We crammed 5 people into my Prius to make the trip to California from Phoenix. From her all the way to the beach in Newport it's about 7 hours. I always want it to be less, but realistically you have to plan on 7. Man do I love that Prius. I figure the gas to drive there cost us about $28.
We went straight to the beach and then had the luck of getting parking spot right next to a fantastic spot. It couldn't have worked out better. I fed the meter to allow us to stay until after 5 pm that evening. It was absolutely beautiful. The weather was perfect. I even bought a fresh cut mango to enjoy on the beach and that was pretty awesome as well. Here's an instagram photo I took while lazing on the sand with my book.
Later we checked in to our secret hotel by Disneyland. I'm not going to tell you about our hotel. Know why? Because I honestly don't want everyone to find out about it. It's the least expensive half-way decent hotel I've found close to Disneyland and they don't really advertise very much online so it's actually a little hard to find. I found it back in the mid 90s through a travel agency (do those even exist anymore?). They seem busy enough to stay in business but not so busy that they will remodel or rip the place down and build something expensive in it's place. If you really want to know ask me and I'll tell you personally. :)
We spent the next 2 days in Disneyland and California adventure and that is always fun. But it was super great having all my grown kids there with me. Yes, Disneyland was fun when they were little. But I would say it's just as fun now. And I don't have to find a bathroom to change any little kids diapers anymore. We even ate at the Blue Bayou which was awesome (pricey yes, but totally worth it).
(we rode this Disney train and around and around one night - it was kind of crazy - I now have the weird song memorized that they play when you're in the "grand canyon and the primitive world").
I can never decide what my favorite ride is. I still really love splash mountain - but we got so wet this time I was wet for most of the day! I do really like California Screamer and Tower of Terror too. But honestly, this time I think maybe I most enjoyed Soaring over California - which I've always liked but seemed especially lovely this year. There were a couple of new rides I had not seen or ridden before - the new Ariel ride in California Adventures is pretty cute. And I will always love Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion - Pirates possibly being the ride we went on the most times. I lost track.
The kids were old enough to get into looking at all the interesting details and trying to figure stuff out like when you're on the Pirates ride - where the heck does that ride go? (into the parking lot it would seem - or something!) and Jordan read up on all kids of weird disney facts before we left. We were looking for hidden Mickeys everywhere and strange little things you've probably never noticed before.
Jordan told us there are over 200 feral cats inside Disneyland and that they feed them. I wasn't sure I believed that until the last night near main street and the Sleeping Beauty Castle one darted across our path! She looked like this:
When I got back to the hotel that night I had to look it up and sure enough! They DO keep and feed feral cats. They keep the rodent population down. They showed up spontaneously in the early years of the park and they have been feeding them and spaying and neutering them ever since. Random cats still keep showing up. You have to admit it is a pretty good find of a place to live if you're a feral cat. There are about 6 cat feeding stations around the park in areas where you wouldn't notice them. One is up on the old platform for the old tram that used to stretch across the park and go through the matterhorn. One of the stations is still there in Fantasyland kind of look up when you're in the food area kitty corner from Dumbo. It's kind of hidden, but it's there in the corner. Apparently the cats also really like the area around Tom Sawyer Island and the food area in Adventureland near Splash Mountain. They like the area near the train tracks back behind Tom Sawyer island too and there is a feeding station near there as well.
When Holden was little he used to say that if he was homeless he would go live inside Disneyland. At the time I don't think he realized that place really never sleeps. There are people working inside that park 24/7 so you really would not be able to hide inside that park. But he loved that idea.
Sadly, all Disneyland vacations must come to an end.
We made one last stop on our way home in Pasadena. We stopped at a place for lunch called Lemonade. It was super tasty healthy food as well as macarons and multiple kinds of lemonade. It was really good. I would definitely go again. In fact, I was wishing we had them here in Phoenix.
I mean if you only have 4 days to spend on vacation - these are a pretty good way to spend 4 days.