Sunday, July 17, 2011

Virtual Disneyland Trip - Part 2 - The Drive

Finally, the simple thought that "in about 8 hours, I'm going to be in Disneyland" becomes a reality. We got everything ready yesterday so it takes all of about 15 minutes to toss everything in the back of the Explorer. Now we used to leave at around 6 a.m. if not before but we hit a snag a few trips back. The drive from suburban Sacramento to Disneyland takes about six and a half hours stopping only for gas, bathroom breaks, and something to eat from a drive-thru along the way. No dilly-dallying from the DisneylandTraveler. That gets us to Disneyland around 12:30 or so. Technically the check-in time for all hotels is 3 p.m. What if the room isn't ready? At the Candy Cane Inn, where we plan to stay on this imaginary trip, it only happened to us once. That was enough. Of course, the CCI has no problem with you leaving your car, head to the park, and come back and check in later but the thought of going to the park still knowing that the check-in and unpacking part is still ahead of me doesn't sit well. Maybe I'm just a big baby. So now we leave between 7 and 8 getting to the hotel about 2:30 or so. Even if the room isn't ready, it will be shortly. I digressed a bit here.

Before leaving civilization, we make sure we have a full gas tank because once we hit I5, the gas gougers take over adding another 50 cents or so a gallon to the already ridiculous price of gas these days. We stop and take on only enough fuel to get us comfortably through the L.A. traffic and into Anaheim where gas returns to its normal high price.

The drive on I5 - well as they say "sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug". It's boring, absolutely nothing to see except billboards from farmers complaining that politicians have diverted all their water to Southern California so city people can water their lawns but at least on the way down you are full excitement, hope, and anticipation. Once you hit the I5 grapevine before L.A. then anticipation really builds but pay attention to the road. We've hit rain, high winds, snow, and wildfires going over that mountain, not to mention a fare share of absolutely insane drivers. Then you hit the L.A freeways. Sometimes you get a little lucky, sometimes you don't, but even on lucky days, on a Sunday afternoon, somewhere on that freeway, you WILL come to a dead stop. Brutal. But you arrive to the ultimate destination. It may be tough to read all the signs through all the bug goo on your windshield, but you know you have arrived.

So the Candy Cane Inn sits on Harbor Blvd. right behind the Tower of Terror (and right next to Carland interestingly enough). Why the Candy Cane Inn out of all the hotel/motel/inn choices around the Disneyland? We've tried others but the CCI is simply the best. It's grounds are impeccably cared for; they pride themselves on great customer service; the rooms are very clean rooms; the free continental breakfast is better than most; and even though its a fairly short walk to the Disneyland gates, they have their own private shuttle. It costs a bit more that other "Good Neighbor" hotels but its well worth it. Don't take my word on it. Read the reviews on

Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I have gotten wise in our old age so we request a first floor room and if your lucky, they'll be a parking place right outside your door. If it took 15 minutes to through everything in back of the Explorer leaving in the morning, it will take about 20 minutes to get everything out and unpacked. From the time I first open that hotel room door, I know I'll be in Disneyland in probably less than a hour.

So we're unpacked and heading to the park. Many people have their traditions when they first enter Disneyland, going through a certain tunnel, heading for a certain ride, etc. I don't think we really have one. A lot depends on how hungry we are after the long drive but assuming we grabbed a quick bite from our assorted snacks back at the hotel the typical thing me and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler to do is get on the train at the Main St. Station. We'll make the "grand circle tour" just kicking back and soaking in the Disneyland vibe. After the trip all the way around the park, we'll continue on to New Orleans Square and get on Pirates. Its just what we do. After that Mrs. DisneylandTraveler will begin to bother me about Indiana Jones but since its the afternoon, the stand-bye line is too long and I don't feel like messing with a fastpass. We'll go to the Haunted Mansion as the second thing we do and if the timing is right, we'll walk over the Golden Horseshoe to see Billy Hill. The Hillbillies show is over, there may be time for once around the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain and then its time to start thinking about dinner. We probably haven't made a reservation at one of the table service dining places on our arrival day but if we go over to the Big Thunder Bar-B-Q, you seldom need one. There may be a 20 or 30 minute wait. The food is good and since its all-you-can-eat, if you want more, they'll bring it. Its not fancy but we like Big Thunder and have never been disappointed.

After dinner, the effects of the long drive begin to kick in, and at 7:30 or so, I've had it. Find a nice place to watch the fireworks and that pretty much finishes off a very long day. Back to the hotel, a couple of Advil and a beer, and I'll see you in the morning.

Related Posts by Categories


Post a Comment

Total Pageviews