A Magical Weekend
By Monica Marshall, 04/09/2012
It began innocently enough with my 2 daughters planning a 5-day trip to Disneyland together. This started me thinking that I have not been to Disneyland since 2000 and the California Adventure Park had not even been built. I was not able to spend 5 days on a Disney trip, but I could work in a quick visit just over the weekend with my girls (of course, I asked permission first). Things fell into place and I flew into LAX with my girls and off we went on my “Magical” weekend.
In the past, we have always stayed at the Anaheim Fairfield Inn which is located close to Disneyland. This time my girls decided to stay in the Magic at one of the Disney properties and booked a 4-night package at the Paradise Pier with the Disney Dining Plan.
Our transfer from the LAX airport to the hotel went smoothly with the Disneyland Resort Express bus. The pickup location was just outside of baggage claim. The bus runs about every half hour at peak times. Luck was with us as the bus arrived 5 minutes later. Traffic cooperated and 40 minutes later we were standing in the lobby of the hotel. After dropping off our luggage and Disneyland Park maps in hand we were off.
The Paradise Pier is a wonderful hotel with an excellent location and literally just steps away from Disneyland. It sits just across the street from the Disney’s Grand Californian, which is a superb property. (I will be saving my money to stay at the Grand Californian the next time I visit). We walked out the hotel, crossed the street, walked up to the Grand Californian, through the hotel and stepped into Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney District has open-air cafes, entertainment, nightclubs and a movie theater and is open to the general public. You don't need to purchase a Disney park pass to visit this lively venue. A short walk from Downtown Disney and you arrive at the main plaza that separates Disneyland on the left or California Adventure on the right. Music adds to the fevered excitement of arriving at the main entrance plaza.
We decided to go into Disneyland first. The ticket gate lines moved quickly and then we passed through the arches and entered into the Magic on Main Street USA. It was like coming home after a long absence. Surrounded by the familiar store fronts, people wearing all manner of Disney magic: Mouse Ears, Mickey T-shirts, Mickey sweatshirts, little Princesses wearing their princess dresses everywhere you turn, the view of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at the end of Main Street. The delicious smells of popcorn and corn dogs wafting in the air, the Disney music playing, it brings back wonderful memories of the last time I was here, so long ago. First order of business is really to find the perfect Mouse Ears to wear during my stay.
The magic of all the rides that I do each time I am in Disneyland is still here. It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Railroad, Star Tours, Space Mountain…the list goes on. The best part is that you can indulge in all your fantasies, throw all common sense to the wind, stay up way past your bedtime and ride Splash Mountain just before the stroke of midnight to end the perfect day.