Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Disneyland Adventure: Day 1

I posted about the race and did a Disneyland slide show so I thought now is the time to start telling you about my trip. I'll try and keep it short and simple, just highlighting on what mom and I did while we were there. (See mom, I mentioned you already).

Day 1:

*Flight out of Pittsburgh around 9 am with a layover in Phoenix. Phoenix airport is HUGE and of course after we got to our gate they changed it and we had to trek all the way back to where we started (or just about). The worse part was that no airport at all had any Pepsi! What is this world coming to.

*Arrived in sunny, hot Anaheim at 11:45 and jumped on the Super Shuttle. And then the culture shock kicked in. I should not be able to see Space Mountain while sitting at the Ramada Inn. After a few stops, we arrived at Disney's Grand Californian Resort. The doors alone were gorgeous and so was our room. We were in room 5152.

*After changing we walked through Disney's California Adventure (known as DCA from here on out). You can enter DCA from The Grand, which is nice. We stopped by Guest Relations to pick up our Fantasmic Dessert Party tickets for the night and received our 1st visit buttons and Disneyland Honorary Citizen buttons.

*We left DCA and walked over to Disneyland. It's amazing how close together these parks really are. Closer than it looks on any map. The minute I crossed through the Disneyland (known as DL from now on) gate I started to tear up. I was thrilled to be where Walt had once been; to see where it began and to feel his presence. It's hard to put into words what I was feeling at that moment, but for those of you that have been there you probably have a good idea of what I'm talking about. I think the only thing that stopped me from a full out crying fest was that I looked at the castle and said "Holy cow, the castle is small."

*The first place we headed to was Pirates, of course. Actually, mom had to stop along the way and make the trips first purchase. We pretty much walked onto Pirates. I was so excited. I had heard how much better it was than WDW and now I was going to see for myself. Let's just say this: PIRATES IS FREAKIN' AWESOME!!! And I'm going to leave it at that.

*After Pirates, we ate at the Blue Bayou. We split a Monte Cristo. I will say it wasn't bad but I don't think it's something I would order again. Sandwiches shouldn't be deep fried. Then it was time to find my favorite T-I-DOUBLE-GRR!! We didn't find him but we did find Pooh and Eeyore. And then rode Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I know many people hate the fact that Pooh took over Mr. Toad's place in WDW but I really enjoy the ride. And the one in DL is better than in WDW. Maybe if they would refurb the one in WDW people wouldn't be so upset about it. Who am I kidding, yes they still would.

*We couldn't believe how early people were lining up for Fantasmic. They had their spots held with blankets for hours before the show. I'm actually surprised Disney allows that.

*We walked around for a few hours trying to get the lay of the land. It's hard going into a new place when you are use to being able to walk around and know where everything is. I'm thankful my friend, Lee, came to spend time with us on Sunday and Monday. He was like our personal tour guide. It was great!

*We checked in for the dessert party and then rode the train around the loop. That actually took longer than we thought it was going to and by the time we got back the place was packed with people waiting for Fantasmic. We got to where we needed to be for the party about 5 mins. before it started. The dessert box they give you has a nice variety of cheeses and desserts. Mom and I were smart and only opened one to share and saved the other one to snack on a different day. They offered you pop, water, coffee and tea to drink. I was nice to have a place to sit and not worry about waiting for hours to hold a spot. The only down side was that in front of us was a railing so it obstructed the view a little. Fantasmic was amazing and the dragon was to die for!! I'm so glad the dragon was working when were there. Our attendant told us we could stay there for the fireworks. The view wasn't bad. We could still see Tink and Dumbo flying.

*Once Fantasmic was over and we fought the crowds out of the park it was time to go back to The Grand and crash!! We figured with the time difference we had been awake for almost 22 hours. YIKES! I needed my beauty's hard being a redheaded pirate on only a few hours of sleep!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Disneyland Half Marathon

I'll start my Disneyland trip report with the main reason I went to Disneyland in the first place, the Disneyland Half Marathon. The marathon was held on September 6th at 6:00 am. The day started out at 3 am for mom and I. I had set the alarm for 3:30 but knew I'd end up waking up before it. I took my time getting ready and relaxing before leaving to meet up with some friends before the race. I met up with some Team Voicers under the hat outside the Disneyland Hotel. We walked over to the start together but not before stopping by the porta-potties first. Better off going before than having to go a mile into the race. We, then headed over to our corrals. I think each of us were in difference corrals, so we said our good lucks and went our separate ways. I was in Corral D and by the time I got there it was packed so myself and a bunch of others stood to the side of it until they opened it up. This was a great advantage because when it opened we ended up at the front of it. That's good to give you that extra cushion of time you may need.

The first wave of runners went and then we moved up. By the time we got close to the starting line they were counting down the seconds. No time to rest, let's get going! I was feeling good so I started off with a great pace. My first mile was 11 minutes, which for me is good considering I hadn't really trained much for it. The first 2 miles are what I would call "on Disney property". We started in Downtown Disney and then ran through DCA and Disneyland. Of course, I had to stop and take some pictures with the characters. Some characters were with parade floats; while others were in their respected lands. I think my favorite story from the whole race happened just after exiting Disneyland. We were running backstage when I saw a few CMs taking a break at a picnic table. So I run over to them and sit down. They chuckled a little and I asked them what was going on. They said "Not much. What have you been doing lately?" I replied with "You know, just running around." They proceeded to bust out laughing. I said my good-byes and off I went.

After the course leaves the park you pretty much just run around Anaheim. Not much to look at. A few gas stations, some bands and cheerleaders and people cheering along the way. Around Mile 8 you get to the Honda Center and just past Mile 9 comes Angel Stadium. Running through Angel Stadium was pretty cool. When you enter the stadium you hear people cheering in the stands. There were Boy Scouts and their families cheering you on and squirting you with water bottles. Which felt pretty good. This seemed to have given me a burst of energy. Well, that and the sports beans I had just eaten. The bad thing about running through the stadium was that I got dirt/sand in my sneakers. So I had to stop and clean them out. Which isn't fun when you know you have a blister starting.

After Angel Stadium you are back running the streets of Anaheim until Mile 12, then you enter DCA again. I don't know why but for some reason that last mile seemed to be really long. It could be because by then my back was really hurting. My legs felt fine and my blister wasn't feeling that bad but boy did my back hurt. Seeing Deb Wills from AllEars helped my feel a little better and knowing that my mom was at the finish line helped too. It wasn't much longer that I passed the 13 mile marker and saw the finish line. But I got side tracked when I saw Chip and Dale. I had to stop and give them a hug before crossing which made a volunteer yell at me to keep running. So I didn't get my great photo finish when I crossed but that's ok because all that matters is that I did it!!

After crossing I got a little emotional, thanking God for watching over me on my journey. When they put my 1/2 marathon medal around my neck I got choked up but when I got my Coast to Coast medal I was pretty much in tears. This is what I set out to do. This is what I wanted most. And once I received it, it was hard holding back those tears. After I received my medals I went to get my photo taken and get a snack. Bottles of water, Power Ade, bagels, bananas and oranges were in the tent. I did notice that in WDW they have the oranges cut in baggies already but in DL, the orange was whole. Who wants to take the time to peel an orange. So I grabbed a bottle of water and a bagel and went to find mom.

Mom was right there when I entered the family reunion area. She hugged me and all I said was that I wanted to get back to the room. The pain in my back was pretty bad and I wanted to get a shower, something to eat and some Tylenol. Although walking back to the room was fun. I was acting like my medals were pretty heavy and I was bent over really far. It actually helped my back feel a little better.

This was the race that I decided that I would try taking an ice bath. Mom stopped for some ice and I put on my yoga pants and got into the tub with the cold water running. It wasn't that bad until she added the ice. Holy cow was that cold!!! It's hard relaxing when you're body is shivering. To help pass the time, I called Cassidy to tell her I finished. She was so happy and said she couldn't wait to see my medals. Mom gave me a few snacks while I "chilled out." After about 10 minutes I had enough of that. I warmed up a little bit before getting my shower. Overall, I think the ice bath helped my legs recover better than without it. But that doesn't mean I'd be willing to do it again.

In a later post I'll compare the WDW and the Disneyland half marathons. But for now I hope you enjoy the slide show I put together for you.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: DL Half Marathon
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I know, I know....

I'm a bad blogger and didn't update the blog while I was away or since I've been back. I'm trying to sort through over 1000 photos so that I can put a slideshow together for you guys. I am hoping to at least blog about the half marathon before the end of the week.

I can tell you that I did finish and I am now the PROUD owner of a Disneyland half marathon medal and a Coast to Coast medal. I think my back still hurts from wearing them. Man, are they heavy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Just to clarify

It has been brought to my attention that when I've been posting about Disneyland that I keep saying "I" instead of "WE".


My mom is joining me on this journey to California. It's her first trip too and I think she's even more excited about going than I am. She has a binder full of DL information that she's been dragging around for the last few months. I think if she packs it she'll be over weight without even putting clothes in her suitcase.

So from now on if I say "I just rode Pirates" remember that it's "We just rode Pirates."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Who wants to meet a Princess?

My friend, Princess Fiona is having a meet and greet after the half marathon on Sunday. Stop by and say HI to her and tell her the redhead sent ya. Visit her blog at