For anyone that has spent at least five minutes with my Mom and me know that we love Disneyland. We are premium annual passholders and visit Disneyland at least once a month. Right now is one of my favorite times to visit the parks since Disneyland is decked out in its Halloween finest.
Recently we have been going on Friday nights and staying at one of the many hotels across the street from the parks. Being a travel agent, I have access to a lot of different suppliers and lots of really good deals. My goal is to stay at all of the Disneyland Good Neighbor hotels, so I can better assist clients with choosing the best accommodations.
This time I found a great deal for the Sheraton Park Hotel.
The Sheraton Park Hotel is very nice. The staff was very friendly, and they had a coffee shop, a bar, and a gift shop. Morton’s Steakhouse is right next door.
The room was very nice with plenty of room to move around.
From our balcony I could see the next two hotels I would like to stay at.
We decided to walk to the parks from our hotel and grab some dinner. It was probably about a fifteen minute walk to the parks from the hotel.
We couldn’t go into Disneyland because of Mickey’s Halloween Party. Mickey’s Halloween Party requires a separate ticket from the regular park ticket and it’s from 7-12pm. Disney closes the park to those without the special event ticket at seven, and the guests who are attending the party get to trick or treat all through the park. We have done this event the past two years and it is a lot of fun, but we decided to skip it this year.
With Mickey’s Halloween Party going on at Disneyland, everyone piled into California Adventure. I’m not used to seeing California Adventure so packed, usually you have a lot of breathing room.
We headed over to Paradise Pier to Bayside Brews, where they had a special Oktoberfest menu, and shared a Bavarian pretzel and Bratwurst.
After dinner we watched the Mad T Party Band (more to come on the Mad T Party later) and headed back to the hotel.
The next day we got up early, eager to get over to the parks. I took a peak outside and knew I was going to have to wear my hood for awhile. The weather was not going to be nice to my hair.
Luckily, by the time we started walking to the parks, the fog started to lift.
Little did I know that this was going to be a day of lines. I can usually avoid lines, but I jinxed myself by stomping my foot and pouting about having to wait for the gates to open.
On our drive to Disneyland that night, I saw that they were offering a special limited time magic experience for annual passholders. If Disney is going to offer something for free, we were for sure going to take advantage of it.
The limited time magic experience had to do with the new Thor movie coming out. We would get to go through a special area in the Innoventions building, where they said we could visit Asgard, and then we could watch the movie later in the afternoon, two weeks before the movie officially opens. First we had to stand in line to get wristbands and a poster so we could come back at a designated time. We already knew we weren’t going to go to the movie. We didn’t really want to sit in a movie theater while at Disney, but I wanted to check out Asgard later. While in line we were talking to a family in front of us, and when they found out we weren’t going to the movie, their mouths dropped and they didn’t really talk to us anymore.
We then headed over to California Adventure so we could get a fast pass for the Radiator Springs Car Racers.
After getting our fast passes for the 2:15-3:15 time slot, we went to Toy Story Midway Mania.
Toy Story Midway Mania is one of our favorite rides. It’s a mixture between the traditional dark ride and old midway games, but in 3-D.
Mr. Potato Head will actually have a real time conversation with you while you are standing in line.
Once the ride starts, you put on your 3-D glasses and get your shooter ready. There are six games ranging from pie throwing to plate breaking to a shootin’ gallery.
Mom is always trying to beat me and she’s come close a couple of times, but I always make it up on the last game in the shooting gallery.
Normally our scores are a lot better, we were having a bit of an off day on the ride.
Now it was time for our favorite morning ritual at Disney – an Ice blended coffee at Ghirardelli’s!
Ghirardelli’s Soda Fountain Shop is located in the Pacific Wharf area of California Adventure just where you would find their famous store in San Francisco.
When you enter, a cast member gives you a free piece of Ghirardelli chocolate. Today’s flavor was pumpkin spice. Since we are on first name bases with our greeter, Marie, she may have given us an extra piece each.
With our ice blended drinks in hand, we headed back over to Disneyland to grab a little breakfast.
We ended up going with the Halloween cupcake for breakfast. Maybe not the most well balanced meal, but it was yummy!
It was time to go check out our limited time magic over at Innoventions. We really didn’t know what we were going to see, but I wasn’t going to miss out on it.
When we got there, we had to wait a few minutes before they would let us into the building which was okay because I got a chance to snap this picture.
I love the palm trees and the Matterhorn in one picture. Only at Disneyland.
We were finally admitted into the building and to another line.
We talked with a guy and his son for a little while. The kid was probably no more then 4 years old and could tell you where the 13 hidden surprises are in the Haunted Mansion. I’m lucky to see something new that’s been there since it opened.
They had props that were used in the movie; I guess we were suppose to feel as if we were actually visiting Asgard.
The highlight of this little experience was getting to meet Thor. I was crossing my fingers it was going to be Chris Hemsworth.
Okay, he wasn’t exactly Chris Hemsworth, but I wasn’t complaining too much.
Mom wasn’t complaining either.
We walked around in Innoventions for a little bit and headed back to Main Street.
As you can see, they are already starting to decorate the castle for Christmas.
It was about noon now, so it was time to head over to the World of Disney Store to see Linda Rick. Linda Rick designs the Disney Precious Moments Dolls, and she creates beautiful porcelain dolls that are all American made, which is a rare find. Somehow, we always seem to be at the park when she is there for a signing, and we may have bought a few dolls over the past few years.
She is a wonderful lady and as soon as she see us she stops what she is doing and comes over to give us hugs.
After hanging out with her for almost an hour it was time for lunch!
Since we were already at Downtown Disney, we walked over to the Earl of Sandwich. This is a new restaurant to California, but is very familiar to those who have been to Walt Disney World.
The Earl of Sandwich was founded by the current Earl of Sandwich’s younger son, Orlando Montagu, and is a direct descendent of the 4th Earl of Sandwich.
Their sandwiches are the best sandwiches I have ever had at a counter service restaurant, and I highly recommend stopping by and grabbing a bite to eat here.
It was now time to return to Cars Land, so we could go on Radiator Springs Racers. Love fast passes, really saves time from having to wait in lines. I usually don’t wait any longer then twenty minutes for any ride.
Disney made magic when they designed this ride. First of all, Cars Land is just amazing by itself, but to experience this ride is something else.
If we hadn’t gotten our fast passes in the morning, we would have had to wait well over an hour for this ride.
You first take an idyllic ride through Ornament Valley.
After your leisurely ride for awhile, you enter the mountain and run into several Car’s characters, like the Sheriff.
I tried taking more pictures but they came out too blurry.
Towards the end of the ride, you get ready to race another group of people in their convertible.
And as you can see we won!
This ride is really something else, I giggle on it every time. It’s the best ride to go on when you need a little pick me up.
We moseyed back over to Disneyland (we do walk back and forth to both parks a lot; we need to work off the food we ate). We wanted to have a few pictures taken with the Mickey Pumpkin.
We were actually going to go on our third ride of the day. Yeah! We had gotten a fast pass for Indiana Jones Adventure earlier, and it was time to use it.
Indiana Jones Adventure is another of my top favorite rides here. I still remember riding it for the first time and how much I loved it. It’s so much fun when you have people who have never been on the ride before in the vehicle with you. It’s fun hearing their excitement and screams.
If you look to the right of the picture, you can see the empty walkway – that’s where you get to walk to pass all the people in line when you have a fastpass.
Once inside, you walk quite a ways in and you are made to feel like you are walking in a place where Indiana Jones would be getting himself into all sorts of trouble.
It was time to board our military troop transport.
You first come to the Chamber of Destiny and are presented with three doors. One lights up and you enter to find Mara. Don’t look in her eyes!
You are then off on a very exciting adventure. Again my camera really doesn’t work well while trying to survive snakes and mummies and of course a very big boulder.
Needing to recover from our near death experience, we strolled around for a little bit.
Back to California Adventure and maybe a little ice cream stop.
After our ice cream, it was tea time which meant it was time to head over to the Mad T Party.
The Mad T Party is an absolute must for the Momma – she love, love, loves, the Mad T Party Band.
First, you have to enter through the Rabbit Hole.
This is a very popular show and the band has groupies. I see a lot of the same faces every time we are there.
The woman in the orange and her husband behind her, holding the camera, are there every time I’ve been there. We even saw them the night before when we checked out one of the performances. The groupies are always taking pictures, and there is a guy who had the pictures made into buttons and wears them on a lanyard around his neck. Bieber fans have nothing on the Mad T Party fans!
The band plays four sets and for Halloween they did something extra special. For the first set, they come out like normal.
I will say that I have been to enough shows that I actually know some of the their real names. Tonight was Johnny Gomez as the Dormouse and Dani Keri as Alice. Mom’s favorite Dormouse is Dan Franklin and her absolute favorite of all is Nathan Shrake, who is the Mad Hatter. Tonight was a Mad Hatter we weren’t familiar with, but he was still very energetic.
The second set they come out with just a little bit of horror make-up on. I don’t know how well you can see their faces. The make-up is pretty light.
The third set is when you can really notice the make-up. They are starting to look like they had a bit too much to drink and were hanging out a little too long at the cemetery.
At the end of the first three sets, they sing “This is Halloween” from Tim Burton’s “Nightmare before Christmas.”
For the fourth set, they really out do themselves.
This set is my favorite. They sing songs like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Time Warp”.
The very last song they do is Thriller and I couldn’t really get good pictures, so here’s a clip from another night.
That would be Nathan Shrake singing (Mom’s favorite) in the clip.
After four shows, it was time to leave my magical place and get back to reality and drive back home.
Till next time!
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