Trip Report Seven: Xanadu, Trader Sam’s, runDisney 5k, Court of Angels and Captain EO

A little over a month ago, my wife and I ran through the Disneyland Resort. It was very humid, but we dealt with it and had a gay old time. Here’s the trip report!

Friday: August 30, 2013

Weird Clouds

Weird looking cloud created by the nuclear power plant…

We left early on Friday and listened to all kinds of great music on the way over to California. I burned the Rock of Ages soundtrack which turned out to be the best idea ever. Fun fun fun!

Pan Pacific Park

It’s the Pan Pacific Auditorium Park!

Our first stop in the Golden State wasn’t Anaheim, it was Hollywood!

We were there to visit the Pan Pacific Park!

Pan Pacific Park Train

Very cool children’s jungle gym thingy

But! I’m not gonna tell ya anything about this particular park because I will be covering it in the next exciting installment of Imbibing California’s History. You’ll just have to wait. I’M SORRY.

So. We checked out the park and had fun, but it was hot and humid so we left for Anaheim.

It took forever to get to our hotel because… you know… LA traffic… but we did make it. We stayed somewhere cheap, but it really wasn’t bad at all. After all… we weren’t gonna be in the room much anyway since we were right down the street from Disneyland!

After checking in and getting our room settled, we headed over to the Disneyland Hotel to check in for the run. We got our race bibs and shirts and a pin and a bunch of advertisements. Didn’t hang out at the runDisney expo cuz we didn’t feel like it.

We didn’t feel like being at the expo, but we did feel like being somewhere else… somewhere better… somewhere… enchanted!

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Room! Yippie!

We met up with our wonderful friend, Nicole, and had ourselves a lovely night. Sure… the humidity happened to be worse than anything ever and we couldn’t get a table inside and we had to wait forever to get a table outside and the service was pretty slow, but whatever! It’s Trader Sam’s!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get too drunk or stay out too late as we had to be up early for the run the next day. After leaving Sam’s, we hung out with Nicole for a bit longer and then left.

Back to the hotel for sleep!

Saturday: August 31, 2013

Good (super early) morning!

The 5k started at 5:30am (yeesh!) so we had to get up around 4:00am. ‘Twas not an easy feat, but we did it. We ate and then drove down the street to the Mickey and Friends parking structure.

Disneyland 5k Morning

Happy, tired runners!

So many people!

We did a lot of standing around and people watching while we waited for the race to start. There were some terribly corny announcers at the starting line who helped the time pass.

Finally… it was go time! We were running!

See? I have proof!

We all entered through backstage California Adventure near Cars Land. That’s one of the coolest things about the runs… getting to go backstage. Granted… you can’t really stop for too long, but it’s still something special. And both times I’ve done the run, there have been tons of super tired cast members cheering us on as they started their day. Hopefully, that’ll be me some day.

We ran all over California Adventure! I did stop and walk through Buena Vista Street because it’s the best thing ever and I really wanted to soak in some early morning BVS. The run would be the only time we had in DCA this trip, so I had to take advantage of it.

Buena Vista Street really is something special.

Sure, the very cool opening day window displays have changed for the worse, but there are still very few places that make me happier. I badly wanted to just plop down next to Walt and Mickey and watch the rest of the runners pass by as the sun came up.

Disneyland 5k Entrance

Welcome to early morning, blurry Disneyland!

After a quick hop, skip, and jump through the esplanade, we made it into Disneyland!

Running through the park was relaxing and just an all around great way to start the day. Again… the humidity was trying to hold back my happiness, but it wasn’t working. Extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme rain, extreme humidity, etc… nothing can stop me from loving Disneyland.

Disneyland 5k Backstage

How do you do?

Anyhoo. Backstage Disneyland! Some lovely cast member was kind enough to leave open some random back room that contained a lone Splash Mountain audio-animatronic alligator strummin’ on a guitar. Surreal and very cool.

Disneyland 5k Rubber Medal

Disneyland 5k Rubber Medal

And then we won the race! Yep. Definitely. That’s the real truth. 1st and 2nd place. Deal with it.

Grabbed our rubber medals and headed back to the car.

Off to the hotel for a nap!

Nap completed!

Back to Disneyland!

And by “Disneyland” I mean White Water Snacks.

White Water Snacks

Hello, California Adventurers!

Do you read this blog? Do you know me? Then you should know how obsessed with this place I am. Because I am obsessed. It’s just so good! Go read about why I love it.

Off to Disneyland for reals!

Disneyland Entrance

Love! Love! Love!

We made it in and I was happy. I may have cried. I definitely cried.

Not gonna go through every ride we rode and every land we visited, but we were definitely busy. But not in an actually busy way. We didn’t rush around, and we didn’t mozy about. What I’m trying to say is… we had fun and we did what we wanted.

One thing we did do was visit a very special place in New Orleans Square.

Court of Angels

Possibly our last visit to the Court of Angels…

The Court of Angels!

Recently, it was quietly announced that the Court of Angels (that lovely little corner of New Orleans Square pictured above) would be converted into a new entrance for Club 33. As of today… it is closed. I wanted to visit the court one last time before it was sealed off. I did. It was nice.

This decision has… pissed off… quite a few people. I’m going to link to a couple really great blog posts that feature some great thoughts on the issue below, but before that… here’s my opinion…


Short opinion: Aw, man… bummer.

Long opinion: Overall…. I consider this to be a negative thing. Big whoop. I don’t think that’s a controversial statement at all. The controversial aspect of this comes in when you start talking about motivations and “what Walt wanted” and the current state of the parks and Disney management and even the mere existence of Club 33. Many others have said it, but it bears repeating… this is a complex issue.

To be honest… I have a love / hate relationship with Club 33. Well… hate is much too strong a word to use. Let’s just say that it bugs me. It bugs me in a way that all exclusive memberships bug me (hello, Disneyland social clubs!). I guess that’s probably just the hippie socialist in me, though. I am realistic and I do realize that this sort of thing is really not a big deal and is something Walt was totally cool with. Also… I have been to the Club and I loved it and I am 100% okay with going back in the future. So. I’m a hypocrite.

Moving on!

The change from public (well… with paid admission*) to private is what bugs me the most. Tearing down the court and replacing it with a store, restaurant, or ride (toss the Maliboomer in there, right??) would be fine. I mean… it would still be a bummer if it was replaced with something sucky, but at least we wouldn’t be losing any Disneyland land. But we are losing land and it kinda stinks.

That being said… I am not angry. I am disappointing and bummed out, but not pissed off. I think I would have been if this was done about 5-10 years ago. I have a hard time being angry at the company that gave us Buena Vista Street and Cars Land and all the other wonderful changes at DCA. I’m not saying they should have free reign to do whatever terrible things they want to the park, but those improvements are allowing me to cut them some slack.

*Now that I’m thinking about it, Disneyland itself really is pretty much an exclusive club for millions and millions of people. You think a family of four living on two minimum wage jobs can even begin to think about going to Disneyland? NOPE. This is something I struggle with quite often. I want everyone to be able to experience this wonderful, magical land, but it’s really damn expensive. I’m glad there are organizations like Give Kids The World (donate to them!) out there helping terminally ill children and their families visit the parks, but I still want more kids (and awesome adults) to have the chance to visit!


That’s what I think. Kinda boring, huh? Looking for not-boring opinions? Here are some of the most widely shared posts about the closure. And just because I am linking to them, it doesn’t mean I fully endorse their opinions. I do, however, endorse the passion all of these people have for Walt’s Disneyland. Some of these folks may have some rude things to say about the Disney company, but it comes from a place of love for something they care deeply about.

Moving on to something else that is closing soonish (probably)…

Captain EO

Possibly our last experience with Captain EO…

Yes… Captain EO is possibly going to be leaving us again sometime soon.

Crap.

Oh well. Watched it twice. Cried. Loved it. What I like about Captain EO is how it promises that, even in the darkest times, there is always hope for love and beauty. Just look past the cheesy 80’s aspects of the film and you’ll find a great little story. In my opinion, it fits in at Tomorrowland much better than most other attractions in that land. Optimism!

Sometime after that, we headed over to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area for dinner.

Pasta in the Park

Look at all those runners chowing down on crappy pasta!

When registering for the 5k (or the 10k or the half marathon), you have the option of plopping down even more money for a “Pasta in the Park” dinner. It seemed fun, so we signed up. Um. Maybe not the best idea. If the price was less than half of what we paid, it would have been fine. But it was expensive and the food was really pretty sub-par and you didn’t even get soda or tea. You had to pay extra for that.

There was some entertainment that was pretty entertaining as well as a bunch of characters cycling through for meet and greets. Overall… not worth it. You’d be much better off going to the Blue Bayou which would actually end up being cheaper. Of course… I guess some people were carbo-loading, so if you ate enough pasta… maybe… MAYBE… it could be worth it. But not really.

Oh well. We had a nice time.

After that… more rides. More fun. More Disneyland.

Neither of us had seen the “Magical” fireworks show, so we decided to check it out.

Heather Waiting for Magical

Heather Waiting for Magical to begin…

One word review: MEH.

After that… more rides. More fun. More Disneyland.

Finally… it was about time for the park to close and for us to leave. No fun. We chose the Tiki Room as our last attraction of the day. It was a great choice.

Tiki Room

We went to the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room!

Good news! We finally got to see Maynard do his thing in the Tiki Room! I’ve seen him around Disneyland before, but this is what I’ve been waiting for for years! It was magical. I thought about how much Walt loved all his silly little singing birds and tikis and flowers. Absolute best possibly ending for a day at Disneyland.

And with that… we left.

Leaving Disneyland

Leaving Disneyland is no fun…

Sunday: September 01, 2013

On Sunday, we woke up and met up with our friends, Nicole and Donnie, in Brea!

We ate food with them and then left.

Byeeeee!

The next trip report will be about the Salton Sea. It will be… LIFE CHANGING. Stay tuned.

About Adam Willis

I'm just a guy who really likes California. I live in Arizona for now, but will be moving over there as soon as possible. Also. I love you. Smile!

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