Halloween at the Grand Californian, Day 3 Part 1

We previously picked up some “Candy Corn” and a package of 4 Rice Krispies Treats at the candy store in DCA (plus Minnie & Mickey Halloween bean bags) – our favorite candy store in all of Disneyland. So this morning’s breakfast was Rice Krispies Treat and coffee we made in the room and enjoyed sitting out on the balcony overlooking the park. We realized we must always book a park view room at the GC – it makes such a big difference to us. The carpet maintenance on the floor of our previous room actually worked out for our good because we were upgraded to a park view room while paying standard view prices.

By the way, the GC rooms do provide robes, which we wore several times during our stay. So after showering, we headed to the GC entrance to DCA and were so happy to see our CM friend, Chappy from Brooklyn, back on duty. After he scans in our APs, he greets us by name, “Good morning, Richard” and “Good morning, Kathy” (at least he didn’t call me Katherine). πŸ™‚ Anyway, we look forward to seeing Chappy when we enter DCA from the GC – another reason to stay on-site.

It was 9:30 and that meant that “Soarin” was open so we marched straight over that and directly onto the ride – we love this. Soarin at DCA is so fabulous because it was built especially for this area of the park called “Condor Flats.” Unfortunately, Soarin’ was retrofitted into Epcot and that whole inside line up the escalator, jamming that space is so claustrophobic to us – wish they had created an outside entrance. Anyway, if you love Soarin (and who doesn’t), you must make a trip to Disneyland just to experience it this way.

View into the Grizzly Peak area from Condor Flats with monorail track overhead and GC rooms in the background (love the play on words)

The entrance to Soarin Over California

This time we were on the far right top – still a very nice position to be in. We also noticed when we were in the center row that the left and right rows were actually ahead of us just a bit, situated closer to the screen.

Afterwards, we stopped in at Bakers’ Field Bakery – have been trying to fit this into our schedule from the first trip – and shared a cinnamon twist and each had a cappuccino.

Recreation of the California Zephyr – glory days of train travel out West

We love this spot in DCA – this is where we had the strawberry sundae at Burrrbank Ice Cream and this morning’s cinnamon twist at Baker’s Field Bakery. We love the play on names – I sometimes wonder how many WDW visitors recognize “Toluca Legs” at Studios.

But Bakersfield and I go way back – this was the breakfast stop halfway between my childhood home near Disneyland and my step dad’s hometown in the Central Valley, which we visited a couple of times a year and were greeted with hugs and served good old-fashioned farm fresh southern breakfasts during our stay. I even wrote a novel called “Breakfast in Bakersfield.” It hasn’t gone anywhere, but I’m stealing some of those scenes for my current work in progress.

Then we exited the park and popped into World of Disney where we picked up some outdoor Mickey dinner plates. We really wanted some matching wine glasses, but there weren’t any. We so miss the cute little store next to Earl of Sandwich at WDW’s Downtown Disney – can’t remember the name of it but are wondering if it’s still there with all of the changes.

We dropped off our purchases in our room, went back to the GC entrance to DCA – said hello to Chappy – and had some lunch. We were so excited to eat at Cocina Cucamonga’s new location with waterside dining. There wasn’t much of a crowd and the Latin CMs at the cash register located in an island area were discussing how they made homemade tamales making our mouths water, so we shared a plate of chicken tamales (they definitely tasted homemade) and each had a Dos XXs Amber – a great pairing!

Dining alfresco in the Pacific Wharf area – one of our favorite spots

After lunch, we stopped off at Rushin River Outfitters and picked up a Tiger Pillow for the kitties (although they’re pretty much ignoring it). We love this store, and always walk in and browse to see if we must buy something but this is the first time we did.

Makes you feel like you’re actually at the Russian River – as seen in “Soarin Over California”

We then went back to our home to rest up for our afternoon “Foot Ritual” appointment at the Spa.

We had a 3 p.m. appointment at Mandara Spa for the “Foot Ritual,” complete with pedicure and, while it felt wonderful, it wasn’t the best we’ve ever had. No champagne, no strawberries, just tea or water. πŸ™‚

The facilities are quite small, and we wouldn’t use them again. Instead of sitting side-by-side, which is the whole point for us, to have a treatment that we can enjoy together, we were sitting across from one another, pretty much preventing us from talking to one another. Instead, the technicians did all the talking. Still, it was great to have our feet pampered – and they looked really good, too. πŸ™‚

After our pedicures, we wandered back to the room to chat out on the balcony and have more of our Rice Krispies Treats while we people-watched in the park and made plans for dinner. While we were tempted to return to the Napa Rose Lounge, we decided we’d try Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. Upon arriving, we were seated at a table outside and the waitress gave us her recommendations, which I followed. Being allergic to shellfish, Rich has to be more selective. We had:

Starters:

Kathy: Barbecue Gulf Shrimp – “New Orleans” barbecue sauce, French bread croutons

Rich: Gumbo Ya-Ya – Chicken and andouille, smothered in dark roux and Creole seasonings, served with rice.

I loved,loved,loved the Barbecue Gulf Shrimp and Rich loved,loved,loved the Gumbo Ya-Ya. What more can we say except bring it on again. πŸ™‚

Entrees:

Rich: Grilled New York Strip – Creole spices, mushroom bread pudding, green beans, horseradish-port wine demiglace

Kathy: Blackened Salmon & Blue Crab Almandine – with popcorn rice pilaf, green beans, toasted almond-lemon butter sauce

I’ve recently discovered Blue Crab and love it. But when I tasted Rich’s steak and that mushroom bread pudding, my salmon paled in comparison. The steak was delicious and I could have eaten a whole plateful of that mushroom bread pudding. Rich enjoyed it, too. πŸ™‚

Wines:

Rich: Ravenswood Zinfandel

Kathy: Greg Norman Pinot Noir

Dessert:

We skipped dessert, as we often do when we have a starter.

We then went back to the room, packed, and got ready to check out the next morning. We were so tired, and this trip was a night longer than we usually stay. We were anxious to get home.

The next morning we ordered the same American breakfast from room service, and it was okay – the potatoes seemed a bit spicy for breakfast and they keep ordering the piece of broccoli with the breakfast, which we could definitely live without. But it was nice having a choice of pastry instead of toast, and both times we shared one breakfast and a full pot of coffee.

 

About Kathy

Novelist, Poet, Songwriter/Music Producer