Posts Tagged by california

5 Reasons I Fell In Love with Disneyland

On my first trip to Disneyland last year, I didn’t understand the love everyone had for the place.  Yes, it is Walt’s park, the original, but there was no “bubble” feeling like you get in Walt Disney World.  Oh man I love that bubble.  But on my most recent trip, that completely changed.  I think being more familiar with the parks played a big part in that, but there were some specific things I really came to appreciate and love.  Sigh…

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1. The Disneyland Hotel

I had always heard that because of how small the resort is, staying at an off-property hotel really won’t make a difference and you will end up saving money.  This is what we did on our first trip.  Nope.  Bad idea.  Yes we saved money, but the experience of having to leave the resort just put a bad taste in my mouth.  So this trip I knew I had to stay at a Disney hotel.  Yes, it was significantly more expensive, but staying on Disney property makes ALL the difference.

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We were lucky to stay in the Adventure Tower which is the closest to Downtown Disney and the parks, but it is also just upstairs from Trader Sam’s and the pool.  Everything was right outside our door!

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And the room was so wonderful!  We were able to get a King room that overlooked Downtown Disney.  The details in the room were so fun.  From the light fixtures, the faucets, and all the classic Disneyland photos that adorned the walls.

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On our first night, we were able to watch the firework show Magical! from our room.  Plus, you can access the music from all of the nighttime shows right on your TV!

But did you know that there is a fireworks surprise in all of the Disneyland Hotel rooms?!  Yup…right there in the headboard!

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2. Everything In Close Proximity

Being able to walk everywhere is wonderful!  No waiting for buses or other transportation.  Nothing took more than 10 minutes to get to by foot!  And I love how the 2 parks are right across the Esplanade from each other, which makes park hopping a breeze!  Plus having Downtown Disney right outside our hotel made it easy to grab a coffee at Starbucks or get some quick shopping in.

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However sometimes we didn’t feel like walking and were able to jump on the Monorail for an express trip right into Tomorrowland!

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3. Details, Nooks & Crannies

Disney is know for detail in the parks.  Everything tells a story.  There is something charming about all of these details in Disneyland compared to those in Walt Disney World.  Many can be found in all of these little nooks & crannies though out he parks.  Here are some of my favorites:

New Orleans Square

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Pixie Hollow

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Snow White’s Grotto

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The Popcorn Cart Turners

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Heimlich Hiding in the Candy Corn Bushes

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In Fantasyland alone, I could’ve spent hours just looking at every detail.  And don’t even get me started on Main Street USA!

4. The Attractions

Since Walt Disney World is basically my second home, I hate to say it but hands down Disneyland has superior attractions.  Ok…got that off my chest.  But really whether it’s versions of the same attraction like Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain.

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Or the abundance of dark rides.

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Or the charming family friendly attractions.

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Or the stellar original attractions that can only be found at Disneyland.

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Disneyland-Love-AladdinOr Heimlich

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Everything just seems to be well…better.  I can’t believe I just said that…who am I?!?

5. Nighttime

Something magical happens at night in Disneyland.  This was something I hardly experienced on my first trip because I had to get up so early in the morning to race, so I made sure to take it all in this trip.  And I’m not even talking about the nighttime shows…however Fantasmic! along the Rivers of America blew my mind!

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There is just an added sense of magic in the air when the sky gets dark and the lights come on.  Just look at all that neon in Carsland!

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The trolley coming down Buena Vista Street just screams old Hollywood!

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All of the tiki torches around the Disneyland Hotel completely transport you to the islands!

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Sleeping Beauty Castle…no explanation needed.

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But my favorite thing to see at night was definitely the Mad Tea Party.  I just stood there and watched because it was so whimsically beautiful!  LOVE!

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So there you have it…why I am now madly in love with Disneyland.  Walt Disney World will always be my one true love, but sometimes you just can’t help the charms of its older and wiser counterpart.  Now…when can I go back??

Share your thoughts!!  What do you love (or not love) about Disneyland?

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A Return Visit to Disneyland

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Next week I am returning to Disneyland for 3 days, a trip I honestly thought I would never be making again.  I love Disneyland, but living on the East Coast makes it very difficult to travel there mainly due to the expense.  I can take multiple trips to Walt Disney World for the price of one trip to Disneyland.  After last year’s Disneyland Half Marathon trip, I really didn’t think I would ever visit again or at least not for a very long time.

Well as luck would have it, I AM returning to Disneyland and this time I don’t have the added stress of running.  I can just enjoy the parks, the food, the history…everything!  Since last year was my first trip ever to Disneyland, I put together a post from a newbies point-of-view.  (Ironically, I wrote it on the same date I’m writing this!)  I put together a lengthy list of “Must Do’s” for my trip, many of which I never got to.  Let’s take a look at the list and how I did:

MUST DO DISNEYLAND

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (squeeeeeeee!!!)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Storybookland Canal Boats
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

MUST DO DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue
  • Aladdin Musical
  • California Screamin’
  • Radiator Springs Racers

MUST DO DINING

  • Blue Bayou
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant
  • Napa Rose
  • Trader Sam’s
  • Flo’s V8 Cafe

Wow…not so good.  I got the dining down pat, but I only hit 50% of the attractions that I wanted to!  I have to admit that the races took up a lot more time than I expected and it was also exceptionally hot and humid while we were there, which made all of those outdoor attractions seem unbearable.  This trip will be hot, but it looks like the humidity will be at or below 50% which will make a HUGE difference.  So here are my goals for this trip…

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This is a lofty goal, but seriously, this will probably be my last time in a VERY long time that I visit Disneyland.  Well, that is unless I win some other contest…no one could be that lucky…so you can see why I want to be cramming everything in.  One thing I know for sure is that there will be MANY trips on Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train…I can’t wait!!

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So what do you think?  What would you do if you had 3 days to spend in Disneyland?

Next week I’ll be talking Disneyland food as I take a look at a few of my favorites and what I will be trying on this trip so stay tuned.  Also, make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can check out all the Disneyland shenanigans!

Oh and last but certainly not least…HAPPY 59th BIRTHDAY DISNEYLAND!!

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Anaheim Antics: John’s Story

This week, I’m excited to introduce another new series here on Running at Disney and this time it’s from the West Coast!  Anaheim Antics features John, an Orange county native and Disneyland admirer, who has recently began his running journey.  He will be sharing his training leading up the runDisney events in Disneyland, some practical ideas for runners, and also just some fun Disneyland stories and updates! Take it away John!

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Can one short year make a difference?  It’s a question we often ask ourselves often.   We make life choices based on how long it takes to see results.   We weigh our educational goals, relationships, apartment leases, even our auto loans based on what’s in it for us over time.  It’s a valid question.  In the first year of an auto loan, most of our money goes to interest, and very little into principle.  That’s what I thought about fitness.  After all, how many of us dive into new diets which cause us to shed major pounds in the first 6 months, only to find most of that weight creeping back on a few months later?

Years ago, I remember being bored after months of mounting the elliptical at my local LA Fitness:  same routine, same playlist on my iPhone, same time of day.  I’d immediately start looking forward to the end of my 30 minutes.  But then, one day, as I got on, I noticed an episode of “The West Wing” on the monitor in front of me.   Having a serious interest in political science, I became hooked.  I lost track of time, and before I realized it, I had stayed on the machine for a full 51 minutes, without even batting an eye.   From that day on, you’d find me on the same night of the week, being the shining example of multitasking as I’d burn off an hour while watching my favorite new show.  Nine months later, I discovered I was tone, fit, trim, and, more importantly, healthy.  I wasn’t the Olympian ideal, but I was sleeping better, was finally able to buy “slim fit” clothing (yes, people of the opposite sex DO notice) and, most notably, my frequency of tension headaches had dropped from once a month to once a quarter.

Fast forward to one year ago.  I had just gotten into running.  Never in a million years did I think running would be for me.   I was in my mid 40’s, after all, and running was a sport for the young.   But when my daughter ran her first half marathon (the Rose Bowl), something in me just clicked.  I wanted what she experienced (plus, the medal was cool).  So I blindly registered for the Brea 8k.  Not my most shining moment, since not only was there no medal, but the City of Brea isn’t flat like Anaheim is.  My time was 10:48 per mile, below average for the other men in my class.  But it got me hooked.  “10k is just 2k more”, I thought. I had heard a rumor that Disney would be doing a 10k soon, so I thought I needed to get serious.  Next up was the Angels 5k, which saw my per minute time drop to 10:39.  Not great, but better.  I need a “real” 10k.

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So on Memorial Day 2013, I was at the starting line of the Laguna Hills 10k.   By mile 2, I understood why it had the word “Hills” in the name.  But I finished with a time of 10:07, a full 41 seconds improvement over my first race just 3 months earlier.

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If you’re wondering, yes, I ran the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10k earlier this year, with a time of 9:55 per mile.  But I’m saving that story for a future column.  For now, I wanted to see what a year could do.   It’s been one 5k after another:   The Anaheim Beer Run, the Chapman University 5k, another Angels 5k, and the Santa Anita 5k, all keeping me focused on my goal.

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Once again, I’ll be running the Laguna Hills 10k this Memorial Day, nearly a year to the day since my first 10k at that same race.  My goal is to knock off a full 30 seconds off my previous 10:07 per mile time.   Can I do it?   What difference will that year make?  I’ll keep you updated 🙂

RADically yours,

John

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John grew up in the Orange County area of California, always living in the shadow of the Disneyland Resort.  Known as the consummate storyteller to his friends, he has had an admiration of Disney since childhood, and is most interested in the Company’s history and heritage.  His favorite memory to date is setting foot in Walt’s apartment over the Main Street Firehouse.  John lives by what he calls the three F’s: faith, fun, and fitness.   Being healthy isn’t about adding years to your life; it’s about adding life to your years.  Nothing sums that up more than making Disney races a goal in every fitness plan.

Countdown to Disneyland: A Newbie’s Point-of-View

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Well the countdown is officially underway!  In six weeks from today I will be arriving in Disneyland for the very first time!  I am both excited and a little over whelmed.  As a Walt Disney World veteran who knows the the entire 42 square miles of Disney property like the back of my hand, I’m actually overwhelmed by this much smaller resort…go figure!

Disneyland is like the motherland for Disney fans everywhere.  It’s the Happiest Place on Earth.  It’s Walt’s park.  I want to see and do EVERYTHING!  But where do I begin?  What do I do?  Most importantly, where do I eat???  Not only do I have these things to worry about, but I will be running in the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge while I’m there!

So I’ve come up with a list of a few MUST DOs while in Disneyland and I’ll be going into everything in a little more detail over the next six weeks as I countdown to my trip…so exciting!

MUST DO DISNEYLAND

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (squeeeeeeee!!!)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Storybookland Canal Boats
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

MUST DO DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue
  • Aladdin Musical
  • California Screamin’
  • Radiator Springs Racers

MUST DO DINING

  • Blue Bayou
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant
  • Napa Rose
  • Trader Sam’s
  • Flo’s V8 Cafe

Now my hope is to get to ALL the attractions, but these are the things that must happen or I will be inconsolably sad.  We will be there for 4 1/2 days, so I’m hoping this is possible and that I won’t be too exhausted before and after the races to get everything done.  And let’s not forget about those races!  I am beyond excited to run a brand new course through 2 parks, the city of Anaheim and Angel’s Stadium.  I’ve heard the half marathon is flat and fast and I can’t wait to take that on!

As I mentioned, I’m going to be diving into each one of things in more detail over the next few weeks as I prep for my trip, but what I really need is YOUR help.  I want to hear what your Disneyland must dos are.  Are you a newbie with the same overwhelming excitement as I have?  

Oh and how fitting that I’m starting this series today…Disneyland’s 58th Birthday!!  Let the party begin! 🙂