed for the Haunted Mansion. It wasn’t quite dark yet and we recalled how much fun HM at WDW is at night. Even though it’s an inside ride, some how it seems spookier when it’s dark outside. We didn’t get that same feeling at DL – probably because it isn’t as isolated as it is at WDW. But we prefer HM at Disneyland and the changes were nice, too.
After HM, it was time to check out the new Pooh ride that replaced Country Bears at DL. Country Bears at DL was never quite as popular as it is at WDW so we can see why they chose to put Pooh in its place. And Pooh was really nice at DL – preferred it over the one at WDW – probably because it’s an inside/outside ride.