Halloween at the Grand Californian, Day 2 Part 1

We woke up to thick fog, a common summer weather pattern due to hot inland areas, but since it was so hot this weekend, it’s not surprising the morning fog slipped into September – Indian summer – another common weather pattern for the area. It soon cleared up, though. My mother tells stories of how she’d have to put on long pants in the morning, change into shorts for the hot afternoon, and then back into long pants for the cool coastal evenings when we lived in nearby Westminster.

Foggy morning view overlooking the Porte Cochere of the Grand Californian

Sunny mid-morning view of the Porte Cochere of the Grand Californian

We ordered an American Breakfast room service to share and a pot of coffee, and the GC staff came through again and delivered it within 30 minutes – not bad.

DCA was the plan for this morning, and while it didn’t open until 10 a.m., Soarin Over California opens at 9:30. So we lined up at the GC entry gate at about 9:25 and they let us in at about 9:30 and we walked onto Soarin. We got the top middle row – woo hoo!!!

Who doesn’t love this ride? It makes me cry because it captures all of my California memories, where I lived most of my life. It’s like watching home movies. It opens soaring over the Golden Gate Bridge, and not only was I conceived there (where my mother and father honeymooned while he waited for his military deployment from San Francisco to the Pacific), but I spent 22 years of my adult life there. Rich and I met, worked together, and got married there. It’s a beautiful place, no doubt about that. Then the film moves up to the Russian River – one of our favorite getaways from San Francisco.

Other nostalgic stops along the way: Yosemite where my dad and his family spent most of his summers growing up and where Rich hiked Half Dome, backpacked into the Sierras, and overnight camping trips in cabins. The Central Valley where Dad#1 and Dad#2 grew up – where one family still grows grapes for raisins – as in “The California Raisins.” LOL! The fighter jets recall Dad#1 and his love for planes and his time in the Air Force, the hot air balloons over Napa and hang gliders – a particular passion of Dad#2.

And then the ride zooms in over the L.A. freeways, where my mother grew up and where I was born, and then the finale soarin over Disneyland (where I grew up) at Christmas – wow – who wouldn’t cry? I might cry right now. πŸ™‚

Anyway, after Soarin, we walked through “Candy Corn Acres,” and took some pics, and listened to every candy-themed song there ever was. My personal childhood favorite: Sunshine, Lollipops” and Rich’s “Sugar, Sugar.”

Photo Op – you just have to point and click and you get whoever happens to be posing. πŸ™‚

Candy Corn Acres Farmer Mickey grows the corn – who knew? πŸ™‚

We waited around for about 5 minutes until rope drop, and the designated family dropped the rope and led us down Hollywood Boulevard. We went straight for Tower of Terror, which is Rich’s favorite ride, and while I love the theming, I have a hard time with that dropping feeling. πŸ™‚

Tower of Terror at DCA

We then rode Monsters Inc for the very first time. It was a lot of fun.

The first showing of Aladdin was at 12:10 – we kept missing this show on previous trips and were so hoping to see it on this trip. So after riding Monsters Inc we decided we’d kill some time at Toy Story. The 40-minute wait should be just about right. For the first time, I reached a decent score – at one time I was ahead of Rich (for the first time), but he passed me by. But I finally learned to shoot like crazy and even though my overall accuracy dropped, my overall score was higher. Woo hoo! Sore fingers and thumbs afterwards, though. πŸ™‚

On a previous trip, we picked up Jessie, and this time, per Jessie’s request, we stopped off in the gift shop to get Woody. The same sweet, older gentleman was the CM who waited on us – love that guy!

We still had some time to kill so we stopped off at Burrrrbank Ice Cream in the California Zephyr “train” – another thing we’d wanted to do since the beginning but never had time before – and shared a Strawberry Sundae – YUM, YUM!

By the time we arrived at the Hyperion Theatre, the line was all the way around the side, and just as we got in line, they opened up the Mezzanine seating. We saw the Mezzanine people were allowed into the building first. We were wondering if we should get out our line in the hot sun, and enter the Mezzanine. But we didn’t and it worked out nicely for us. Although we were almost last in the building, the CMs found us seats in the 3rd row, center aisle – woo hoo!

This was a FABULOUS show – Broadway calibre – great cast and interesting CMs chatting with us before the show. The genie was hilarious and made little comments about twitter and iPhone – LOL!

The show was an hour long and so worth waiting for.

We had the best morning ever at DCA, and afterwards we decided to catch some lunch back at the GC and ended up back at Hearthstone Lounge – a favorite spot we discovered on our last trip. We ordered the “Robusto” FlatbreadTopped with Coriza de Bilbao, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Burrata Cheese and Romesco Sauce – and 2 Sangrias. The nice CM took our order but came back to report that no Sangria was available anywhere. No problem – the menu had several enticing FABs to choose from. Rich ordered some form of a Long Island Iced Tea and I couldn’t resist the Habanero Margarita – YUM, YUM, YUM! So yummy, we ordered another Habanero Margarita and shared it – and then went back to the room for a nap before going to Disneyland Park for the night.

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer