Turning 29 Again at Disneyland and the Beach, Day 3 (Final)

We woke up early and instead of relaxing by the pool at the Disneyland Hotel, we cecked out of the hotel and drove to Newport Beach for a morning walk and breakfast at Mutt Lynch’s, after enjoying it so much in July for my birthday.

Mutt’s was late opening the doors, but after our walk we just stood there and she finally opened them. First off, coffee. Then, I got my usual – corned beef hash, those amazing hash brown ribbons, and eggs. No toast this time – the waitress didn’t bring it and I didn’t really want any. This time Rich tried the pancakes with bacon (I had a slice or two), and I tasted the pancakes to compare to Norm’s. As I suspected, Norm’s is definitely the winner of the pancakes (nobody else comes close), but Mutt’s wins the best hash browns ever award.

It was overcast, of course, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our breakfast at the beach. It’s quite a contrast to the daily bright morning sun in Las Vegas. But it was a week day and parking was a breeze – just a few surfers, early morning walkers, and us. Several people (more than on Saturday) joined us for breakfast soon after we were seated. It did open later so maybe that’s the difference. Or people got a later start on a Saturday.

After breakfast, we took care of us some business in Costa Mesa and then drove home. Overall, it was such a fun trip, catching up on the new stuff at Disneyland and DCA and getting a bit of beach atmosphere before heading back to the desert. We’re looking forward to our next trip, although we have a couple of cruises booked (busy, busy fall – everything is up in-the-air).

Turning 29 Again at Disneyland, Day 2, Part 2: DCA

We entered Security at DD but it was a breeze, although Rich did have to remove his celebration pin. When we headed through the DCA gates, the CM said, “You need to have a real birthday button” and told us where to get it inside DCA. So we stopped in at the 5 and Dime and got one. They were so friendly and wished Rich a “Happy Birthday” and gave me one that said, “I’m Celebrating with Rich.”

It was hot and we were early for our Lamplight Lounge ressie, so we decided to have a drink at Carthay Circle Lounge, but, first, had to wait in line to be admitted. We were originally going to celebrate Rich’s birthday in the Carthay Circle Restaurant but decided to do Catal the night before and not use up our park time for a sit down dinner.

After about 10 minutes, we were admitted and seated in a cozy table for two. I had the amazing “Carthay Martini,” of course, and Rich had a “Scotch Mist,” considered to be “Walt’s drink of choice,” which is now Rich’s drink of choice.

We were enjoying the atmosphere so much, we decided to order a snack. We got the Vietnamese Beef Tacos, which were so scrumptious! We had an awesome server (Mark) who teased us about hearing Lamplight Lounge call us when we asked for the check. Next time, we’ll just stay there.

Scotch Mist: known to be Walt’s drink of choice – Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch with a Lemon Peel served over Crushed Ice

Carthay Martini: classically prepared with Hendrick’s Gin or Double Cross Vodka, Lillet Blanc Dry Vermouth and Gourmet Blue Cheese Truffle Olives served with an Ice Sphere

Vietnamese Twice-cooked Beef Tacos with fresh Pineapple-Mint Salsa

We then moved on to Lamplight Lounge via the Golden Vine Vineyard and Winery, one of our old favorite hangouts.

Golden Vine Vineyard

Golden Vine Winery

We’d heard so much about the Lamplight Lounge, although we were not fans of the Cove Bar, which was the original watering hole here. The CMs were friendly enough and we had the most incredible Salmon Sandwich that we shared and would go back just for that, but the atmosphere was just “Meh.” I think it might be better outside after dark, but it was hot and we were happy to be seated inside.

Rich reads the Lamplight Lounge Menu

Salmon Sandwich Photo from Touring Plans

We walked around and caught up with new stuff on Pixar Pier, shared a Churro (not the best – better at Fantasyland cart), rode Little Mermaid, Luigis, and Mater for the first time, which we now love more than Luigis. We stopped in at the Cozy Cone for an ice cream cone. We also did our Radiator Springs Racers watch after dark, which is so awesome. Watching may be even more fun than riding, especially with the 90-minute wait.

Stopping for a Churro

Luigi’s

The Cozy Cone

Pixar Pier

Our Lamplight Lounge Video (from iPhone)

Our Radiator Springs Racers Video (from iPhone)

We did our usual peek-in at the merch at Rushin River Outfitters, but didn’t find anything. The atmosphere at night is just so awesome. We walked through the GC on our way out, with a quick walk through the gift shop, a breeze through Security, and a walk back through DD, which was pretty quiet on a Sunday night.

Rich and the Hat he did not get

Overall, it was a very special birthday for Rich (and me), and we had a lot of fun, although the 7.5 miles would take a while to recover from. 🙂

 

 

Turning 29 Again at Disneyland, Day 2, Part 1

For the intro (rant) for Day 2, click on this post. To pick up with Disneyland, continue reading below.

Eventually… we moved step by step to the front gates and we entered with our mobile ticket and at one point thought we were getting early admission. But no, they now let guests line up at the beginning of each land, instead of holding you on Main Street. Alas, no joy there so we turned around and went to the Market, the only place open, for some breakfast.

I found a seat and Rich got us a couple of coffees and two chocolate croissants, whic were truly amazingly delicious. We enjoyed our breakfast, and made our way to Frontierland, which had a humongous line for the Galaxy’s Edge ride, whatever that’s called, I can never remember (Millennium Falcon).

We decided to sit down at a table in front of Jolly Holiday, which was not yet open, and waited for the park to open and the crowd to die down. Our main objective was to get to Oga’s Cantina for our 10:45 reservation.

The park opened and the line began moving and we weren’t sure what the best way to get to Oga’s Cantina was. We asked a security guard and he told us the most direct way would be through the gate past Big Thunder Mountain. We headed that way, but a CM redirected us to the gate past Hungry Bear Restaurant, which, apparently, is the only gate open at park opening.

We noticed Haunted Mansion was empty, so we jumped in an almost nonexistent line and got right on the ride, which was so cool since it was the 50th anniversary of its opening. That was fun. We were moving so fast, we forgot to take any pics.

Then we found our way to Galaxy’s Edge and noticed the line for the ride was humongous. We passed on that – have no interest in that ride – and had to ask for directions on how to get to Oga’s Cantina. Galaxy’s Edge is open and empty and hard to find anything because of the almost nonexistent, non descript signage. I predict they will have to fix this land, more signage, snack and drink options, and Disneyfy it the way they had to do for Epcot and DCA.

We checked into Oga’s and were seated at a booth with one other couple, but then they left and a few adults with about 6-8 kids sat their kids down at the booth while they all stood at a nearby table. The kids misbehaved and took over the table. Eventually, the CM came by and I stood to tell her we were not with them and were there first. She snapped at me with, “I’m aware of that.” Okie dokie!

We got our drinks: Margarita for me (Outer Rim), and a Bourbon thing for Rich (Jet Juice), which he pronounced as very good. We were next to DJ Rex, so I got up and danced with him, taking video and having a really good time. Going in, we thought we’d want to get a booth, but ended up enjoying standing and walking around more. It was a really fun atmosphere and inspired me to produce more DJ-type music. So fun!!!

After our drink and our 45 minutes were up, we asked directions for Ronto Roasters and each got a Ronto Wrap (delicious!) Then we made our way out of Galaxy’s Edge, and out of the park. My hip was starting to hurt and we’d accomplished what we’d set out to accomplish at Disneyland. Time to nap at the Disneyland Hotel to rest up for the evening at DCA. But we did stop off at Salt & Straw to get a cup of ice cream to share and the CM gave it to Rich for free for his birthday (he was wearing the hotel “I’m Celebrating” button — more on birthday pins later).

Impressions of Galaxy’s Edge — I thought I’d be more excited about a new land at Disneyland, but it just wasn’t my thing, at least, not yet. Oga’s Cantina was the real star – that was my favorite part about Star Wars. Ronto Roasters and the shops were fun. Rich got a Black Spire Output t-shirt, which is cool. We’d like to go back to Oga’s and maybe eat at Docking Bay.

Photos below (no captions, self-explanatory, I think). Videos following photos.

YouTube Videos:

Main Street, Part 1

Main Street, Part 2

Waiting for Rope Drop

Millennium Falcon Line at Jolly Holiday

Millennium Falcon Line Starts to Move

Chewy at Galaxy’s Edge

First Look at Oga’s Cantina

DJ Rex at Oga’s Cantina

Oga’s Cantina Cocktails at the Bar

 

Turning 29 Again at Disneyland, Day 2 Disneyland Rant

I decided to post the rant in a separate post from Day 2, Part 1, so you can go straight there if you’d like to skip this part. Don’t worry, it gets better. 🙂

I forgot to mention how long the security line was last night at the Disneyland Hotel/Downtown Disney parking area. It’s a shame it’s all in one space, because DD is extremely crowded on Saturday nights and this impacts the security gate hotel guests (both Disneyland Hotel/Paradise Pier Hotel guests use to get into DD and/or the parks).

We got up early, hoping to get through security and get some breakfast somewhere in DD and still get to Disneyland for park opening, which wasn’t until 10 am and Early Magic Hour was for DCA only. Btw, you must take off your Birthday Pin to make it through security.

What we were totally unaware of was that early this morning there was one of those Charity (ChocWalk, I think) walk-a-thon through the parks events starting at 6 am, with discount tickets to Disneyland for after. Therefore, DD was packed to the gills and I mean packed. There was no room to pass as everybody was going to Disneyland and the restaurants were full.

We’d been caught unaware two other times – it often happens when we’re staying onsite – and were really beyond annoyed that Disney doesn’t come up with an alternative for these events. It was a bit of a nightmare, we were packed in like sardines. The CM kept telling us to move to the right to pass by but there was no room to pass there either. And when I tried, the people in front of me said, “We’re all going to the same place, you know.” No, I didn’t know. The CM made it seem as if they were going some place else. And when I said this was really stupid on Disney’s part the CM growled at me that it wasn’t her. And all of this on Rich’s birthday. Not a good start.

Click here to continue with the actual fun at Disneyland.

Turning 29 Again at Disneyland Resort, Day 1, Part 1

If you’d like to peek ahead, check out the Rich’s Birthday at Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland playlist on YouTube.

We’d had many plans for Rich’s birthday – when we were living in Florida we’d even booked a Med cruise, but, alas, with the move back west, we had to scale down those plans. But celebrating at Disney is always fun, right?

Staying onsite these days is reserved for special events, and this was pretty special, so we booked the Disneyland Hotel. Unsure about our future travel plans and with the AP we were interested in blocked still, we did not purchase an AP, but got a one-day park hopper to focus on catching up with what’s new, such as Galaxy’s Edge.

While Rich got in the check-in line, Kathy waited in the tea cup in the lobby, and after dropping off our bags in our pool view room, we changed into our swimsuits with a stop at Tangaroa Terrace for some lunch. We snagged a table outside, Rich ordered a Mai Tai and Kathy a Margarita, shared some Pulled Pork Nachos, and an order of Asian Chicken Wings. Tasty and refreshing. It was a hot afternoon and the whole pool area (Tangaroa Terrace) was packed.

After our lunch snack, we headed for the pool, but no chairs were available so like many others, we stacked our stuff on a cement wall and jumped in the pool for a refreshing dip. When we returned to our stuff, this big guy was sitting on our stuff but when I said, “You’re sitting on our stuff,” he got up and just stood there while we got dressed. Really strange, if not rude.

After the pool, we rested until time to get ready for Rich’s birthday dinner at Catal (and Kathy snuck in some birthday room decorations while Rich was out of the room).

 

 

 

Kathy’s Birthday Trip to Disney and the Beach, Part 3

The next morning, Rich brought back some breakfast from the hotel and I heated up the leftover pork chop to go with, which was still so amazingly delicious. If you think you don’t like something, think again if Andrew Sutton is preparing it. That’s what I love about food – the surprise.

We packed up and got on the road via one more look at the beach. Ah….

Around Barstow we were thirsty so we drove through Del Taco for their “mini” shakes, but that location doesn’t have them. So we got one shake and a Diet Coke to share.

The road was pretty busy, especially where it narrows to 2 lines each way on the Barstow to Vegas stretch. But the line of cars heading back to L.A. on a Sunday were even longer than before. Note to LA to Vegas travelers: do not drive home on a Sunday or, if you must, get up early!!

Anyway, here’s a video of the pianist in the Grand Californian playing “The Sound of Music,” us relaxing and enjoying our home away from home. Can’t wait to go back for Rich’s birthday for a stay at the Disneyland Hotel and catch up with the parks.

Kathy’s July Birthday Trip to Disney and the Beach, Part 1

I’m really struggling to write much of anything these days, but Rich’s birthday trip is coming up and so I really must write up my birthday trip report. I’m so much more into my music and videos these days.(I just finished song #16 for 50/90.) In the future, I may just focus on photos and videos here.

As a side note, we finally got into the pool area for the first time since we got the key (it’s been way too hot to be out there until today, the day after a big rain), and I’ve been promising videos, so here they are:

Summerlin Pool Tour (with narration)
Summerlin Pool Tour (no narration)

Anyway, on with the July birthday trip to Disney(land) and the beach.

We did our usual Friday getaway, but since we’re half an hour north of where we used to live and we were staying in Huntington Beach, that added another half an hour on the trip. Sigh. Really hoping to move back to our old neighborhood after this lease expires.

We did our usual lunch stop in Barstow at Tommy’s (tamale for me, chili hot dog for Rich), checked into our hotel in Huntington Beach, rested up from the trip (so busy in the summer and maybe anytime these days).

For dinner, we drove over to Surf City Tacos via the beach, but this time we knew to get only two tacos to share and they tossed in some chips and salsa.

I woke up really early the next morning on my birthday and knowing how crazy busy the beaches are in the summer, we got up and drove to Newport Beach around 6 am. We found a parking place (one of the few not taken by the surfers), and walked over to Mutt’s, which opens for breakfast at 7:00. We were early so we walked the beach for a bit and then headed over to Mutt’s for breakfast. It was a bit early for cocktails, so when they asked, we passed – lol!

This was the first time we tried breakfast there and it was amazing! Must-go-back!!!

The morning fog was still pretty thick, but it made for a nice morning sitting in our chairs and watching the waves and people. Really a wonderful way for me to spend the morning on my birthday, relaxing on my childhood beach, especially after being away for the last couple of years while we were in Florida.

I remember my mother and step dad used to sneak off early and have breakfast at the beach while we slept. I suppose they figured I was old enough to babysit. 🙂

Anyway, it started getting busy around 9:30-10:00, the sun was coming out, and it was time for us to leave. We ended up in Irvine to take care of some personal business, and then headed back to the hotel for a nap before birthday dinner at Napa Rose.

Residence Inn at Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach

Surf City Tacos

Rich’s Salmon Breakfast at Mutt Lynch’s, Newport Beach

Kathy’s Eggs and Hash with Hash Brown Ribbons (incredible hash browns!)