Archive for the 'Grand Californian Hotel' Category

The Land of Disney


This is a parody of adventure movie trailers. It was shot on iPhone at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and edited in iMovie. Enjoy it on YouTube or in higher quality on Vimeo.


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You Make A Story: Virtual Disney Travel

Sometimes, life being what it is, you just can’t take a Disney vacation as often as you’d like. That doesn’t stop you from dreaming and imagining what your next trip will be. Your imagination can bring you to far off magical lands even quicker than the fastest jet plane!

Here on the Disney Echo Eyes and EchoEars Travel Blog you can take a virtual Disney vacation by reading the trip reports as well as taking part in the Disney Echo’s ongoing interactive story-creation game, “You Make A Story.”

See background information about what “You Make A Story” is all about by clicking here or jump right into Chapter 3 – Part 1 – “Movin’ Right Along” by clicking here.

You can participate by leaving comments or by becoming a Disney EchoEar and actively adding to the ongoing story!

Either way, we hope you enjoy the story and have a great time as we do some virtual Disney travel.

Monorail Red at Night

It’s red on the outside, blue on the inside, and very cool: Disneyland’s new Monorail Mark VI!

We were lucky enough to get to ride in it up front with its monorail pilot Thursday night (the week we were there in July). It was a trip — literally and figuratively — to take it from Tomorrowland to the Downtown Disney monorail station, including going through Disney’s California Adventure and the Golden Gate Bridge replica. From there it was a short walk back to our room in the Disneyland Hotel.

Isn’t she a beauty? Monorail Red in the Tomorrowland station, gleaming in the light.

Below us, the yellow submarines. In the distance, the Matterhorn.

Tomorrowland from the monorail station

A futuristic-looking part of Autopia beyond the monorail track.

Sleek and shiny.

Passengers get off…

We get a peek inside one of the passenger compartments with its monorail logo lit up.

Bench seating, facing out (not front or back).

We are now inside the front of the monorail as the monorail pilot prepares to have the monorail leave the station.

Nice Cast Member uniforms!

Impressive control panel.

The view ahead… Don’t go yet, red light.

Michael is shooting video of what’s through the curved front window.

Get ready…

…Go! Green light!

I love the backlit, glowing monorail logo inside the front of the monorail.

We’re looking off to the left at the off-site hotels and motels on Harbor Boulevard.

Now, on the right, is the building where Guests on the Disneyland Railroad see the Grand Canyon Diorama.

On the left is Disney’s California Adventure after closing, with a dark Disney’s Animation attraction.

There’s no mistaking the replica of the Golden Gate Bridge the monorail passes through.

On the right, at the same level as the monorail, is the building where Soarin’ over California is located.

Now we’re inside the courtyard of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel…

…and the tunnel that goes through part of the hotel.

Far on the left, the tower of the Disneyland Hotel we stayed in during this vacation.

On the right, we quickly glide by the Lego store in Downtown Disney.

We’re approaching the Downtown Disney monorail station…

…and slowing to a stop.

Looking at the monorail station our the left side of the monorail.

Thank you for a great ride! We make our exit…

…and take pictures of other cars of the monorail.

That’s the back end of the monorail with nobody in it. Very cool!

One last look at the back of the monorail before we head down out of the station and make our way to the hotel.

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California Adventure Day After Laundry: Thurs., July 31, 2008

From Rich and Carol: We had a late start because we slept in a bit and then had to wait for two washers and two dryers to do their thing at DL Hotel — after waiting for some washers to be available in the first place. Yep, there aren’t many for Guest use at the DL Hotel compared to the Grand Californian Hotel — and some of the washers and dryers were out of order.

Above, a bag marks this dryer as being out of order.

Above, printed signs on these two washers shows that they are out of order. There were two washers not working and one dryer not working. “Sorry for the inconvenience but this machine is out of order. Thank you.”

Except for this time having washers and dryers out of order, nothing has changed there since our last trip during Easter week. Exposed metal electrical wiring, with the metal covering up a sign… this is Disney theming at a premier Disney resort? C’mon! At least the change machine was working this time.

Washers and dryers both cost 4 quarters per load.

Detergent costs 4 quarters per load-sized box.

From Carol: Then we then had a pastry-coffee-fruit-type breakfast in our room with items Rich brought up from the DL Hotel’s Coffee House. After that we vamoosed to Disney’s California Adventure.

From Rich: Michael wanted to rest his feet for a bit when we were almost there, so we ducked into Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. Carol and I tried out the WiFi and it is indeed as we remembered it: better than at the Disneyland Hotel.

When Michael was ready, we entered DCA via the GCH entrance to save steps and because we wanted to ride Soarin’ Over California first thing (which is right near the hotel entrance). The security guard at the gate checked our bags as well as telling me that he saw my Disneyland Resort hotel room key card in my plastic lanyard so we could go in through that entrance (after presenting our park passes).

From Carol: The sun burned off early morning cloudiness today and it’s brilliantly sunny. Less hot than Florida. But the sun is like “Zzzzzst!” shining on you.

Tips: Sunblock with high SPF. And a hat. And sunglasses with UV protection. Bathing suits and water shoes and change of clothes for Grizzly River Rapids optional…. Some people were getting drenched, others only heavy drops, and Rich says shoes get soaked.

We got PhotoPass CD photos taken, got Fast Passes for Grizzly River Rapids, and I decided to stay dry and nice looking, so son and Rich got FastPasses for GRR. We all got FastPasses for California Screamin’ — but Michael decided not to ride it.


We rode (not in this order) California Screamin’, Sun Wheel, Orange Stinger, Toy Story Midway Mania, King Triton’s Carousel, Jumpin’ Jelly Fish, saw Golden Dreams show (wonderful and Whoopi Goldberg was dignified and respectful), Grizzly River Rapids (Michael and Rich only). We have Mulholland Madness Fast Passes but decided to skip it, having gone on enough “carnival”-type “rides.” We ate lunch at Pizza Um Mow Mow and enjoyed it. Skipped McDonald’s right next door. That’s our day as of 3:59 pm PDT.

There will be more details about these things in separate entries to this travel blog.

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Disney’s California Adventure Mon. afternoon, 7/28/08

photoFrom Carol: We’re checked in and picking up where we left off in March 2008 — touring Disney’s California Adventure to see things we didn’t get a chance to do on our Easter vacation. This time we’re with Lisa/Jiminy.

From Rich:
After Lisa picked us up at the airport see here, brought us to the In-N-Out Burger place see here, then to Target to pick up a few things we’d need, she was our personal tour guide of Disney’s California Adventure on Monday.

That day we walked a lot — starting from the Disneyland Hotel, through Downtown Disney, most of DCA, and then back again — a total of 2,305 steps (1.08 miles) — in just that part of the afternoon and night.

Compare that to what I usually walk in an average day at home — 1100 to 3500 steps — and that explains why I already have two blisters!

All of us wound up getting blisters, but they were not as bad as they were on our Easter trip. This time we were using inner and outer wicking socks, which helped a lot!

Tuesday we walked a grand total of 5619 steps — that’s 2.65 miles.

Wednesday the counter on my pedometer was reset somehow during the day, so I can’t report how much we walked that day.

Thursday we walked the most: 11,111 steps for a total of 5.24 miles!

On Friday we took 9,342 steps — 4.41 miles.


Click any of the pictures to see them larger.

We’re glad we got to see the monorail’s Golden Gate Bridge recreation — because it will probably have been removed the next time we’re back at Disney’s California Adventure.

The Pixar Play Parade was going on while we arrived, pretty much blocking us after entering through DCA’s main gate.

We took a few photos, then Lisa / Jiminy directed us towards the Condor Flats district of DCA.

On the way to Condor Flats, we checked out the California Zephyr train-themed area. We liked the theming, but it is a shame all that trouble was spent by Paul Pressler just on shops rather than into better attractions when DCA first opened.

Every Disney park needs a train… that’s the way Walt would have wanted it. Too bad this one doesn’t move, huh?

Here’s our friend Lisa / Jiminy being an excellent tour guide for us! We opted to get Fast Passes for Soarin’ Over California rather than wait in line, and then come back after our dinner at Wine Country Trattoria that night — but we didn’t notice that DCA was closing at 8 pm and not 9 pm that night, so we missed out on using the Fast Passes!

Above you see Jiminy/Lisa, Michael and Rich Koster outside Taste Pilot’s Grill in the Condor Flats section of DCA.

Even if you don’t want to buy anything, check out the store in Condor Flats to see how the Imagineers incorporated real life events and items into the theming.

This is how a door to the Cast Member-only backstage area is marked in a little-seen part of Condor Flats.

At Grizzly River Rapids there are historical artifacts as part of the theming.

Talking with Lisa near the Brother Bear area, something we didn’t take time to see.

Walking by Grizzly River Rapids on Mon., July 28th. Michael and Rich rode it later in the week.

The sun setting behind (and to the right) of Paradise Pier.

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Koster family July 2008 vacation at Disneyland

Minnie at computerWith our trip report now complete from our Easter 2008 vacation at the Disneyland Resort, we’re now just a few days away from our next visit there!

This travel blog will now be about our July 2008 Disneyland Resort vacation, but you can read more about why we’re going back and our plans so far for it here on the Disney Echo in the “Koster Family July 2008 Trip to Disneyland” topic.

We’ll be staying at the Disneyland Hotel again, checking in mid-day on Monday, July 28th, with an early Saturday morning check-out before our flight home on Saturday, August 2nd. Carol still has a valid Premium Annual Pass to Disneyland, so she’ll use that for entry to the parks as well as discounts on merchandise and dining. I got Michael and me parkhopper passes to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure that we’ll pick up at the Disneyland Hotel when we check in. Early Friday morning I’ll get our rental car from Alamo and we’ll use it for sightseeing in Los Angeles (including seeing WALL-E at the El Capitan Theatre) as well as using it to get us back to the airport Saturday morning.

Our dear friend Lisa (“Jiminy” on the Disney Echo) once again voluntEARed to meet us at the airport when we arrive and take us to Disneyland — and better still, she is able to spend time with us at Disneyland this time! Yay!

Other than that, we haven’t nailed down yet what we’ll be doing in the middle of the week. Still to do before Monday: decide with the family what days/times we want to eat at the restaurants we want to go to again/first time — then making the reservations for that. We have a mental list of where we want to eat, but haven’t picked out any days to do that yet, which we need to do before I call to make the reservations.

Here’s what I have planned for our last full day there (Friday).

  • Pay for the rental car at the Downtown Disney Alamo office.
  • I will go alone or with the others into Disneyland and DCA just briefly (taking everyone’s entry passes temporarily if they want to sleep in) and get FastPasses for as many attractions as I can, one for each of us, to be used later after we return from Los Angeles.
  • Having breakfast (undecided where)
  • All of us going in the rented car to see things like the Walt Disney Studios (from the outside), Imagineering (from the outside) and maybe the Walt Disney Concert Hall (also from the outside).
  • Getting to the parking garage across the street from the El Capitan Theatre early, then walking across Hollywood Boulevard to the Disney ice cream shop and having a relaxing lunch.
  • Walking next door to see WALL-E at the appropriate time for the 1:00 pm show.
  • After we’re done in the El Capitan, driving to Griffith park to meet up with the person who will let us in the Live Steamers area to see Ollie Johnston’s train station and our inscribed paving stone there.
  • Driving back to Disneyland for more park fun.
  • Packing up because we’ll be needing to check out and leave early in the morning to catch our early morning flight home.
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    This website is not affiliated with any part of The Walt Disney Company.

    The Disney Echo at is your interactive online magazine to discover new wonders and share magical Disney memories.

    The display on this page is set up to show the posts in reverse chronological order of when they were posted originally, so if you want to read the reports from the beginning, go to the last post on the last page and work forward. The first entry about the Koster family's July 2008 Disneyland trip can be found by clicking here and the first entry about their Easter 2008 Disneyland trip can be found by selecting this link.

    That link goes to the very first travel-related article on this website: Welcome to our Trip Report.

    The entry made after that first one is found after clicking the link named "Our Vacation Plans At-A-Glance" and that link is found above and below the first entry.

    The third entry is similarly found after clicking the link above and below the second one, where the link is named "Packing Up"

    One can read all the travel-related entries in the order they were posted by going to the next entry and the next entry the same way. Otherwise, this website defaults to displaying the most-recently-posted entries followed by older entries below it on the page as well as on the pages after it.

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    FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Unless otherwise noted, Rich Koster did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in these articles. He pays for his own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

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