Sorry for the delay, I was without internet for the past couple of days...
So, Sunday was a short travel day and we traveled from Mandalay Bay in Oxnard to Anaheim. We took the inland route for speed (hah!) and hit the required traffic jam in between LA and Orange County (seriously we complain about Bay Area traffic but it doesn't even begin to compare. I've driven this route on all days, times, and seasons and it's never been different. OK, I've never driven it in the middle of the night. Maybe that's what we should do next time.)
In Anaheim we hit ESPN zone in Downtown Disney for lunch so that we could eat and watch about 20 different sporting events at one time (nirvana in our family). We got a table fairly easily (not always easy to do) but by the time we left it was a madhouse with people trying to get seats for the Lakers-Magic game later that afternoon/evening. Speaking of which, I think it is a requirement right now in Southern California that every third person needs to wear a Lakers shirt. And then 90% of those people need to be wearing a Kobe shirt.
Monday morning we woke up early to hit Disneyland! The Happiest Place On Earth! The Happy started early with our bus driver. We thought that our just-down-Harbor-Blvd hotel had free shuttle service to Disney so we were not prepared when the shuttle got there and asked for payment or passes. We didn't have passes so we asked how much it would cost.
DRIVER: "You don't have passes?"
US: "No. How much does it cost?"
DRIVER: "But cash is more expensive. You should have passes."
US: "We didn't know that so we don't have them. How much is it for the five of us?"
DRIVER: "No passes?"
DRIVER: "But, it's more expensive."
US: "Yes, we know. We just want to get to Disneyland. How much?"
DRIVER: "Let me see your kids."
US: "Ok." Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle up the stairs. "But, perhaps we can just tell you how old they are."
DRIVER: "They're all adults. Ok, maybe not the last one. I can maybe give you the child's price on him."
US: "OK, that's fine. How much do we owe you?"
DRIVER: "But, it would be cheaper to buy the passes."
US: "Yes, we know. But we just want to go to Disneyland. How much?"
This went on for even longer and with even more absurdity that I can capture! In fact, I wish I could claim some artistic license but I can't. And, it took place in front of a long line of people! We eventually walked off the bus and drove ourselves to the park because he was not able to come up with an amount. And we were sitting there with an open wallet! In the end, we ended up paying less to park than what the shuttle pass (not cash!) tickets would have cost us in the first place.
We had only one day at the Anaheim Disney resorts so we decided to just go to Disneyland and it was the right decision. I have been to Disneyland countless times in my life and I have never, ever seen Disneyland as crowded as it was on Monday. In fact, we heard that the park was eventually closed because it was at maximum capacity. I love Disneyland but it was simply not designed for the large crowds that it allows during peak times these days. Nor was it designed for the massive number of strollers that inhabit the Magic Kingdom each day (side note: they seriously have people employed solely for stroller parking, stroller re-deployment, and crowd control around the strollers. It's that bad.)
Because it was such a crowded day at Disney, every ride had a significant wait time and we concentrated on the big rides. We were able to do most of them (Star Tours, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, The Matterhorn, Big Thunder Railroad, The Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones) along with a few non-E-ticket rides (Mr. Toad's Wild Adventure, Autopia, Astro Orbiters, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters) but we were not able to do many of the things that you're able to do during a normal day at Disney. That said, we had a great time and what was especially fun was that all of the kids and we were old enough that we were able to go on all the rides together. Brief consensus report card: Best ride: Indiana Jones (hands down. Plus, we rode that one on fast pass. The non-fast pass wait time was 200 minutes. 200 minutes! That's nearly a 3-1/2 hour wait!) Worst ride: Star Tours (only because expectations were high and they all felt it was too short.) Biggest disappointment: Space Mountain. We got in the long (90 minute) line early in the day only to be told about 30 minutes into the wait that it had broken down and that it would be at least 20 minutes for them to fix it. We decided not to wait since it was nearly lunchtime and we were hungry (priorities!) and felt that we had plenty of time to come back. We came back twice. First time: over two hour wait. Second time: closed for the day. Sadly, it was not meant to be.
After a long day at Disneyland, we got a late start Tuesday morning and headed back to LA where we checked into the Hotel Sofitel in Beverly Hills in the early afternoon. Nice place! Daniel and I are in love with the bathroom. There is a huge bathtub in front of a flat screen TV. Heaven! I get my bath in at night and Daniel has his in the morning. I need to get this setup at home!
On Wednesday we headed to Santa Monica and spent the afternoon on the pier and the 3rd Street Promenade. Wow has that area changed! My first job out of college was with Peter Norton Software at the corner of Ocean and Wilshire (the tall building in the picture) but at that time the area was under redevelopment and nothing like it is now.
We spent Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Dodger Stadium. I've never been there before so I was looking forward to checking out the stadium. We sat in the third deck the first night and the second deck the second night. The stadium reminds me a lot of the Coliseum before the Raiders ruined it. It's definitely old school and they also don't have/do a lot of the fluff that happens at a lot of the newer stadiums and I like that. We saw two good, one run games. The Dodgers won the first (in 10 innings) and the A's won the second. Bottom line: Dodger Stadium was cool. Dodger fans? Not so cool. I thought perhaps that we just had a bad experience the first night but it was worse the second night. I've been to a number of other stadiums and have never had home fans treat the visiting fans so badly across the board (in our seats, walking the stadium, in the parking lot, in our car...) And this wasn't even a rivalry! And it was my kids who took the brunt of it! Dodger fans: you're in first place for pete's sake. Be cool!
Off to San Diego in the morning!