Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Anaheim Hilton
When: September 2014
Why: Focus on Disneyland
Our last trip (May) feels far too distant and while we tried to fit in another trip sooner, September is the earliest we can get there. As wonderful as the desert can be, it can become monotonous, especially during the summer months, and we know how important it is to have frequent getaways. Hopefully, we’ll get to have regular getaways in the future.
For more details of “The Plan,” see the revised September Disneyland Trip: Revised.
Let’s start right off with the lowlights. As the trip unfolded, it began to have a “We Had No Idea” theme.
We try to avoid holidays at Disneyland but we were stuck this year with Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend because of the odd vacation policy at Rich’s new company – for the first six months, you get none.
In the past, we’ve tried to arrive early Friday afternoon because we can accomplish so much before the weekend even starts. In May, we didn’t arrive until Saturday afternoon and we lost way too much time with that late arrival, so this time, Rich managed to get away a couple of hours early and we took off a little after 3 p.m. arriving around 7 p.m.
By arriving Friday night, we could get up early and get to Disneyland by park opening. We’d neglected this park in the past, having become so fond of DCA, but we were determined to focus on Disneyland this trip.
We left our car with valet and I sat with our suitcase at the lovely seating area while Rich checked us in. He informed me about the Disney Half-Marathon after he saw the note that said, “Note to Guests: city streets will be closed off between 5 and 7 am due to the Disney Half-Marathon.” No mention from the clerk – just that note on the counter.
Then Rich realized why all the onsite hotels were booked well in advance and there were no last-minute cancellations like we’d hoped. We’d expected crowds for Labor Day weekend similar to Memorial Day weekend – we never anticipated this.
This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced this. At the GC last year, we were prevented from taking the straight path from the GC to La Brea Bakery for breakfast because it was off for some corporate walking group. Of course they make lots of money with these events, but Disney, are you a theme park or are you in the business of Marathons and Walkathons? (WDW has far more room than DL so these events are very intrusive in such a small space.)
Sorry, Disney, but we can’t trust you not to ruin our vacation. But not just our vacation but that of many other families. None of us appreciate having our trip thrown under the bus for a big corporate event. And neither do some of the families we’d heard from, especially those who had planned their trip a year in advance.
Anyway, we found our way to our lanai room on the fifth floor, which is the same as the pool, and unpacked. The last time we stayed at the Hilton, we were so impressed with the Heavenly beds they’re famous for and this is one reason we chose the Hilton. The other reason is that, to avoid the dreaded parking garage, which is what we used the last time we were at the Hilton (see The Haunted Parking Garage Report), we would use their shuttle, which gets the closer drop-off location, compared to Embassy Suites, where we stayed in May (see Unexpected Disneyland/Beach Trip).
We ordered wine and dessert and enjoyed our evening out on our lanai. Here’s what we had:
Cream cheese beignets, sour cream sorbet, raspberry dipping sauce
2 glasses of Wente Sandstone Merlot, Livermore
The fireworks went off at 9:30 and then we went to sleep with thoughts of spending the morning at Disneyland. But Rich had asked about the shuttle and discovered it’s no longer a hotel shuttle but a city bus, making stops at a few places before finally arriving at Disneyland.
We often choose to park at Downtown Disney if we planned to spend just 3 hours in the park, which was free. Of course, if we went over that limit, we could just pay the extra fee. This way, we could enjoy our privacy and be on our time schedule, which we prefer. So, which one would we choose?