Wednesday, March 26 -
Our Sunday started early in order to catch Air Canada flight #791 to Los
Angeles at 7:40 a.m. After a smooth flight we picked up our rental car at
Budget and headed for San Diego. Along the way we stopped at
Carlsbad to see the "Flower Fields". There are 50
acres of beds, row after row of different colours of Ranunculus.
This spectacular planting provides seeds which are sold throughout
the world. After a few pictures we were on the road again
heading toward San Diego for another stay at the Best Western Blue
Sea. We really enjoy this little hotel on Pacific
Beach. Every morning we would wake up with the
magnificent beach at our doorstep. Our
days always started with a walk along the beach, watching the
surfers who are there from dawn to dusk each day. After a
breakfast at the popular Kono's Cafe we would begin our day's
exploration. We were
disappointed last year that we could only spend a few hours at the
Wild Animal Park, so this time we made it our first priority and spent
the full day there on Monday. What a
wonderful facility. The following day we revisited one of our favorite spots, the Children's
Pool at La Jolla and in the afternoon took a whale-watching cruise. Alas, it was too late
in the season and there were no whales. Maybe next time!
Our last day in San Diego we visited the San Diego Mission before we drove to the end of scenic Point Loma.
We finished our tourist stops with a visit to the Del Coronado Hotel. This
is the hotel Disney Imagineers used as inspiration for the Grand
Floridian in Orlando.
The San Diego area is one of our favorite spots . . . we just can't
get enough of it.
We checked out bright and early and
after a quick breakfast on the road, we were northbound on
Interstate 5 toward Anaheim and Disneyland. This time we
stayed at the Candy Cane Inn, a "Good Neighbour" hotel
located adjacent to the park. It's a delightful little hotel
with all the needed amenities, and it's just a few hundred yards
from the main gate. It was a very short walk in the morning
when we were well rested and eager, but most evenings we found the
complementary shuttle bus was a very welcome sight.
room was ready when we arrived so we tossed our luggage in and were
off to the parks. We started by riding a horse drawn trolley
up Main Street USA and walking through Sleeping Beauty’s castle to
Fantasyland. We quickly visited a few of our favourite rides. Mr.
Toad's Wild Ride has been replaced in Florida but is still operating
in California and we rode it three times during our stay.
Another one we like is Alice in Wonderland, which is unique to
California and we rode it four times. Over to Tomorrowland
where Gary beat me at Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, and then we
had to visit the Golden Horseshoe Stage in Frontierland to see Billy
Hill and the Hillbillies. It's a very funny musical show!
We had dinner at the
Plaza Inn and were able to ride It’s a Small World before watching
the fantastic "Dreams" fireworks display from Main Street
USA. After an early start to the day we were pooped, so we
started back to the gate . . . but wait . . . are they trading pins
at the Plaza Inn? Gary
agreed to a quick stop for some pin trading and he settled in to
listen to the ragtime piano player.
A mere 45 minutes later we started back toward the gate where
we hopped the shuttle back to the Candy Cane Inn.
I finished unpacking while Gary soaked his aching bones in
the hot tub.
It was raining as we entered Disneyland early in the
morning, so crowds were very light.
We rode the little red Horseless Carriage up Main Street to
the castle. After
riding Mr. Toad (again) and Peter Pan, Gary talked me into trying
Space Mountain one more time. Believe
it or not, I actually enjoyed it, so we went back again later in our
We shopped our way down Main Street USA and went
across the esplanade to Disney’s California Adventure Park.
We rode the new Monsters Inc. ride and then stopped for a
quick hot dog at Award Wieners.
The Aladdin show was almost ready to enter as we walked by so
we hopped in line and got balcony seats.
This was much better than the VIP seating we had last year
when all the magic carpet flying took place over our heads.
This time we had a great view of the stage and the magic
carpets. Do not miss
this show . . . it’s great.
After a quick ride on the Tower of Terror it was time
to head over to P. T. Flea Market for some pin trading.
Gary always carries a book in the backpack, so he settled in
on a bench to wait. After
the trading, it was my turn to wait while he rode the Grizzly River
Run a few times. When
he was finished it was time to head to the Grand Californian Hotel
for our 6:00 p.m. dinner at Storytellers Café.
It had rained from time to time throughout the day and
the evening was no exception. We
had pre-booked the Fantasmic Desert package and were scheduled to
watch the show from the balcony of the Gallery in New Orleans Square
and we knew that this would be one of the highlights of our trip, so
we were hoping the show would not be rained out.
By 8:30 we were on the balcony, where seating is restricted
to 19 people and were enjoying coffee and some fabulous deserts, but
it was still threatening rain.
At about 8:50 they announced to us, and the thousands of
people lining the riverbank below us, that the show “might” be
cancelled due to weather conditions.
Have you ever heard 10,000 people groan in unison?
But the show began without a hitch at 9:00 and we all lived
happily ever after. What
a great way to see this amazing production.
It’s expensive, but it’s well worth it.
Oh yes, one more advantage to the Fantasmic Desert
package . . . when you pay this much for “special treatment” you
know that you will be surrounded by died in the wool Disney
fanatics. This night
was no exception; we met a couple from Overland Park, Kansas and
chatted with them about both the California and Florida parks, which
they visit about as often as we do.
We mentioned that we had bought a motor home and would be
taking it to Fort Wilderness Campground at Walt Disney World the
following month. Within
a few weeks we received a videotape in the mail, a copy of the RV Life
show taped at Fort Wilderness.
What a great item to watch before our trip!
After another long Disney Day we caught the
shuttle back to the Candy Cane Inn.
Saturday was our day to visit Universal Studios.
It was bright and sunny, and hot later in the day.
We still had our rental car so we drove through Los Angeles
to Hollywood. We have
heard Californians complain for years about traffic volumes and
gridlock in Los Angeles, but each time we drove through the city, on
a Thursday, a Saturday and a Wednesday we found the traffic to be a
great deal lighter than we contend with in and around Toronto.
We began our day at Universal with a Studio tour to
get acquainted with the park. A
tram took us through a number of sets, including Wisteria Lane from
Desperate Housewives, the Bates Motel from Psycho, the plane crash
scene from War of the Worlds, Whoville from The Grinch Who Stole
Christmas, the dock from Jaws and many more.
It was a fun way to start the day.
The park is built into the side of a huge hill and we
decided to start at the bottom and work our way up. We enjoyed a number of rides including Revenge of the Mummy,
Shrek 4D, Jurassic Park, Water World, Backdraft and Back to the
One day was sufficient to cover the entire park, so we
headed back to Anaheim and had dinner at about 8:00 p.m. at the
Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney.
After a little shopping we called it a night.
Sunday was another beautiful sunny day and we headed
off to the Disneyland Park. Crowds
were very light and lines were short, so we revisited a number of
our favourites before heading over to Mickey’s Toontown.
This is an area filled with whimsical cartoon buildings and
we were there too late in the day last year to get any good
photographs. This year
we arrived early and got some good pictures.
We wanted to spend the afternoon at the California
Adventure Park so we hopped aboard the double-decker bus for a trip
down Main Street and then crossed the esplanade.
We took a second ride through Monsters Inc. Our route through the park took us past P. T. Flea Market, so
naturally I had to stop and trade a few pins.
Gary took another run on the Grizzly River on the way over to
Paradise Pier where we both “got a lift” from the Maliboomer.
I waited while Gary took two rides on the California
Screamer and then we headed to Ariel’s Grotto for our 5:50 p.m.
After dinner we walked back across to Disneyland where
we caught the evening parade and the Dreams fireworks show.
Monday was another rainy day; the showers came and
went throughout the day. Our
Los Angeles Grand Tour began with a visit to the Mission District
where we saw the oldest house still standing in LA, the Avila Adobe
built in 1818. Then
we were off to Hollywood, where we stopped near the Kodak Theatre
(where the Academy Awards are presented) from which we could see the
famous Hollywood sign on the hill.
Just down the street were Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the
Walk of Fame . . .and across the street were the Disney Soda Shop
and the El Capitan Theatre. WOW!
I never thought I’d be so close to the one and only
Disney Soda Shop, so I dashed across the street and started taking
pictures. Then into the
soda shop; they had pins! I’m
in heaven . . . the bus is leaving in ten minutes . . . what’s a
girl to do? I bought a
fistful of pins, grabbed a souvenir napkin and ran across Hollywood
Boulevard in time to locate Mickey Mouse’s star on the Walk of
Fame before we hopped back aboard the bus.
Our next stop was Marina del Rey; million dollar
yachts and seven-dollar ice cream cones.
We didn’t buy a yacht, but had an ice cream before we left
for Venice Beach.
Venice Beach is apparently the new muscle beach.
We weren’t impressed.
The million dollar homes looked like slums and we had the
impression that if we didn’t keep moving the graffiti artists
would spray paint us like they had sprayed everything else.
After the tour we went back to Disneyland and had a
light dinner at the French Market in New Orleans Square.
We wandered the park after dinner, rode Alice in Wonderland
another time and watched Dreams again from Main Street.
Long day? Yup!
Were pooped again . . . back to the Candy Cane Inn and off to
Tuesday morning took
us back to Disneyland. We
roamed the park repeating or favourite rides; took our time shopping
up Main Street and then strolled over to Frontierland where we
caught another show at the Golden Horseshoe Stage.
This time it was a different cast for Billy Hill and the
routine too . . . but just as funny. This is another show you should not miss!
We spent the rest of the day just strolling through both the
parks (I also shopped
at Downtown Disney) before dinner at the Granville Steakhouse in the
Disneyland Hotel. What
a wonderful way to end our visit to Disney California.
Gary went off first thing in the morning to pick up
our rental car at Avis and I made a quick dash back to Disneyland to
make a few last minute purchases. Since it was so early and there
was no line at Storybook Land Canal Boats I couldn’t resist and
had the first boat ride of the morning. It was time to go so I
hurried back to meet Gary and across the desert we went.
As we drove into fabulous Las Vegas we stopped at the Disney
Outlet Store on the western part of “The Strip” and I found a
number of Disney Pins available for under $2.00, I bought a few for
We checked in at the Mirage and Gary dropped off our
car. We were shocked
and disappointed when we saw what the Mirage has done with
Kokomo’s. When Gary and I were married in Las Vegas five years ago we
had our wedding dinner, with all of our family, at Kokomo’s.
It was a delightful and romantic steak house in a rainforest
railings, waterfalls, orchids and other lush and exotic plants
surrounded you. We have
gone back every year since to have our anniversary dinner at
Kokomo’s. But one
look at Kokomo’s this year and we cancelled our reservation for
Friday evening. The
bamboo and foliage have all been replaced by stainless steel.
What was a romantic setting could now pass for an operating
room or a research lab. What
were they thinking?
We had a pleasant evening walking The Strip and
playing some slots.
We spent the morning relaxing at the Mirage’s
fabulous pool and later walked up and down The Strip. We wandered through the new Wynn Casino, which had opened
since our last trip to Las Vegas.
Like all the newer casinos, it is huge and the décor is
lavish. Naturally we
had to make a few stops along the way to waste some money in the
Thursday evening we had tickets for the Harvey Korman
and Tim Conway Show at the Stardust Casino.
It was hilarious. Even
at 79 and 72 years old, they had us all roaring with laughter. Tim Conway didn’t have to say a word, just watching him was
enough to have us convulsing with laughter.
They did some of the classic skits from the old Carol Burnett
Show . . . The Dentist’s Chair, The Golf Instructor, and more. Our ribs ached for days after.
Once again we started our day relaxing by the pool and
followed with a walk along The Strip.
The Conservatory at the Bellagio was just amazing, as always.
It was filled with giant butterflies and ladybugs, all made
with cut flowers. Caesar’s
Palace has been renovated and seems to be fully “refreshed”.
We had to stop at slot machines in both casinos.
Since we had cancelled our dinner reservation for
Kokomo’s, we were looking for something special to do on our last
night in Las Vegas. While
we were at Caesar’s Palace we dropped by the Box Office and were
lucky enough to get two good tickets for the Elton John Show that
night. What an
outstanding show. He is
a born showman as well as a gifted singer and songwriter.
He used his music, and some amazing special effects, to tell
his life story.
things must come to an end, so we checked out and caught a cab to
McCarran International Airport.
Air Canada Flight # 592 to Toronto left at 1:15 p.m. and had
us home by 8:00 p.m
time to start packing the motor home for our next trip . . . we are
scheduled to leave for Florida in only two weeks.