Wrap-up of a WDW Vet’s First Trip to Disneyland – Part 4

| August 23, 2013 | 2 Replies

This summer, we took our first trip to Disneyland and I’ve been documenting our adventure!  You can read the first half of our trip report here. The rest of the trip wasn’t as scheduled as the first two days, so I’m just going to jump around and hit some of our highlights.  Because the parks are so close together, we just hopped back and forth whenever we wanted.  This is such a great option!  Other than naps, we spent all our time in the parks, not even stopping in Downtown Disney at all, other than to shop at World of Disney one night.

castle

One of the absolute highlights of the trip for David and I happened on Thursday night.  Mary Jo came and hung out with the kids because David and I had the opportunity to dine at Club 33!  For those who may not know, this is a private club in New Orleans Square that Walt himself planned to use to when entertaining VIPs.  Sadly, Walt died 5 months before the club opened, but the club went ahead and opened on time and began accepting individual memberships (the membership wait list can be as long as 10 years).  The only way to dine at Club 33 is to be a member or have a member make a reservation for you (some Adventures by Disney tours do have breakfast here).

plate

Image: Obviously, I’m excited to be dining at Club 33.

This was by far the most elegant and exciting date we have ever been on!  To get into Club 33, you have to find the door, only marked by a “33,” and then ring a hidden buzzer.  I was so excited that David let me be the one to ring the buzzer!  It’s the little things that make me happy!  When the hostess let us in, she asked if we would like to take the lift or the stairs to the dining room.  I said, “Of course we’ll take the lift!  This is a piece of history!” (sidebar – Walt saw an elevator like this one in Paris and loved it.  He tried to buy it, but they wouldn’t sell, so he sent designers to Paris to get the specifications so they could build an exact replica.)

elevator

Image: elevator in Club 33

We were seated at a table by the window and it was so neat to be able to watch the theme park guests while we ate.  We had a wonderful waiter, Louis, who has worked at Club 33 for 22 years.  He was very friendly and told us lots of stories about the restaurant’s history and about the artifacts that were around the room.

microphones

Image: There are microphones hidden in the chandeliers.  Walt had originally planned a little show to take place here.

There were only about 5 other tables occupied, so the space was fairly empty.  Because of this, we were able to walk around between courses and really take our time looking at everything.

trophy room

Image: trophy room in Club 33

We went out on the balcony a couple of times and took lots of photos!  This was truly a magical evening and it’s hard to even find the words to describe how we felt during it.  We were there for 2 ½ hours and loved every minute of it.  The food was wonderful, the atmosphere was unbeatable and to think of the history that surrounded us is just awe-inspiring.  To be able to share all of that with the love of my life made it one of the most memorable evenings of our lives and was such a blessing!

Club 33

Image: balcony of Club 33

For a great audio history of Club 33, check out Wayne’s segment on the DIS Unplugged: Disneyland edition.

Other memorable vacation highlights: We enjoyed getting to go to Mickey’s Toontown, since the one in Walt Disney World is now closed.  I love seeing Mickey and Minnie’s houses; I just think they’re adorable!  A funny thing is that we all loved it’s a small world!  In Florida, we kind of go on it because the kids want to and that’s just what you do at Disney.  The California version is much different and we really enjoyed it, especially the addition of the Disney characters.

it's a small world

Image: Toy Story characters in it’s a small world attraction

We thought they were so well done and it was really fun to search for them as we went throughout the different scenes.  We were able to watch the fireworks one night, which was great.  We hadn’t really planned a time to see them, but happened to notice people were lining up and got a great location, directly in front of the castle!

Jonah discovered churros on this trip, a snack that we normally pass up at Disney World.  He now thinks they are one of the greatest snacks available and has even discovered that he can get them at Taco Bell!  Obviously not the same thing, but it’s a good substitute while here at home.  I finally got one of the souvenirs that I’ve wanted for awhile – a framed silhouette of our kids!  It’s such a classic thing to do at the parks and ours was actually made by Bonnie, who’s worked there for over 30 years.  I had watched a video of her on the Disney Parks Blog, so it was really neat to get to watch her in action.  We will definitely be getting more of these in the future.

silhouette

Image: The silhouette of our kids

Our streak of randomly being right where a parade was starting continued throughout the week.  We were in California Adventure and stumbled across the Pixar Play Parade – this was so fun!  Our boys love Pixar, so it was really neat to get to see all their favorite characters in one location.  The same thing happened with Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party and Five ‘N’ Dime.  Jacob even got to dance with Phineas and Ferb.  We’ve gotten almost lazy at Disney World and don’t often take the time for the entertainment, but we’re definitely glad that it worked out on this trip.

Phineas and Ferb dance party

Image: Jacob dancing in Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party

Speaking of entertainment, we really enjoyed the two shows we were able to see.  The Aladdin musical at California Adventure was fantastic!  Everyone had been telling us we needed to go, and I’m so glad we did.  We all loved it and would definitely make the time to go again in the future.  We were also lucky enough to be there during opening week for Mickey and the Magical Map at Disneyland Park.  This is a really cute show and is really well done.  The singing was fantastic!  It’s definitely a great addition to the parks.

One of the attractions that our boys loved the most was the Main Street Cinema.  In total, they spent well over an hour in there watching the old black and white Disney cartoons.  Their favorites were Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy.  It was so neat to see them laughing hysterically and totally enjoying these little pieces of history.  Jacob even picked a Steamboat Willie plush toy as one of his souvenirs.  Since we’ve been home, we’ve purchased a DVD that has all these old cartoons on it and watched them during family movie night.  So fun!

Main Street Cinema

Image: Main Street Cinema

It’s hard to sum up what this trip meant to us.  We will truly always remember this trip as one of our favorite vacations, for a multitude of reasons.  This was one of our first real vacations with just our immediate family.  We’ve been on lots of trips, but this one had all the makings of a classic American vacation.  We flew to a place we’d never been before, we rented a car and navigated crazy LA traffic, we did sight-seeing, we had a barbecue, we explored historical sites, we stayed at the Ho Jo, we went to a ballgame, and we went to a theme park.  Most importantly, we made amazing memories.

I want to thank everyone for following along with us on this journey!  It has been a pleasure to share it with you!

I’ll end with a few of our favorite photos:

railroad

Image: The kids and I on the Disneyland Railroad

statue

Image: The boys imitating the statue – totally their idea!

Radiator Springs

Image: Radiator Springs

Mickey

Image: Meeting Mickey on Buena Vista Street

To listen to our audio trip report segments from the Disneyland Edition of the DIS Unplugged, click here!

Read my trip planning blogs here: Planning the Southern California portion of our vacation, general questions about the Disneyland Resort, dining options at the Disneyland Resort, touring plans for Disney California Adventure, and last minute questions.  Read the first wrap-up blog about Legoland, the second about our stay in the Burbank/Hollywood area, and the third about the beginning of our Disneyland visit.

 


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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

Leah grew up in a little farming town in Illinois, right on the Mississippi River. Her Chicago-born husband, David, left the city for her, and they're now raising their three children (Jacob, Jonah and Lydia) just 12 miles from her hometown. As the Senior Editor of the DIS (wdwinfo.com), Leah spends a lot of time writing about, reading about, and discussing Disney. So, it should come as no surprise that one of her family's favorite ways to spend time is going to Walt Disney World and traveling on Disney Cruise Line. She also enjoys shopping, watching movies with her husband and doing crafts with and for her kids.
  • jennifer

    Thank you so much for sharing the details of your trip with your adorable family. With two little boys about the same ages as yours, it was easy for us to relate to you all. Actually, it was your trip planning segments that first got me hooked on listening to the DIS Podcast! We are avid WDW fans that, thanks to you, are now looking forward to the day we can take our family on our first visit to Disneyland! Take care and thanks again.

    • http://www.wdwinfo.com/ Leah Zanolla

      Thanks for the kind words! Glad you followed along with us!