Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Magic Begins…Downtown Disney with my Mama


My Mom’s flight finally arrived from Salt Lake, and it was only twenty minutes late. I waved to the airplane as it left the runway, but I doubt anyone except people who thought I was crazy could see me.

We waited a few minutes to let the airplane get to the terminal and for my Mama to meet us out at the curb. We picked her up in the crew car and were on our way to the park! It took 1.3 hours to go 12.2 miles in traffic. Yuck!

But I was so excited for our Disneyland adventure to begin!


So I don’t know how to say this, but my boss put us up in the Grand California Hotel on the Disney premises. Which is the nicest hotel that they own. And it has an entrance to California Adventure, so we got early-admission entrance to the parks each morning.

I also don’t know how to say this, but my boss bought not only my two-day park hopper ticket, but also my Mom’s ticket! Can you believe it?! I work for the most amazing people. I knew that before this little trip to heaven, but their recent actions certainly didn’t hurt my feelings!

This is our room at the Grand California Hotel. The whole things was built about nine years ago, and no detail or expense was spared. I loved the craftsman style of the entire gorgeous hotel.


Of course, we really lived it up with some pictures. And then I talked my Mom into letting me take all of the pictures over the next few days, and I would burn a CD for her. She fell for it, so my camera was very busy for the next sixty hours. Which is just the way I like it!

The room was beautiful and had all sorts of little Disney details. There was a tiny Mickey Mouse logo in the carpet, and even the shower curtain had a hidden Thumper if you tried to find him. It was fun to explore our room for a few minutes.

Never mind the VIP treatment we received upon arrival. We were greeted by a hotel guide who took us immediately up to our room. We didn’t even have to check in! Traveling with my boss certainly has its perks!

Even the bathroom was nice. I promise that this is the only toilet that you will see for the next several days.


This is their version of leaving a chocolate on our pillow…little Disney chocolate coins! We found these for sale in the park the next day but didn’t have to buy any because we knew our awesome hotel would have some waiting for us when we returned to our room!


Aren’t they cute? They had all sorts of familiar Disney characters wrapped in foil. I am still trying to remember why I didn’t eat any of these.


We were up on the fifth floor, which was almost the top of the hotel. When we walked back towards the lobby, we had a wonderful view of several stories beneath us.

The Grand California Hotel is simply exquisite. I was blown away at how much work they did to make this place so inviting. Every single little thing was thought of to make it a perfect place to stay while we were here for three nights.

This may very well be the world’s largest fireplace. Can you see the people standing underneath? Inside was yet another beautiful sitting area where a giant fireplace could be enjoyed. It was always full of people every time we poked our heads in.


Our stomachs dictated that it was time to leave the hotel behind and find some dinner! The hotel leads to Downtown Disney, which is a new addition since I’ve been to Disneyland. It is an admission-free zone where several shops and restaurants exist just outside of the main park entrances.

Since we didn’t want to fork over the full-price ticket to go inside the park for the evening, Downtown Disney was the perfect solution to get a little bit of the fun in our systems in preparation for tomorrow.


And, being the rather excited ladies that we were, we soaked up the fun with cameras in hand! It just felt so surreal to actually be able to enjoy all of this with my Mama! I knew that we were going to have fun, and it had already started!


After a quick wander to see what our choices were, we decided to eat at Naples Italian Ristorante for dinner. It certainly didn’t disappoint and was delicious! Maybe because we were so hungry?

The menu was full of yummy food. We decided to get two things to split since neither us us could make up our mind of what we should eat!


While we waited for our food, we visited and enjoyed the decorations above our head. For some reason, this updated cherubim flight just cracked me up. Look at their cool sunglasses!

And then, dinner arrived. And our table got kind of quiet for a few minutes while we enjoyed an incredible meal.

I like to take lots of pictures of everything, and I didn’t want to miss anything from this weekend in Disneyland with my Mama. Luckily, she was all for me taking lots of pictures, too. Even more proof that the right person came with me to enjoy these few days!


I ordered the gnocchi, which was out of this world. It was so soft that I forgot what I was eating at times. We found out from our server that they make it in-house. No wonder it just melted in my mouth!

Despite what this picture implies, I did share with my Mom.


She ordered a pizza. And it was incredible. I love pizzas that are cooked in a giant stone oven!


What? You want another view of my gnocchi? Well, OK. I am happy to oblige.

Soon it was time to head outside to explore the rest of Downtown Disney on full stomachs. I have two little brothers at home who love anything Lego, so my Mom wanted this picture for them. All of the statues were made of Legos. It was neat to see.


We wandered around the other hotel properties found at Disneyland and both decided that we would be completely happy with the more-affordable Disneyland Hotel next time we visit. It is the original hotel for the park but has been recently updated.

Mom called dibs on the Fantasyland Tower.

We were both pretty excited to be here, you know.


You have to walk underneath the giant Fantasia hat to get to the Disneyland Hotel. This entire place is just magical!

We decided to snoop explore a little more and check out the pool area of the Disneyland Hotel. They have five pools here, and it was fun to see how nice everything was.

Mom loves this classis logo of the Disneyland park, and she remembers it as a little girl when she visited with her family.

So, of course, we had to get our picture in front of it.


Look at the monorail waterslide into the pool! How fun!


And quite a few people were enjoying their evening at the pool while Disney music was playing on the speakers. I think anyone would be happy swimming here!


This was another incredible Lego statue, which Mom loved. We had to wait in line to get our picture in front of it. And we were the only ones there speaking any English! Disneyland attracts people from all over the world!


We knew that we had a long day ahead of us tomorrow, so we headed back to our room to get some rest.

And this is what greeted us. My goodness, I might never leave this place!


The words were written in chocolate. The cookies had raisins, but I managed to choke one down. Someone in the kitchen should know that most sane people don’t like raisins. Do you think that they will read this review?

I wasn’t about to let a few shriveled grapes ruin my Grand California experience. We enjoyed these with a pitcher of milk on ice, also left for us on our return.

After we got ready for bed, we planned our day for tomorrow in the park! Of course, we were going to take advantage of the early entrance at 7:00 AM and get there early. The alarms were set, and we talked long after the lights were out about how much fun we were having.

I can’t believe what a wonderful experience I got to have with my Mama in Disneyland for two days.


  1. I love the lobby of that hotel it was my favorite spot to hang out on disneyland days. Its probably too late but there is a restaurant just outside the hotel near the pool I loved you should check out if you haven't already.

  2. Magical! I love Disney and I'm so glad you could take Mom with you! What a treat!

  3. I love how you love and have fun with your Mama!
    My daughter is going to take me to Disney World next year! I am so excited!

  4. That meal was every bit as good as it looks!
    I had never been in Downtown Disney like this- it was so exciting, and such a HAPPENING place! Remember all the street performers?
    This evening was the perfect warmup for Disneyland the next day!


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