Disneyland Hotel, Birthday 2008

We left our home in Las Vegas about 9:30 a.m. and, after an uneventful drive, arrived at the Disneyland Hotel at 1:30 p.m.

There was a short line at check-in, and soon we were at the counter talking to a friendly CM. I asked if our room was ready and she said that she would find us one that was. Thank goodness they don’t pre-assign rooms here like they do at WDW. Then she said that because we were celebrating my birthday on this trip, she was going to upgrade us. We had booked a standard view room and we were upgraded to a pool view room on the 9th floor of the Dreams tower, the one closest to the parks.

Then she handed me a birthday pin with my name on it and sang the Disney birthday song to me. Everything was starting out so well.

We were in our room about 2:00 p.m. The room had a long entry hallway with a connecting door to the next room, then the bathroom to the right, and then a somewhat small, square, but cozy bedroom area with a king bed, nightstands, armoire, and a desk & chair. There was no sitting area and, although there was a refrigerator, there was no coffee maker. The room was very nice with a great view of the pool. The king bed was comfy although it was very high and took some climbing to get into.

Our first order of business was to get to the pool that was tempting us from our window. It was a beautiful day, sunny and 79 degrees. We grabbed a couple of lounge chairs in the shade and headed for the hot tub. Ahhh … very relaxing. There we chatted with some folks from the San Joaquin Valley who were in town for a wedding. After relaxing on our lounge chairs, it was time for a dip in the pool. The water was a tad bit cool, but we adjusted to it quickly and enjoyed our time there.

At 3:30, we headed back to room to get ready for our foray into Disneyland Park. By 4:30 we were on our way, walking through Downtown Disney, and then through the main gates into Disneyland. We were a little hungry, so we headed to the Tiki Room to get a couple of Dole Whip Floats. Yum! And refreshing too.

Next we headed to Pirates of the Caribbean and it was a walk-on. Because I was wearing my birthday pin, we got the front row of a boat and the only other people in the boat was a couple in the back row. It was great to see Pirates again!

We headed out in the general direction of Fantasyland when we passed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We decided to get aboard. We hadn’t ridden this since 2000 before the fatal crash here several years ago. We were through the line in about 10 minutes and soon were barreling through the canyons in our train. It was excellent!

Next we strolled to Fantasyland where we wanted to ride Peter Pan, but the line was at least 30 minutes (maybe more) and we didn’t want to wait. So we decided to ride some less popular rides. First up was Pinocchio, then Mr. Toad,

Now we were really hungry. We made our way to New Orleans Square and checked out the menu at Cafe Orleans. But we had PS for Blue Bayou the next day for lunch, so we decided against having the same kind of food two days in a row. So it was off to Rancho del Zocalo.

Dinner – Rancho del Zocalo

Kathy: Soft Tacos Monterrey – Fajita-Style Beef topped with Cheese and served in Flour Tortillas.
Rich: Carne Asada & Red Chile Enchilada Platter – Succulent Beef cooked to perfection served with two Cheese Enchiladas.

We have eaten here many times before because it is one of our favorite counter service restaurants in Disneyland. However, this was the first time we’ve been here since it was redesigned. There are two separate walk-up serving areas – one for tacos and burritos and the other for the platters. Then it’s through the check-out (we got an AP discount here) and into the courtyard. We found a table by the tracks of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and enjoyed our thoroughly delicious meal. The food here is quite good and the courtyard atmosphere is quick striking and pleasant.

After dinner, it was getting dark and everyone was claiming their spot for the parade. That told us it was time to go. The park would be closing at 8:00 p.m. anyway, just an hour away.

As we headed down Main Street, we decided to stop in the Emporium to browse for souvenirs, not sure if we’d find anything interesting. But before long, Kathy spotted a great picture frame with Mickey standing next to the Disneyland sign. We had to get this. At the checkout desk, we also grabbed a Pirates of the Caribbean mouse pad for one of our computers. We got our AP discount and used Reward Points to pay for our goodies.

After shopping, we walked back through Downtown Disney for – you guessed it – more shopping. At World of Disney we purchased two travel coffee mugs (Minnie and Mickey) and some shortbread cookies to have as our dessert (AP discount and Reward Points here again).

We were back in our room about 8:00 p.m. to rest up from travel day and all the fun we had already crammed into our first day. We snacked on our shortbread cookies while watching the Dodgers on TV (they beat the Padres)! Then off to sleep to rest up for Day 2.

Kathy Says: When we heard they were remodeling the old Casa de Fritos turned Casa Mexicana into a combo Mexican/Barbecue place, we were a bit alarmed. But it seems that plan was short-lived and while the design has changed from cafeteria-style to walk-up made-to-order Mexican food, it is deliciously authentic and located in a Mexican Rancho Courtyard. You can’t beat the atmosphere at night listening to the crowds screaming on BTMR next door.

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer