Manda's Solo Disneyland Trip Report

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Manda's Solo Disneyland Trip Report

I decided to write up a quick trip report for my solo Disneyland trip last weekend for a couple reasons: A) In case anyone is planning a Disneyland trip soon and wants to get a feel for it; B) If anyone is planning or thinking about a solo trip...I want to encourage you to DO IT!; and C) Because I love reading trip reports for any Disney park and hopefully I'm not the only one! (although WDW trip reports are still my fave)

Day 1: Friday mickey

After my work conference ended in LA around 1:00, I started off by renting a car at LAX and driving through the wonderful traffic to Anaheim where I checked into the Hotel Indigo (where I stayed for free using reward points). I was told immediately that they were upgrading me to a suite...woohoo! When they asked what brought me to town I told them that it was my birthday weekend and I decided to take advantage of a business trip and turn it into a Disneyland trip! I was settling into my room when I heard a knock on my door. The hotel management brought me a nice goodie bag with treats and drinks for my birthday...so nice! (no alcohol, so don't get too excited!) And they also said that a package had been delivered for me. What?! I wasn't expecting a package. So I opened it up and it just made my day...it was a musical Tangled birthday card and Disney gift card from Megan!! I do not deserve such a thoughtful sister, honestly (I cried, of course!). My day was already magical and I hadn't even set foot in Disneyland!

So I made a couple calls (to Meg to thank her and chat a bit and to my mom to wish HER a happy birthday). Then I changed, got my things together, and walked about 3 blocks to the Disneyland gate. Not a bad walk at all, especially on such a beautiful day. I had waited to redeem some Disney Visa points until it was too late to get them mailed to me, so I had to go to the ticket counter and take care of it there. The process wasn't too bad, but I was itching to get into the park! I got a 2-Day Park Hopper, based on some of your suggestions and it turned out to be the perfect choice. I didn't make it in until 6:00, so I was nervous I would barely scratch the surface. I had a plan though! So off I went into California Adventure...

I walked through the gates, taking my time to convince myself that, yes...I am actually here! The main street is Buena Vista Street, which has beautiful Art Deco details and there are cute shops and festive music playing. After stopping to watch a wonderful street jazz band, the Five and Dime, I found myself in front of the Cars Land sign. I knew I wanted to ride Radiator Springs Racers, so that was my first real stop. I got in the single riders line and only waited about 15 minutes! That blew my mind. The ride was super fun and a quick favorite...I knew would come back for seconds Smile


After the ride, my hair was very windblown!!

I wandered around Cars Land for a bit, checking out the immersive theming and then over to Paradise Pier. I loved the theming here!! It reminded me of the Boardwalk area near Epcot Smile The Little Mermaid ride was next and I just walked right on!

*A quick tip if you are planning a Disneyland trip...I downloaded an app called MouseWait. It estimates the wait times at all Disneyland and CA Adventure rides and restaurants. I found it to be pretty accurate and it prevented me from wasting excess time and energy (all that walking!).

So next I was on to Mickey's Fun Wheel and Toy Story Mania. TSM was the longest wait of the day at about 25 minutes...not bad! After strolling the rest of the pier and looking in some of the shops, I went over to Grizzly River Run. I saw that there was no line, and also noticed a kiosk for the World of Color FP. I couldn't believe they were still available! So I grabbed a FP and walked onto GRR with zero wait. I loved this ride so much! Reason #1, I brought a poncho specifically for this ride, so I didn't get too wet; Reason #2 (and more importantly), I was joined by a really fun group in my raft! They were just as excited as I was, even though they had each ridden the rapids dozens of times to my zero Smile It was great fun with just enough twists, turns, and splashes to keep you guessing and wanting more!! Then it was time for Soarin' Over California. Thank goodness once again for the single rider line! It seemed to me to be exactly the same as Soarin' in Epcot, so nothing new to me, but still a great ride. As I was exiting, I heard some heavy bass music and saw flashing lights in the distance, so I went to explore. It turned out to be the Mad T Party! It was a hip hop dance party and a really fun surprise! After dancing a bit (mostly head-bobbing and watching the great dancers on stage!), I walked around the corner to the Monsters Inc ride.


Toy Story Mania!


Snack machine in the Monster's Inc queue!

Dinner at Flo's V8 Diner was next! Very cool decor and theming here (notice a trend?!) and the food really was delish! I had the Spit-Fired Rotisserie Chicken with potatoes and veggies...mmmmmmm. After I was stuffed, I walked around a bit to just enjoy the nighttime lighting. It wasn't too long until I wanted to grab my spot for World of Color, which was one of my top priorities for the day. Soon it was time...I got a great spot, mostly because I was a party of one and could squeeze in pretty much anywhere! The show was absolutely amazing and I just kept saying "WOW"! I LOVED it and it was definitely in my top 5 things after the weekend was over.


Outdoor seating at Flo's


After the show!

Afterward, I had a nice walk back to my hotel (with crowds, security, and good street lights!) and I was off to my comfy bed for a good night's sleep to get ready for Day 2 Smile

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That sounds like so much fun, and happy birthday as well! Can't wait for day 2......

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First of all birthday
Congrats on the room upgrade! Sounds like a great first day mickey I'm hoping to get out there one day. I can't wait to hear more!
Also your dinner at Flos looks great. I get the impression DL has better counter service meals.

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I'm soooo loving your report - not just cause I've booked our very first trip to DL next May Wink what a lovely sister you have

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Fun - I love my solo trips!

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Thanks, MandaLynn! We'll be doing DL for the first time in March, so it is definitely helpful to see and read about your experiences! I kind of have it in my head that as a ride, Radiator Springs Racers is like the Test Track of DCA. Is that anywhere close to reality?

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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great first day. can't wait to hear more

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birthday stars

Sounds amazing so far. I would love to do a solo trip but I like to talk too much and I think I would drive strangers crazy! LOL

GREAT trip so far!

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Thanks y'all!!

Spook wrote:
Also your dinner at Flos looks great. I get the impression DL has better counter service meals.

I really loved this meal and the 2 I had at DL!! But I've had a couple really good ones at MK as well (BoG and Columbia HH come to mind).

RobynPrincess wrote:
what a lovely sister you have

Agreed Robyn!!

alicemouse wrote:
I kind of have it in my head that as a ride, Radiator Springs Racers is like the Test Track of DCA. Is that anywhere close to reality?

Absolutely!! It is very similar...the fun part (if you think going super fast around big curves is fun!) is much longer here though and I just loved how they made the characters SO REAL!! Might post a video I took in there if you're interested.

JMed...HA!! I probably did the same Wink

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MandaLynn wrote:


After the ride, my hair was very windblown!!

Hidden Mickey!!

Love the TR! So curious about DL, i've never been!

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Karlipants wrote:
Hidden Mickey!!

OMG...I didn't notice this!! Good catch Karlipants mickey

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birthday
It sounds like you had so much fun! Your TR is making me seriously consider a trip to Disneyland. I just don't want to fly to Disneyland when I can drive to WDW in 2 1/2 hours. I'm so spoiled laugh

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Day 2: Saturday

I woke up ready to go on Saturday and I was at the gates before 10:00 (which is pretty good for this non-morning person!). I went straight into Disneyland and there was a marching band playing and the Mad Hatter was directing everyone around...Great welcome!! I also immediately spotted Ariel and Donald before I even got to Main Street, wow!


On my walk to DL Smile

I knew my first stop would be the Matterhorn, but I took my time getting there and looked through some of the shops along the way. I also decided to stop in at the first aid building to grab a couple ibuprofen. I was pretty sore and tired from the long week I had already had, so this was a great decision Smile Ok, now I was ready for some fun! The Matterhorn was one of my top priorities and I was so excited it wasn't closed for maintenance (several websites were saying it would be on this date!). It is a classic Disneyland ride and I just HAD to ride it! It was a lot of fun...a little jerky, but definitely had some great moments (come on...it's like 50 years old!). Next up was Small World. I love that this ride starts outside. The exterior of the building is beautiful and you just sail by slowly enough to get all the great views. I also loved all the hidden Disney characters in the appropriate region...this was a great surprise and I started looking all over and picking them all out! When I left Small World, I wanted to walk through the castle (if you are used to WDW, it is so small! beautiful...but tiny!). On my way, I happened upon the marching band again, but this time they had Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale, and Pinocchio with them!! Amazing!! So of course I had to stop and sing along with M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! This was so fun and I couldn't believe how close they all were. I'm used to the stage at WDW, but this was just right there on the bridge Smile


On the Matterhorn!


Small World Exterior


Cinderella


Aladdin & Jasmine on their flying carpet


The 3 Cabelleros


Ariel!


Lilo & Stitch


I got a little selfie-crazy, sorry. I like people in my pics, but I was the only one in my party! haha


Can you believe they posed like this!! I was going out of my mind with excitement! Wish I had better photo skills (I'm hiring Ken J next time!!)

Ok, so now I was super hungry, so where better to grab lunch than the Hungry Bear Restaurant! I had read about the great peaceful views from the large outdoor dining patios here, so it was perfect for a solo lunch Smile I got a cheeseburger and fries and it was really good! Not just your average fast food burger...there was a special sauce of some sort that really brought it to the next level. As I was eating, I enjoyed watching the Mark Twain River Boat and a couple Davy Crockett canoes row by.


Why yes...I am hungry Smile


So peaceful


Thanks! I think I will Smile

Next up was a stroll around New Orleans Square. I thought about jumping on the Disneyland train, but it was leaving just as I was walking into the station and I didn't feel like waiting for the next, so I walked over to Adventureland and up into Tarzan's Treehouse. This was very similar to Swiss Family in WDW. I next shopped around in the great gift shops in the area. A couple rides I was planning on riding were closed (Haunted Mansion was being redecorated for Halloween and Indiana Jones was just down for a bit), so I walked back through the castle to Fantasyland and got in line for Alice in Wonderland. What a great ride!! I think it was recently updated and I'm not sure what the older version was, but this was excellent Smile Next up was Pinocchio's Daring Adventure and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Let me just say...these rides are scary!! haha. I remember riding Mr. Toad's when I was younger at WDW and I thought I had been scared on it, but forgot why. Well now I know!! haha. Great dark rides though..but the story lines were kinda creepy. Then I came upon another little surprise...you can actually walk up through the castle! They have little windows and open 'books' that tell the story of Sleeping Beauty. Really neat!


I want EVERYTHING!! (I do have these salt shakers though...it's a start! haha)


Why is this so hilarious to me?


Alice in Wonderland


Inside the castle

After I had exhausted Fantasyland, it was off to Tomorrowland! I first rode Star Tours and this was the longest line of the day at about 25 minutes. Great story and completely different from what I remember from DHS (although it has been a few years since I've ridden this there). It was also 3D...has it always been 3D in DHS? I couldn't remember. Then I was ready for Buzz Lightyear! This is one of my faves in MK, so I had a lot of fun on this and since the lines were so short, I came back later in the day! I think I have an addiction to shooting lazier guns...


They had these up on screens afterward and you could email them to yourself!

Now I was ready for a snack and I knew right where to go...the Tiki Room for a Dole Whip of course! When I got there, I saw that I wasn't the only one who had this idea. The line was pretty long! So of course I walked to the end and was only standing there for a minute when someone walked by and said 'why are these people standing in this long line? don't they know there is always a much shorter line INSIDE the Tiki Room attraction?' So immediately, I fell into step with him, thanked him, and walked in...and he was right! So I stood in the very short secret line (obviously not a very well-kept secret!), grabbed my Dole Whip and the show began shortly after. Dole Whip + Tiki Room...great classic Disney Smile Next door was Indiana Jones and I knew they had a single rider line. They were open now, so I asked the CM and they gave me a little red Single Rider card. I had to walk up the exit (there are no signs for Single Rider here...you just have to know to ask!). A handful of people were waiting at the end of the exit (beginning of the exit?) with little red cards like mine. We had to go up a special elevator, walk a few feet, and then down another elevator! It was actually pretty neat and I felt like I was getting a behind the scenes tour! Then we were quickly whisked onto the ride. And this ride was AWESOME!!! It reminded me of Dinosaur at AK, but the story was obviously much different and SO COOL! Wow...I grabbed the guy's arm next to me a few times out of surprise and he was laughing pretty hard at me by the end! haha So then I walked next door to ride PofC, which was open earlier in the day...but was now closed! Ugh...so I decided to go over to Big Thunder Mountain. This is another favorite of mine at MK, and DL did not disappoint! There was actually a great surprise at the top of one hill that really made the ride even greater for me!


Big Thunder!

Ok, I will take a break here and hopefully leave you all wanting more! Will continue with Day 2 tomorrow Smile

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I am going to be looking for myself in your pictures, we were there the same weekend, and did the parks the same days!!!!!!

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Another great day! awesome mickey

I love the photo of the band.

Again can't wait to hear more...... Thank you for sharing your amazing trip

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Great stuff! Very much enjoying reading a long--thanks, MandaLynn!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Disneylover21 wrote:
I am going to be looking for myself in your pictures, we were there the same weekend, and did the parks the same days!!!!!!

Wow...That is crazy!! Hope you had as much fun as I did Smile

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AnnielovesDisney wrote:
I just don't want to fly to Disneyland when I can drive to WDW in 2 1/2 hours. I'm so spoiled laugh

JEALOUS!!! Smile

But it's worth the flight to DL...This was my first trip and I loved it! (Although my employer paid for my flight, so I guess that makes a difference! Haha)

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Great report so far! Loving all your pictures muchlove

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Glad to see you are a fellow IHGer Wink Indigo has been my FAVORITE hotel I've ever stayed in.
I've got a week free from those guys as well. Platinum status clapping

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Love seeing a trip report from the original park! Awesome!

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I had an amazingly awesome time, my feet are complaining but
it was a blast!!! What was your favorite ride?

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Love, love your TR MandaLynn! I haven't seen a lot of pictures of DL, so thanks for sharing. Can't wait for the rest of your trip. awesome

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MandaLynn wrote:
AnnielovesDisney wrote:
I just don't want to fly to Disneyland when I can drive to WDW in 2 1/2 hours. I'm so spoiled laugh

JEALOUS!!! Smile

But it's worth the flight to DL...This was my first trip and I loved it! (Although my employer paid for my flight, so I guess that makes a difference! Haha)

biggrin Being within driving distance of WDW is a wonderful perk of living in Florida-pretty much the only perk as far as I'm concerned wink

I'm jealous you have an employer that will pay for a flight. That's awesome!

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WONDERFUL trip report MandaLynn! Really enjoyed it. I was at Disneyland when I was 7 years old and vaguely remember it. After seeing your pics and hearing about your trip, I'd like to go there again someday.

Thanks for doing such a great DL TR. awesome

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Great Trip!!!!! and if the boss pays that's a big bonus!!!! haha now i want to go to disneyland!!!!!

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I'm really enjoying your trip report. We had to cancel the Disneyland portion of our trip to California last year, so I am living vicariously through you. awesome

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Yay!! I am so glad you all are enjoying my TR! I almost didn't start this thread since it's not really WDW, but I'm so glad I did!! Working on Day 2: Part 2 now Smile

And also, I had a work conference in LA the week preceding this weekend trip, so I just asked if they would mind if I flew back Sunday instead of Friday. They said yes, so my trip was ON!

Disneylover21 wrote:
I had an amazingly awesome time, my feet are complaining but
it was a blast!!! What was your favorite ride?

So glad to hear you had a great time as well! My favorite ride at DL was Indiana Jones. At CA, definitely Radiator Springs Racers (although Grizzly River Run was a close second!). How about you?

Seanzie wrote:
Glad to see you are a fellow IHGer Wink Indigo has been my FAVORITE hotel I've ever stayed in.

awesome

finngirl wrote:
I'm really enjoying your trip report. We had to cancel the Disneyland portion of our trip to California last year, so I am living vicariously through you. awesome

Oh no! I hope you can get back soon...it was my first time there and I'm already trying to figure out how to get back!

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Well I do not like snakes so its a no go for Indiana Jones but
its a tie between Pirates and Small World.
California Adventures it another tie but three way between
Radiator Racers, Grizzly( only on hot days) and Soarin over California.

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Great report MandaLynn. You should know by now, all things Disney are good here! awesome biggrin

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I spent one day at DL last year on my way to Australia - (loving Disney who would miss a chance to go to amy Disney park?) I loved wandering by myself.
MandaLynn - your TR is making me want to go back and try some of the rides I haven't ridden before.

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