Star Wars Light Side – Thursday

We got up at 5 am to catch our flight. After getting ready and saying goodbye to everyone, we were out the door at 5:30 am. There was almost no traffic on the way to the airport. Once again, I parked at Park ‘n Go. They make everything so easy. After picking up a few more people, we made our way to the airport. This is when I finally told my sister-in-law, Debbie, that we were flying first class. We went to the special check in area. Everything went smoothly. Luckily, Debbie was randomly picked for TSA Pre-check. So, we made our way through that line. Neither of us set anything off. We had some time before boarding, so I stopped by the ATM while Debbie looked for a book in the store. Eventually we made our way to the gate. We got there a few minutes before boarding time only to see a line and people already boarding. Once I realized it was our flight, we went through the Priority line passing the people waiting. As expected, we were the last 2 in first class to board. I’m glad they started boarding early and we didn’t miss anything by getting on a little later.

As soon as most people had boarded, the flight attendant got us drinks. We pushed back from the gate a few minutes early. Then, the last thing you want to hear was announced. We were pulling back into the gate for a mechanical issue. The mechanics were immediately on board and did an engine test. Once all the paperwork was done, we ended up leaving almost an hour late. I was just glad to be underway. As soon as we were at cruising altitude, I pulled out my Surface and Debbie and I watched Bad Moms. I must admit I’ve seen this many times. Debbie hadn’t seen it yet. We did take a break to eat breakfast.

I am still pleasantly surprised by how good the food is in first class.

After breakfast, I asked for Amaretto and was given 2 small bottles.

I was happy for the rest of the flight after consuming one. We decided to read after the movie ended. Debbie did enjoy looking out over the mountains as we flew over them. Eventually, we landed in a cloudy, drizzly LAX. Surprisingly, we were only about 20 minutes late. We made our way to baggage claim. After much searching, we found our driver. He waited with us until our luggage arrived. Then we walked out to his car.

The drive to the Disneyland Hotel was uneventful. It was cloudy and a little gloomy but I was able to point out downtown LA to Debbie. We were desperately hoping the weather would clear up for our evening in the parks. Our driver missed the turn into the hotel and had to circle the block. Once we arrived, he got our bags out and we headed to the front desk. It was about noon, so we didn’t expect anything to be ready. We only waited a minute before being called to the registration desk. As soon as she pulled up the reservation, she told us they had a room available, but it was a king bed instead of 2 queens. I looked to Debbie and we both agreed we could share a bed. I was shocked they had a room available already. She then told us she would get our greeter since we were in the club level. So, we pulled our suitcases over to the cool looking tea cup benches and got a picture.

The cast member that took the picture was actually our greeter. She gave us a small tour of the grounds on our way to the Adventure Tower where our room was located.

She walked us to our room and let us look around. She pointed out all the things available in our room and then offered to take us up to the club. We left our things in the room and happily went up. Our room was on the 10th floor facing the pools. The E-Ticket Club is on the 11th Floor (the top one) facing Downtown Disney and the parks. After a short tour of things and pointing out the two concierge people by the door who could assist us, she said goodbye. We took a look around at the offerings and grabbed a quick snack.

These coconut macaroons were my favorite!

We went back to our room and got situated.

I knew I needed to get to the Expo and get my bib. So, I grabbed my signed waiver and Debbie and I headed back passed the front desk area to the convention center in our hotel when the Expo was located. That was so convenient! I went downstairs and got my bib and jacket.

The Dooney’s were also down in this area. At first glance, I didn’t like the design. On closer inspection, they weren’t bad but not worth parting with that much money. So, we headed up to the main Expo area.

I got my shirts and then we wandered around the Expo. Debbie had never been to anything like it and was surprised by the amount of things available. I wanted to get a pair of the new shoes and Debbie said she like New Balance. She had told me she only had one pair of walking shoes so I knew she needed another. I also knew she’d never get them at the price of the Expo, so I told her I was buying her a pair. We didn’t have an appointment, so we were directed to the standby line.

At this point, it only had 2 people in it. I was overjoyed. I thought I would need to wait for the next day to sign up for an appointment. We didn’t have to wait very long before it was our turn. The guy who came to help us was really friendly. He got me the Space Mountain shoes

and Debbie the Mad Tea Party ones.

We both had to go up a half size from what we originally asked him to get. After deciding, he directed us to the end of the line. Then he talked to us for a few minutes until he really needed to help someone else. I grabbed Debbie’s shoes so she didn’t get sticker shock. When we got to the register, I grabbed the Clip Ons for her shoe and looked for the ones for mine. It turns out they didn’t have any. They had 2 for the Haunted Mansion and both of them work so I got one. I know the total that rang up threw Debbie for a loop. I’m glad I had already taken care of it by that point. The other shoes for the year were Toy Story

and Haunted Mansion.

For reference, the Mad Tea Party and Haunted Mansion are Women’s shoes and the Space Mountain and Toy Story are Men’s shoes. Mad Tea Party and Toy Story are also available in Kid’s sizes.

I had to stop by Raw Threads and pick up the race patch I had pre-purchased.

I did not sign up for this race with them, but I am in their Club. I used them for Princess and Dark Side and the process was so easy and stress free that I plan to keep taking advantage of that option. When you are a club member and sign up through them, you get a race patch. We walked all the aisles and saw most of the booths. I found the medals for future races and had to stop and get some pictures. Here are the ones I will be receiving later this year…

10th anniversary Coast to Coast (not the pink one)

Star Wars Dark Side 10k and Half (I’m not running the 5k although I do like the medal)

Dark Side Challenge and Kessel Run

Princess 10k

Princess Half (not running the 5k)

Glass Slipper Challenge (it’s a spinner)

Once we wandered through everything, the line for Official Merchandise seemed a little long.

I said we should go so we could enjoy more park time. However, once we got to windows, we noticed it was raining. We spotted Goofy in the lobby.

After browsing the gift shop a little, I decided we might as well wait in the Official Merchandise line. The line was much longer by this time. I’m assuming a lot of people had the same idea. The one thing I wanted from the merchandise was the race specific shoe ornaments. I asked a cast member and was pointed to an area where someone was putting out what they said were the last 6. I quickly and happily grabbed one. Less than 5 minutes later, they were all gone. I’m hoping the stock for future races will be better. I plan to get one for every race this year that I run. I checked out and we took everything back to the room.

At this point, we were getting hungry so we decided to head back up to the E-Ticket club for a snack. They had a huge refrigerator full of drinks along with finger foods and cookies. We sat at a table by the window and enjoyed our food. Those coconut macaroons were amazing! We went back to the room and I was able to FaceTime with my family. Since there was a 3 hour time difference, they were already getting dinner. Once I got off with them, we noticed the rain had stopped. According to the weather report on my phone, it was not supposed to rain again until later at night. So, we made our way to the parks. I left the GoPro in the room since I didn’t have the waterproof case and didn’t want to take any chances. The new security check point is right across from the big hat the was on the side of our building. It was a quick walk. At this time of day, there were almost no lines. I wanted to give Debbie the full effect so we walked through Downtown Disney. This was a Star Wars themed window in Downtown Disney.

We walked all the way to the Esplanade. There she was able to see both the Disney’s California Adventure entrance and the Disneyland entrance. The Christmas (Frozen) stuff was still up on the Disneyland entrance.

It’s hard for people who’ve never been before (especially if they’ve only been to Walt Disney World) to believe how close they are and how easy park hopping is there. Tonight, we went into Disney’s California Adventure. We had reservations for the World of Color dessert party so it only made sense. Upon entering, we turned right towards Soarin’. The line wasn’t super long, but I wanted her to see more and knew we could get back there the next day at early hours. So, we kept walking. We went passed the closed rapids ride. We spotted these Christmas decorations in the trees in the area. They were beautiful after dark.

I turned into the Redwood Creek Challenge area. The last time I was here, it was closed. I know it’s mainly a place for kids to work out some energy. We saw this mapped view of tree rings.

I did go up in the net climbing area.

It had a nice view of the Grand Californian.

I’m not great with heights so it did set my belly fluttering.

However, I made it across.

Debbie met me on the other side. The exit looked like we were walking through a fallen tree.

I then decided I needed to take her to Cars Land.

I think that is the best area in both Disneyland parks. When we got there, we noticed the Christmas decorations were still up.

We had just passed Sarge’s when I heard the Life Could Be a Dream song start.

Then I realized the neon was turning on. I meant to be there to see it sometime during the weekend, but I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t get it on video like I was hoping. It is definitely a cool experience, though.

We kept wandering down the street and taking all kinds of pictures.

At the end is Radiator Springs Racers. The wait was only 20 minutes. I think this was partly from the rain as it is never that short. So, we quickly got in line. While in line, the ride did stop for a bit. So, we ended up waiting closer to 30 minutes. That’s still not bad!

Debbie thoroughly enjoyed the ride. We ended up in a car just like Sally and she won the race!

I wanted to go on Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters since it was the only thing that was new since my last visit. However, they were closed because of the rain. We walked back up the street. Mater was leaving the meet and greet area.

Lightning McQueen had taken his place.

The view after dark is so different and just as spectacular.

We went on the Little Tractors as Nicki calls them.

The real name is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.

Getting better at taking selfies.

We were laughing so hard by the end of the ride. Once we got off, we had plenty of time until we needed to be at the Dessert Party. So, I led her over to the Animation Academy.

I really love this place. We got in there without knowing what we were going to draw.

It ended up being Eeyore. We both enjoyed this and Debbie was pleasantly surprised with her final drawing. Luckily, I got a picture of them before we left. You’ll see why I say this later.

By this time, we really couldn’t do another ride. So, we headed over to where the line was for the Dessert Party.

We were early so we tried to get a picture with the Fun Wheel, but there were no PhotoPass photographers there this late. We took our own pictures.

At this point, the rain started again. So, we ducked into the shop across the way that was Little Mermaid themed. On hindsight, we should have found a place with ponchos. I was a little afraid of them cancelling the party due to the rain. However, I saw a large group of people waiting. So, we wandered out in the drizzle. We had no ponchos and no umbrellas. We just embraced nature.

We waited about 20 minutes before they finally started taking us to our tables. We were at a high table with director’s chairs. They had the chairs covered with plastic trash bags. When they started taking them off, we asked if we could keep them. We made ourselves ponchos out of the bags.

Our server came over and asked us what we wanted to drink and if we wanted the desserts now.

We told her hot cocoa and save the desserts. It was raining pretty steady and we were huddling in the director’s chairs with our plastic covers.

Our server brought us several hot cocoas and I finally asked for the sparkling wine. She brought me one and got me a refill before the show.

I think partly because she felt bad about our drenched selves, she kept the hot cocoa coming and our cups were never empty. The rain actually slacked and almost stopped just in time for World of Color. We both really enjoyed the show even though we were cold and wet. Once the show was over, our server brought our desserts boxed to go. She really went above and beyond. Here is the collection of things that were in the to go boxes…

At this point, the park was closed. Plus, we just wanted to get back to the room and out of our wet clothes. In the rush to get out or maybe because of the sitting and standing again, Debbie lost her Eeyore drawing. It was a sad moment. I figured if it had fallen on the ground, it would be completely ruined by now. So, we just kept walking back to the room. I was so cold, I decided to take a hot shower. They had turned down the bed when we returned.

They left 2 Ghirardelli chocolate squares with a note.

Once we were changed, we went back to the E-Ticket club for some dessert. This is about the only time they don’t have the coconut macaroons. However, there was a good selection.

I noticed we had a message when we got back to the room. It turns out the club leaves this message every night to tell you the weather and park hours for the next day. That was nice. The next day was an early hours morning at Disney’s California Adventure that is only for Disney hotel guests. I knew we needed to take advantage of that. I had a wake up call set for us. So, we got into bed. Luckily, it didn’t take long to go to sleep.

About kristincooke

I am a mother of 2 that started running in 2012. I also enjoy baking and some crafts.
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