I said I would do it and I did. I stayed in Disneyland (and California Adventure…) for a 24 full hours. If you’re not sure how this was possible, check out my blog post detailing the Disneyland Resort’s Monstrous Summer 24 Hour All-Nighter Super Fun Time Adventure Day!
Let’s just jump right in.
Here it comes…
TRIP REPORT! BOOM!
Thursday: May 23, 2013
The main purpose of this trip was to go to Disneyland, but that’s not all I did.
On my way to Anaheim, I made a few stops.
First up was the General Patton Memorial Museum! Heather and I stop at the Chiriaco Summit almost every time we drive to California, but I had never actually visited the museum. I was alone and had plenty of time, so I paid a nice old lady 5 bucks and took a look around.
I’m not too interested in Mr. Patton, but I really enjoyed myself. Lots of great artifacts and information. I especially liked the outdoor section of the museum. All different kinds of tanks and army vehicles out there. Very cool. It’s not the kind of museum I’d wanna go back to anytime soon, but I’d highly recommend it if you’re on the 10 and looking to take a break from driving.
Before I left the museum, I spent some time looking at this massive “5-ton jigsaw relief map created by LADWP depicting the area traversed by the Colorado River Aqueduct”. Right as I started to turn away to leave, I noticed a familiar blue shape on the map…
THE SALTON SEA!!!
There it was in all of its smelly glory. A miniature version of my favorite body of water. I had been considering making a Salton Sea detour, but this sealed the deal. The sea was calling for me.
After a quick stop for soda and snacks, I was on my way to the Salton Sea! To be exact… Bombay Beach. I’d only been to the Salton City before. Bombay Beach is probably the most iconic Salton Sea area, so I figured it’d be a great place to visit. I was right.
On my way down to Bombay, I stopped at the old North Shore Yacht Club. It’s a super rad, mid-century building designed by Mr. Albert Frey that resembles a stylized ship. I believe it used to house the Salton Sea History Museum, but it’s not in there anymore. Seems like it’s a place for residents to get economic help and do community events and such. Pretty rad.
Moving on down the road to Bombay Beach, I stopped in at a few beaches to check em out. Most of them still have their old 60s wooden signs which are kind of the coolest things ever. I’d love to build a replica someday.
Anyhoo… I made it.
I was at Bombay Beach.
It was everything I wanted it to be and more.
To get to the actual beach, you have to drive through the town of Bombay Beach. It’s… um… a very unique experience. Dilapidated houses, deteriorating furniture, and lots of creepy old children’s toys and bicycles that just make ya feel dirty. I didn’t really take any pictures because, honestly… I was pretty creeped out and a bit afraid. I know it might be intolerant or even ignorant of me to judge people I don’t know just because they happen to live in a certain place, but I think you’d feel the same way if you visited.
When I got through town and parked at the beach, I noticed a group of douchebag looking bros (no less than two popped collars…) who were already exploring. They were being loud and annoying and I hated them. Look… I know that me going there to gawk at the sadness and terrible state of the place is bad, but at least be courteous. Or… whatever. Obviously, the residents don’t give a crap. Really… Bombay Beach is just bad. Like… BAD.
That being said… I cannot recommend visiting enough! It’s just so interesting!
Walk around the beach and check out all the dead fish and smell all the dead smells!
You will never forgot your visit.
The Salton Sea is the best sea.
— Adam Willis (@AdamVonWillis) May 23, 2013
BOMBAY BEACH IS MAGIC.
On my way back through town, I spotted a general store and actually decided to go in… on purpose… using my own free will. Yeah. True American Hero right here.
It was crappy and the selection was strange and it smelled, but I grabbed some Halloween themed candy corn M&M’s (it was May… yeah… they were bad…) and a generic brand Mountain Dew (double yuck). While perusing the selection, the store clerk yelled something at me. I didn’t understand what he said so I got closer and asked what he had said.
I am not kidding… this is what he said:
“Are you looking for cakes?”
I said no.
He responded with this:
“Oh. I thought you were looking for cakes.”
Okay, Salton Sea. You win.
I paid the guy and left.
Needless to say, I felt dirty and bit depressed. But in a good way. Really… I can’t explain exactly how I feel after leaving the sea. It’s probably the closest to a spiritual experience I’ve ever had. I realize how weird that is, but it is true.
Continuing west, I spotted something that I knew would get me out of my funk.
Are you aware that those super cool dinosaurs in Cabazon that were featured in the Pee Wee movie are actually part of a creationist museum? Well. They are. And it’s awesome. I do not believe in creationism, but I’m always down for a wander through this place.
There’s an indoor exhibit / gift shop, an outdoor walk thru that’s got a whole bunch of big old dinosaurs (and a sheep and a lion…), and it ends with a walkway into the T-Rex!
Climbing the steps up into the head of the T-Rex is nerve-wracking, but worth it. You get a pretty cool view through its teeth of the freeway and mountains, and it’s actually a pretty dang comfortable place to just chill for a while.
Once I had gotten my fill of Darwin-bashing dinosaurs, I continued west to Anaheim!
I got to my hotel (conveniently located across the street from Disneyland) late in the afternoon and went to bed pretty quickly. I was planning on getting up around 2:00am and then staying up for roughly 28 hours straight after that, so I needed some sleep.
Friday: May 24, 2013
After 6-8 hours of some kinda okay sleep, I was awakened by the sounds my “it’s a small world” alarm at 2:00am. I was tired, but I knew I needed to get up… so… I did.
Took my shower, got dressed, gathered all my supplies in my messenger bag, and headed off to my favorite place in the entire world!
After a quick 10 minute walk, I was in the esplanade. I found a line that looked good and sat my butt down. The weather was fantastic, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. I know I was!
To be honest… I really didn’t NEED to get in line so early. The reason I decided to get there so early was that I had been to the previous 24 hour day (on Leap Day 2012) and the line for that event was out of control! This time… not so much. But luckily, I really had a lovely time just chilling in the esplanade, listening to the Ellipsis podcast, and doing some hardcore people watching.
Time passed. Soon, it was almost 6:00am. Almost time to go in.
I was getting nervous. Me + Disneyland = FEEL ALL THE EMOTIONS!
Finally! The moment arrived! Mike and Sully greeted us over the PA system and announced that the park would be opening very soon. It was exciting and it was loud and there were fireworks and I most definitely got something in my eye.
And then… I was in Disneyland!
— Adam Willis (@AdamVonWillis) May 24, 2013
First thing I did: cry. But that’s par for the course. I was really quite happy. Walked by the Partners statue. Cried a bit more (I’m sorry! I cry a lot!) and headed east to tomorrow!
Tomorrowland! Grabbed a Star Tours Fastpass then went on Star Tours. Honestly… wasn’t the most enjoyable first ride of the day. My eyes were kind of stinging from all the crying, and there was some kid (pretty sure he was a juggalo…) who had obviously not taken a shower that morning. Whatever… Star Tours is still totally rad.
Next up! Space Mountain! It was awesome. Like always. Then Astro Blasters then Star Tours again then probably something else awesome. Yeah. Not gonna detail my whole day. Basically… all morning, it wasn’t busy, so I got to go on a lot of rides. Fun fun fun!
Eventually I was over in Critter Country for a walk on ride on Splash Mountain. The weather was nice, but it was still too cold for all the squares to be okay with getting wet. Their loss. My gain. Rode Splash Mountain. Got wet. Loved every second of it! Still my favorite ride in the world.
I guess the Splash Mountain drop rustled my belly about enough to make me realize how hungry I was! Tummy was rumblin! I had a powerful craving for a pastry or two.
So that’s what I got! I looooove the Matterhorn itself and I’d always wanted to try one of those Matterhorn shaped macaroons, so I did. Very good choice. That, along with a yummy croissant, filled me up nice and good and I was back on my feet and off to California Adventure!
As I was alone, I finally got to try out the Radiator Springs Racers single rider line. Worked out pretty well. Only had to wait about 30 minutes. Rode in a car with a very nice family who had never been on the ride before. Love seeing people experience rides for the first time. They were ecstatic! Their little boy had the biggest smile on his face. Happy kids are the best.
You know what else is the best???
DUFFY THE DISNEY BEAR!!!
Yep. Got my picture taken with Duffy. Dreams come true, I tell ya! He even hugged me! Now… I will say this. I expected him to be soft and fluffy like the teddy bear he is, but… NOPE. I could feel the shoulder bones of the person inside him. I’m sorry. I know that sentence was disturbing, but it’s true. Just trying to warn those looking to hug Duffy.
That being said… it was a great experience! A+++ WOULD HUG AGAIN!!!
Walked around DCA for a while longer and rode on all kinds of rides. Had fun. Enjoyed myself. Started missing Disneyland. Decided to leave.
On the way out, I paid a visit to Walt and Mickey. Because I love them.
Back to Disneyland!
As I was walking in, I noticed the Omnibus just sitting there… waiting…
I had never been on it before, so I hopped on. Upper deck, of course.
Can I just say… if you have never been on a ride through Main Street on the Omnibus, you have missed out on something truly magical. So relaxing. So fulfilling. And you may only be a few feet higher than you usually are, but the park seems so much different from that height. Groovy!
After that? More rides. More walking around.
I went and hung out with some goats and a super cool horse!
I had fun.
Got hungry again. I wanted something unhealthy. I had been walking around since 6:00am, so I felt like I deserved it. Nothing wrong with pigging out if you’re being active, right??
Boom. Monte Cristo Bites. And fries!
As an aside, I would just like to say how awesome every single cast member was the entire day. Really. They were all great. Super kind. Lots of smiles. Kudos, cast members! Walt would be proud.
Now. Something Walt would NOT be proud about: the grads.
I had been seeing them all day, but it wasn’t until about mid to late afternoon that they started to upset me. Sure, there are always annoying teens at the parks. No big deal. Teens having a good time can be annoying. I’m no square. I realize that they’re young and not quite as aware of their surroundings as they should be. Most people suck when they’re going through puberty. But… this happened to be a grad night, which meant there were many more teens than usual. This meant that the groups were bigger, louder, and even more rude.
Hey. Grads. I know you're trying to make me have a terrible time, but it won't work! I love this fucking place and you can't stop me!
— Adam Willis (@AdamVonWillis) May 25, 2013
Mostly, I felt bad for the families. I was in line for Pirates and heard a particularly loud group of classmates having a quite explicit conversation about sex. I mean… come on, guys. Really? Fine. Talk about sex. But keep your damn voices down. Ugh.
Oh well. Just had to rant. They didn’t ruin my day or anything, but I needed to say something.
Anyhoo. Back to California Adventure! I wanted to go see the Cars Land neon lighting. I’m not a huge fan of the Cars movies, but that one scene is absolutely beautiful and it is recreated so well in real life.
Got stopped by the Pixar parade on my way to Cars Land. Pretty fun.
Arrived at Cars Land just in time. Watched the neon lighting. Maybe cried a bit. Rode Mater’s ride. Got hungry again. Off to Paradise Pier I went!
People on Twitter had been posting about how good the mac and cheese pizza at the Paradise Garden Grill was, so I had to try it out. Guess what… IT WAS AMAZING. This was no regular mac and cheese pizza. This one was special. Much tastier than any previous ones I had eaten. I was a happy camper.
While I was eating, I realized it was Mad T Party Band time!
Finished my food and scurried off to Hollywood Land.
Holy hell was it busy. Guess it somehow didn’t cross my mind that a dance party would be quite so popular with high school grads. So much bumping and grinding. Out of control. Still… pretty fun. Not a fan of the T Party Band lineup that night, but I was still entertained.
Took a quick rest at the DCA front gate by some planters, but a bunch of grads decided that they too would like to rest there. Rude. I left.
Back to Disneyland!!!
Saturday: May 25, 2013
Midnight came and went.
At this point, I had been awake for 22 hours straight and been walking for at least half of those 22 hours. I wouldn’t say I was delirious, but I was definitely getting there. For example. The moon. It was just the moon. But to me… at the time… it was like the eye of God. Watching me. I’m fairly certain I talked to it at least once. Yeesh.
Hungry again! Good thing I had a 1:00am reservation for Cafe Orleans!
It was just me, so it was a little awkward. The waitress was kinda rude at first, but I was super nice to her and she cheered up. The food was yummy. Really enjoyed getting off my feet for a full hour.
Once I was done… um… I don’t really know exactly what I did.
Probably went on Haunted Mansion. Eventually, I ended up in Fantasyland. More specifically, I ended up on King Arthur’s Carrousel.
Riding that horse was the moment when I became fully aware of just how tired and loopy I really was. I mean… spinning around in a circle is probably not the best thing to do when sleep deprived and tired and sore and partially disconnected from reality.
After that, I think I went on a few dark rides. Actually… yeah. I remember being much more afraid of Monstro than usual. Pinocchio: super scary.
Wasn’t really sure what to do next, so I looked at the entertainment guide for ideas. Umm… late night Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe??? Yes, please!
Went to the Horseshoe, bought myself a root beer float in a souvenir boot mug, and sat my butt down in the balcony at a table with a great view of the stage.
I was thoroughly entertained.
After the show, I wandered around aimlessly. Happy… but aimless.
As I was walking into Tomorrowland, I noticed the completely empty Astro Orbitor queue. Obviously… I hopped on and had a blast! Again… extra disorienting, but worth it.
That was fun!
6:00am was quickly approaching and I wanted to get a few more rides in before I left. Star Tours, Matterhorn, Buzz Lightyear, Autopia, and probably more.
Last ride of the day was Space Mountain. Once I was off, I headed to Main Street.
Moments after I got to the train station, all of the major Disney characters dressed in some adorable pajamas walked out to say goodbye to us. It was a cute little ceremony in which they sang the Mickey Mouse Club goodbye song. And guess what… I cried. Quite a bit.
And with that… I had spent 24 hours in Disneyland and California Adventure. I really had a super magically special time and I hope they do it again!
Welp. I had to leave. So I did. Walked back to the room and fell asleep.
Hey, look! I made a video of day from start to finish. Watch it!
Going right to bed (duh) when I get to the room. First thing I'm gonna do when I wake up? DISNEYLAND!!!
— Adam Willis (@AdamVonWillis) May 25, 2013
After about 6 hours of sleep, I woke up and went back to Disneyland!!!
First stop was Opa!
Disneyland is doing a Limited Time Magic promotional thingy this year which involves lots of limited time special events. This one was a celebration of Greece, and it was really well done. There were traditional Greek dancers and some super cool “citizens of Greece” (similar to the ones on Buena Vista Street). Also… hummus! Yum!
I was about to leave Opa! to go see an opening day performance of Mickey and the Magical Map when the Soundsational parade started and blocked the path to the theater. I was okay with this. Soundsational is a damn good parade, and I was willing to have a worse seat for the show if it meant I got to watch a super cool parade.
Watched the parade. Loved it.
Went to the theater and got my crappy seat.
Watched the show. Loved it.
Next up… back to California Adventure!
I had met up with some friends at Opa! and we agreed to meet over at DCA for a drink at the Carthay Lounge after I watched Mickey and the Magical Map.
On my way to the Carthay, I was stopped by yet another parade! Luckily… I love parades, so I’m never really bummed when one gets in my way. I watched it and smiled a lot. Like I do.
The parade ended, and then something magical happened.
I met up with my friends and instead of taking the door on the left at Carthay, we took the door on the right… the door to 1901. Eek! I had no idea they were members!
It was a lot to take in. So much Walt all over the place!
I even got to watch the bartender make an ice sphere for my Manhattan!
That Manhattan? Amazing. And the cherries they used were some delicious brandied cherries. Much much much better than those bright red maraschino atrocities most drinks come with.
Really. Just. I can’t.
It was perfect.
To those wonderful people who let me join them: THANK YOU SO MUCH.
I know it may seem silly to some, but that really was a special experience. I never thought I’d get to visit 1901. I did. And I loved it.
After having one of the best times of my life at one of the coolest places in the world, we said our goodbyes. My friends left the park, but I stayed. No way was I going to leave before the park closed.
Went on Soarin’ again and cried again.
Can I just say again how happy I was? Man… 1901. Wow.
Anyhoo. I decided to make myself even happier by visiting the Mad T Party band once again. This time, they were selling alcoholic drinks (the bars were dry due to the stupid grads the night before), so I got mojito and enjoyed some lovely music.
After the set was over, I headed across the street to the Animation Building to relax. My feet were pretty sore from the All-Nighter, so a little butt sitting felt nice.
Of course, the Up scenes at the Animation Building made me cry pretty hardcore.
Needed to cheer myself up… sooo…
Back to the Mad T Party!!!
Ugh. I just love it so much. Here’s some video I took of the performance. This was my favorite combination of band members, so I had to document it…
After DCA closed, I took the long walk down to the Disneyland Hotel and into the best bar in the world: Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar!
It was super busy, but I was alone so I snagged a spot at the bar pretty quickly. I loved watching the bartenders work their magic behind the bar during a crazy rush. It was almost hypnotizing. They had it down to a science.
I only had one drink because I was planning on going back to Disneyland one last time and I didn’t want to be drunk. I wanted to be able to remember my last few moments there.
I paid my bill and took that long walk back through Downtown Disney to Disneyland.
I didn’t really do much in the park. I really just wanted to soak it all in.
And then… I left.
— Adam Willis (@AdamVonWillis) May 26, 2013
Disneyland is the best.
Sunday: May 26, 2013
Woke up on Sunday being kinda bummed that I wasn’t going back to the park but also excited for what I had planned for the day. I was going back home eventually, but there were still a few more things I wanted to do in California before I left.
First stop was Forest Lawn.
Forest Lawn is where Walt Disney’s grave is located. If you haven’t been, you should go. Look it up on Google. You’ll find it. You will need directions because his grave site is not easily found.
Its location is actually quite perfect. It’s in its own little tucked away corner and is very understated. I think some might expect his grave to have a giant Mickey Mouse statue or something big and flashy like that, but no… it’s just a few name plates, some grass, some plants, some trees, and a single bench.
Very special place. Very peaceful.
So… obviously… I cried. But you know what made it worse??? As I was driving up to the site (Forest Lawn is HUGE and confusing, so it’s a bit of a drive), You’ve Got a Friend in Me started playing. Yeah. I actually had to pull the car over so I wouldn’t crash. It was too much.
After I paid my respects and cleared my eyes, I was off to my next stop: the Getty Center.
On my way to the Getty, I saw a sign for the Griffith Observatory. Yep. Had to do it.
Visited Griffith for the first time ever! Loved it. Bought a pin. Left.
Got to the Getty shortly after and immediately had a nice little lunch at the cafe.
I was there to see the Overdrive exhibit. It featured a bunch of cool mid-century stuff from the southern California area, so obviously, I loved it. Also… Disneyland was well represented. Rad.
Really… go check it out. You’ll love it. Also… the Getty just rocks anyway. Go go go!
After that, I met up with some of my California friends at a Mexican restaurant. We ate. We talked. We had fun. And then I left. Back to Arizona I went… BLAH.
I did miss Heather and Paisley, so that was something to look forward to. But still. Can’t wait until I live over there. It is going to be fantastic!