First Trip Back Part 2: “Disneyland or the Beach?” Day 2, Part 2

Instead of facing a busy freeway, we chose to drive down Harbor Blvd., which would allow us to take a look at some possible off-site hotels for a future trip. I was happy to see that Harbor Blvd. seems to finally be reviving itself. It had looked a little dumpy in that area between the beach and Disneyland. It has room to improve but it seems to be on its way. It had been losing the comparison to Beach Blvd. and I’m looking forward to it evening out the race.

Rich was thrilled with the Valet parking service again. We also noticed the big Earl of Sandwich that took over the place where the bookstore and cafe had been before. We’ll stop in and have a bite on a future trip. The sun was still shining pretty brightly and there wasn’t a breeze so it was a bit warmer than it had been the night before. So we ducked into the Grand Californian and said, “Ah… home, sweet home!” Just when I think my allegiance really goes to the beach, I realize that Disneyland is my home. 🙂

We peeked into our favorite gift shop and saw the wine glasses we wanted. Then we sat down in some comfy chairs in the lobby next to the pianist and enjoyed the music.


Finally, we went to Hearthstone Lounge – my favorite bar – and said, “If our chairs are available, we’ll stay. If not, we’ll move on.” Sure enough, our 2 comfy chairs were vacant.


We sat down and ordered 2 glasses of Cupcake Cab and a Rustica flatbread. Rich said, “I’d forgotten how yummy that flatbread is.”


The service is always superb and it was a bit quiet, which is nice. It can get a little busy during the afternoon when people like to pop in, kids and all, for an afternoon break.

Eventually, it was time to head for DCA – after all, we only 3 hours of parking and we’d already spent some time at the GC sipping and eating – so we probably wouldn’t stop in at a DD bar or restaurant for extra valet time. Unfortunately, for us, we couldn’t use the special GC entry to DCA, which we had become so accustomed to. No, that’s for onsite hotel guests only. 🙂

It was night by then and the lights were on and we strolled DCA via Tower of Terror – love that place at night! This took us through Bugs Land, which was rather interesting after dark, and on to Cars Land. The neon Strip was lit up, the music was rocking, and we were rolling over to the Cozy Cone where Mater was holding camp.


It was busy – busier than our first time here. It was a warm evening so there was quite a line for the ice cream “cone.” Remembering the yummy churro bites, cone from before, we got in that line. Well, it took forever and the CM obviously didn’t know what she was doing. The churros weren’t cooked inside and the chocolate dipping sauce was watered down. Ick! Not sure we want to try it again – once was maybe enough.

Now for a little Cars Land rant. We love the atmosphere – the set and the music is awesome. In fact, after the Cozy Cone, we sat by the Racers area behind Flo’s and watched the cars whizz by. I could have stayed there for hours and hours and hours. Next time, we’ll get that beer in nearby Pacific Wharf – why in the heck don’t they have a bar in Radiator Springs? Oh well…


The rant is that Cars Land is very popular, which is fine, but the service and the quality is subpar for Disney. It shows in the merchandize and with the CMs. It seems they had to really staff up for this land but there doesn’t seem to be any quality control. Guess they’re just counting on the popularity of it to get them through. I really hate to see that. But, oh well, we enjoy the parts we do enjoy and forget about the rest. I seriously doubt it will have that much of a draw for us once we’re back in Vegas.

The other thing we noticed is that DCA didn’t have *any* Halloween decorations. Before Cars Land and the Halloween party at Disneyland (which is new for DL), there were decorations as you can see from our earlier trip report here. The decorations at Disneyland were mostly the same as you can see here.

Eventually, we had to leave in order to make our 3-hour window at DD. We wandered through our favorite parts or DCA through Russian River Outfitters for a peek and into the GC. We stopped back in the gift shop to pick up those wine glasses and made our way down DD. What a fabulous place – have i told you this? lol!

We stopped briefly and enjoyed the band onstage near the DL hotel and made it exactly at the 3-hour window, paid for our parking, and our car was brought to us. Ah, have we told you how much Rich loves this service? lol!


We drove back to our hotel, slept in that awful bed, ate breakfast at Del Taco and headed for home via I-5. With 3 stops for gas/food/rest stop, it took us 6.5 hours home. It was a much better trip home than it had been coming down.

It was a fabulous trip and we’ve already booked our next trip back!

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer