Thursday, September 5, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Recap - Part I

I'm gonna go ahead and warn y'all - this past weekend was SO awesome and I have SO much to share and pics galore so this recap is gonna have to come in parts.  Beware for the photo overload!!!

Last Thursday I kissed Sam goodbye and put her on the school bus, gave Morgan a goodbye smothering and handed her to Nona and Papa and headed to Memphis International with my chEar squad to fly out to  Anaheim for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend!  I had been looking forward to this trip for MONTHS, pretty much since I took the plunge and registered for the Dumbo Double Dare.  It was my BIRTHDAY and what an awesome way to celebrate!


Our plane left Memphis around 9:10am and after a layover in Houston (in which we had to HAUL it to the gate to catch our connecting flight!) we landed in sunny Southern California approximately 1pm Pacific time.
HELLO California!

Big difference between the World and the Land - no free transportation from the airport :(  We flew into John Wayne airport because it was closer and the day I got my plane tickets the price had dropped about $250 - winner winner chicken dinner!  There are buses available to pick you up from the airport but they are still approximately $35/person each way and the real down side was that we needed to be at the airport really early for our return flight home and the bus couldn't pick us up early enough.  Well, never fear because Execucar came to our rescue and sent us a private car with a driver for just a little bit more money than the bus!
Yup, a big black Suburban.  Traveling in style.

After a very short drive we arrived at our hotel, the Carousel Inn on Harbor Boulevard!  The Carousel Inn is a Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel, located directly across the street from the main entrance.

Our home for the next 4 nights

Check in was not until 4pm and our room was not quite ready yet so the hotel stored our luggage and we took off to explore Downtown Disney!

See what I mean?  RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET.

My first stop?  The ticket booth because, well, it WAS my birthday after all...

I have always wanted one of these!!!

Observation #1:  This weekend was going to involve a LOT of walking!  From our entry at the main entrance we had to go through security because once you are in the esplanade area between Disneyland and California Adventure they do not check your bags again.  If you are headed to Downtown Disney you exit the esplanade area and there's another security checkpoint on that side as well.  The security lines were never really long, it just seemed like at least a mile before we got to Downtown Disney.  But it was worth the walk!
Fountain outside of Le Brea Bakery, facing World of Disney

We were all starting to get hungry, since our tummies were operating in the Central time zone, but it seemed a little too early for dinner so we opted for a snack instead.  

My first trip to Jamba Juice!!!  SOOOO yummy!

We walked around and just checked things out - I also found it very interesting that Downtown Disney seemed to run the length of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel (which has its own entrance to California Adventure, by the way - WAY snazzy!).  

A view of the Grand Californian

At the opposite end of Downtown Disney was the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel.  I'd be visiting the Disneyland Hotel the next morning for the race expo so we didn't walk that far down but of course I got a pic!

Awesome!

Kinda made me feel at home to see that Downtown Disney in California had some of the same stores that they have in Florida.  They had Owen's favorite, the Lego Store:

Belle and the Beast

Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Genie

We caught a glimpse of the starting line for Sunday's half too!

See you in a few days!

We did a little more window shopping before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.  I saw these pajamas in the World of Disney store and HAD to take a pic for my bestie (Lori, I hope you see this!!!).

Yes, friends, these are SCRATCH and SNIFF pajamas.  True story.  And it really did smell like chocolate!

Our room was ready when we got back so we got our stuff settled and cooled off a bit (have I mentioned it was REALLY HOT this past weekend??!!!  Like, mid 90s the whole time.  Who said that So Cal was cooler??? Liar.) before we headed to back to DD for my birthday dinner at Tortilla Jo's.


A look inside

I ordered the chicken fajitas and they were DELISH!  And, since it was my birthday and the only day I wasn't running the next day, I celebrate with a libation ;)

Sangria - YUM!!!

We did a little more walking around after dinner and found this guy playing music right outside of the restaurant.  His name is Brother Yousef and he was AWESOME.  Like, had to buy his CD awesome.  Yes, that's a tambourine strapped to his foot.  We saw entertainers at this spot each night but we caught him on Thursday night and again Saturday night.  He's in Bakersfield, CA if you guys are local, you should check him out!


And if you know me, you know I have a major sweet tooth so I, of course, had to stop in Marceline's Confectionary.  These caramel apples are so pretty - how do you eat it and mess them up???


And, since it was my birthday, I got a Cheshire Cat cake pop :)

Happy birthday to me!

My plan was to eat an early breakfast the next morning and then head early to the expo so we headed back to the hotel and got back just in time to see the fireworks in Disneyland; we had an excellent view from the rooftop pool!  
No pics of the fireworks but here was the view of California Adventure - isn't that gorgeous??!!

Stay tuned as I recap day 2 of our trip, including the Disneyland Half Marathon expo and my first time in the parks!

QOTD:  Have you ever had a cake pop??