There's a few special events that go on at Disneyland that we try not to miss each year. One of those events is Dapper Day weekend!
We visit Disneyland almost every week and our strategy is usually always the same thing. Arrive early, leave by 2pm before all the crowds arrive. When it's the Dapper weekend though, everything changes. Because the organizers have so many people participating, they've been able to negotiate for the group rate at the Disney hotels. Our preferred hotel, the Grand Californian is nearly half off!
So, instead of just coming for a short day trip, we're spending the entire weekend at Disneyland!
Ian still remembers some of our past Dapper trips, and occasionally when we're inside the parks and walk by the hotel, he'll ask if we're sleeping there tonight. Both Ian and Alli were very excited to hear that we'd be sleeping at the hotel by Disneyland all weekend.
Theresa and I happened to be off work on Friday, so shortly after everyone woke up, it was time to get in the car and head to the parks.
Being a staycation and all, breakfast was an indulgence at the 85C bakery. Their breads and pastries are just a little too good, and every couple minutes someone comes from the back with a new tray of goodies and announces "hot bread!". Just don't look at the calories.
One other benefit to arriving early is that there was no wait at all to check in. We pulled up around 9:45am and were almost the only car there. The bellman took all our luggage and would hold on to it while we spent our day in the parks until our room was ready.
After checking in and confirming everything was in order, the kids got their maps and were ready to go. The front desk gave me the keycards to the room and promised to text me the room number when it was available.
Halloween was just 3 days ago, but Disney has already started getting ready for Christmas. The giant gingerbread house is starting to take shape in the lobby. We'll see a bit more of that later.
Since we're here all weekend, why not go on a few rides that we don't normally visit. First up was the Finding Nemo subs.
Alli liked it, except for maybe the scary anglerfish.
Next it was time for another first for the boy. Yep, you still reach that 40" mark.
Let's go on Star Tours!
We had a run-in with Darth Vader, won a pod-race, and traveled to Naboo. As soon as it was over Ian said "I liked it!" and "Did we underestimate his powers?" in reference to Darth Vader telling us at the beginning "Don't underestimate my powers!"
While we were having an out-of-this-world experience on Star Tours, Alli and Theresa had their own out-of-this-world experience with Buzz Lightyear. Those plush animals in the gift shop aren't safe. Alli would give hugs to all of them if she could.
Back over to some of our standard rides. Like the carousel.
The Holiday Haunted Mansion.
And a fun time on Splash Mountain.
After Splash it was fun seeing the Pooh and friends out visiting people. We don't see Rabbit too often so the kids got in a short line to see him. But as soon as the kids got to the front of the line, Tigger came over to see Rabbit. 2 characters at once?
Sadly no, Tigger pulled Rabbit to another area and the kids were left hanging. We stood there for a 15 seconds or so until the character handler told us to keep moving forward and see Eeyore. Have to try again another time.
I got a text that our room was ready, so it was time to grab lunch and then get everything unpacked.
I thought Downtown Disney looked great for Halloween when these stands and planters were filled with pumpkins. Looks like they're going to be re-using them again for Christmas. Now they're ornaments!
So it's hard to believe, but out of all the restaurants at Disneyland I've never been to Trader Sam's. Unfortunately inside the restaurant was full, so we were relegated to the patio.
Alli and Ian both love the Enchanted Tiki Room, and wanted to give the big Tikis a hug.
Ian wanting something off the hard drink menu. Let's steer more to the non-alcoholic drinks buddy.
T and I got the kids a Polynesian Punch to split, and it was great that it came in a cool souvenir sipper. When it was delivered, Alli was quick to say "Where's my drink?"
Our server overheard her and was quick to bring her her own drink free of charge!
For food, the four of us split a couple flatbread pizzas and Panko crusted chinese long beans. After hearing the rave reviews, I was a little disappointed with the food actually. The pizza was pretty average. The panko long beans were a bit overcooked and too crunchy for me. I think Trader Sam's is probably all about atmosphere, and sitting on the patio I just wasn't getting it. Perhaps another time in a different setting. Moving on...
The room is ready! And it looks a bit different. We've stayed in this room previously before the hotel was remodeled. Compared to that, it looks a bit slimmed down. Gone are the couch and coffee table, and the desk is now incorporated right underneath the TV. Yes there's a bit more room, but I miss having a separate chair/couch. You can see my old room pictures here.
New dresser and storage area.
The kids getting a little bit of energy out.
Time for Alli's nap. Some days she sleeps for 45 minutes, others 1:30. Why is it when we have fun things to do, she decides to sleep for 2:30. That large bathroom is a perfect fit for a crib, and it gets nice and dark too.
Finally she's awake. The chefs are making good progress on the gingerbread house. I thought it was fun to see them trimming the sheets of gingerbread and affixing them to the house while we watched.
Ian's got his eye on some of those tasty cookies. Maybe if you eat your dinner well.
Back inside the park we'd hit a few more rides before heading in for the night. Toy Story Midway Mania of course.
And a few other rides, but we'd wrap it up with Flik's Fliers.
After getting the kid's dinner and eating it in the parks, it was time to head back to the hotel room and finish our night.
"Are you still working on the gingerbread house?" - Ian
Ian has some recent birthday money in the form of a Disney gift card. He decided he wanted to spend it on a snowman Christmas cookie.
I suppose since this is a full-service you have the option to give a tip. Ian was asked for his autograph. Strange since this is a gift card, but yeah, go ahead and sign your name buddy.
Getting a picture in front of the gingerbread house with his cookie. The chefs said that they baked his cookie earlier.
Yum. Alli asked for some, and Ian was quick to share. Sweet boy.
Eating in the lobby gave us the opportunity to explore the gingerbread house.
They've got Mickey's hidden everywhere, and we saw them adding new ones the whole time we were here. These are just a couple.
Once we arrived at the room, it looks like we've had turn-down service.
Alli, what have you got?
Where did you find it?
Thankfully the kids went down pretty quickly. Glad they're such good travelers. T was feeling tired too, so she volunteered to hang out in the room with the kids.
That means I get to close out the parks! First, take-out dinner from Napa Rose.
Mmm, enjoying a signature pizzetta from the Napa Rose on the porch on Main Street. Delicious.
The parks are really fun at night. In just a couple hours I was able to ride the Haunted Mansion, watch Fantasmic, ride the updated Matterhorn (still painful), Star Tours, Indy, and Pirates.
This is going to be a great weekend and it's off to a great start!