After the wedding, Eric and I actually went home for a few days to recoup and pack for California. We had spent a day at Epcot immediately following our wedding to experience Food and Wine festival for the first time, and so we were super pumped to check out the Disney park that started it all. The park that Walt Disney actually stepped foot in. To me, Disneyland is full of history. Fortunately, I had just finished reading a biography on Walt Disney by Neal Gabler. I was ready.
Of course, we’d be seeing other sites during our trip, but I was most excited for Disneyland. I had my bride ears ready to go (let’s be honest, I had bride ears picked out long before I even got engaged). I had my “Just Married” button ready to go, and I had my new “Mrs.” Luggage tag ready to go. Are you guys gagging yet?
We landed in LAX to beautiful weather, and picked up a rental car. It was here that I had the bright idea to drive to our hotel in Anaheim, rather than let my husband drive. If you’ve read my post about anxiety, then you know this was a bad idea. I hate driving even in my own town, what made me think I could drive in the crazy traffic of LA? At the time, however, I was considering moving to Southern California for a job at the Disney Archives (that’s a WHOLE other post), so I guess I wanted to see if I could do it.
It’s about an hour to get to Anaheim from LAX, and I was white-knuckled on the steering wheel the whole way- to this day, I don’t know how I survived. Nevertheless, we arrived at our hotel, and from that moment on, I let my husband drive for the rest of the trip. I was shook. Never again will I drive in LA unless I have to.
I couldn’t believe how close the hotel was to the Disneyland entrance- we weren’t even staying on Disney property, and yet we were still in walking distance of the main entrance! I’m so used to the vastness of Walt Disney World where you have to drive to get anywhere on property, so this was amazing to me. And the fact that you could see Disney rides from the main road? Mind-blowing! I loved seeing the top of Mickey’s Fun Wheel every time we stepped outside the hotel.
Our first order of business was to check out Downtown Disney and to soak up the beautiful California sun after being stuck on an airplane all day. Yes, we’re from Florida and don’t really need sun, per se. But November in southern California is absolutely beautiful. It wasn’t blisteringly hot at all, and at night it was actually cold for us Floridians. In fact, I had to buy a sweatshirt the next night while waiting for the nighttime parade. Walking through the shops at Downtown Disney was a perfect way to get my Disney fix before we hit the parks.
We ate at a New Orleans-themed restaurant in Downtown Disney (Jazz Kitchen Express- thank goodness for pictures or else I would have completely forgotten), and window-shopped. I was already gasping at the steep California sales tax, and knew that I wanted some Disneyland souvenirs. Therefore, I didn’t buy much at shops, especially ones which I could find back home. We stopped at the monorail station, and marveled at the fact that here, the monorail is treated as more of a “ride” and less like a mode of transportation. We also took lots of pictures at the Disney Resorts, such as the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian, and Paradise Pier. I was now REALLY excited for the next morning.
This garlic bread was amazing!
After about a 20-minute walk and a quick stop at CVS for water and Snapple to fill our hotel fridge, we changed and got ready for an LA Clippers basketball game at the Staples Center. I wasn’t really looking forward to this, but my husband is a huge basketball fan. He was really excited.
I was getting nervous about the drive into the heart of LA (especially since it was getting dark). But, I was excited for the adventure.
The Staples Center was really fun, and the game (to me) was mildly entertaining. The husband said it was a good game, so I’ll take his word for it. I was really tired by this point. Even though we were only three hours behind, I was starting to feel a bit jet-lagged. It was only 11 pm California time, but 2 am our time- I was exhausted. When I saw that the game was about to go into overtime, I almost cried. Luckily, it ended, and we made it “home” and crashed into our hotel beds. So much for a romantic first night of the honeymoon.
Random people on the big screen.
It was important to get enough sleep and wake up in time for Disneyland Park! We were going to do a rope drop to fireworks day, and ride every ride possible. Who knew when we’d be back there again?
Hugs and Fishes,