Summer of 2015: Birthday, Beach, Napa Rose Wine Weekend: Day 1

Who: Rich and Kathy
When: July 2015
Where: Anaheim
Why: Kathy’s Birthday

Saturday, July 11, Day 1

The Plan

You can read “the plan” here, but as usual, the actual didn’t completely match “the plan.” For one thing, we started thinking how we’d rather be staying closer to Disneyland after the birthday dinner so we moved our ressie from Huntington Beach to across the street from Garden Walk in Anaheim.

The Actual

We left our home in Las Vegas at 9 a.m. on a Saturday and arrived in Anaheim a little after 1 p.m. We made a quick stop at Tommy’s in Barstow for a couple of tamale lunches, and to top off the tank. Normally, we travel on a Friday for our 4-day weekends but with my birthday on a Monday, we switched the trip to Saturday through Tuesday. Traveling on a Saturday is always busier traffic-wise, and we much prefer not to travel on a Saturday.

This was our first stay at the RI in Anaheim West Gate, and we were hoping for the best. With its location across from Garden Walk, we might actually make it over there. We love the space of the RI studio and think of it as our own DVC Villa, but this one only had a queen bed and we’re more comfortable with a king bed. The couch was in an odd space, so we rearranged the furniture much more to our liking. Unfortunately, the RI makes us feel like we’re moving across the country since we’ve stayed in so many on those trips. At least, it’s given us a nice status with this hotel chain.

Another benefit of staying near Disneyland Resort is that, after a short rest, we were able to pop in. If we’d been staying near the beach, we would have spent the evening there.

We valet parked at Downtown Disney at 5 p.m. (when valet begins), and walked through Downtown Disney, heading for our home-away-from-home, the Grand Californian. DD was packed as we figured it would be and could only imagine how busy the parks were. Summer at Disneyland is busy enough but even busier with the special 60th anniversary/birthday.

We checked out the GC gift shop, one of our favorite shops, and I found my favorite beach cover-up that also doubles as a robe. Mine was getting ratty from the cats’ claws sitting on my lap in the morning. We used our points and purchased the robe/cover-up.

Then we headed for the Hearthstone Lounge, our favorite first stop. We ordered our favorite Habanero Margaritas and Robusto Flatbread. Service was friendly and efficient. Our server had a familiar face, although I don’t recall his name. We love it here. And when we’re sitting there soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying a drink and/or a snack, we don’t want to be anywhere else.

We posted a couple of “live” pics of the margaritas and flatbread on Two4Disney using the WordPress app, which was new to us. We enjoyed posting here much more than Facebook (we have deleted our accounts). It suits us better to share our stuff at “home” and we enjoy visits by family and friends. It is/or would be nice to visit their place, too, if they have blogs of their own – much better than FB. Really dislike that whole concept.

Anyway, after our refreshment, we walked to World of Disney to see what “60th birthday” items we might find. We’d read that new items will be available on the actual date (today, 7/17), but we found  60th Minnie and Mickey beanbags to add to our collection. We also posted a “live” pic here.

I love, love, love polka dots (I am a Minnie girl, after all), and so when I saw this blue polka dot Minnie top, I had to have it. I wore it to the beach in the pic we posted here. Rich looked for a 60th t-shirt for him but we only saw one on display and nothing to buy. Oh well, as it is, our points still only almost covered our 3 purchases. Ever the gentleman, Rich says the Minnie & Mickey beanbags are enough for him. If we return in the fall for a park visit, we’ll see what we can get for him then.

On our way back to DD valet parking, we had to stop and listen to the Rayford Brothers and when they started singing “Little Sister,” an Elvis song, I had to capture the performance on video. I posted a “live” video here. I wasn’t sure the uploading from my iPhone would work via the App but it did. Woo hoo!!!

Disneyland’s Downtown Disney never disappoints and you can have such a blast without entering a park. Since our APs have expired, we’re still debating on whether to renew in the Fall or hold out for a WDW trip.

It was hard to drag ourselves away from Disney property and return to our little villa, but after the crowds, it was actually a relief once we got there. I’d forgotten to pack the mini bottles of wine for the trip so Rich went down to the onsite market and brought back a bottle of Chardonnay and we each had a glass before going to bed.

And then the 9:30 fireworks went off. They were loud! We thought we were back living in Windermere. 🙂

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer