Me, my wife, some Orcas and lots of Disney!!!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by tweak89, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    Who: Me and my wife (both in our late 40's, no kids except for me!).
    Where: Disneyland, of course!!
    Dates: Sept. 12-17
    Other: Staying at Castle Inn, have a rental for getting around, 4 Day Hoppers for the parks, Maxpass each day. Sprinkling in some other activities like whale watching, some serious VR and dinner with west coast family.

    Day 1:

    We departed Houston early, arriving at LAX around 8 am. Took a shuttle to pick up our Dollar rental car and cruised on to our first destination, Newport Beach for an afternoon whale watching tour (we've never done this).

    [​IMG]

    Our tour was booked with Newport Landing, we did the smaller, faster 15 person boat...and than goodness we did that. The morning tour saw lots of dolphins, but no whales, so we tempered pur expectations. But, well...it went something like this: Cruising out we encountered a lone Minke Whale, very cool to see. Then, some Risso's Dolphins (beautiful coloring on these guys). We were headed in when about 20 minutes from docking one of their sister ships called our captain and reported something very rare for these waters....a pod of Orcas!!!!

    As we were at the end of our tour, the captain asked if anyone had anywhere they needed to be, because Orcas had been spotted and if we wanted too, we could go see them. It would add almost 2 hours to our trip (at no cost) but everyone had to agree. We had one person on the fence (she wasn't taking to the ocean motion) but she decided to tough it out. Thank goodness because:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Not only did we get to see these magnificent animals up close (right next to our boat!!!!!!!) we got to see something that I've only seen on National Geographic documentaries...Orcas hunting and capturing prey. Words cannot describe the awe of witnessing this. While following the Orcas, they came upon (or were likely tracking) a huge pod of dolphins. They started running and it was an amazing sight. I caught some great video of this as well, and will upload it once we're home.

    [​IMG]
    It was awe inspiring and a little sad knowing what might happen to one of those dolphins. But, how many people can say they got to witness nature in all its glory and fury like this?

    I won't go into details, but the pod was successful in their task. You really can't describe the feeling of seeing them in their natural habitat doing what they do to live.

    [​IMG]


    As we headed back, the watcher/photographer explained to us how rare this was to encounter them this far south, and then to see what we did. Part of the reason they wanted to pursue this pod was to photograph them and identify individuals so they can keep track of population and migratory patterns. It was fascinating.

    So, that was just day one!!

    Afterwards, we hopped in the car and headed out to Castle Inn to begin our Disney days!

    Check was quick, we ended up on the fourth floor. Rooms here are pretty basic, but include a microwave and mini fridge. After our eventful afternoon, we just unpacked, had a snack and turned in for the night.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
    Eyeheartdisneyyy, AuntieMe3 and Jaina like this.
  2. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    Wow, what an incredible experience!!
     
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. buteraa

    buteraa Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    450
    Wow how awesome was your first day!
     
  5. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    Days 2 and 3: Our first Disney days!

    We decided to employ the "avoid the Magic Morning" strategy this trip, so we started with California Adventure, Disneyland started our second day. We moved between the parks multiple times each day, with a late afternoon break back at the hotel to escape the heat. Both days started at rope drop.

    This would also be our first experience with Maxpass, which we bought as soon as our tickets were scanned (tickets from Last Minute Travel). All I can say about it is WOW!! This is what FP+ only wished it could be. I read up on how to use it to it's fullest potential and it didn't disappoint. I had up to 3 fast passes at any given time. I loved grabbing passes while taking a break back at the hotel. Combined with knocking out non fastpass rides at rope drop, we rode everything we wanted a many times as we wanted.

    We also loved that it included all photopass and ride photos. Now, there were some issues with the ride photos taking a while to show up, the day of this post is our last park day and photos from our first and second day are just now showing up. Photopass pics never took more than an hour to appear.

    We loved the Incredicoaster makeover and Pixar Pier in general. This is our first time being in a Disney park during Halloween season and we love all the overlays that are in place.

    One thing I love about being at Disney that's different from other parks is seeing folks of all ages being kids. From the little old lady in her mobility scooter rocking her Minnie ears and bedazzled Disney shirt, to the guys who look like they'd best you up in the real world wearing couples shirts and waiting in line looking so excited to be meeting Mickey for a picture.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    Eyeheartdisneyyy, AuntieMe3 and Jaina like this.
  6. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    Day 4: Astros, Star Wars and Disney oh my!!

    Well, being from Houston, we couldn't come to the greater LA area and not rock our Astros gear!! We decided to use our Magic Morning (we got one day since we had 4 day tickets). We knocked out ask of Fantasy Land starting with Peter Pan and finishing up on the Storyboat.

    [​IMG]

    We fastpassed Indy and Space Mountian before heading out to Downtown Disney for some serious Star Wars VR at The Void.

    If you've never heard of it, it's a completely immersive VR experience set in the current Star Wars universe. It's simply incredible. You get a VR helmet and tactile feedback vest. I won't spoil it, but its a multi-room, fully interactive (with levers, buttons, guns to interact with/use) virtual Star Wars world. If your a fan of Star Wars or VR, it's worth every penny.

    [​IMG]

    After a light lunch and quick break back at the room (where I grabbed a couple of fastpasses for GOTG and Incredicoaster) we headed to CA where we stayed to watch Paint the Night, then we hustled back to DL for fireworks.

    [​IMG]

    Just a fun, packed day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    Eyeheartdisneyyy, AuntieMe3 and Jaina like this.
  7. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    Day 5: Last park day, characters, a walk with Walt, family and closing the park.

    This morning was a slower start by design. I had asked on this forum before we left about mouse ears for guys that weren't of the beanie (too small) or current baseball cap style (that had floppy ears). Well, this morning I pondered on this as I walked over to CVS for a few things. They happened to have a version of the baseball cap, and it was cheap enough that I'd treat it as a throw away if I couldn't "fix" the ears. Well, a broken disposable razor and two paper clips later, I had ears that stood, and stayed up!!!

    Now, on to the parks. We started in CA a bit after rope drop. I wanted to take a look at a watch that I had spotted in Rushin' River Outfitters. On our way started our lucky streak of meeting characters just as they were coming out or with super short lines. We met Mickey, Minnie, Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible in about a 30 minute span(and yes, you'll notice two different shirts, I wore my Incredibles shirt the previous night as we planned to ride Incredicoaster that night in the front for a ride pic, but the ride went down for the night. I brought it with to try for the pic again, bonus was meeting the characters while wearing it!!)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    After using our fastpasses for RSR and Incredicoaster we left that park to head over to DL for our noon Walk in Walt's Footsteps

    I won't go into detail, as it's been covered plenty on this forum, but what a great tour for fans of Disney (the man, the parks, his vision). There were definitely some moments where I might have gotten some sand in my eye :) The highlight, was his apartment at the end!

    [​IMG]

    After that, we collected our late lunch that was included on the tour as we had plans to meet up with my aunt and cousin for dinner. It was nice to catch up with the west coast side of my family. I grabbed a couple of fastpasses for Space Mountain, Haunted Mansuon and Indy while we were out.

    Headed back into the DL around 9pm. Knocked out our rides, caught that finale of Fantasmic and took a slow walk to the exit gates ad the park closed for the night. It was a pretty packed day, and we feel asleep straight away.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  8. Eve & Wall-e

    Eve & Wall-e Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Messages:
    392
    What a wonderful trip report. MaxPass is Awesome! I like your Mickey Ear Hat. That magic shot was fantastic. Glad you had a great time!
     
  9. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,477
    Love your pictures and that you had a great trip! That tour sounds awesome!!
     
  10. DLgal

    DLgal DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    5,173
    How cool that you got to see the Orcas! Although, I've lived down here for many years now and they are sighted several times off the coast of Newport annually while they migrate. Still awesome to see them in the wild.
     
  11. AuntieMe3

    AuntieMe3 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2016
    Messages:
    337
    What a great trip!! Loved your report...sounds like an amazing time. Thanks for sharing!!
     
  12. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    Day 6: Last day in LA.

    So, last days of travel are pretty routine for us. Laundry, packing, lunch and usually one last touristy thing.

    Today, it was one last run through Downtown Disney, then off to the Aquarium of the Pacific. It was a nice time filling diversion.

    [​IMG]

    After, we dropped off our rental and headed to the airport. Good news, it was quick getting through security and to our gate, bad news...flight delay. But we made the best of it and had some dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and I watched a movie while the wife played one of her puzzle games on her phone.

    So that was it for us.

    Some final thoughts/observations...

    I know this much, I LOVE MAXPASS!!!! Disney, just scrap FP+ and replace with this, so I can go back!! What a great concept, it's still a level playing field for EVERYONE each park day. People who don't want to spend the extra have just as much chance at scoring a fastpass as those with the add-on. The bonus of photopass/ride pics is just icing on the cake.

    FP+ aside, I've really grown to appreciate the west coast parks more with our last couple of visits. We now consider them our "home" Disney park. While I can still appreciate the "bubble" of the Orlando parks, the freedom that the Anaheim park offers makes it a much better experience for us.

    I still don't get why the line for Peter Pan's Flight is always crazy (at both parks). :)

    Pumpkin Spice churros are delicious!

    I hate when 3 rides go down in California Adventure, then everyone uses their "anytime" fastpass at the same time for RSR!!

    I love that the crazy fastpass line at RSR actually went MUCH faster than anticipated.

    It's a Small World song still drives me nuts all day long (when will I learn to ride it at the end of the day!)!

    I can't wait to be back for Galaxy's Edge.
     
    Jaina, Eve & Wall-e and AuntieMe3 like this.
  13. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    Here's some more random pictures from out trip!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    AuntieMe3 likes this.
  14. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    990
    Love the pictures!!! We are from Florida and went to LA/Disneyland for a once in a lifetime trip back in June. We are annual WDW passholders and have been hundreds of times. We absolutely fell in love with the whole Disneyland/CA Adventure. We took a long weekend trip the same time as you for my daughter's 16th birthday. (We were there Sept 14-16) Crowds were so much less than June but I think a bit warmer.
     
  15. yawns

    yawns Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    40
     
  16. yawns

    yawns Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    40
    Oops -- trying to reply to the above post. QQ--could you share what you did with the paper clips & razor to make the ears stand up? And did the CVS also have Minnie ears? TIA, Mary
     
  17. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    Yes, it was quite easy, I'll explain it, and upload some pics when I get a chance. The CVS at Harbor and Katella had lots of hats and yes, when I was there they had both versions (Mickey and Minnie) but YMMV. The Minnie ears were red with a bow.

    Anyway, knowing the downside to these hats is that the ears simply flop, I had to come up with something on the fly. Good thing is, the hat was only $13, so if I goofed up It didn't matter. I broke apart a disposable razor to use the blade to cut a tiny slit at the rear of the ears right above the seam where they attach to the hat. I cut another tiny slit directly below it on the hat itself.

    Poke the holes here (this is from the rear of the hat):
    [​IMG]
    I took a paperclip and formed it like this:
    [​IMG]

    The long piece was stabbed from the inside of the hat into the ear, the "V" shape was flat against the inside of the hat and secured with fabric (the plastic kind won't work) band-aids to keep them in place. Worked like a champ. Even on a hot day where my head was sweaty, the band-aids held up (this is why it's important to use the fabric ones) and the ears kept their stance.

    [​IMG]
     
    Jaina likes this.
  18. yawns

    yawns Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    40
    Thanks a lot! The visuals really help. Very ingenious.
     
  19. mamamelody2

    mamamelody2 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2016
    Messages:
    2,054
    Wow, sounds fun! Looks like you had a great time!

    I am actually looking into a similar trip for DH and I for our 25th anniversary next year. Our anniversary is in June, but we'd go in September.
    What was the weather like?? Good? How's the humidity?
     
  20. tweak89

    tweak89 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    311
    The weather was unusually hot, low humidity. I have family that lives about 20 minutes away from DLR and they said that this weather was not the norm for this time of the year. But, since the humidity was low, it was more than tolerable. We've been to the great LA area before during September, and it's usually in the low to mid 80's rather than the high 90's we experienced most days.
     
  21. Eve & Wall-e

    Eve & Wall-e Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Messages:
    392
    I love MaxPass!
     
    Jaina likes this.

Share This Page