Click the above planner to see it larger.
You can follow along with our planned schedule from the chart above as I post each day with updates about our Disneyland vacation.
On Saturday we’ll be flying Continental Airlines to California, landing at John Wayne airport in Orange County, CA. Our friend Lisa will meet us there at 1:38 pm and then bring us to the Disneyland Resort after we retrieve our luggage. After checking into our room and stowing the suitcases she’ll be giving us a tour of Orange County sites including the nursery where Disneyland’s original Town Square gazebo is now located. I’ll also be able to finally dip my toe in the Pacific Ocean . . . never got around to that before on my two previous vacations at Disneyland when Carol and I attended official Disneyana Conventions. This is our son’s first trip to Disneyland, although he’s been to WDW many times, and also is his first time visiting California. When we’re out and about with Lisa, we also plan to pick up some supplies for the week at either Wal-Mart or Target and then eat out with her someplace in the area before she drops us off at church in Anaheim.
This will be our first time at St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church, where we’re going Saturday night at 7 pm for Easter Mass. On our previous Disneyland vacations we went to church at St. Boniface Church. When the Mass is over I’ll call for a cab to pick us up (I can’t call ahead of time to have it waiting for us at a certain time because we don’t know exactly how long the Mass will be… probably around 1 1/2 hours, though). Then it will be a short roughly 2 mile cab ride along W Ball Road to the Disneyland Hotel where we’ll probably be so tired, with the time zone difference, that we’ll all be ready to sleep!
We’re staying the first 4 nights at the Disneyland Hotel followed by 3 nights at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. For tickets, I’m getting Carol a Premium Annual Pass, which gives her 365 days (no black-out dates) of Disneyland/DCA park admission starting on Saturday, March 22, 2008 plus gave us 15% discounts on the 7 nights at the Disney resort hotels and will also give us 20% off tours, 15% off dining, and 10% off all merchandise purchases. My son and I will be using multi-day park-hopper passes. We’ll pay for all the tickets when we check in Saturday afternoon, but don’t plan on going into Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure at all on Saturday. We’ll probably be very tired that night after church and ready to go to sleep and rest.
The next day, our first full day at Disneyland, will be Easter Sunday. We have 7:00 am Priority Seating (reservations, still called P.S. at Disneyland even though it was changed back to “reservations” at WDW) for Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel. When we’ve had enough breakfast and enough time with the Characters we’ll stroll through Downtown Disney and into Disneyland, walkin’ right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A. I can’t wait to see what my son thinks of the place compared to what he’s experienced at WDW’s Magic Kingdom.
Later on Sunday we have PS for 5 pm dinner at DL’s Blue Bayou Restaurant. The park closes at midnight, and we plan to take a mid-day break during the day back at the DL Hotel. We might not even get into DCA at all that day, but we’ll play it by ear… It is open from 10 am to 10 pm every day we’ll be there. On our way back to Disneyland from the middle of the day rest at the hotel, we might take the monorail into Tomorrowland. We’ve got Fantasmic and fireworks to look forward to that night, as well as parades!
On Monday we’ll pick up some breakfast at the hotel then head into Disneyland for our 9:30 am Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour, starting at the DL Tour Garden off Town Square. Lunch that day is provided as part of the tour, at 12:30 pm. After working up an appetite again that afternoon, and changing into nicer clothes, we’ll dine at the Chef’s Counter at Napa Rose Restaurant in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, starting at 5:30 pm.
I’ve heard such good things about Napa Rose that I also made PS for us there the following day (Tuesday) at 5:30 pm, also for the Chef’s Counter. If we decide to dine at a table instead, they said it would be no problem to sit there because dining spots at the counter are at a premium (even though it doesn’t cost any more to do so). On Tuesday we also have brunch with Minnie and Friends booked for 9 am. Disneyland opens with Early Entry that morning at 7 am and we’ll try to be there lined up for the rope drop.
Wednesday will be a change of pace in many ways. First thing we do is have all our bags packed for Disney CMs to take them from our DL Hotel room and bring them for us to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, where we’ll be checking in that day. I’ll also be renting a car at Downtown Disney’s Alamo rent-a-car place that morning, then the three of us will drive to Legoland for the day. We’ll leave before the park’s 6 pm closing time, allowing time for traffic along the way, so we can get to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney for dinner at 6:30 pm.
Thursday is another Early Entry day at Disneyland, with the park opening at 7 am. We don’t have any dining reservations made at all for that day, but we plan on trying out places in the park which don’t take them.
Friday is our last full day in California and we’ll be doing more sightseeing away from the Disneyland Resort. We’ll drive into Los Angeles and meet Michael Broggie in Griffith Park at Walt Disney’s barn, then take him out to lunch someplace nearby, perhaps getting some In-N-Out burgers at the one on Brand Blvd. in Glendale at the Glendale Galleria.
Updated Friday, March 21st: While talking to Michael Broggie today I checked to see if he’d like us to treat him to lunch after he gives us a tour of the barn, but he had to decline because he’ll be on a very tight schedule that day.
I posted maps of the area here on the Disney Echo. That day we also want to see the caroussel in Griffith Park where Walt decided he wanted to build a theme park like Disneyland for the entire family to enjoy. We also plan to drive by the Disney headquarters on S Buena Vista Street in nearby Burbank and see Walt’s grave in Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale. If there’s time, we’d also like to drive around the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles — but we need to get over to Hollywood in time for a 2:30 pm showing of “College Road Trip” at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre… We’re rather see a different movie, but that’s the only one playing at the theater that week, and we really want to show our son how nice the restoration of the theater is that Disney did. Carol and I saw it on a previous trip to CA we took and want to share the experience with our son. Right across the street from the El Capitan we’ll look at Grauman’s Theater as well as the Kodak Theater were the Oscars take place each year. As we walk along the sidewalk we’ll look for Mickey Mouse’s star and Walt’s as well. Next door to the El Capitan is Disney’s soda shop, which we’ll visit to check out the souvenEARS and perhaps have a bit to eat or a milkshake. When we get back to the Disneyland Resort, we’ll spend our last night at DL and DCA before returning to our GCH room for a good night’s sleep.Saturday morning we check out, leave in our rental car bright and early, and drive over to John Wayne Airport in time to turn in the car there and catch our 8:15 am flight, heading home.