Manda's Solo Disneyland Trip Report

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MandaLynn's picture
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Day 2: Part 2 Saturday

After BTMR, I checked my list and had crossed off almost everything I had planned to do! I guess I had overestimated the lines...they were so much shorter than WDW. Plus I think I walked a lot faster since I was by myself. So I looked at my Mouse Wait app and saw there was still no line for the Matterhorn. Back to do the other side!! (If you aren't familiar with the Matterhorn, there is a blue side and a red side. Both have slightly different experiences) So I walked back over to Fantasyland and jumped right on! I decided a stroll down Main Street was in order, so off I went. The shops are similar to MK and I browsed through some and window shopped others for a while. While shopping, I happened to glance out of one the windows onto Main Street and saw it was being roped off. This peeked my curiosity, so asked one of the CM's what was going on and she told me that Mickey's Soundsational Parade was starting in 10 minutes. Well I couldn't miss this!! So I scoped out a great spot and the pre-parade float started down the street soon after. Who else but Elsa, Ana, and my fave Olaf! I already loved it Smile The parade turned out to be very cute and everyone was dancing and swaying to the beat of the catchy song (how are all Disney parade songs so darn catchy?!). Then along came the Mouse himself, playing the drums live!! How fun! Mickey is definitely very cool. Lovely parade and can't believe I almost missed it!


Matterhorn, take 2!


Main Street treats


Steampunk window displays

By now, I was getting pretty hungry. I hadn't really decided on where to go for dinner, so I sat on a nice shaded bench to review my options (yes, I am a huge nerd and had a park map in one hand with my phone in the other switching from my list of top restaurants to their corresponding menus...I'm a planner, what can I say!). I quickly decided on the Plaza Inn and it was not far, so I went in to the wonderful air conditioning! This place is set up buffet-style and I had read that Walt's favorite dish at DL was their fried chicken. Obviously I HAD to get this! It was really delish guys. I can see why Mr. Disney kept coming back!

Now you all know that I'm a huge Disney fan (who on this board isn't!?), but what you may not know is that I'm also a pretty big college football fan as well. My game was starting at 5:00 PT, so I pretty much knew I would at least be able to watch some of it while I was eating (thank you iPhone WatchESPN app!). I was pretty discrete and I had it on mute, so as not to draw attention to myself, but like moth to a flame, I quickly had 2 dads come over to ask me who I was watching and they sat their families on either side of me! It was very cool because, even though I had come to the park solo, I got to have a big family meal and talk with some lovely people about my 2 favorite subjects! What could be better? (Well it would've been better if my team had won, but that was unfortunately out of my control!)

After lunch I decided I needed to finally ride the DL train, so I made the short trek back down Main Street and caught it at the main station. It was neat because the benches are actually facing out instead of straight ahead, so you can really take in all the great scenery. I rode it all the way around, and there were some cute little story scenes along the way. My favorite was along the river where there was all sorts of "wildlife" in the forest Smile They also had a dark portion with windows overlooking dioramas of Jurassic times (dinosaurs and such). Kinda cool and unexpected.

After the train, I knew I must take advantage of my park hopper and jump to CA. Radiator Racers, take 2! After the ride, it was starting to get dark and this park is just so beautiful at dusk with all the lights in Radiator Springs and Paradise Pier coming on. Wow! I wandered around, looking in various shops and stopping at Girardelli for a quick treat Smile I got a very delicious hot fudge sundae and somehow devoured it before realizing I hadn't taken a pic!! Oops...after contemplating skipping out on the DL fireworks to watch World of Color again I decided it was my Disney duty to take in as much magic as possible, so after only a couple hours, I hopped back over to DL.


view from the train


RSR again!


Cozy Cone

Let me say here that this is one of the MAJOR benefits of DL that WDW doesn't really have the luxury of having because it is so large. It literally takes 5 minutes to park hop. No second bag search, no jumping on a bus or boat or monorail (although I enjoy the boat and monorail...it just takes a bit longer). Just a quick walk across the concourse. Loved this mickey

So by this time, there wasn't much time before the nighttime activities were scheduled, but I didn't want to just sit around and wait, so I checked out my trusty app and saw that I hadn't ridden the Pooh ride and the line was nonexistent. Off I went. This was definitely a ride geared for young children, but still pretty cute. Not one of my faves, but worth a one-time trip. Now it was getting time for the fireworks over the castle. I got what I considered a great spot and waited for the magic. Of course the wait was longer than I wanted, being hot and pretty exhausted, but it wasn't really that long and the show started right on time. The show here is called Magical and I was pleased to see that Tinkerbell had a much larger role here than at MK. We also had a special appearance by a flying Dumbo! But honestly, I have to say...Wishes blows this out of the water in my opinion. Not that this was bad, because it was very cute and had great classic songs from Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, and others...it just didn't feel as big or magical (eek!) as Wishes to me. The fireworks were really good though, and all in all, it had been a fabulous and exhausting day!!

Tomorrow...California's version of Downtown Disney!

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MrHub wrote:
Great report MandaLynn. You should know by now, all things Disney are good here! awesome biggrin

Thanks MrHub!! mickey

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Oh, that fried chicken looks gooooooood!!! awesome

Great TR MandaLynn!

mickey

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Reading about your DL trip is getting me more excited about mine in May.

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Sounds like you had so much fun. Reading about your trip makes me really want to go visit DL some time. A belated happy birthday muchlove

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Eeeek, what a great trip report!! I keep trying to decide if next year I want to do WDW again, or go to DL for the first time and right now I think you may just have me convinced to go to California!! I'd also most likely be a solo traveler, so this has been incredibly helpful!

Glad you had a great time!! Now if only I could somehow convince my company I need to go on a business trip to LA. laugh

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KenJ wrote:
Oh, that fried chicken looks gooooooood!!! awesome

Oh my...it was KenJ!!

JoAnn C wrote:
Reading about your DL trip is getting me more excited about mine in May.

That's great JoAnn! Looking forward to hearing about your trip Smile

CEB NYC wrote:
Sounds like you had so much fun. Reading about your trip makes me really want to go visit DL some time. A belated happy birthday muchlove

Thank you! awesome

SpamGoddess wrote:
Eeeek, what a great trip report!! I keep trying to decide if next year I want to do WDW again, or go to DL for the first time and right now I think you may just have me convinced to go to California!! I'd also most likely be a solo traveler, so this has been incredibly helpful!

Glad you had a great time!! Now if only I could somehow convince my company I need to go on a business trip to LA. laugh


That is exciting!! Let me know if you have any specific questions...I can tell you, this was my first solo Disney trip and I didn't know if I would last a full 13+ hour day solo, but it was SO GREAT! I would definitely do it again and encourage others to do the same Smile

And yes...the low cost was a big factor for me. Not only did I have a free flight, but my hotel was free (points), my 2-Day Park Hopper was only around $100 out of pocket (used Disney Visa points and a gift card for the rest), and I got an amazing deal on my rental car! I seriously only budgeted around $300 for this trip and pretty much stuck to it. The stars and planets definitely aligned for me on this one!!

Magic Mirror's picture
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Great TR! And kudos to Megan for your birthday surprise birthday

jhugo's picture
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Great trip report! I have been considering a solo trip for years but wasn't certain I wanted to go alone but you inspired me. Looks like you had a blast. awesome

amy1989's picture
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Great Trip Report I have loved reading it!!!!! and agreed that chicken looked gorgeous!!!!

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jhugo wrote:
Great trip report! I have been considering a solo trip for years but wasn't certain I wanted to go alone but you inspired me. Looks like you had a blast. awesome

Yay!! That's what Trip Reports are for...and I did have a blast biggrin

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Day 3: Sunday

After my busy Friday and Saturday, I was looking forward to a bit of a slower pace on Sunday. I started off by checking out of my hotel around 9:00 and I drove to Downtown Disney (which took about 5 minutes). Parking is free for 3 hours and I knew I needed to leave around noon, so I was good to go! I walked into Downtown Disney and immediately saw where I wanted to eat lunch...Earl of Sandwich. I have heard so many great things about the one in Florida and I've never eaten there! So I made a mental note of the spot and I continued to stroll around to take in the lay of the land. I didn't realize that there are 3 hotels right off of the Downtown Disney area, so I decided to explore the Grand Californian. It has a beautiful craftsman-style design and the scale of the interior lobby reminded me very much of the Wilderness Lodge. The details were just wonderful to take in!

I then walked through the WonderGround art gallery, which I loved. After I had walked around a bit, I was starting to get hungry. Back to Earl of Sandwich! I got the Holiday Turkey sandwich and it was AMAZING!! I loved it and I completely cleaned my plate Smile

I was stuffed and I needed to walk off my lunch! So I took my time wandering toward the World of Disney (which was my biggest reason for coming here in the first place!!). I stopped in the Disney Vault, D-Street, and Apricot Lane along the way.

Finally I made it to World of Disney and spent a TON of time in there! I bought a few souvenirs for me and others and asked about where to get some delicious treats. I was pointed to Marceline's Confectionary and I was not disappointed. After grabbing a few treats for the road (which of course I forgot to take pics of...ugh), I felt it was almost time to leave. But on my way out, I noticed the Disneyland Hotel straight ahead! Well, I had to at least take a quick look Smile

After my detour through the hotel grounds, I was back off to my car for the drive back to LA and flight back to Nashville. I was really looking forward to getting back home! And the best news...I will be in WDW within a month of this trip!! I can't believe what a blessed girl I am Smile

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Great pics MandaLynn. Loved your TR and it's made me think about a future trip to DL. awesome

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Awesome report! I am now making DL a priority mickey

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I think I finally talked my stubborn hubby into a future Disneyland trip so I LOVED reading this! Making me more resolved to make this a priority! awesome Great trip report!

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What a great report! Thanks, MandaLynn!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Thanks y'all!! I'm so happy to read that, after all the times your TRs have inspired me to try new things, I can return the favor a bit Smile Happy to help with any trip planning!! mickey

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Loved Loved Loved your TR! Thank you for sharing it with us! clapping

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Really nice job MandaLynn!