Mousejunkie Kevin Linn – a regular at Walt Disney World – brought his family to Disneyland last week. It’s a great report with some great pics, and Kevin said it would be OK to post his reports here. So without further ado, I’ll hand it over to Kevin:
Trust the GPS
We departed my brother’s house in Arroyo Grande, California at precisely 9:00am. We have discovered was the joy of the global positioning satellite system. Just plug in your destination and before you know it, you’ve arrived!
Our first destination was the American Girl store at The Grove in Los Angeles. If you’ve never experienced the world of the American Girl, do one thing for me: rifle through that junk drawer in your kitchen and find a pair of pliers; walk to your computer; and remove the “A” key from your keyboard. If performed properly, this move will save you enough money to finance several Disney vacations over the life of your daughter. The store itself is amazing. Two floors of nothing but $100 dolls and their accessories. Need a horse? Ski outfit for that trip to Aspen? Books? Videos? That’s not all, you can also make an appointment at the hair salon and top off your experience with lunch at the American Girl Bistro where you and your doll companion are served a wonderful meal at $25 a pop. That said, my daughter still has a smile on her face and if we had never set one foot in Disneyland, she wouldn’t have cared. Money…grows on trees, a smile like that on my baby girl is an orchard.
While my lovely wife and daughter were enjoying themselves, my son and I explored the rest of the shopping center. The Grove is an open air mall full of upper echelon stores like Apple, Nike, Crate & Barrel, etc. For Griffin and I the one store that was missing was Toys R Us. Nary a Pokemon card in sight. We were able to find the Barnes and Noble so the effort was not totally wasted. We did find a barbecue joint serving the best barbecue beef around and we also got to see Mario Lopez filming some interview spots for his show on E!.
I also snapped a picture of Griffin next to a disturbingly real Justin Timberlake wax figure at a kiosk promoting the new Madame Tussauds.
Shopping diversion over, we set our target to Disneyland. Perusing a at a map of the greater Los Angeles area, a normal person would mark a path to I-5 South and get off on Harbor Boulevard. Those are the directions I had in my head, at least. My co-pilot/navigator, played by my lovely wife Sue, pushed the Go button on the GPS and we started the next leg. It was soon evident that taking only one freeway is not the best way to get from Hollywood to Anaheim.
My biggest fear in driving in Los Angeles is that I would take the wrong exit and end up stuck in the middle of a gang infested neighborhood. With that in the open, the directions we were getting from the GPS truly started to scare the crap out of me. We started out on the 101 freeway, then California 60 but only for a minute before we hooked up with I-5, then the 710, then highway 91, then a side detour through an industrial site on surface streets, back onto I-5. Finally after some serious cussing and a minor panic attack on my part, my lovely wife convinced me to put my faith in the GPS. It’s a strange feeling putting your life into the hands of an electronic device but I eventually came around and we arrived on Disneyland Avenue in Anaheim.
The driving adventure wasn’t over yet, though. I took a wrong turn and ended up in the lanes for the Disneyland parking garage instead of the front of the Disneyland Hotel. This parking garage is massive and there are no less than 10 lanes entering the building. Perhaps flustered by my previous hour of intense driving concentration, I decided to turn the car around and try to go back. My lovely wife then kindly told me that all 10 lanes have big white arrows pointing in the same direction. Not the direction I was going, though. I gathered my dignity and my wits and decided this has to happen 400 times a day so I drove, tail between my legs, to the booth and let the cast member know I was an idiot. He put a giant pink “EXIT” site under my windshield wiper, gave me fresh directions to the front of the hotel and our Disneyland vacation had begun. No blood. No foul.